Medical Care by Youtube videos.

I wouldn’t recommend going to a medical professional for care who learns how to do the procedure you need from a youtube video.  Not wise.  Yet, here is Papua, this was KD’s option.  Her smashed toenail had a nasty smelly infection brewing underneath it. Being in the village for two weeks with days of mud, mud, and more mud…..had pushed KD’s toe to far.  The best way to “cure it”, was to remove it.  She needed a nerve block.  That is where the base of the affected digit is injected with Lidocaine so that the entire digit goes numb. 


Time to roll up the sleeves and run to the science room and watch a youtube video on how to do a nerve block.  Our doctor was out of country.  I had seen her perform this technique perhaps two years prior and she had explained it a time or two.  My learning style is by actually DOING the activity……so up to this point, I was mildly aware, but certainly not “trained”.94176014-F75E-43F1-8C32-59B136F72328

I admire, brave and courageous, KD who knew that I had little clue of what I was about to do and who steeled herself to sit still and trust my care.  The procedure would require 3 different injections at the base of her big toe numbing the 4 nerves that run the length of the toe. 

You know it is a “big deal” when other nurses and friends start to show up in the clinic.  So nurse Paige, nurse Wendy, and want to be something medical (we are almost sure) Cherise, were all present.  I did the first two infections, but not wanting to deny others of this great learning opportunity,  I  encouraged Paige to do the next and Wendy did the last.  We won’t talk about our uncertainty of where to really put the needle and could we do any nerve damage and the medicine that squirted out when we went a little to far accompanied with the nervous giggling that took place.  These are all things that were not covered on the Youtube video. Thank you.

Gratefully our doctor was aware of what we needed to do and had written and described that we clamp down on that toe nail with as many teeth as possible from the hemostat and pull out the toenail like “pulling on a drawer”.  If it was stuck we could wiggle back and forth in a “side to side motion”. I was so grateful for those describing words.  So once KD’s toe was numb I proceeded to remove the offending toenail.  All went well with the drawer like pulling, except for the right side which was still quite fleshly attached.  It required quite a large amount of effort to pull it out.  As I am pulling back and forth my mind wishes I had watched another video on “removing toenails”.  Surely there is one?   And I had questions, mid procedure, like do we really pull this nail completely out, tearing the flesh?  But I was committed to move forward and to act regardless whether it was right or not and so I continued to pull out the nail. Finally it gave way to my persistence.  And bled and bled.  So we help pressure and breathed deep that the procedure was over.  The amount of dirt on that fleshy nail bed was impressive and after the bleeding slowed we washed that toe to reveal a nice clean red bed.  YES!  Youtube success! 


I wouldn’t recommend seeing someone who gains their knowledge by watching youtube videos.  But living in Papua that is one of the risks you take.  Come visit anytime.  We will take GOOD CARE of you!  But beware that one of your traveling risks is the probability that your health care provider may be watching youtube videos to know how to treat you.


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