Bill got a BB gun for Christmas, and on New Year’s Day he was hunting along a concrete irrigation canal. (They were called concrete canals, but they were built with fired-clay, canal-lining tile which were developed by Herb’s father, and held together with mortar. The inside was then plastered with the mortar.) Herb was following Bill, but Bill thought he was making too much noise and tried to get Herb to go home. Bill jumped the canal; and as Herb jumped, Bill tried to hush him up, and Herb slipped and fell into the canal.
The canal was about 24 inches deep and had only about an inch of water in the bottom. In the process, the bird Bill planned on shooting got away. In the process Herb scraped his shin on the edge of the canal lining.
The wound was minor and ignored for three days. When it became inflamed and Herb started limping, his mother wanted to know what was wrong. When he showed her, she wanted to know why he had not said anything before.
Herb’s parents spent the night putting hot compresses on the wound. The hot compresses were clean cloth diapers which were soaked in an Epson Salt solution. The solution was kept warm in a pot sitting on the kerosene stove with the fire adjusted as low as possible. The hot compresses did not seem to help; so as soon as the doctor’s office was scheduled to open, they were there to see Dr. Ralph Hamme.
After an examination, Dr. Ralph arranged for Herb to be hospitalized. Treatment involved a new version of penicillin, and Herb was given adult dosages. Dr. Ralph told Herb’s parents that Herb might develop an allergy to penicillin and never be able to take it again, but this was the only thing he knew of that would stop the infection which had entered the marrow of the bone. During one of the exams in the hospital, Dr. Ralph inserted a probe nearly halfway though Herb’s leg.
His nurse, red-headed Mrs. Cameron, brought him funny books to read; and regularly when she came into the room, she would go to the mirror and pull out a gray hair or two. Herb knew if Mrs. Cameron was more worried about her gray hair than his infection that he was going to be all right.
Herb did not develop an allergy to penicillin, but one of his sisters did. Herb is still trying to figure that one out.
Focusing on something besides the worst outcome is much better than expecting the worst outcome.
Over the years, Herb has had a number of injuries, some of which are mentioned later in this series of blogs, but he has always ensured that he had adequate treatment to prevent a serious infection.