As the wife of a hunter, I'm never fully ready for a phone call from the field with bad news.
It happened today, but it could have been so much worse.
The first call came in this morning from Patrick's satellite phone. The message was brief and broken up. I listened to it several times to decipher it. Patrick said that he had fallen and Brooks (hunting partner) didn't see him fall but that he was ok.
"Wow" my mind screamed over again inside. The thought of Patrick falling off a goat ridge and Brooks' not knowing where he was…it had the recipe for disaster. I knew, however, that Brooks would find him and that they would make their way out. (I must say, that Patrick has the best hunting partners ever. More to come on this later.)
About an hour or more later, Brooks called and told me more about Patricks injury-a puncture wound of some sort on his lower leg which was sustained by a fall. He didn't know how bad it was but they were making their way home. They weren't sure if the injury was sustained by the ice ax or a rock.
I didn't say anything to the kids and trying to keep on with my day. A call to my girlfriend Elke put me at greater ease…she said, "So, no organs were hit, right?" "No" I replied. "well, then he'll just get back and get all stitched up and he'll get put back together again."
This re-assured me. Yes, there would be some healing time involved but all would be well.
At this point, I knew that when Patrick came home, I didn't want the kids to see him in a bad, bloody shape. I dropped them off with my girlfriend and with ella and waited at home for the guys to arrive.
The wound was bad. A deep puncture wound with muscle exposed that really needed stitches. But after discussing pros and cons, and calling our friend who is an ER nurse- Patrick opted for no stitches. The deciding factor is that Patrick hates needles and the thought of getting numbed up, etc for stitches terrified him AND that today is Sunday and no clinics are open. We would've had to go to the ER.
So we'll be managing the wound and helping it heal without stitches. Fortunately I've done wound care as part of my PT career, so its not completely foreign to me. And if something isn't looking normal to me in the next day or two, I'm going to have him go in pronto to have it checked out.
Oh, and about hunting partners-
I am appreciative of all of Patrick's hunting partners. They are all confident, quick, resourceful, thoughtful guys (and gals) who would help Patrick in any outdoor predicament--as he would help them. I think that why I worry so little when Patrick is on these adventures-Patrick is in the company of good people who all take care of each other.