Last Saturday I went out to Agape (the orphanage) like I do everyday. Everyone was busy doing things and I heard the older boys were playing soccer over at the church. I went over and joined in. They play on a cement "pitch" maybe a little bigger than a basketball court. It was raining off and on and the court was slippery. They are so good at keeping their balance and ball control though. They take smaller steps and usually keep it chill. Kinda. We played four vs four, with the loser after one goal trading out for a team on the sidelines. It was fun. Our team played for quite awhile and finally with no score went to shoot outs. We rotated through a few games. The other two teams were playing when it started raining a bit harder. The game seemed to be naturally ending. I was sitting down talking to Myo Aung Oo when he pointed to across the court. I looked over and a group of guys were in a huddle. Someone was on the ground. They were holding him down. I jumped up. One of them hit his chest a couple times. I walked quickly over. The group was talking loudly. I nelt down outside the group. They took off his shoes and pulled on his big toes. The one on the ground was shaking, barely. I realized he was having a seizure and told Myo to tell them to stop holding him. They partially understood and partially released. The grounded guy shook even more now for a couple seconds longer and stopped. While he was ending his seizure I checked his radial pulse and I watched him start breathing again. I told everyone to back up a bit and ask Myo to ask them what happened. "Did he fall? Slip? Did he hit his head?" I quickly did a blood sweep and made sure there was no major head trauma or any trauma. He started to wake up while everyone was yelling at him. Before I could do much they sat him up. I looked at his head quickly and upper back which both had slight abrasions. No external trauma. Everyone encouraged him to stand quickly and started making him walk. He was clearly weak, dragging his feet and rolling his head. I got on one side and grabbed someone on the other. They wanted to get him out of the rain. They wanted him to walk. It was hard to communicate. Several others now helped him over to the other side of the court and sat him down. I explained a concussion to Myo and Solomon. Several days later I explained seizures to them as well. They other players, his friends, wanted him to walk and seemed to think they could snap him out of it like they did by holding him down to stop the seizure. While he was sitting against the chain link fence, I had him squeeze my fingers and push his feet against my hands. There was a delay with translation but once he understood the delay continued. It started pouring down rain at this point and his friends got him up and moved him to a building close by. He was still dragging his feet and too weak to stand unsupported. They only had bicycles to get home by. I suggested maybe he should go to Mae Tao Clinic. I wasn't sure of the Clinic's protocol but at least we could give it a shot. Myo said, "So should he go the clinic?" I answered with a sort of, it would be best and if he wants to. Myo said, "Ok so we go get the truck." We rain the fifty meters to Agape. The caretaker/driver was sleeping. Myo said, "Can you drive?" I said with a little laugh, "Sure! Let's go." He ran and got the key, hopped in the drivers seat and said, "I drive to the church, finish, you drive to the clinic." Deal. We loaded the guy and a couple friends into the back and I got in the drivers seat. First things first, brake. It went all the way to the floor. Next, emergency break. It seemed to have some resistance. The shifter. It wobbled around with no indication where the gears might be. Just the picture on top and my hand to feel it out. I felt like I was doing a laparoscopic surgery on the transmission with the monitors turned off and a general knowledge of its anatomy. Some how I made it out of the gate and onto the road which started out down hill. The brake went to the floor and, with a half an inch to spare, slowed down the truck enough. Down shifting wasn't easy because surgery and driving a car is hard and should not be done. We made it to the clinic about 4 km away. And of course, I was on the left side of the road and the right side the car. It was a brain teaser for sure.
I explained what happened to a medic in the trauma unit. They got him onto a table and briefly asked him/his friends a few questions. The responses from the injured were maybe three words total. The medic told me that he remembered everything that happened and this means he probably didn't have a concussion. I highly doubted that but that's the way it goes. They gave him pain medication because he said his head hurt. I explained to the medic about concussions and the need to make sure he is woken up every two hours. I don't know how he translated it but I think the message got across. They said he would be fine.
We got back in the truck and one of the friends joined me in the front seat. He showed me the way to their home. We arrived and help the injuried out of the truck. He was still weak. We walked him inside. I greeted the people there and explained to one women who spoke some English about concussion procedure. She understood. At that point I could do very little. I drove back up to Agape and parked the truck. I biked into town, and met some friends for dinner. The food is amazing.
The next evening, I stopped by to see how he was doing. I slowly walked into the gate and called out, "Main ghala ba" several times. I was met with the same and one of the friends from the day before came out. We greeted each other and then he called the injuried. He was walking okay but still with weakness. I asked him how he was and he said good. He told about his arms and legs were tingly and his shoulders and neck were sore. I told him to drink lots of water and stretch, meditate, and relax. I gave him some encouragement and they thanked me. We said our goodbyes and I was off.
After speaking with a couple people, I soon found out that treatment for seizures is always done this way here. They hold down the whole body in an attempt to stop the convulsions. They hit the chest and pull on the big toe to wake them out it. I came to realization that what I know to be common knowledge, some people have no idea. I want to change that. Education is the key. And there is nothing special about me being from where I'm from. I want to educate people to educate people. Community leaders learning to then teaching their community. The ripple effect of education is so powerful. The potential is great.