Thursday, March 12, 2015

Papaya leaf wraps

A guy limps into my clinic room, obviously favoring his R leg.  I asked him what happened and he told me how he was selling vegetable on the road when people started throwing stones and he got hit with one.  This was over a week ago, but his leg was still hurting him and he thought it was broken, so he came to get it checked.

I hear all kinds of stories about injuries each day, I don't believe them all, but knowing there was a fight that broke out a few weeks back near the market, I believed his story.  Seeing him limp into my room and the grimace on his face, I also believed that he was in pain.  I went to examine his leg, but it was all wrapped up, so I took him to the ER so we could unwrap it and get a new dressing at the same time.

As I watched him unwrap his leg, I saw something really bright orange sticking out.  I asked him what it was and he said it was papaya.  Papaya is a fruit, I had never seen anyone use it as a dressing, so I asked him why he put it there.  He started laughing and then told me, his leg was really hot, and so as he was eating his papaya, he cut off a few pieces and put it on his leg to help cool it off.  He then wrapped his leg in leaves, which have some medicinal pain properties and came to the hospital.

It took a little bit of effort, but he was able to remove the leaves and the papaya and then I discovered that he had an infection in his leg causing the pain and the hotness.  Thankfully it wasn't broken and the antibiotics and pain medicines should help him in the days ahead.  I am not sure I can recommend the papaya leaf wrap for leg pain, as his leg was infected, but it did seem to keep it cooler, which helped him, so maybe I should.