Regional

Farmer refocused after swallowing pesticide

By RENAE DIXON Sunday Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 22, 2014    

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STEPHEN Douglas has been in farming over 40 years and has much to celebrate.

The 63-year-old former St Ann champion farmer is thankful to be alive, following an incident at the start of the year that almost saw him going home early to his maker.

And the Douglas Castle, St Ann resident insists that it is a blessing to be alive after he accidentally drank a deadly pesticide on his farm on the fateful day of January 2.

"If mi was not Christian, mi wouldn't de here today," Douglas told the Jamaica Observer.

"Mi mean spirit-filled Christian; Christian wa no bad mind who love each other," he added.

Douglas recalled that morning the Thursday morning when he accidentally swallowed the chemical substance called gai-quat.

He had just finished lunch and had gone back to work. So engulfed in his farming was he, that he totally forgot it was not his water bottle he had in hand, but the deadly pesticide.

"I was walking and had it in a bottle. I felt thirsty so I just put the bottle to my head and take a big gulp," Douglas said, recalling his horror when he realised what he had done.

"Mi never remember say a no mi water," the father of five said.

The frightened farmer said that he immediately ran to his nearby home.

"Mi push mi hand down mi throat and then drink some water," Douglas said, as he tried to get the chemical substance out of his body.

A bout of vomiting was followed by a trip to the hospital where he spent three weeks.

"On the way we buy some milk and mi drink it and mi throw up. It's a miracle," Douglas recalled.

He recalled hospital workers flushing his system, but he was still expecting the worst.

Utterances by doctors too, did not inspire confidence in him, but he kept faith in God.

"The doctor say, Mr Douglas it is our duty to try but we no see no way to help," he recalled being told at the hospital.

Although a man of faith, his blood pressure went up. However, he had that speck of hope remaining.

"All mi mouth did sore," he said of the long time he spent in hospital.

While in the medical institution, he said that he thought long and hard about what had happened, something that kept his blood pressure high.

The good news later emerged that he had got over the worst of the would-be tragedy.

He said that he was told he was the only one to have drunk the substance and leave the hospital alive.

"Some people call me Lazarus," he said, adding that a test conducted showed that the substance was not in his digestive system. Notwithstanding, doctors had feared that he could possibly have sufered liver damage.

Almost six months later, Douglas is back to full health.

The church deacon said he often tells of his ordeal in churches that he visits.

"They always want me to give my testimony," he told the Sunday Observer.

He is always happy to share and to encourage others about God and inspite of his ordeal, he has vowed to continue his farming for as long as he can, all the time being careful about what he puts to his head.

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