Joe N. Brown
Joe N. Brown

Back in 1998, I was working on a ranch in the short grass country East of Mertzon. This was a large outfit with leashes up and down the railroad.

This was spring work to vaccinate sheep for black-leg disease. We had worked the monument country and moved over to the white mill country by noon. This is where our story starts.

Crowding the sheep in a narrow alley, two men would go through, one holding up and the other vaccinating with an automatic back-back holding the vaccine. I was holding up and a cowboy named “Oklahoma” was vaccinating. This working system was working fine on Ewes but then we came to a chute full of Rambouillet bucks, all with horns and weighing about 200 lbs.

At this point a buck ran over “Okie” and as he started to fall I reached for him. He swung the vaccine gun and hit me on my right wrist and by reaction, injected me with a full dose of black-leg vaccine. We got over that wreck and asked if we were all right. At that time, no one was hurt so we finished that alley of bucks.

Then the boss sent me and the crew foreman over to the Bendele pasture to gather it for the crew to work. When we got there, all the sheep were at the water lot so all we had to do was pen them and shut the gate. By then, my right arm was swollen to twice its size and had turned a bright red.

When the boss got there and saw my arm he told me to take the truck and go to the nearest hospital. I agreed as I was in misery and the crew agreed to take care of my horse and saddle. I left and started down the road to the Eldorado hospital.

A work crew stopped me and said I had to wait about 30 minutes. I informed him that I was injured and going to the hospital now. The workers all got out of the way and I sped through the construction. As I reached the hospital at Eldorado, my head began to swim and circle. I parked the truck at the ER entrance and went in and collapsed unconscious in the hall.

I came to on a gurney with doctors asking what had happened. I told them to call the ranch and find out from the boss, then I passed out again. When I came to, I was rolling down the hall on a gurney and my daughter was standing there. They had recognized me and called her as she lived in Eldorado.

She told me that she had called my wife and she was on her way there now. I passed out again.

When I woke up again, it was the next day and my wife was there. I was in a hospital gown and my swollen arm was laying on a pillow beside me.
The doctor came in and asked how I felt, I replied fine but what was my condition?

He said he had called the Poison Control Center in Georgia and they assured him that this was a dead vaccine and I has having a reaction to the liquid carry fluid. I would be fine in a few days as my body would reject the vaccine. I could go home the next day.

The next day, my arm was down to normal but my joints all hurt. The doctor said the pain in my joints would last about 30 days. So I was released to go home and rest.

I had survived another round with the grim reaper. I studied on this and decided that God wasn’t ready for me yet.