This cartoon was true. Bill has been a certified EMT, and I avoided all things medical whenever I could.
Several years ago on a kayaking trip out of Whittier, Alaska, we were camping at Surprise Cove Marine Park. This is a state park only accessible by water, a beautiful area with tent platforms, an outhouse, boardwalk, and secure bear lockers for your gear. It was the end of May, and it had been a cold spring, so there were still some mounds of snow and ice. The boardwalk had been in the sun and the ice had thawed to liquid, and then in the evening had re-frozen. You can probably guessed what happened next, I had just put our things away in the bear locker for the night, and I slipped on the ice. I put out my arm/hand to stop my fall, (I know, bad, bad, bad), and landed on my hand with my wrist bent to absorb the shock. I knew right away that I had broken it. In case you want to know what the signs are: swelling, pain, and nausea. I grabbed a handful of snow, and pressed my arm to my chest. Bill got out his medical kit, and since I wouldn't let him touch it to splint it, he secured it to my chest with ace bandages.
|Trango tent set up on the platform, this keeps it off of the fragile tundra.|
|Kayaks on the beach, my daughter Alexa's, Bill's, and mine.|
It was 9:00pm, and
- I wasn't going to be paddling my kayak anytime soon, and Bill wasn't going to tow me back 20 miles. There were small craft warnings in effect, 40kt winds on our nose, and 4-6ft seas.
- Calling a Whittier Charter company after hours, big money, if they could even come. (P.S. this is the first trip we had a SAT phone, we're never without it now, worth every penny!)
- You can only get in and out of Whittier by a using a tunnel through the mountain, and it closes at 11:00pm.
- If we did get back to Whittier that night, we would have to spend the night in the cab of the truck, (see reason 3), we didn't have our truck camper yet.
So we made ourselves comfortable in the tent, (using the term comfortable, loosely). I took several of the only meds we had, (Tylenol 3- not strong enough) and ratcheted my chair-thermarest into a semi-reclining position to try and get some rest. Synopsis; We called the charter company the next morning, they came and got us, we made it to the doctor that day, (Wednesday), and I was in surgery by Monday to reconstruct my wrist with titanium, and screws. Oh so many lessons learned!
Mainly, sh*t happens, and what if it happened to Bill? Poor guy, I knew I needed to suck it up, and get some training.
|Unfortunately, you can't count on this,|
I'm the sort of person that when confronted with one's own injury, I will faint. If it's your injury, I'm usually okay, and if it's an emergency, I can do whatever is needed. So, though I can't count on me, you can count on me.
While we were still in Fairbanks, and I was an employee of the University, (free tuition perk), I signed up for the Basic EMT training class. I thought it would be a horrible ordeal, but I found out I loved it, and the instructors were terrific. (Thanks Barbara!) It was a hard class for me, since I had avoided all things medical previously, I (unlike all the other students), had no knowledge of physiology, or anatomy. The tests were four hours long, and I always used every minute of it to finish. I passed my state written exam, and then I decided not to take the hands on practical. You have to memorize exact medical and legal verbiage, and I have no intentions of ever riding/working in an ambulance with credentials.
|This was us in class, practicing on each other three times a week.|
I was studying on an airline once, until I realized that the photos in my textbook probably weren't appropriate for others in my row. (Sorry, closing book now.)
We bought an Adventure Series, Marine 3000 medical kit for Denali Rose. It's pretty extensive, and we even added some more items to it. I know others may think it is overkill, but we feel confident, and competent with it.
|Adventure Medical kits are available on Amazon|
We had been looking into attending an Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course by NOLS, (National Outdoors Leadership School), but we couldn't find one that was close to home. Until now. The Facebook Wrangell Community Board posted a notice about this course being given in Wrangell in February. We signed up immediately. To give you an idea of what an incredible opportunity this is for us, the other places that this course is being taught are: Singapore Singapore, Quito Ecuador, Raniket India, Banos Ecuador, Serena Chile, and Sartell MN.
Scenarios, and practice sessions will take place both inside and outside. Wouldn't it be great if the weather cooperated, and it was dry, warm and sunny? A gal can dream......
|Sunrise today: 7:44am, Sunset today: 4:21pm|
Update: 24-Feb-2017 Here is the post about the NOLS WAFA training mentioned above...
What first aid knowledge do you have? Have you ever used it? What's in your medical kit? Leave us a comment here, or on Facebook. [Denali Rose Sailboat or search @SV.DenaliRose] Thanks!
Update: 15-Mar-2017 Follow-up post: First Aid Training, Knowledge, and Supplies