In keeping with the trend, I am late on posting about my experiences at Red Rock Rendezvous, which took place in the greater Las Vegas area on March 30-April 1. I took two clinics, one was Photo/Climbing (which I promise to write about soon) and the other was Wilderness Medicine.
I essentially stumbled into the Medicine course on accident. I had originally registered for Backcountry Cooking, or something along those lines, which sounds super dope, right? Well I'm sure it would have been except for the fact that the Access Fund folks disappeared and the class disappeared with them. In their defense, we were basically in hurricane-esque weather and most of the tents had crumbled like blue cheese.
One of the neighboring tents, TrailMed, was generous enough to adopt all of us who were misplaced by the Cooking class. It ended up being one of the most informative and fascinating two hours that I've had in a long time.
You really need to listen to Mr. Water because he's right; drinking water is very serious business. We've been taught since grade school that our body is made up of mostly water. Yet for some reason, we insist on dehydrating ourselves constantly. We inhale coffee and alcohol because that's the society we live in. We should be drinking 2 liters of water per day. As climbers, we should be drinking at least 3 liter of water on climbing days.
This is my NUMBER ONE goal right now and it should be yours too. DRINK MORE WATER. DO IT. NOW!
2. The mylar blanket should be renamed Myracle Blanket.
Most of you probably have a mylar blanket tucked away in their First Aid kit. I see you nodding your ahead in affirmation. Well, that's fantastic! But only if you know how to use a mylar blanket efficiently and effectively. I was under the misconception that, if needed, I could simply drape the blanket around my body and miracles would occur. Well, dreams DO come true, but I didn't realize that I was missing an unlikely character in this fairy tale: a black trash bag.
When the trash bag and mylar blanket join forces, miracles do happen! Take my lovely friend to the right... she has the mylar blanket wrapped around her body and she has covered herself with the trash bag.
Hopefully most of us passed high school and remember that black does one thing very effectively: attract light. It's simple, the light from the sun is attracted by the color of the trash bag and the mylar blanket keeps the warmth from that light close to our body. Genius, right? Physics is cool.
We've been taught that if someone is injured, that we shouldn't move them because it might aggravate the situation. If someone falls while climbing, this is REALLY bad and the person might be REALLY hurt. But you can't just sit there and wish the person better. Most climbing incidents will be out of the beaten path, and some form of action should occur until help can be found.
Assuming the person is breathing and CPR isn't necessary, you should do an overall inspection of the body, without moving it too much, to see what injuries have been sustained. I'm not even going to try to run you through all the things you need to do to carefully assess the situation- so again, go take a class. The reason you don't just sit there and you try to determine if there are injuries, is because you can eliminate wasted time when paramedics arrive by pointing them to a serious injury.
Now, assuming the person is conscious and not in a dire emergency, there are two important things you should focus on: get the person warm and get them food and water. You guys are pros at making someone warm because I've already walked you through the wonders of the Mylar blanket. Food and water are just as important. Also, great way to warm someone up is through sugar. It gets the blood flowing and body temperature rises.
Bottom line: the paramedics are going to have a lot more to worry about if they arrive and the person is half-starved, half-frozen, and completely dehydrated when you get there. So when someone is injured, just remember, you can take action.
Well that's, like, everything I know about medicine and this isn't even one of my longest posts. I'm probably one of the worst sources ever for wilderness medicine, but I hope you enjoyed the graphics. Take care now!