Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Learning Experience

Strike's not on yet. I say yet, because I suspect it's more a matter of time. Later on in the semester means more pressure.

Medicine, and the practice thereof, is a reminder to people of their own weaknesses. Their phobias. Their squeamishness. I was in class today, mooching medical supplies from the Old Soldier, Reservist, and the Failed Paramedic Student. It's one part single-minded obsessiveness as a kit weasel, one part it's a good idea to get as much medical training as possible. So, I roll up on my homies, and start mooching for anything they're not using. I offer coffees, beer for kit that's not being used, old, that sort of thing. They give suggestions- old WWII style triangle bandages, triangles, that sort of thing. I ask about SAM splints, and we get into a discussion about splinting the femur. Goes something like this:

Failed Medic: Why do you want SAM splints? They suck!

Me: What? Why?

FM: You can't splint a femur, for one thing.

(about here, Fat Chick leans in and starts listening)

Me: If I have to splint a femur, I'm so fucked. I'd need Death Pants.

FM: Death Pants?

Me: Those pneumatic pants.

FM: Get a Seager splint.

Me: Those are too big and heavy, plus the femur'll prolly move around. Hell, I don't even want the pants. What's are the stats for femur fractures going compound?

Fat Chick: Compound?

Me: When the fracture separates and comes out the skin.

FM: Pretty low.

Me: What about internal lacerations?

(fat chick starts turning a little green)

FM: Not sure.

Me: What about causing internal lacerations?

FM: Oh, good point.

Me: Me, I figure that if you end up with a broke femur, you're all kinds of fucked. Like, need an ER yesterday kinda fucked. Too many big arteries and nerves near that bitch.

FM: What do you expect to cause the break?

Me: Hey, I was good working with simple extremity breaks. I got a lot of hemorrhage stuff, and I wanna learn more before I start working the airways.

Fat Chick: Why do you want to learn about this stuff?

Me: Because some day, it might be someone I care about all lain out or perforated or something. And I'd rather do something to help than stand around and wring my hands.

FC: But you're not a doctor! I wouldn't trust you to help me.

Me: You're not in NASCAR, and somehow they let you on the road. I wouldn't trust you to drive.

About then, she just shook her head, rolled her eyes and turned away, and I asked whether or not there were spare Nasalpharangeal Airway Tubes lying around, because that's about all I know how to do. I woke up this morning, and I thought about it. This person is an emergency manager, or hopes to be. She is overweight, undermotivated, disinterested and sarcastic in far greater amounts than even I. She has no interest in saving lives. She is the person you are relying on to funnel beans, band-aids and bodies to you in a disaster. Remember that.

And make sure everyone you care about is prepared.


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