Monday, July 16, 2012

Camp Injury

I attended Young Women camp every year growing up and loved most of it. Every year the weeks leading up to camp would involve camp prep activities. Sometimes we learned about dutch oven cooking, or practiced three or four different ways to make a fire. And sometimes we would put on dramatic skits about how to built a splint out of tree branches for one of our fellow young women who broke her leg on a hike. Awful things always happened on the hikes in our skits. Girls would start on fire and have to stop drop and roll, snakes would bite us, we'd get terrible lacerations and have to tie them off with tourniquets. The camp manual has 13 pages of first aid information and up until last week I had never needed it. Dun dun dun. Do I have your attention now?

I was having so much fun last Wednesday at camp, this time in the role of a leader. We'd just completed a treasure hunt using compasses and were off to shoot pellet guns. After a few minutes of demonstration by the instructors, we were free to shoot at targets for 15 to 20 minutes. After a few adjustments, I was hitting the targets across the river bed every time.

pellet gun ready to load

pellet gun, ready to shoot
Don't tell anyone, but if you've read my blog, you know about my Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman fetish, and I may have let myself imagine I was in Colorado Springs protecting my family on the frontier. Load, cock the gun, shoot. Repeat. I was really getting into it.

I think I had two pellets left, and after loading the second to last one, I jammed the gun closed.On that piece of skin between your thumb and index finger. And blood started pumping out instantly. My first thought was, Oh shoot, where do we tie the tourniquet? One of our cute Mia Maids led me back to camp and as I wandered back through the camp I wondered if I was going to end up in a clinic that night with stitches.

The camp director pulled up a chair and turned my head so I wouldn't get woozy. A husband of one of the camp directors went to work cleaning my bloodied hand and assessing the damage. "I couldn't do blood six months ago, I do blood now," he said. I was so touched by what that meant. He had a horrendous bout with MRSA last fall that almost took his life and in the aftermath required him and his family to clean large wounds and grafted skin on his leg on a daily basis. I felt like it was a privilege to be under his care. He decided stitches were debatable, but if I kept it wrapped and didn't move it the wound should be able to close on its own. I stayed a few more hours. I had come up for the day and needed to go home that night so one of the Laurel advisors took me home in my stick shift (OUCH).

See me not looking at it ? I didn't look at it at all night. When I did look at it the next afternoon I had to lie down. Gashes in the skin just aren't my thing.
thanks to Jazmyn who was ready with a camera

I was grateful to all the people who stepped in to help me that day, and grateful too that I spent a good amount of time up at camp. We had so much fun and you get to know people on a different level in settings like that. 

It was very sore and I wasn't able to do things like my hair for a few days, but the human body is amazing and five days later it's completely closed up. 

So I didn't wrap it myself, and neither did a Beehive, but when it all came down to it, I was left with my very own camp injury that was worthy to be displayed in the camp manual. Truth be told, I'm proud of it. :)

For small cuts and scratches, clean
the wound by washing it with soap
and water. At home, use plenty of
water right out of the faucet. On a hike
or in camp, use water from your canteen
or a clear stream. Let the wound
dry; then apply an adhesive bandage.
For larger cuts, wash the wound
with lots of soap and water. Let it dry;
then keep dirt out of the wound by
covering it with a sterile gauze pad.
Hold the gauze in place with adhesive
tape or with a triangular bandage,
bandanna, or scarf folded into a cravat
bandage (see p. 43). If you don’t have
a gauze pad, fold a clean piece of cloth
into a pad.

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