Friday, June 17, 2011


I have no time to write. I underestimated how all consuming this class would be. When we're not doing night rescue simulations, I get home around 7. I try and eat dinner, pack a little for my trip, and then work on articles due for trailseldge until about midnight. My latest, A Guide to Crag Side Flirtation, the first of a three part segment, went really well. Actually, it got more attention than my last two which went viral, but I don't have the time to follow it. Right now it's got 73 'likes' on facebook (none of those was me). What a funny industry/world/job that success is measured in a little thumbs up icon.

The two articles I'm writing for this week are due Sunday at midnight and while they're both pretty far along, I have no idea when I'll finish them. No idea. Someone asked how long tomorrow's (Friday's) night rescue would go on, and the instructor just said, "Bring a shelter for yourself."  Saturday morning we'll be up bright and early (some of us are contemplating sleeping in the park after the rescue) for class, Saturday night will be spent studying for this test I'm determined to pass, and Sunday will be the test. Sunday night we're celebrating, and I'm hell bent to celebrate, then Monday morning I get on a plane for Boston and drive to Vermont. On Wednesday night I begin my job guiding in New Hampshire, then Thursday I take my group to Maine or a month in the back country. Somewhere in there, I've got to write my third and final installment on this rock climbing romance piece. I have no idea where all the time went.

To make up for no writing and, when there is writing, it being terrible writing, here are some photos from the class. It's too bad that I have no time to write, because I've never had so much to write about. Learning about wilderness medicine is like finding out I have a new organ inside of me and it has all these crazy powers, and enables me to do all this stuff I never thought I'd be able to do.

For example, today I gave my very first injection, to my very brave friend, Chris. He returned the favor right afterwards.
This would have been a total nightmare for anyone who didn't like needles. I'd aim the needle right at Chris's arm and he'd wince and get ready, then our teacher, Phoebe, would correct something, over and over, so I was essentially hovering this needle over the poor dude's arm for about a minute, faking him out. He said I poked him with such precision that he didn't feel any pain.

Lisa accidentally stabbed herself with the needle when she pulled it out of the package. Before she poked it into Micah's arm, thankfully.

After it was over, I realized I had really, really liked it. I told Chris, "I just want to keep giving you shots." Something about it. It's awesome.

As we gain more and more information, our scenarios are getting crazier. Today we dealt with a mass causality incident that was essentially a pile of 10 people all heaped on top of one another, with sticks coming out of their bodies, a dead infant, screaming parents, blood and head wounds all over the place. We were learning to triage and 'black tag' the patients. One of our teachers, Kate, told us something I'll never forget, about her time working in Haiti after the earthquake. "You know how you hear on the radio, about the people found alive under the rubble after two weeks?" She asked us. "The truth is, there is usually not resources to save those people after they pull them out, and they get 'black tagged', which essentially means they are being left to die." Today we had to decide who amongst our mock-patients we would black tag and leave for dead. We learned that once you make eye contact, it's impossible to do anything but fight for that person's life. So, in essence, be careful with eye contact.

When I was 15 I decided I wanted to be involved in mountain rescuer. I essentially talked myself of it when I moved to Seattle and learned what  a tough road it would be. Because I'm a 'creative' person (whatever the hell that means) I thought that I was incapable of learning any sort of medicine. This class has turned that all around on me. I'm back on the road to being a search and rescuer and mountain rescuer, to repay the debt I incurred eleven years ago. I haven't felt so alert and involved in the world in years.


Bethany and Will said...

Hi Chiquita! Our friend Chris is one of the lead Search and Rescue guys in Tahoe. They had some serious things happen there this year. Let me know and I'll put you in touch with him!

Anonymous said...

I am so happyexitedinspired after reading your post! Nothing feels better than finding something that feeds your soul, yay! I can't wait to see where this takes you. Dtown

Adriana Iris said...

lol @ creative... i love seeing this chapter of your life. you are a rockstar.