first aid it

As if being in crippling pain wasn’t enough:

I fucking broke Bean’s little leg last night, and it’s thanksgiving.

Ain’t a vet open that will see her. (24 hour emergency vet only takes cats and dogs)

I was finally functional enough to clean cages at 7pm, and while dealing with the biggest one where the frillbacks live, Bean wegded herself under me and I could not feel her until I had sat back too far to correct.

Guys, the pop of a snapping bone is not a thing you can unhear once you’ve heard it, and it’s unmistakable.

I thought it was her skull.

It was her leg, between her ankle and knee, and the bone is completely severed.

I was able to make her a splint out of medical tape and a bamboo chopstick cut in lengths, but that’s temporary at best and not great for her blood flow.

Her little foot is very swolen.

My vet will hopefully be open tomorrow morning and her foot will still be salvagable.

In the meantime, she’s on metacam and in good spirits, gleefully stuffing her little face in the hospital cage.

First Aid Basics

I just got certified in CPR and First Aid last month with the American Heart Association. I wanted to share this information with you, because a lot of what we see on TV is not at all accurate as to what you’re supposed to do to actually help someone. Here are some of the topics that were covered:

First Aid Basics

Here are the steps you should follow when addressing a situation where a person may be injured/unconscious: 

  • Check to make sure the scene is safe- you are no help to anybody if you also get hurt
  • If the person is responsive: “Are you okay?”
  • If they are unresponsive, hit their shoulders hard and yell: “Are you okay?” to see if you can rouse them
  • Phone 911 and put the phone on speaker (you can delegate this task to somebody else if you’re not alone)
  • Have somebody get a First Aid kit (don’t leave the person if you’re by yourself unless the 911 operator tells you to)
  • Is the person conscious? Unconscious?
  • Check them for any obvious signs of injury
  • Check them for medical jewelry

Remember

  • Time is of the essence! Be decisive and confident. 
  • Don’t be afraid to call for help and assign people tasks
  • You can only perform CPR on a flat service. If a person needs CPR and is on a bed or in a chair, move them to the floor immediately. Don’t worry about hurting their head or anything, if they don’t get CPR immediately, their life expectancy is significantly less. (See my CPR post for full details)
  • Do not move the person unless the area they’re in is unsafe. If you have to move the person, drag them by their clothes and pull them to safety.

Adult Choking

There are both mild and severe cases of adult choking. In a mild case, the person choking will be able to make a sound or cough loudly. Typically these cases resolve themselves. 

  • Ask: “Are you choking? Can I help you?”
  • If the person cannot make a sound or cough in response, they are suffering from severe choking.
  • Walk around back of the person and put your arms around them
  • Make a fist with your dominant hand
  • Place your fist slightly above the belly button and below the chest bone.
  • Grasp the fist with your other hand
  • Give quick upward thrusts
  • If the person is overweight or pregnant, put your arms around the person’s armpits.

If you are unsuccessful in removing the blockage, the person will quickly become unresponsive. You will need to perform adult CPR and call 911.

After chest compressions (see above link) check person’s mouth to see if the thing they choked on is visible. If it is visible, remove it. Never going digging around in someone’s mouth

Amputation

  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Get a First Aid kit
  • Both these steps can be delegated to someone else if they’re around
  • Put gauze on the wound and apply pressure until the bleeding stops
  • Do not remove the gauze if it’s bled through- this will remove any blood clots that have formed. 
    • If the gauze is bled through, add more gauze on top and keep applying pressure until the bleeding stops
  • Clean the amputated part with water
  • Warp the amputated part with dressing 
  • Put the amputated part in a small plastic bag
  • Get a larger plastic bag and fill it with equal parts ice and water
  • Put the small plastic bag inside the large plastic bag
  • Label the bag with person’s name and time of the injury

Asthma (How to Operate an Inhaler)

People diagnosed with asthma will typically be aware of it and may have an inhaler on them. If someone has an asthma attack:

  • Ask them: “Are you okay? Do you need your inhaler?” 
  • The person will probably be able to give some sort of indication in response
  • If they need their inhaler: 
    • Locate the inhaler
    • Put the medicine (metallic capsule pictured below) in the inhaler if it is not already in there, it will click into place
  • Shake the inhaler to activate the medicine
  • Attach the mouth piece if it’s unattached (not all inhalers have one, it is not pictured below)
  • Remove the cap (cap is darker blue piece pictured below)
  • Have the person put their head back
  • Put the inhaler in the person’s mouth
  • Push down on the canister and have them breathe out slowly
  • They should begin to feel relief immediately, but you should still have them sit down and take it easy for a while
    • Call 911 if they are still having difficulty breathing after the inhaler has been administered

Bee Sting

Usually bee stings present only mild irritation and pain. If the person stung has a severe allergic reaction, you will need to call 911.

  • Get a first aid kit
  • Scrape away the bee stinger and venom sack using a credit card or something similar in nature
  • Wash the affected area with lots of soap and running water
  • Wrap a bag of ice in a towel and place it over the affected area for 20 minutes or until the pain is gone
  • Watch the person for up to 30 minutes for signs of an allergic reaction
    • Call 911 if they present any classic allergy symptoms

Bleeding from Nose

  • Have the person lean their head forward
  • Get a First Aid kit
    • Or have someone else get one
  • Have the bleeding person apply pressure to the bridge of their nose using gauze from the First Aid kit
  • Do not remove the gauze if it’s bled through- this will remove any blood clots that have formed. 
    • If the gauze is bled through, add more gauze on top until the bleeding stops
  • Call 911 if the bleeding lasts longer than 15 minutes

Heat Cramps/Dehydration

Can lead to heat exhaustion! These typically happen when someone is dehydrated and tries to do lots of physical activity.

  • Have the person sit down and cool off
  • Have them drink something with sugar and electrolytes
    • Water will work in a pinch but sugary drinks and gatorade are preferred

Heat Exhaustion

  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Have the person lie down
  • Cool the person by pouring water on them or wetting them with wet cloths until they begin to act normally
  • Have them drink something with sugar and electrolytes
    • Water will work in a pinch but sugary drinks and gatorade are preferred
  • Wait with them until help arrives

Opioid Overdose

My instructor said that these will often happen in an unsafe or an isolated environment. Always check to make sure that the scene is safe- look out for needles. 

Naloxone is used to revive people who have overdosed on opioids. If you find someone who has overdosed on opioids you happen to have naloxone on you and know how to administer it, the American Heart Association recommends that you use it instead of waiting for help to arrive.

Responsive:

  • Yell for help
  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Wait with the person until help arrives

Unresponsive

  • Yell for help
  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Perform five cycles of adult CPR
  • Wait for help

Seizure

Seizures are abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Typical seizure symptoms: spasms, muscle rigidity, and unconsciousness. Seizures typically last between 60-90 seconds before the person gains consciousness. 

  • Do NOT touch the person who is having a seizure
  • Do NOT put anything in their mouth
  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • If there are people around, ask them to get a First Aid kit while you wait with the person having the seizure
    • Don’t leave the person having a seizure if you are alone
  • Move objects away from the person having the seizure so that they don’t knock into them
  • If possible, place a small towel/pad underneath the person’s head
  • If the person starts vomiting, turn them over on their side so that they don’t choke
    • If possible use gloves and an eye mask from a First Aid kit to avoid exposure to bodily fluids
  • After they come to, they may be bleeding from the mouth. 
    • Use gauze from a First Aid kit to stop the bleeding
    • Have them apply pressure with the gauze until the bleeding stops
  • Stay with the person until help arrives

Splints

Splints should be significantly longer than the injured area. They’re used to constrict movement, so the person is injured should not be able to move freely once the splint is applied. Splints are use to treat broken/dislocated bones. It’s very difficult to tell if a bone is actually broken or just dislocated, so don’t worry about it and just splint the thing.

  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Get a First Aid kit
  • Both these steps can be delegated to someone else if they’re around
  • Put on gloves/eye glasses from the First Aid kit to avoid contamination from bodily fluids
  • Cover exposed wound area with gauze
  • Do not remove the gauze if it’s bled through- this will remove any blood clots that have formed. 
    • If the gauze is bled through, add more gauze on top until the bleeding stops.
  • Place a strip of rigid material underneath the injured area
  • Use gauze/dressing from the First Aid kit to secure the splint by wrapping material above and below the injured area
    • Never tie material directly over the injury
  • Have the person stay as still as possible until help arrives

Stroke

Strokes are caused from blockage/bleeding from things like blood clots. Typical signs of a stroke: face drooping (or numbness), arm weakness (or numbness), and speech difficulty. There is nothing much you can do except wait with the person and try to make them comfortable until help arrives.

  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Note the time that the stroke symptoms began (this will help hospital technicians)
  • Stay with the person until help arrives

Tourniquets

Some First Aid kits will come with a pre-made tourniquet. If your kit does not have a tourniquet you can make one fairly easily. Tourniquets should only be used for injuries where the person is squirting blood. No squirting blood? Use a splint.

  • Call 911 and put the phone on speaker
  • Get a First Aid kit
  • Both these steps can be delegated to someone else if they’re around
  • Put on gloves/eye glasses from the First Aid kit to avoid contamination from bodily fluids
  • Fold cloth or a bandage so that it’s long and an inch wide
  • Wrap the the bandage/cloth two inches above the wound
    • Never apply a tourniquet bandage/cloth on a joint (like elbows or knees). 
  • Find a small stick
  • Place the small stick atop the cloth/bandage and tie it there
  • You can now turn the small stick to tighten the cloth/bandage
  • Have the injured person lay down and try to move as little as possible
  • Do not remove the tourniquet- even if the bleeding stops.
  • Wait until help arrives.

rivers ‘til i reach you || a playlist for early morning breeze and long drives through the woods.

so may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten (l i s t e n)

i. holland road - mumford & sons  ii. animal tracks - mountain man iii. the girl - city and colour iv. goodbye england (covered in snow) - laura marling v. rivers and roads - the head and the heart vi. flowers in your hair - the lumineers vii. marshmallow unicorn - rachel sermanni viii. lonely handed - emily and the woods ix. kathy’s song - simon & garfunkel x. dirty paws - of monsters and men xi. gypsy - suzanne vega xii. upward over the mountain - iron and wine xiii. fire - jesse thomas xiv. an interlude - the decemberists xv. gale song - the lumineers xvi. dancing barefoot - first aid kit xvii. king of spain - the tallest man on earth xviii. road - nick drake xix. part one - band of horses xx. wishing well - the oh hellos xxi. our own pretty ways - first aid kit xxii. down in the valley - the head and the heart xxiii. halcyon - the paper kites xxiv. digging shelters - neil halstead xxv. woman king - iron and wine