Medical training part 1

Medical Preparation for London2Sydney

by Nick

“What’s the difference between an oral and a rectal thermometer?”

Well, to find out the answer to this glorious enigma, a quick weekend course of Wilderness Medical Training is what you need! Andy and I attended Part 1 of the ‘Far From Help’ medical training course offered by Wilderness Medical Training at the weekend and managed to combine looking at blood and gore with having a good time (we had never thought that our days of going out in Bedford on a Friday night would come in useful!). The course was intensive (they crammed about three days worth of lectures and practicals into two), but very good value for money. It was also hosted by the Royal Geographical Society, therefore guaranteeing that not only were our surroundings pretty awe-inspiring from an expeditionary point of view, but also that they cooked us some very decent, inclusive grub at lunchtimes. Second helpings were allowed, accepted and appreciated…

The programme was fairly lengthy but I’ll give you a taste of what we covered: expedition risks and their prevention, basic nursing care, soft tissue and burns, trauma victims, gut problems, diarrhoea, fractures and dislocations, altitude sickness, heat and cold injuries and chest and abdominal injuries. As our trip will take us through a lot of different climates, conditions and altitudes, the training they gave us could potentially prove life-saving. Everyone attending the course also gets given a fairly extensive manual on dealing with emergencies when far from professional medical help, which is an excellent means of reinforcing the information which is covered by the lectures over the weekend. Oh, and most of the people there had done some really serious travelling and it was great to get in there and get some chat about what we’re going to be experiencing.

At any rate, I have to say that the course is well worth doing, even more so as we’ll be involved in a vehicle-based trip which, statistically, carries a significant danger aspect. Hopefully it won’t happen but we’ve got to be prepared in case it does. One of the reasons that got me motivated for doing this course was that I wouldn’t want to be the one lying injured with no-one else knowing what to do. In fact, I believe that we’d be pretty foolish to embark on the London to Sydney trip without both of us having attended at least one of these courses. Andy has also booked himself in for Far From Help Part 2 as well, which will give him the ability to inject, IV and suture me, so if there was ever any incentive for doing one of these courses, that would be it!

During the summer after we’ve kitted out the vans, we are planning to do a some team exercises out in the hills somewhere and practise a few ‘log-rolls’ (suspected spinal injury evacuation) and run through a few ‘scenarios’ which we picked up on this course. It’ll be good to do a bit more team-building, have a laugh and get some serious preparation done for our trip.

Meanwhile, the brochures look excellent and it really hit me how fantastic this expedition is going to be. I’m glad I’m part of it and it’s really going to be amazing.

Oh, and if you’re still puzzling over the thermometer question the answer is, apparently, “the taste”…

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