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Where is the blood?

Sounds cruel, but it is not. It is about the right medical treatment in case of emergencies. Imagine some real cases:

  • You cut yourself with a knife seriously in your finger because the boat bounces in the waves. A real deep cut, the finger is still on but blood is all over the place (Real case was that a glass bottle of beer broke when I opened it which almost cut my finger off.)
  • The boom swings over unexpectedly and knocks you down. Deep wound on the head heavily bleeding, consciousness lost (To be correct it was not the boom but the spreader of the passerelle which came down and knocked me off. Greece island.)
  • Get an allergic shock having touched a poisoned fish or jelly fish? (No desire to make such an experience, but we saw others with swollen legs hardly able to breath anymore)
  • Completely di-hydrated after an infection/diarrhea having eaten the „wrong“ fish, all power gone, hallucinations appeared (Horrible, I remember, it was in Mauritius)

Rather smaller, typical accidents can real become critical if the impact is a bit more than just a bang on the head or a cut here or there or a fish in the wrong place/time. You never know how the body reacts. And sometimes accidents are small, but circumstances are bad. Then small things start to be big. What do you do if there is no doctor nearby?

Being only two on board is already a risk factor, so we decided that we need to be able to help ourselves professionally. Apart from single accidents which might happen to one of us, we have already experienced a situation where we both were only about 50% on. Each! But 50% plus 50% from each of us did not total in a 100% of one working body: Angela had badly injured her foot joint just before the night dropped and could neither walk nor stay anymore. Pain pulled down her blood pressure and her body while I was seasick, still somehow ok, but seasick with all ugly symptoms.  Daylight passed and night arrived, wind 25-28 knots (so really strong wind), waves 3-4 meters. Cap Finistere, the northern cap of Galicia, abeam to the left in good distance. Fishing boats ahead. Large ship maritime route to the right. We were not amused!

Cabo Finisterre

We will not be able to escape from all such situations in the future, but we decided that we need to prepare much better with effective medicaments, right medical instruments and wound care for instant use and appliance by ourselves. This is what we did:

  1. A previously mentioned we visited a 2 days medical seminar from TransOcean to have a solid start in the matter. We left with clear guidance and understanding for precautions, physical and mental preparations, hygiene, wound care, disinfection, easy surgical appliances, medications and many other things as well as a long list of recommended medicaments.
  2. Based on TransOcean medication list our doctor friends Roger and Stefan helped us to refine the list with respect to our very personal health risk profiles. Extensive sessions with plenty of notes and argumentations. What is possible, what is likely, how will our bodies presumably react, where do we take our personal risk? So we defined our risk mitigation strategy  and we decided deliberately not cover all potential pitfalls. Stefan and Roger as risk managers. Great job.
  3. Vaccinations followed. It took some weeks, as we could not do them all together. Then followed checks whether vaccinations had really fully deployed there expected impact. Finally all green.
  4. Next was to procure all the medical stuff. Easily said, difficult to execute. We needed medicaments which must last about 3 years. Our trusted pharmacy in Aschau tried hard to get medicaments with long lasting expiry dates. Not easy. Angelika from the Schloss Apotheke fought bravely with her supply chain. Not everything was available with such expiry dates. So we had to go back to the drawing board and select other medicaments with longer expiry dates. A number of deep dive sessions with Angelika took place. Finally, done. What a relief. Let us see what our health insurance will cover. The price list was very long!

A selection of medicaments:

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Wound care and surgical devices, again a selection:

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6. Now we had got everything from Asprin to Lidocain pain killer injections, from plasters to scalpells. How to apply all this? So we practised with our doctor friend Stefan. How to make injections, how to set an infusion, what and how much to apply where and when, how to avoid unwanted cross-impacts between medicaments.

One of our exercises, which was fundamental, was to prepare and set an infusion properly. Stefan practiced with us, repeatedly! Find the right vene, prepare the area, select the right butterfly, prepare the infusion, inject the needle or butterfly in the vene properly, fix it, connect the infusion, regulate it, withdraw it. (But we practised other things as well.)

We tried to set infusions on each other´s venes, and even Stefan allowed us to use his venes as they were easier to allocate and hit. We learnt that we have hit the vene successfully once the blood starts creeping up the hose of the butterfly. Therefore my title: Where is the blood?

Listen and understand what the doctor teaches you:

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Give it a first try:

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Give it another try: (you can already see that is will not work…)

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Correct, finally, blood is creeping up the hose:

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Simple injections make more fun:

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We sincerly hope that we will not use all of this. But we are prepared and this already gives confidence.

More to come…

All the best,

The Doctor

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