Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Happy birthday, Mike!

Today's my brother's birthday, so I wanted to wish him a big ol' public happy birthday. Happy birthday, Mike!

Interesting things happen to Mike all the time. Some of it's so interesting that, if I weren't there to watch it, I'd be tempted to think he made it up. If he ever tells you a completely unbelievable story about being dragged off a train at gunpoint by surly Croatian border guards, he's not making it up. That actually happened. I was there. If he ever shares a bawdy story about three French girls, it's not some adolescent fantasy -- he really did that. I was there (or, there for the aftermath; I was elsewhere for the canoodling). It's got to be a recurring problem for him: this cool stuff happens to or around him, but he can't tell the tale without sounding like a complete bullshit artist or a cocky bastard.

So, in honor of his birthday, I'll tell a funny Mike story. Enjoy!
In the summer of 1995, Mike and I took a rock climbing trip to Red River Gorge. We parked the car and backpacked five or six miles into the woods, set up camp, and started climbing. In the afternoon of day two, I had a minor climbing accident. About thirty feet up, I found a sharp piece of rock and gashed my hand, almost to the bone. Mike started lowering me down so he could inspect the wound.
I should mention that Mike paid for a chunk of college as a teaching assistant for the first aid and safety class at Purdue. His first-aid kit consisted of two huge duffel bags. One was packed with things like splints and blankets, bulky and somewhat optional; the other was the important stuff. And, inside the Important Stuff bag was a smaller bag, maybe five inches around and a foot long, which was the Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency Kit. This is the bag he throws in his backpack for hiking and camping and climbing trips, and I had never seen what was inside.
It turns out that what's inside the Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency Kit is some sort of trans-dimensional space, holding far more inside than should be possible, given its outside dimensions. When my feet were back on the ground, Mike said, "okay, let's have a look at the wound."
We cleaned it up a bit with canteen water and an old t-shirt. After a few seconds of poking and prodding, he said, "you know that needs stitches, right?"
"Yeah, I thought so."
"I can do that here, if you're up for it."
"You mean, you've got a suture set in your Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency First-Aid Kit?"
Mike rolled his eyes. "Of course." He looked around for a moment. "Let's use this flat rock as a work surface. I should have a sterile drape for it."
"Wait, you've got a sterile rock cover in your Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency First-Aid Kit?"
"Pfft. Of course."
He opened The Kit and pulled out the sterile rock dressing and laid it carefully over the rock. I placed my hand down, and he peered at the wound.
"There's some moss and dirt in here. Let me fetch my debriding tweezers."
"You've got debriding tweezers in your Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency First-Aid Kit?"
More eye rolling. "Of course." He picked and dug until the wound was free of debris. "I need to rinse this out. Where's my sterile saline?"
I tried to sneak a look in the bag. "You're joking. You've got sterile saline in your Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency First-Aid Kit?"
"Of course!"
He did the rinse, brushed some wound-cleaning antiseptic into the wound ("Okay, I completely understand the presence of antiseptic in a Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency First-Aid Kit,") and got out the suture set. He gripped the needle with his suture foreceps and lined up for the first stitch. Then he looks up and says, "would you like some novocaine?"
"You mean, you've got novocaine in your Last-Ditch Desperate Emergency First-Aid Kit?"
He grinned. "Nope. Just wandered if you wanted some."

The stitches were very neat, and he aligned the edges of the wound perfectly; it barely left a scar. I've had worse stitches from doctors in actual hospitals. So, thanks for good stitches and good times, bro!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course you know where he got all of that cool stuff in the 1st aid kit.....Love, your favorite RN