I have been gearing up for my next trip – Sri Lanka! This is another GlobalLimits multi-stage ultra-marathon. I am incredibly excited for the chance to get to visit yet another unseen area of the world. And to get to take care of runners again. There will be some racers at Sri Lanka who I have already had the pleasure to get to know while in Cambodia last year. I look forward to once again getting enveloped in their very elite and close-knit community.
And hopefully this time around, I will have my medical kit a little more fine-tuned. In Cambodia, I schlepped about 40 pounds of medical gear between 3 un-wieldy bags. I have been paring down equipment to fit solely into my super fancy cuben fiber pack (of past blog fame). I’m not quite sure exactly what the transportation situation will be once there, so I want to be able to easily carry all medical necessities comfortably. I’ve also been putting a lot of thought into my “24 hour kit.” This essentially should be a quick grab bag for when you need to get to someone who is quite sick (not that I am expecting anything this terrifying by any means…). It’s definitely a useful (and sobering) exercise to think through what are the ailments that are capable of killing someone quickly, and then what items you might need to keep them alive for 24 hours. This concept was introduced to me by my program director a mere days prior to my Cambodia trip, and I can assure you that it led to many a sleepless night. But I guess it should, you really need to think through every possible scenario before going out into the wilderness. It’s a concept in the aviation world that pilots refer to as “chair” or “hanger” flying. When flying an airplane, you never want to get what’s called: behind the airplane. Meaning that you always need to be thinking ahead to what’s next, so that you are in total control of the aircraft. I’m trying to translate this much used thought exercise to wilderness medicine – how about calling it “desk doctoring.” So after much research and obsessing, I think I finally have a handle on my scary badness kit. I’m sure that it will change or evolve over time, but I have very much enjoyed the learning which has taken place regarding this one piece of my medical kit.
For those of you who are trying to imagine what it looks like to have an entire 2nd bedroom dedicated to wilderness medicine endeavors, feast your eyes on this:
This is the aftermath of Winter School with a smattering of preparing an expedition medical kit thrown in.
In between all of these fun trips, I have been working on two separate papers about the Andean folk medicine, coca. I love the field of anthropology so it has been very intellectually stimulating to research this traditional remedy, and then to collate my findings into papers that I hope to submit to peer-reviewed academic journals. I have also gotten pretty jazzed up about ultra running, and have been reading some really interesting stuff regarding running from an evolutionary perspective. My hope is that I will become an expert in race medicine, and be able to take care of my runners with the absolute best care that is out there. And who knows, maybe I will be one of these crazy yahoos who runs an ultra!
Here is the less glamorous side of wilderness medicine fellowship:
I leave on Tuesday for Sri Lanka, so:
Stay tuned… this blog is about to get exciting again!