Woops,…or things found out the hard way

I think most of us can have a bit of that kid-like rebellion when someone gives advice. Don’t tell me what to do, our brains scream. Especially if the person might be right – that’s way worse. But…if a friend turns to you and says hey, listen to what happened to that guy, we perk up our ears. Yeah, don’t want to be that guy! This section could be called, all the stories I’ve heard about what happened to that guy.

Most people were doing things we all do: multi-tasking, distracted, angry, hungry, etc. But, certain things come up again and again, so I’ve made changes based on what I’ve seen. For instance, I used to think “I’m young and active; I don’t need to hang onto a hand rail when using stairs. That’s so old person.” Now, I do. People of all ages slip and fall down one or multiple steps. Some sustain an ankle sprain. For others, it’s multiple injuries, breaks or SCI (spinal cord injury). Some require years of rehab. Same fall – different outcomes.

On a different note, I’m not talking about people scaling mountains unharnessed or other intense stuff. You can live your life and experience neat stuff but do the prep. Check out the TED talk: “How I climbed a 3,000 foot vertical — without ropes” by Alex Honnold. It’s an amazing story of solo climbing and excellent example of the importance of preparation. In short, get your thrill on but learn from those who’ve done it successfully first.

The first time I realized that medical work involved seeing the outcomes of people’s decisions, concerned a man and a poodle. Those standard poodles are big and she just had babies. All were snuggled on bedding behind a thin curtain. Being a naturally inquisitive person, he slowly & gently pulled the curtain to one side to look at the sweet pups and promptly got a third of his index finger chomped clean off. My next immediate thought was a reminder to myself stating: Don’t Do This! Here are a couple of my don’t do this moments.

Speaking again of animals, I’ve seen time and again nasty bite wounds from hands getting in the middle of a dog fight. The person comes in with a gnawed limb because they used that hand to discourage an oncoming dog from attacking their own. It usually involves a dog on or off leash and sometimes a size discrepancy. Your furrbaby could get hurt and your brain screams: protect, protect. I get it. I have small creatures. But, I have told myself repeatedly: use something else – not my hand. I’ve taken off my shoe and put that in between if that’s all I have. Then again, I wear 15yr old sneakers and not Manolo Blahnik’s (had to look that up ;))

This leads to infections. You want to clean that nasty bite, so what do you do? If dousing the wound in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide is your go to, rethink that. I’ve seen hands blow up in size and turn bright red …The.. Next.. Day after treatment with overly strong cleansers. Those agents are not recommended in the medical literature because they can worsen healing. So, it’s boring gentle soap and lots of water. Irrigate, irrigate, irrigate. If you’re uncomfortable with the way a wound looks then wrap in a dressing and be seen at a medical facility for further treatment. Especially if it’s popping open with continued bleeding. You also might need a tetanus shot.

What I do if something is in the early stages and just beginning to look like it may become infected (warm, tender and reddish) is to put heat on the area. This is counter intuitive because the area is already hot. A heating pad* is best, because it stays at gentle heat longer than a warm compress. That heat essentially brings your blood to the area that needs it., and in the blood, lives your immune cells which fight off infection. You may still need antibiotics, but sometimes you don’t. If I get to something quick enough, just the heat and my body’s immune system can do the trick.

I have lots more of these, but will start there. Here’s wishing you fun and safety which are the two things that I request from my cat whenever I leave him.

*Could you use an electric blanket in a pinch…….yes.