A lot of us Veterans pride ourselves on our preparedness. Motherfuckers walking around like Bill Paxton from Aliens talking about “ guns, knives, sharp sticks, tactical nukes….” But I see one place where we all tend to be a little light, so today, we are going to address it. With a lead-in of personal experience.
A number of years ago, I was on leave for Christmas with several Army buddies and our families. We were out to dinner at a bustling restaurant that happened to serve booze, packed to the gills. I’m not talking about some seedy dive bar, but a full franchise establishment with a million dollar ad budget. (That is important in a minute.) We are having grown up dinner when I hear what sounds like an IED of drinkware behind me.
A couple of college girls at the next table had decided to have a toast and clink their glasses together like vikings. Either because of stupidity or inebriation though, it was entirely too enthusiastic. Anyway, the gigantic beer mugs they were using absolutely exploded. Shit looked like a leprechaun with an S-vest climbed inside and clacked it off. Absolute pandemonium ensued as one of the girls realized she was well and truly, fucked up. Blood was spurting out of her wrist like a chainsaw massacre special effect, and she went into full freak out mode.
Now, fortunately for her, sitting at the table with me was an 18 Delta (SF medical guy). He had done brain surgery on an Afghan the week prior, then C-sectioned a cat on the way home. He can handle shit. And in this packed restaurant, we seem to be seriously lacking on trauma surgeons or paramedics. So off he goes, nursemaid Clay at his side.
He calms Sorority Sister down, and walks her to the back where a waiter told us the first aid kit is. He tells waiter guy to get an ambulance inbound, and we crack said first aid kit for our next surprise. It might as well have been cobwebs and a string cheese wrapper inside. SpongeBob Band-Aids and Neosporin are not a trauma kit, let alone first aid, I don’t care what universe you live in.
Now things could have gone pear shaped here, but they went this girl’s way again. I was not only parked close, but I keep an actual med kit in my truck at all times. Doc stemmed the flow with some clean bar towels, while I retrieved a gangster-approved bag of Kerlix gauze and tourniquets. He then managed to properly package her up for transport. And a good thing, too. It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and she easily could have bled out. Christmas in a tourist town so I guess they were busy.
I don’t know what happened next. We didn’t go to the hospital, because she wasn’t exactly our problem. It could have all been superficial, but it looked bad. Or, he may have saved her life.
The point for you is this- YOU have to depend on YOU. And that means having some decent med gear around, just in case. You have no idea what is going to happen out there, and it’s best to have some shit for it.
Even if you slept through the first day of Combat Life Saver, you are still better trained than 99.9% of the population. One nice thing about being a Vet, however, is at least you have some idea of what to do. And something, almost always, beats nothing.
You can get a ready-made kit, or just slap some stuff in a Ziploc bag. Lots of ready-made kits are junk, so buyer beware. Among the very few I recommend, the ones from Solatac, found here, are excellent. If you build your own, ask a medic buddy what he recommends. The ass you save just might be your own. (Or a not entirely sober college girl at Christmas… you get the point…) Just have something.