What do you do when you are sick and there is no help?

posted in: First Aid | 2

I wasn’t feeling all that fantastic earlier today, with a nice little fever from an infected sinus or two and vertigo as a result. Walking around or even just standing up resulted in masticated Costco hot dog (damn I love those things when they are still inside my belly) being sprayed all over the place, so I just stayed in bed all day. I have had sinus and allergy problems for most of my life and spent several years in a row with chronic sinus infections, and as a result, episodes like the one today are not an unknown occurrence.  I have had three sinus surgeries and quite a few procedures over the years that have surely helped, but I still take medication twice a day, get shots once a week, and do all the other fun stuff that comes with being allergic to dust, pollen, pets, air, water, food, etc.

Lying awake in bed for several hours gives one time to think, so I started thinking about what I would do if I felt like this on the trail. I’ve had the occasional headache on a hike, maybe a rumbly tummy or two, but nothing that stopped me from being mobile. Even a sprained ankle will just make me favor my other foot while I hop along in a gimpy fashion, cursing every pebble and twig on the trail. What happens when you are so completely sick that simple acts like standing up and walking are not possible, unless your desired result is falling down after a couple steps? My wife will be astounded if she reads this next part, since I always at least have a smart ass answer, but I really do not know what I would do. Today, I just popped a bunch of pills and stayed in bed until a little while ago, when the pressure subsided to only feeling like someone pressing their thumbs on the inside of my skull.

What happens when that lasts for days and you are not within a quick walk of your car or help? What if what happened to me today happens to someone that has never gone through it, does not have medication, and does not know how to deal with it? What if I had heart problems instead? What if I were with my wife and something struck the both of us? I would love to be able to carry every product a modern pharmacy stocks, just in case, but we all know that is not feasible. I am not a worrier, but I do like to be prepared for foreseeable outcomes, especially since that is the whole point of this site and all.  Do I carry a PLB and set it off when sitting in a tent for a day or two has not helped? Do I set the PLB off immediately? Do I ditch my gear and crawl the 20 miles back to the car, 1/10th mile per hour? Do I wait for SAR to show up when my family has not heard back from me by the appointed time?

I hate relying on others to get me out of my own messes, but I realize that there is a point where that thought process becomes stupidity. I would like to think that I would know what to do in any situation, but anyone who does not live in a bubble knows that life always finds a way to surprise you. What would you do? Let me know in the comments.

2 Responses

  1. Not sure that I would try crawling out. The zombies might get my brains…

    WOW! That’s really a good question. Back in the day, I used to do a lot of ridge walking by myself. Not that smart. Nowadays, I usually have someone with me, so its not such a big deal. But in the case that I didn’t…hmmm. I guess I have to start thinking a little more about it.

    Maybe if the zombies got me I could walk out on my own accord, albeit a little slower.

  2. You wouldn’t walk out, you would shuffle with your arms outstretched. 🙂

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