My wife was at work today at a mandatory staff meeting. They were going to be doing some team building, setting up team goals, and in general introducing management to the staff.

My went to sit down and managed to crush her finger in the moving parts of the folding chair. Instant pain and blood.

Being a trooper, she snuck off to the restrooms, cleaned up the bleeding, bandaged her finger from her IFAK. She reports it was “a lot of blood.” When she got back to the staff meeting, they were doing a team build exercise that required a bunch of standing and sitting.

She decided it wasn’t a good idea to do it. Her supervisor noticed her not participating and asked why. My wife told him that she felt a little woozy. Like she might faint.

Staff noticed my wife turning white, rushed and got her to the floor safely and her head on padding. No clunks. No head bangs. She did pass out/faint.

EMS was called, she came around to EMTs doing their thing. EMTs asked if she wanted to go to the hospital, but they didn’t see anything that required an ER visit. Told her about the local urgent care.

She declined the ambulance trip. Her supervisor sent her home. Which actually meant that I went to get her and youngest child drove the car back.

That’s the end of the setup.

We got the wife into see her doctor. X-Rays done. No broken bones. But she needs the finger splinted. The X-Ray doc wasn’t in to read them, so she was sent home to wait for a call.

At home, we dive into the “comprehensive” medical kit to grab the SAM finger splints. No joy. The medium and large are there, along with the wrap and everything else required. No small splints.

We next hit up the hiking FAK. It is smaller than the comprehensive but still more complete than IFAKs Sure enough, it has the medium and large SAM splints, no finger splints.

Ok, I’m getting irritated. I grab my EDC bag. This bag has an IFAK in it with blowout support. It is not “just” a blowout kit, as it has single dose medications and band-aids and the like. It has a C.A.T. on the top of the kit and an Israeli bandage in the side pocket. Both quick access. The SAM splints are right there. In medium and large.

At that point, I just gave up. Did the Popsicle stick splint, picked up the real deal from the local CVS. Her finger is properly splinted now.

And I have two sets of 3 on the way from Amazon.

The damaged finger was in the in-between space. It wasn’t big enough to be part of my standard inventory process. It wasn’t so small that all the kits had the right gear. It was in the evil Goldilocks zone.

To be clear, if this had been an “emergency” I would have just cut a finger splint from one of the larger SAM splints. That’s an excuse for why I didn’t notice the missing finger splints.

The splints were used when a friend really messed up her thumb. The SAM splints were the only thing that gave the right support, comfortably. We handed her the 3 or 4 we had on hand and expected the replacement. The replacements never showed up.

There is a great deal of thought that goes into our medical kits. They are designed to ramp up. The IFAK on my ankle is not there for anything except blowouts. Stop the bleed, plug the hole, get the victim transported.

The next step-up has more. While the ankle kit has a SWAT-T style of Tourniquet, the blowout kits have CAT TQs or equivalent. ALL name brand and all from a reputable supply house, NOT Amazon.

The next step-up is the car kits. Above that is the group hiking kit. Finally, there is the house kit.

Each step adds more capability and more duplicates. The house kit has a box of gloves instead of the one or two pairs in the smaller kits. It has bottles of OTC medications instead of single dose packets. It has the suture kit and the gear to make a semi sterile work environment.

Am I qualified to use all of that gear? No. Do I know people who are capable and qualified? Yes.

Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul, and Mary told a story about going to Russia with a tourist group. One of the guys in the group approached her and asked, “Should I bring my guitar?” He didn’t intend to offend her by assuming she would be singing songs with them, but wanted to offer. Mary said “sure.”

They make it to Russia and the group is having a fun night and the singing starts. Guy hauls out his guitar and goes to hand it to Mary. She looks at him and says, “I don’t play guitar.”.

She didn’t play guitar, neither did the guy. He just assumed she would be able to use the tool he brought to the rumble.

There are things that are in my kits that I don’t know how to use. That’s fine. If there is somebody that can, I have the tools. There are a remarkable number of highly trained medical people that don’t have the medical gear I have on hand. They know that they will just go to the office/hospital and the gear will be there.

I also have the manuals on how to use these things and the practice gear. If I have to, I’ll learn damn quick.

So go take the time to inventory your medical gear. Replace the batteries while you are at it. Test that all the battery-powered things still function. Compare that list with what you think is in that kit. Update the list to what should be there and restock.

If there are meds that expire, make sure you replace the expired meds.

Then put a reminder to do it next year, this same time. And every year thereafter.

Oh, when you find gear that is expired and needs to be replaced, that is a good time to use the expired gear for training purposes.

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By awa

One thought on “Boo-boo, Blowout, Comprehensive, swing and a miss”
  1. I put expiration dates on my Outlook calendar. I then update the white blank credit card (Amazon) with a hole punched in it on each kit. I write the earliest expiration date of the contents on it and secure it to the kit with a small cable tie.

    1. Pulling an item for expiration replacement makes me have to check the other items for which has the next date for the card. Not a bad process and takes only minutes. Also might get an idea for buying something else in the process — extra, larger, smaller, different brand maybe.
    2. Those blank credit cards are VERY handy for marking things and punching holes is easy with a typical 3-hole paper punch. A single hand punch takes far too much pressure for me to use it. Think a pack of 100 is to many? Look again at how many you have left in a year. My seldom used tool kits are on high shelves. What’s in those dusty black boxes up there? Cut in half for small parts dividers or cable ID. A quick and handy short straightedge.
    3. Checked my supply of splints. Heh. Ordering another 18″. Thanks. :-).

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