A student shares an experience that occured the day after they attended one of WMA’s Wilderness Advanced First Aid courses.
At work for a half hour. Monday morning. Phone rings, client with severe drug addictions and Borderline Personality Disorder calls. She wants to talk about not taking methadone in four days. She is speaking softly. She regularly comes on and off opiates, and while the detox is always serious, I now knew to focus on the PAS to determine what was actually life-threatening. I began asking her about her breathing which was fine, and there were no other issues for immediate death, but I did go to ins and outs, which I may not have done before the WAFA training. She reported that she hadn’t eaten since last Tuesday and vomited when she did, didn’t know when her last bowel was, hadn’t peed in at least 24 hours and didn’t remember drinking anything since some juice last night. (I later learned she was drinking alcohol up until Sunday). The flags went up for where the real problems were and I instructed her to get to the ER. She was treated for severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Aside from being helpful, what I was struck by was my immediate confidence in how to handle and assess the situation. While not the most dramatic first aid story, this client can be extremely difficult to know what to do with and at least in this case I knew.
Have you had to use your skills since your course?