Monday, April 22, 2013

First Aid Tips: What NOT to do!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and emails regarding the healing of my cut.  Boy, have we learned a lot as we have never had to use the healthcare system in foreign countries or even self treat a wound before.
(Videos below)

1. Don't just grab your traveling first aid kit that has been sitting on the shelf for ages.  We did that and found out the alcohol towelettes had all dried up, the sticky part of the bandaides would not peel off the plastic protector and we didn't have much adhesive tape left.

2.  Don't assume that in these instances you can buy what you need in foreign countries.  I sent Ward out for surgical pads.  He couldn't find them and came back with panty liners. (I'll never look at them the same any more!).  As we had nothing else...we used them for the first 5 days.  We then found some surgical pads (which are a lot softer) at a good Pharmacy in New Delhi.

3.  Have some general first aid knowledge.  Since I never had a stitched up cut before, my first aid skills in a foreign country were inept.  We were avoiding water since the water here is contaminated (however, we do have our own water filtering system but, I was so nervous about getting an infection that I was even apprehensive in using that!)  Therefore, we changed the bandage daily and would only clean it with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. (Had to use hand sanitizer until I could find any alcohol.)  I didn't realize (until day 6) that the hydrogen peroxide is only suppose to be used for the initial cleaning (this was after we made the video...which is now titled  "what NOT do do for wound management which is loaded below) and found out the skin was burnt (as hydrogen peroxide kills EVERYTHING) and some skin actually came off onto the bandage.  Hmm, what to do now.  As I was afraid a bandage would break open the blisters I left it open to the air thinking it may heal quicker and not be irritated (this is when I was in the hotel room and not out in the Indian pollution.)

4.  Have a contact back in the US that is in the medical field.  At this point I was afraid that I just took a step backwards as it seemed like blisters were forming by the stitches and I had areas where the skin was removed and susceptible to infection.  I was at a loss so I took a picture of my arm and sent it to both Doug Burks (head Pharmacist at the Decorah Hospital and to Annie Zenner Mccune, niece and emergency nurse in Marshfield, WI).  Doug took the picture to one of Decorah's best doctors (Dr. Dougan) and had a wound consult. (Bev Rustad, nurse in Decorah also helped with the advice which was confirmed by Annie Mccune.)  They re-assured me that it was on the right path for healing and that there wasn't any sign of infection...Yeah!!.  They then told me the proper steps that I should be currently taking which were far from what I was doing. Their advice:  QUIT the alcohol and hydrogen peroxide!.  Clean the wound daily with soap and clean water.  Apply sterile vaseline to keep it moist and not stick to the bandage, and ALWAYS keep it covered as it heals better in a moist environment.

I also had to use Doug Burks to review the meds and shots they gave me as there wasn't any instruction given.  We had to do shots in the butt and didn't know what they were for.  Ward had never given a shot before but became pretty good at it.  Next, Ward will have to take out the stitches (day 14).  First time for everything. 

I am now on day 7 and feeling better.  We are planning on trying to bike tomorrow.  We will start with short days and see how the arm feels.  The guys have been super through all this.  It probably helps that they go spectate at the Asian International Champion Wrestling Tournament everyday.  I don't think I am really putting them out too much.

From here we start the second half of our trip.  We are heading to north India and then dropping into Nepal.  Looking forward to the beauty of the Himalayas.

Until next time and thanks again. 

Namaste, Jacky

                                                 Videos: How NOT to care for a wound.

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