Saturday, March 9, 2013

What happens when someone is around to hear it

Major renovations are underway at Mombo Camp. The back of house facilities are being completely re-done, new kitchen, laundry, and staff cantina. Once the guests go out on morning activity, the bird songs and hippo serenading are traded for a cacophony of hammers, saws, and worker bees squawking.

OSHA's African cousin doesn't have much of a presence here in the bush. One needs to keep one's wits about to avoid lions, buffalo, and snakes. During renovations the list grows to include holes, trenches, and extension cords strung at ankle height. People wearing flip-flops and hardhats carry three-meter-long boards and swing around while carrying on conversations, creating a real-life Three Stooges skit.

But with all of that madness it was a random incident that provided yesterday's entertainment. I was in the office corresponding with World Headquarters when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see a branch the diameter of my thigh falling toward Liz, Camp Manager three hours back from a month of leave.

The branch hit her on the head and shoulder, knocking her into a sitting position. I stood up and the rest of the office staff followed as I bolted out the door. Chantel, guide trainer extraordinarre reached Liz at the same time as I. She took the lead and seemed skookum so I stepped back. I'm only a sub-contractor, not current on any medical certs, and new to the group so I relegated myself to the position of gopher.

Protocols dictated that camp contact their medical liaison and follow her direction. The chaos threatened to reach a hectic level, what with the phone-radio relay and the people holding sheets to shield the scene from the guests enjoying brunch.

They did a great job of securing the shoulder with sling and swathe. Due to a bump growing to a lump on the top of Liz's skull we were instructed to backboard her. I looked over my shoulder(holding a sheet) to see that someone had prepped the board by putting the spider straps on the ground, then the board, then Liz. I asked for someone to switch with me so I could help finish the backboard process.

Medical skills are the same as any the same as any other, to stay sharp they must be practiced. My skills in that department are fading but because I've helped board many patients, mine are still sharp enough to remember how the spider straps work. I asked Dittmar to lift the other end of the board and had Chantel pull the straps out from under the board and start picking the forest debris out of the velcro. Minutes later we were loaded and off to the airstrip to meet the plane.

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