This weekend I will be heading to Pennsylvania for a recertification of my Wilderness First Responder. For those of you who are unaware of what this is, it is (from Wikipedia):
A wilderness first responder is trained to deal with many situations that may be encountered in the wilderness. While a standard Department of Transportation defined First Responder course as taught by an organization such as the American Red Cross may require 40 hours of training, the typical Wilderness First Responder Course involves 80 hours of training. Wilderness first responder training courses focus on teaching the students to assess a situation, improvise solutions using available resources to stabilize the patient and identify the best way to get the patient to definitive medical treatment. In many courses, students are encouraged to develop the habit of systematically thinking through and documenting their assessment decisions/plans using a SOAP note. Topics covered usually include, but are not limited to, the following principles
- Basic Life Support
- Responding to results of trauma:
- Responding to the onset of sudden illness
- Transport/evacuation planning and implementation
It is a great course filled with scenarios of fake broken bones, gashes, hypothermia, allergies, etc.
It is really odd to be heading to do this with my diagnosis of MS. 3 years ago when I did the full 9 day course, I felt so strong and healthy. This certification, which includes learning how to carry out a person with a makeshift back brace, is a very grueling and physical course. I would lie if I did not say I was worried about how I am going to hold up for two 12 hour days in the snow. I just pray that my body likes me this weekend. It would be nice to have this certification for another three years, because at this point WHO KNOWS what will happen.
Even though I am nervous, I really enjoy the medical side of outdoor pursuits. In another life, I would have loved to be a wilderness rescuer, even getting my wilderness EMT, I enjoy anatomy (hence the heavy physiology based exercise science degree)...but this is my life now. I cannot be a liability on a search and rescue, they need strong, healthy peeps with no health issues. These are the moments that you feel the little pangs of sadness for where your life is now. I really wish I had been a lazy, non-exercising slob - then losing my body abilities may be a little easier to swallow.