Wednesday, April 18, 2012

6 reasons why it is good to travel with medical professionals

1. Drugs.
If, say, you were a nurse about to go on a four-day trip to rough it in Inner Mongolia with two doctors and two other nurses, and you were to meet them at the hospital at 5:15 in the morning to take a van to the airport, and you hadn't had a bowel movement in a few days and your abdomen was blown up like a balloon and you were worried because you are prone to travel-induced constipation, especially when you go to places where there are no toilets, you could text one of the doctors at 0500 hours about your condition and he could have his on-duty doctor friend put in STAT orders for lactulose (a laxative commonly given to liver-failure patients to make them poop out all their excess ammonia but which works gently and non-gut-spasm-inducingly in healthier folks) and simethicone (aka Gas-X) with the pharmacy, and then one of the nurses who works there could pick it up and hand it to you in time to leave for the airport, and then everyone would know about your condition but you wouldn't feel too embarrassed because, hey, you're all medical professionals. I'm just saying, that could happen.

2. First Aid.
When the driver of your van in Inner Mongolia is bitten on the ass by a roving Tibetan guard dog that looks like a cross between a Saint Bernard and a Rottweiler, your team leader can patch him up (but not his jeans, sadly) and you can all sustain interest in a discussion about the appropriateness and pros and cons of him getting rabies prophylaxis. And also, take pictures.

3. Anatomy Lessons.
You can watch a man slaughter a sheep for your dinner, and, after you--and only you--stop crying (because you are the only one that is crying) you can all marvel at the various stages of processing. Once the guts have been placed into a large metal bowl, you will hear comments such as, "It's still peristalsing!" and, "Is that the omentum? That's not the IS the omentum?!" Then, when you get home and write about it on your blog, you will spend thirty minutes deciding whether or not to post one of the photos of the sheep in various stages of processing and ultimately decide against it because you have at least two readers (i.e., half your readership--hi, C.G. and D.S.) who are some degree of vegetarian.

Nota bene: if the two doctors would like to practice performing a cricothyrotomy on the sheep's trachea because apparently sheep tracheas are similar to human tracheas, the two doctors should probably do that pretty soon after the slaughter and you should not offer to keep said fresh trachea wrapped in a plastic bag in your backpack and then forget about it for the next three days.

4. Fun Accessories.
No campsite is complete without a guitar and an intubation kit.*

*Sadly, but practically, this is not actually an intubation kit, but rather a regular ol'--very well stocked--first aid kit. Opportunity for making fun of doctor for over-preparing = lost.

5. Attention.
If you get some teeny tiny splinters in your foot after you step on a desert plant that your Mongolian guide has just told you to make sure not to step on because "it is bad for the skin," and when you put your boots back on and start walking it kind of hurts so you sit down and take off a boot, you will have your entire group upon you before you can say, "I think there's something in my foot." They will then inquire about the status of your foot every four hours for the remainder of the trip, and you will feel loved.

6. Hour-long Conversations About Prostate Exams.
I think this one speaks for itself.

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