Tagged: Blood

Willet, Chapter 7, Part III & Chapter 8

If you are new to this series here is the link to Chapter 1 Part I.

 

Chapter 7, part III and the beginning of Chapter 8

 

“You good?” I yell to Tinker Bell.

“Yeah, go. I got this.” I hit her on the shoulder and run back to the bug.

Seeing the VW bumper wedged under the front bumper of the Ford Taurus I know Tyler is in need of help. Trying to get it to pop out from under the Taurus’ bumper Tyler doesn’t have enough weight on his own. Climbing on to the rear bumper I see the crowd is growing exponentially.

“Okay, lets do this, ready? One, two, three!” Starting to hop up and down we jump in unison. On the fifth jump the Bug’s tires grab. Swerving to not hit Tinker Bell Mack veers the Bug left causing both Tyler and I to fall off the rear bumper. “God damn it!” I yelp. Landing I feel my back give and a shockwave of pain runs through my pelvis. Getting to my feet I begin to fire again limping up to the VW. By this time Tyler and Mack are also firing.

“What do we do now?” Mack yelled.

Looking towards the cruise ship I can see Decker Canyon is pretty open.

“Get the bug turned around. We’ve go to make a break for that route going through the mountains, we can double back to the base on the other side of the pass.” It’s getting so loud from the moaning over the roar of the ocean waves making me yell at the top of my lungs.  Running over several bodies, Mack negotiates the cars and debris in the road. The VW lurches and it’s tires spin creating a mini smoke screen for us in the middle of the road. Selecting targets as fast as I can I see thousands pouring out of the cruise ship and emptying onto the sand.

To my right I see a Zombie flanking Tinker Bell and approaching her on her six. I can’t take the shot, I haven’t had enough trigger time to risk hitting her or the having the round pass through the Zombie and hitting her. I sling my carbine to the side and reach over my shoulder to grab the tomahawk. My back screams at me with a pain shooting so powerful I almost drop to the ground. Exhaling I try to close the distance as fast as I can. Catching up I send the blade of the tomahawk into the back of the Zombies head with such force it decapitates the Zombie leaving half it’s skull and lower jaw still attached to it’s body.

Turning Tinker Bell sees me over the top of the Zombie as it falls. “Thanks, we gotta move, there’s too many of them.”

“Get to the Bug.”

A Zombie trips and falls towards me. As his momentum carries him forward I time it and swing down planting the tomahawk into the back of his head making him face plant on the asphalt. With the thud his putrified brain splatters across PCH. I turn and see a big one coming at me mouth open, moaning loudly. I front kick him in the pelvis and he stumbles backwards into several other Zombies.

I’m running forward at a slow rate of speed because of the pain in my back, really just limping and breathing in short gasping painful breaths. Getting to the car I see them all inside slowly rolling the Bug forward keeping it’s momentum with the passenger door open ready for me to jump in. Hanging out the drivers window Tyler is shooting at the Zombies coming up behind me. Struggling to limp faster I finally make it to the Bug and fall into the passenger seat. With the door still open I’m able to shoot taking out a couple more of them at point blank range as Mack floors it.

Slumping back in the seat it’s too much effort to even reach for the door so I let the momentum of the Bug close the door. Resting the carbine on the door frame I take out any Zombies passing close by. With a couple of evasive maneuvers Mack makes the turn up Decker Canyon into the mountains of Santa Monica. “I think we need to figure out how to make this car a little more tactical.” I say as the Bug hits a bump making me wince in pain.

Chapter 8

“Aw fuck.” Tyler said.

“Did you get bit?” Tinker Bell says looking down.

“I don’t think so.” Tyler takes a beat then realizes what must have happened. “No I’m good. It was when Mack got the bug to pull away from the car, I slid off the bumper and must’ve caught my leg on the Bug’s bumper.”

Pulling up his pant leg he has a four inch gash on the outside of his right calf. The metal bumper must have snuck up inside his BDU’s and just sliced him open. Everything happened so quick I bet he didn’t feel it at the time.

“In the med kit there’s an H bandage, do you know how to use it?” I said to Tinker Bell.

“Yeah, just make sure there’s no other Zombies up ahead.” I nod while she goes to work. Looking ahead it’s actually pretty serene and picturesque. The bug continues to work it’s way up the grade sputtering along. Turning in the seat and getting to my knees I hang my torso out the window. If feels good to lean forward and stretch the muscles around my pelvis. Looking back I see a swarm of slow moving Zombies following the sound of our engine. The Bug hit a pothole and it immediately reminds me not to try to do yoga in the front seat.

“They’re following the sound of the Bug.” I say to Mack. Turning on the switchback we can see the water below then see just how many there are.

“Holy shit!, it looks like a swarm from up here.” Mack was driving slowly but steady looking over the edge of the road. Coming back around on a switchback to the mountain side we see a traffic jam ahead and have to come to a complete stop. Mack lets the bug idle and sets the E brake. “Fuck, we’re going to have to push some of these out of the way.”

Willet, Chapter 4, Part I

If you are new to this series here is the link to Chapter 1 Part I.

CHAPTER 4, Part I

The rays of the sun hit my eyelids through the opening of the hammock waking me up. Pulling apart the opening I’m able to see below. Wilfred is gone and the fire has died out. Remaining still and listening all I can hear are birds chirping and the distant sound of water flowing through the stream. Rotating my body I’m able to hang my legs out of the cocoon, they’re tight and cramped. Stretching them out I feel the blood flow down my legs into my feet. Sitting for a moment I look out at the valley, the golden rays of the morning sun rake across the mountains showing the details of the topography.

Retrieving the hammock and climbing out of the oak is a task, I’m stiff and sore from sleeping in a cramped position all night, but splashing water on my face from the stream revives me. Feeling slightly refreshed I stuff my gear into my pack.

“Where’s the closest Starbucks? I need some coffee.” I mutter

There are rabbit tracks all along the waters edge. I wonder if I got lucky last night. Walking towards the spot where I set the snare I can see a furry object dangling about 5’ in the air from the sapling. “Score!” This has proven to be a pretty good idea to come through the preserve. There’s a reason they call it the Conejo Valley. There’s tons of rabbits everywhere.

The snare worked perfectly. I was afraid the piano wire would be too thick but it seemed to function well. The rabbit had died from the sapling whipping it up into the air and breaking it’s neck. I release the wire around it’s neck and coil it back up with the twine. Taking the stick I made for the trigger I shove it into my cargo pocket. It worked once and will probably work again. There was no point in redoing work when an important piece of the puzzle proved functional. Grabbing the rabbit just below the shoulders I slowly work one hand over the other squeezing its innards towards its rear legs. When I feel a small pop, I swing the rabbit down and through my legs, the innards came out in one quick motion spraying into the bushes behind me. He’s considerably lighter now and completely gutted.

Reviving the fire is fairly easy, the coals are still hot enough to ignite some fresh tinder. Stripping the skin off the rabbit is easy work allowing me to cut the meat into thin strips. If I cooked the meat like the rattle snake it wouldn’t last more than two days before spoiling, not that there’s a lot of meat here, but if I can keep the heat of the fire down I can dry the meat and make jerky which will last for months if I needed it to. I lay the thin strips on the chimney side of the Dakota fire pit, the smoke rising will be just the correct amount of heat.

I have a feeling the smell of the meat smoking will draw Wilfred out from the brush. Soon there is a little black nose poking out from the brush sniffing in the air.

“Hey there. Want to try some rabbit?” I throw him a small chunk and he gulps it down. “Yeah, well that’s all you get, I gotta save some for myself.” If I can make good time I might make it all the way out to the housing development on the other side of the preserve. Maybe there’s a house with some good supplies in it. Wishful thinking, but you never know.

In about an hours time while carefully feeding the fire, giving it enough fuel to keep it alive but not so much to allow it to grow more than glowing embers I’m able to jerky the meat. Luckily, I still have some salt to sprinkle over the meat while basting it with the honey. Never really thought of having rabbit for breakfast but it’s tasty and warm in my belly. I take one of the leaf trash bags, cut a section out of it, wrapping the meat into a triangle then folding the corners into each other like a large cocaine bindle it’s a tight way of folding the plastic so it won’t get dirty in my pack.

It’s not hard to clean up a campsite, there’s not much point to it, but I do it anyway. I doubt anyone will come along here and find my tracks. I know a Zombie won’t have the intellect to notice or track me from anything other than my scent. But I do it anyway, for some reason I think it’s just the right thing to do.  We fucked up the planet once as a human race, maybe if we had been more respectful from the beginning we would’ve gone on a different path and not made things get to where they are now.

Cooking the rabbit makes me get a late start and it’s getting hot. I doubt I’ll find any water before the houses on the other side, It’s about 12 miles and I’m absolutely going to have to make it before sunup tomorrow. My water won’t last much longer than that. Ahead on the left is the junction for the high pressure gas lines that pass through this area. Eight foot tall chain link fence with razor wire on top. The sound from the pipes traveled a good distance in the past, when you approached them on a run or mountain bike you’d be able to hear the hiss far before you could see them. But the structure lies silent today. Nothing more than a network of pipes filled with dormant natural gas. I know this route by heart, it was my favorite training ground when I was trail running. From here it’s a left up a nearly un runnable grade. At the top the high voltage transmission lines cut across the preserve North to South.

After three miles I pause under a cluster of oaks with picnic tables from the days of the CCC. Looking back down the trail I can see Wilfred standing in the middle of the trail. Whenever I walk he follows, keeping his distance and when I stop he stops. Taking a pull off my hydration bladder I swish the water around in my mouth then spit it out like a small stream onto my hands. Your hands are like radiators of the body. The moisture on them evaporates, cooling me a little.

“I don’t know about you, but it’s getting too hot. I’m going to take a siesta. You wanna take watch?” He cocks his head again as if he’s listening. “Not sure if that’s a yes or a no, but if you hear anything would you mind giving a yip?”  It’s too hot to move but the shade from the tree is just enough to take the edge off the harsh rays of the sun. I think tonight there should be a waxing crescent giving me some extra light to travel.

The moaning was getting louder, I extended my hand to her.

“Come with me.” I said.  “They’re dead.” She hesitated then took my hand and grabbed her clothes while standing. “I’m sorry.” I said leading her down the alleyway. Looking back I saw several Zombies who followed the sound of the gunshot. I jumped on top of a dumpster and took a leap to grab the ladder of a fire escape. As it came down I saw them gaining on us. “Climb!” I yelled pushing her up the ladder. As we reached the landing one of them was able to hold onto the bottom rung and was trying to figure out how to climb.

ABCs

I’m not a Dr., nor do I play one on TV but I wanted to briefly talk about the ABCs of emergency medicine.

In the past the ABCs stood for Airway, Breathing & Circulation. Which means make sure the airway is clear, the victim is breathing and that their heart is beating and control bleeding. But things have changed – the new way of looking at the ABC’s is actually CAB (Circulatory, Airway, Breathing) especially for people like us who may be first on a scene and perhaps during a time where 911 may not be able to get to you due to a major event such as natural disaster or worse.

I keep pounding into people to remember the rule of threes:

3 Minutes without Oxygenated Blood to the brain

3 Hours without Shelter  (I’ve written about how important it is to maintain 98.6 degrees)

3 Days without Water

3 Weeks Without food

Notice the three minutes without oxygen. This is an important detail because the amount of time it takes for a person to bleed out when they sever an artery is around 30 seconds to a minute. So checking to see if they’re breathing may not really be important when you see a red fountain. Deal with the bleeding first, then worry about the rest. One problem at a time.

Depending on the wound and how fast the fountain is flowing will depend on what measures you’ll want to use to attack the problem. First and foremost direct pressure to the wound is the first step. If you believe it to be an artery go above the wound at the closest pressure point between the wound and the heart. The next course of action is a pressure dressing and if you have it you may want to use a coagulant of some kind. There are two which are available to the public: Quick Clot and Cellox.

quikclot_700 celox

The difference between these two products is Quick Clot will cauterize the wound while Cellox will not. Using Quick Clot on a patient is effective but can be very painful and once the tissue has been cauterized, it’s gone. I carry Cellox because it is made from cellulose material and is equally as effective. Notice on the packaging it says “No heat generated in use” so it won’t destroy the tissue in the wound. When using either of these products pour it on the wound then apply your pressure bandage or dressing depending on the level of bleeding control you need to administer. Before tying off the bandage take the wrapper of the product and put it on top of the wound and then tie off the remainder of the bandage. So when a medical professional tries to put Slot A and Tab A back together they will know what product you used and what course of action they will have to take before getting to the wound.

There are many pressure bandages you can use and all try to accomplish the same task of creating enough pressure to subdue the bleeding but not cut off the circulation. There are two which are common and readily available the Israeli Bandage shown first. The back of the packaging has good graphical instructions and second is the H Bandage:

Iband__53695.1344792308.1280.1280 icb W-HB01_alt1

If all else fails or if the red fountain is more like a firehose then the tourniquet might me either the last resort or the first step. Later you’ll see why it might have to be the first step but for now just know that there are a number of tourniquets available on line. You really need to do a class in emergency first aid which covers this type of advanced measures and choose for yourself. There are companies who offer classes in life saving techniques such as Falcon Operations Group, after completion of the course you are certified in advanced CPR and you receive a personal trauma kit.

When in need you can use anything from a bandana to a ratchet strap as a tourniquet  and there are great videos on line about how to apply them such as on the Survival Dr.’s site, but here are a two tourniquets which are available through online medical supply stores. The first is the SWAT-T (Stretch Wrap And Tuck) which is really simple to use, really compact and has clear instructions on the wrap itself. You know when the SWAT-T has been pulled tight enough because the pictures distort and turn to diamonds. The second is a CAT (Combat Applied Tourniquet) Tourniquet  which allows you to crank the tourniquet after initial application to create more pressure.

500470-1 500470 211_cat_cat_1

So if you or a buddy is bleeding profusely, knowing how and when to apply either direct pressure, a pressure bandage, or a tourniquet will be first priority. Then deal with their airway and after you have an open airway deal with getting air into the lungs and then get their heart pumping if indeed it’s stopped. If you have to go to the point where you are pumping their heart, just know you will be doing that for a long time. It’s a fallacy that people just wake up after their heart has stopped beating and you administer CPR. Unless you can apply a precordial thump the truth is you need to keep it going until an electric shock can be administered to restart their heart. In cases where there may be no emergency room to go to or there are the most dire of situations tough choices will need to be made weighing the possibility of saving someone and expending too much of your own valuable time and energy dealing with a person who might not be able to be saved and therefor risking your own life. However, some times performing CPR on a patient isn’t about the patient, it’s for the loved one watching the event unfold – even though you know it will probably be useless (this is in the event where there is no 911 or help on the way to take over), watching you perform CPR on the loved one will soften the blow of what they are witnessing.

You must also know full well there are ramifications to you providing any type of advanced life saving techniques. If you do not have the proper medical training and certificates then you are indeed breaking the law. Could you save your buddies life? Yes. Do you know them well enough that they won’t sue? Maybe.  Knowing your core values, is it more important to you to save someone’s life than what the outcomes are legally? Possibly. Can you really fuck some one up if you do something wrong? You have to ask yourself these and many more questions in advance and be comfortable with your answers. By the way, the answer to the last question is empirically YES, you can fuck someone up AND do more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing so it might be best to just bite the bullet and go take a class before you might need to use any of this information and hope you never really have to.

Here’s a video which shows how quickly things can go wrong: Ambush on Route Irish Don’t worry if you are queasy, because it’s a dash cam video there surprisingly isn’t anything graphic but it shows in real time the events of men under fire. This was a low profile convoy on Route Irish in Iraq which was stopped waiting because of an IED explosion which happened up the road prior to their arrival. They stopped well away from the activity, but stopped in a tactical formation, not a civilian one. Insurgents realized they were contractors and opened fire. If you look closely two things happen. The first is at :39 when the medic who first runs in front of the rear vehicle and can be seen with the dash cam. As he comes back you can hear him say to his buddy in that car that he’s been hit in his femoral. None of these guys had trauma kits on their person, so there were no tourniquets available so the Medic begins to look frantically for something to improvise into a tourniquet. Next, if you look closely at :56 seconds you will notice a large puff of dirt from the driver of the lead vehicle on the right who is down on the ground. The medic yells “Don’t be firing!” The driver of the lead vehicle was also hit in the femoral artery and as he was dying he had an involuntary reflex of pulling the trigger on his carbine and firing towards the rear car where the medic and dash cam are. The ambush actually starts at :08 so the driver was dead in :48 seconds after receiving his wound. The medic continues to search for something to use as a tourniquet and can be seen taking the shemaugh off the dash which was hiding the camera – this was his last resort to use as a tourniquet and this comes at 2:22. This goes to show that you need to deal with blood loss ASAP and having something close at hand is imperative. How long does it take you to find your keys when everything is calm and there’s no adrenaline flowing? The reason you carry advanced life saving equipment isn’t necessarily to save your buddy, it’s to save yourself. If each man had his own personal trauma kit on him that driver may have been able to self administer the device needed to save his own life allowing his team mates to continue to deal with the attack. I’m not saying you are going to hit an ambush on your way home from work, but if an earthquake hits and your car skids off a crumbled overpass will you have the basic medical supplies to stop bleeding and take care of yourself?

Here’s the kicker, this is the most important part of the entire post. People are always asking me why I want to know any of this stuff. Well, knowledge is power, it weighs nothing and you can take it with you anywhere you go. While there are laws against you practicing medicine on your buddy even if their life is on the line there is no law saying you can’t administer these techniques on yourself. In the end I still think its better if my buddies life is on the line to employ every bit of information I have and ask forgiveness later.