What, you may well ask, makes you think that you have any hope of achieving this mad adventure? What qualifications do you have that distinguish you from say Scott of the Antarctic, Henry Hudson, or any of the other great explorers that had more ego than common sense? What makes you think that, like them, you won’t make a beeline to Valhalla and not Volgograd? Put that way, not much, frankly. But we’re working on it.
To that end, Wilderness First Responder training took up most of last week for Mike and will continue on for most of the next. This 80 hour first aid training course run by the Wilderness Medical Institute, a part of NOLS, covers everything from patient assessment to creating splints from ski poles. Theoretical training complemented by practical scenarios takes the student from knowing nothing to a standard level of competency. Plus there’s buckets of fake blood, faux bruises, and victims hanging from trees. Is this training necessary? Hopefully not, but if the wilderness does indeed start an hour from ‘definitive care’, it seems like cheap insurance for the backwoods of Russia. When last in Mongolia Mike was thrown from a camel and there wasn’t a medic for at least a 150 kilometers. Luckily there wasn’t enough permanent damage to bring an end to the holiday or the fun. As Medical Officer for the Red Thread Mongolia team, the real trick will be making sure that Mike stays healthy, or at least conscious enough to bark orders. A first aid kit for both the car and its occupants seems in order. The good news is that duct tape can do double duty for both. Epoxy? Well, not so much.