Pocket knives for daily carry

I’m going to join the cool kids, and post a picture of the knife I carry daily – a partially serrated CRKT Mt. Rainier. I also carry the tie-dye keychain Swiss army knife pictured on the right, but it’s debatable as to whether it counts! For a couple months, I was carrying a plain edge assisted open knife, but after the second time I reached into my pocket and found it had “assisted” itself open, I relegated it to car knife status and went back to this knife. I prefer the plain edge, but finding a half-open knife in my pocket in the middle of the airport made me reluctant to actually carry it on me!

Also, be careful that your knife doesn’t slip out of your pocket in class without you noticing. My Nutrition professor was freaked that someone would actually carry a knife on campus, and the person at lost and found was puzzled as to why I would carry it, and asked if it was legal to carry.

I’m much more confused as to why someone WOULDN’T carry a knife!

“Someone put something in my drink!”

It’s 1 AM, and a 24 year old woman stumbles up to triage at St Erasmus assisted by her concerned friends. She slurs out, “I think someone put something in my drink,” as her friends help hold her up and I retrieve a wheelchair. She wants to file a police report, so on and so forth. We draw labs, run some tests.

Blood Alchohol level: .280

I think I know what was in her drink!

The Murtaugh

Had the opportunity to paddle the Murtaugh section of the Snake River a few weekends ago – what a spectacular stretch of river!

We got a late start, hitting the water about 7 PM. Camped overnight on a rock shelf projecting into the river, probably 100 feet on a side. Camp ended up being a bit sketchy, as the river rose half a foot overnight and was just short of flooding the entire site! I also have to say that it’s tough to beat polish sausage cooked over an open fire for breakfast.

As far as scenery, this section is hard to beat. All the way down the canyon, streams and springs empty down. It’s spectacular watching these springs tumble down hundreds of feet of mossy canyon wall to the river below. I definitely need a new waterproof camera, so I can share some of these things with my (two) readers. Also saw three golden eagles playing and chasing each other around at the top of the canyon in the dusk before we made camp that evening. Awesome to see such giant birds playing together.

For whitewater, the first evening was an evening of big water. Big class III-IV wave trains, low consequences. The second day contained the more notable rapids.

Pair-o-dice: This is considered class V, although at these flows (5200 cfs) I’d probably call it IV+. This rapid has a terminal-looking pourover for the entire right side of the river, an island dead center in the river, then a few different lines on river left. One option would be to plug straight in to the giant, meaty-looking hold center left, and take your thrashing. I opted to run far river left, probably 10 feet off the bank. Bumped down a bit of a slide, but it was very straightforward. It gives you enough momentum to head straight through the left side of the hole. The final option is to follow the main flow down the center of the river, just to the left of the island. Looked like tons of force in the water, and a wild ride! One of our group opted for this line, and had a good time doing it. Scout the rapid from river left, big rock shelf probably 5-10 feet above the water makes a great vantage point right next to the river and lets you set safety as needed.

Let’s Make a Deal: This can be anywhere from class III to class V, depending on which door you choose. The river is split by four giant pillars of rock, and you get to choose which channel to paddle down. The catch is, I was committed by the time I could see what I was getting myself into! At these flows, door 2 was recommended as the easy route. Door 5 was the more challenging option. I went with door 5. As you paddle up on the channel, it looks big and steep – and that’s exactly what it is! Giant wave curling off the right bank, which you want to hit hard. Ideally, you punch up on top of this wave and paddle down the right side of the bank, just to stay clear of the left wall which feels very close by. I didn’t manage to punch all the way over the wave, but did turn it into a VERY fast power ferry to the center of the channel and shot down to the bottom. I wanted to hike up and run it again, but that’s a little tricky in a canyon!

After this, a few more big rapids whose names I don’t remember. Lots of big splashes and a few monster holes, but nothing too high-consequence. Then a flatwater paddle through a mile of reservoir to the takeout. It made me appreciate the speed of my Villain.

I highly recommend this trip for anyone who has the opportunity. I can’t wait to paddle it again!

North Fork Payette

I just got back from paddling the Lower Five of the North Fork Payette. This stretch of river definitely lives up to its reputation. Full of rocks, holes, and absolutely non-stop!

The highlights:

Hounds Tooth: This is an awesome rapid. I put in partway down, ran the boof on the right of Hounds Tooth, and plopped into the eddy. The second time, missed my boof, braced hard as I landed, then was funneled straight into the line down the center of the rapid.

Small class IV a little after Hounds Tooth: I flipped in this rapid. Twice. Big hit coming off the left bank, which flipped me the first time, then the second time stayed upright through the big hit, only to run straight into a rock sticking just out of the water. I really don’t recommend flipping here. It’s a little rocky.

Juicer: Definitely felt like class V. Holes everywhere, although none of them seemed overly sticky. I avoided Juicer hole at least, but think I ended up in just about every other one! Flipped once, scraped a couple rocks, then rolled up. I think this was the hardest rapid on the run, quite a bit to look out for and easy to get disoriented.

Crunch: Lots of fun! Holes everywhere, fun to crash through a lot of them. Definitely a lengthy rapid, I felt a little puffed in the eddy at the bottom.

Looking forward to a lot more time on this stretch of river, and catching higher flows in the spring!

I don’t have any video of my run, but here’s video from my friend Christian of the North Fork and Staircase sections at high water this spring.


The Internet needed another blog, right?

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet! I am a nursing student and ER tech in the Western USA, and an avid kayaker. Much of the content of this blog will revolve around these two areas – kayaking and healthcare. I also write about politics, religion, and any other topic I like.

As this is a healthcare blog, I’ll add the standard disclaimer – assume any patient story I post is fiction. It may be a conglomeration of several patient encounters, or made up out of whole cloth. My goal in sharing these stories is to make a point or make the reader laugh, and the story doesn’t need to be true to accomplish either goal!

I plan on posting at least weekly. I’d love to post daily, but with nursing school and work, time is sometimes limited. I welcome comments from anyone, but do expect civility from commenters. I look forward to hearing from anyone who stumbles upon this blog, and can be reached by E-mail at bandagedboater@gmail.com.

– BandagedBoater

Whitewater Grand Prix!

This event and video deserve all the attention they can get. This is the 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix, which took place last Spring. It pits some of the best kayakers in the world in a series of events, and showcases some spectacular paddling. It’s worth watching full-screen. Enjoy!

2011 Whitewater Grand Prix from Tribe Rider on Vimeo.

Mental illness and the right to refuse care (Part 1)

The police bring in a woman in her 30’s – she’s in handcuffs. The officer says they had received a call from a friend that the patient was planning to kill herself, and had been found in her bedroom with a loaded revolver close to hand. She has been brought to the emergency department at St Erasmus for a mental health evaluation. Dr Rush is in the room, and talks with her briefly – she denies suicidal ideation, as most suicidal patients do. She also admits to having spent time in a mental health facility, and a past diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. She is running a borderline fever of 100 degrees, but we can’t send her to a mental health facility until she is cleared of any acute medical issue. Since she technically has a fever, the doctor works her up for infection.

The doctor orders an EKG, blood draws, and collection of a urine sample. I enter to get a urine sample. By now, the patient is starting to feel irritated. She says we have no right to keep her against her will, that she feels fine, and she doesn’t want all these tests! I, being a lowly ER tech, immediately punt the problem up to my RN. The RN punts the problem to the MD, and the MD punts the problem to social work. The social worker enters the room, informs the patient she is on a mental health hold, she has no rights, and she has a choice between peeing in the cup or being placed in restraints and having a catheter inserted.

The patient, realizing the social worker isn’t bluffing, backs down and consents to the tests. She provides the urine sample, holds still for the EKG, and allows the IV start and blood draw. Test results come back, show that nothing is wrong with her, and she is taken to the mental health facility without further incident.

This incident raised major concerns to me. Does any diagnosis of mental illness mean you waive all medical rights? Shouldn’t the patient still have some right to determine their medical treatment? Is the right way to start a course of treatment for a paranoid schizophrenic to threaten to strap them down and insert a catheter? These issues, and others, will be discussed in further posts – stay tuned for part II!