I’ve spent the past three months reading about every medical procedure with a chance of appearing at sea. From treatment of shock, to reducing broken bones, to injections and IVs. I sit, reading, and intermittently wondering what my face must look like to anyone watching, as my eyes widen inexplicably in terror, or I start rubbing my lower lip like mad. I slip from intense interest, eyebrows furrowed, to concealed panic, my page-turning finger rapidly scratching the paper.
The likelihood of us needing to perform any of these procedures is actually relatively slim. It’s fully possible that we’ll all end up back home after cruising without ever having had any issues. We just talked to some cruisers who sailed for years without a problem. However unlikely, though, we can’t afford to be unprepared. And so I read, and cringe, and read.
By now I can handle most of these books’ contents, even as my face rotates through its standard fascination, confusion, horror, cycle. Most things seem doable. Either the immediacy of the moment will force us into action, or we’ll have plenty of time to consider options and mentally prepare for the procedure.
One type of procedure, however, seems somewhat less doable. As much as I think about it, visualize it, or reread the technique, I can’t handle the idea of passing any kind of catheter. Without going into detail, I can safely say that all of these procedures sound gross, surreal, awkward, and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Maybe the best way to fill in the gaps without grossing anyone out is to simply mention where these mystical tubes are supposed to go. And so, a short list:
1. Nostril to stomach
2. Nostril to nasal cavity
3. Urethra to bladder
I mean, nostril to nasal cavity? What are we doing here? Mummifying someone? That’s not really my thing. And that’s for a nosebleed? You’ve got to be joking. Or maybe just crazy? Yeah, maybe you just don’t know what you’re talking about. So long, Advanced First Aid at Sea! I’m reading another book. Yeah, this is better, just cauterize the wound, I can do that. No big–Oh Jesus it’s in here too! And in more depth! Next page! Oh no!! Pictures!
Dear God, give me anything besides a catheter to pass.
*Also please no amputations.