Do you even yoga, bro?
October 10: Thursday
This morning was a tabletop disaster, where representatives from a variety of hospital and hospital-related groups talked through a hypothetical disaster that would cause a large influx of patients to arrive at the ED. This drill was focused on the response of the hospital, whereas the previous drill I attended looked at how a disaster response would occur in the pre-hospital/field setting.
We started off the mass casualty drill by showing a video that was produced by Orlando Health, the hospital that received the patients from the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The video set the mood for the drill, emphasized the importance of having drills, and reminded us all of the almost inevitability of a mass casualty touching our lives. Many in the room, myself included, had already been through at least one major US disaster. For myself, it was 9/11and then Hurricane Katrina. For others, it was tornadoes or other mass shootings. There were few dry eyes in the room by the end.
As with any disaster where there are a lot of penetrating wounds, there is a huge need for potentially life-saving blood transfusions. After a huge disaster, there is always a huge influx of people donating blood, which is wonderful. And it would be even better if people were able to donate blood BEFORE a disaster occurs. After a person donates blood, it must first be typed and tested for all sorts of communicable diseases as well as other rigorous testing to ensure that it is safe to then give to other people. Which takes time.
But let’s take a step back. Think about a disaster as it unrolls. Picture a situation where there will be a lot of penetrating injuries, such as a mass shooting or a bomb explosion. There will likely be a ton of injured patients with severe, bleeding wounds. Even if 911 is called immediately, there will still be some delay before the EMTs and medics can arrive. Also, if the scenario is potentially unsafe (like an ongoing shooting or multiple suspects), then police will need to enter and secure the scene before EMS can enter and begin treatment. Any delay to treatment in an actively bleeding patient is potentially fatal. Which is where you come in! If you ever find yourself in the midst of a disaster, you can provide life saving hemorrhage care if you are properly trained. I highly recommend taking a First Aid Course or Stop the Bleed course. Your training could help save a life!
October 11: Friday
I also learned today that there is a robust HAM radio club presence in San Diego. Ham radio is essentially amateur radio, a huge prepper skill. I’ve yet to get involved with HAM radio, but I am definitely interested. From personal experience during 9/11, to both running and participating in multiple Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) drills, one issue that arises again and again is the difficulty with communication during a disaster.
Daily PSA: More people are getting the flu, and this year’s death toll is already rising. Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Get vaccinated.
October 12: Saturday
As my fellowship months are passing quickly, I need to start planning out the next steps of my life. But figuring out the next steps, after my path has been so narrowly defined for the past 10 years of my life, is no small feat. Since I became a premed, every class, every project, every move, has been dictated by a carefully orchestrated series of hoops and standardized tests. Now, the end is in sight. I’m free to make my own choices, plan my own career, and choose my own path.
One of the best things I did in residency was volunteering with the National Park Service. I helped do continuing education, quality improvement, research, and of course, Mass Casualty Incident training, all while surrounding by beautiful Sequoias. It brought together some of my favorite things - spending time outdoors, limited resource medicine, wilderness medicine, and prepping.
How do I translate this into an EMS job?
October 13: Sunday
Adventure day: we’re going to Goat Yoga! Yes, it’s a thing. Yoga is great for calming a restless mind, while improving flexibility, balance, and strength. Add in goats? We couldn’t resist trying it out. Think you’re not into yoga? Think it’s not a prepper skill? I’d argue that being able to control your breathing, re-center your brain, and maintain calm in the midst of whatever chaos is going on around you is a fabulous skill to develop.
October 14: Monday
I’ve been a prepper for just over 18 years. When it comes to prepping, I was doing it before I knew it was a thing. Before I could give my habits a name. Before it was trendy. Does that make me a hipster prepper? I guess. First time, and probably last time, I’ll ever be ahead of the curve on a trend.
Ever since 9/11, I keep an extra eye on where exits in buildings are located and I’m always aware of the people around me. I make sure my phone is always charged. My car has at least a half tank of gas at all times, with some snacks and water thrown in the glove compartment. While in college at Tulane (2002-2006) I, like every student there, had an evacuation plan in the event of a hurricane. In terms of fitness, working out has always been a part of my life, though I didn’t consider it a part of prepping until recently. As I get older, I’m realizing how helpful it is to be able to run, climb, crawl, skate, swim, jump or do any other activity that interests me. Prepping was a part of my daily routine, but when I was younger, it just seemed like common sense. Now it’s part of my lifestyle.
Nowadays, as disasters continue to unfold at an alarming rate, there are more and more people reaching out to me and asking, “Hey, so… you’re into this preparedness stuff… what I should keep at home, you know, just in case…?”
Physical & mental preparedness
I’ve dabbled in yoga throughout the past several years, always enjoying the flow and pace of the practice. The physical and mental health benefits of yoga are myriad, and range from improved cardiovascular health, to improved focus, to protection from physical injuries, to increased energy, to improved metabolism and weight loss. One of my fencing coaches would even start our warm-ups with sun salutations, believing it helped calmed the mind before getting ready for combat.
You might not think yoga is for you, but there are so many kinds to try! Some focus on deep and relaxing stretches (which is my favorite), while some provide a more challenging HIIT-type core workout.
Relaxing yoga & meditation at a music festival:
There are also variants of yoga such as aerial yoga, acroyoga, SUP yoga, and goat yoga:
Aerial yoga is yoga done on an aerial hammock. I happen to do aerial arts as well, but this is by far the most relaxing, with lots of deep stretches and inversions.
Acroyoga is acrobatic yoga that is done with a partner. My husband and I first tried this at our local rock climbing gym back in Fresno, and then again at a yoga festival in San Diego.
Want to really work on your balance? Then try SUP yoga. SUP is stand-up-paddle board, where you have to do the yoga poses while balancing on a longboard.
Want to really, really work on your balance? Try doing acroyoga on a paddleboard. Here’s Alex supporting me as I hold onto his legs and do a handstand.
And of course, our most recent venture was Goat Yoga at Sugar Sweet Farm in Encinitas, CA. The setting outside the city and at a farm was ideal. It was a warm sunny day, with the goats and llamas roaming around and chickens clucking nearby. The goats were adorable and playful, and the yoga session itself flowed perfectly. We left the session energized yet relaxed.
Do you yoga?