Friday, August 30, 2013

A new look, sort of anyway

Well, if you want an explanation of why I look like this, that's going to be long in coming.

But short and sweet, on the way home today my eye started bothering me, and by the time dinner rolled around, the eye in question was sore and red. 

So, pink-eye, or conjunctivitis of some sort seems to have found its way to me. Depending on how this goes, I might or might not go to the doctor's office. what I have read says that most cases are viral, and I don't feel like taking medications for no good reason. For the moment, the plan is to keep the eye covered and closed, keeping my hands away from it and giving it time to deal with itself. 

No, the reason I am writing here is not to complain about my eye, but to talk about wearing the eye patch a little. 

Its actually an interesting experience. Yes, there are the drawbacks of being 50% blind, and having no depth perception what so ever. In fact, the whole situation of having half of my visual awareness gone is just... od.

But still, I actually find the process interesting. I am suddenly aware of my other scenes needing to compensate for the blind-zone. All of a sudden I hear sounds from directions I can't see, and I am ruining into things (literally) that I can't see. Also, the right eye still works, so even closed, I can see a pattern of light and dark (like when you close your eyes and press on them, the signals to the brain can get interesting for some) from my right eye, and its overlays my field of view on my left eye, the effect is... well, just interesting.

Oh, and yes typing is a headache with just one eye, so that is as much I will say tonight

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Bag: Part three

Well, it's bee a little while since I posted, so I figured I would talk some about the improvements I have made about my bag.

First of all, I've moved some stuff out of it. The change in clothes, as well as the "overnight" provisions have been shifted to a small bag in the truck of my car. The logic there is that if I get stranded somewhere, odds are good that I'll be with my car, or at least have access to it.

The major addition to my bag is an "outdoor products" fanny back that I have re-purposed as a clip-on first aid/medical kit.

Here you can see the overall shape and proportions of the bag.

Before I get too far into this, let me explain a few things about the scope of this thing. I'm not a formally trained first responder (any more) and I don't hold any advanced medical training. What I have his first air, CPR, and a lot of accumulated knowledge. I'm not going to be running into any mass causality incidents with this and preforming life-saving emergency repairs. On a scale of "scratches" to "multiple gunshots", this is designed to help me deal with most injuries up to a major incision or puncture. Beyond that and I'm hoping I have cell phone reception so the 911 operator can advise.

Now, this is a fully functional fanny pack with a belt, and I really didn't want to cut it up, so what I did was shrink it down until the buckles were at their absolute shortest, and then folded over the left-over material with pony-tail holders.

Speaking of which... I have found that girl's pony-tail holders are like tactical rubber-bands. They are just great for all sorts of things.

Anyway, you can see there how I looped the reduced belt through the bag's built-in loops. It flops around a lot, but all told, it holds it where I need it to be, so I'm not complaining.The thing smacks into my butt when I walk, but its  a small price to pay for having it on hand.  I have it pretty well maxed out... but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's held up over the past year.

Back pocket:

Clif bar

I know, I know, "Why in the hell does he have a Cliff bar in the thing?"

Well, actually, a couple of reasons. First, its food, and honestly, there have been times in my past where I was just distracted enough by my stomach that I nearly did something stupid. With this, I can reach in and have something on hand and that way not have to push myself on a complaining stomach. Also, it's nice to have it for when my 8 year old starts to complain... I can throw this at him and say "here, have a candy bar!" Trust me, it works.

Front mesh bag:

Yep, that's exactly what you think it is!

Dental Floss

I have a crown that the spacing isn't perfect on, and the number of times I have had to improvise something to dislodge a chunk of meat is innumerable. I'm actually on the verge of replacing this roll because it's getting low.

Front pocket:

Clean wipes & alcohol pads.

I just keep about a dozen of them in there. Easy access, easy to use, and quick to pull out. When I run low, I either restock from a pharmacy, or loot the bit at the doctor's office when I am there.

Main pocket:

Oh good heaven's where to we start?

As you can see, I have a lot in there, and yes, it's loaded to bear. I try to keep useless stuff to a minimum, but I do like to keep what I reasonably might need on hand.

So, here we go...

Well, first up, lets look at the ziplock bag in the front of the pouch. That's actually a smaller bag inside a larger one.

The smaller one is my "bo bo" kit:

Band-aids, a burn gel, some butterfly strips and the like. Nothing fancy, and stuff I use all the freaking time.

The larger bag:

Now we're getting into some more serious stuff.

On the right, gauze pads, 4 x 4 and smaller. Good for general cuts, abrasions and so forth.

On the left are two surgical pads. If I pull these out, someone is already on the phone with 911, because we're plugging up some major bleeding with these things.

As a side note, I have these left over from when I was dealing with some post-surgical seepage following my biopsy. These things can hold unholy amounts of fluid, let me tell you. I don't think they are overly experience, but they aren't cheep. Box of 4 was close to $12 if I recall.

If you don't have these, don't want to pay for them, or need something in a pinch... The two best alternatives are woman's maxi-pads, or diapers... both use the same science to adsorb and hold fluid. Nothing really beats these pads for effectiveness, but if your in a pinch, this is science that's worth knowing about.

I keep a chemical cold pack on hand just because I have seen what unchecked swelling can do to someone. Haven't had to use it yet, but if the time comes, I will have no problem popping this thing out and handing it over. Cold is your friend a lot of the time, and not having it can cost people dearly.

Next to it... medical tape. This roll I looted from the ER the last time I was there. (its cool the nurse actually let me have it). Sticks to anything, and it will take the hare off your arm in one pass.

Yep, I have one of these.

And no, I don't have  tin-foil hat to go with it.

Seriously, this was like $1.50 at Wal Mart, and after having seen someone go into shock right in front of me, I figured it was a sound investment. Just having something to pull over someone after a jolting experience can save their life, and you can bet I wanted to have the option.

Gloves... about 6 pair as I recall.

Really, these speak for themselves, but I don't use them that often. Most of the stuff I have had to deal with are scraps and bruises. But if it turns into a "fluids flowing" situation, I have these, and I can hand them out liberally.

Also looted from the ER....

And trust me, they don't mind, especially if you know what your doing.

Now, back in the bag, on the inside of the pocket there is a mesh interior pocket witha  zipper.

I keep the rest of my small stuff in there, and even through it doesn't look like it, I can actually reach everything in there without having to empty the main compartment.

Okay, going from the bottom up:

Speaks for itself really, more tape, some non-latez gloves (left over from my old kit) tongue depressors, cotton swaps and a set of medial scissors that are as sharp as a shaving razor and a pointed as a scalpel. I keep it all in a bag at the bottom of the pocket. I doubt I will need any of it in a real emergency, but they can be very useful when trying to fix or mend to look at something less urgent but no less painful.

In the middle is a small bag with hole skin and some pulls. Mostly general purpose stuff: Ibuprofen, aspirin, ant-acid, and so forth.

On the top, where I can get to it quick is a tube of antibiotic, a thermometer and a rubber tourniquet.

The tourniquet, also from the hospital, is a "oh-shit" thing I just decided was worth having.

The tube of antibiotic ointment... should speak for itself.

The thermometer... yeah, I actually need that now. Last two times I've been hospitalized was with uncontrolled fevers, thanks to complications following my cancer treatment. Anyway... the ability to measure a body temp and put a number on it is vital, and this was just an investment I wanted to make.

I wanted to move back to the bag for a minute. I've redone the side pockets, and wanted to show them off, left side specifically.

I emptied this one, move all the electronics into other locations, and then used this one for my "tie things down" pocket.

Now, let me set the record straight, I don't have, don't want, and don't even really believe in some of these internet "pocket rappelling" kits that some less reputable dealers are peddling. This isn't that that. If I wanted to rappel any distance, I would be using a whole bag of heavy kernmantle line tested for 800 pounds.

But more seriously, the a ability to secure things, raise things, tie things down and the like is a major boon in general, never mind an emergency situation. I can make a harness, I can lower things down, or pull things up...

Hell, even outside of an emergency, I could just grab a rope or tie and lash together or tie down something that's come loose.

As you can see, ropes aren't *all* I have in there.

But, starting from the top"

Thats 100 feet of 200 pound line with two quick-secure hooks that let me tie things down without knotting the rope. (major find at Wal Mart, let me tell you).

The two red and black thing in the middle are straps I use for... whatever. Usually holding a rolled up towel or maybe holding something to a car roof rack. Whatever. Just handy. And the black bands... more ponytail holders!

The black thing at the bottom is my flashlight, left over from my security days. I have the red lens in it at the movement, the logic being that if I need a flashlight, I probably don't want to toast everyone's night vision in the middle of an emergency.

Okay, I know...

"What's with the matches and lighter?"

Seriously, they are just good things to have. If you know anything about just being ready, you know why, if not... just take my work for it, these are good.

If nothing else, I have been able to say "sure I have a light" and deduce a tense situation in a heartbeat.

Its all about options.

Now, lets leave off with a bit of a bang.

Even with my moving stuff out of the bag and clearing out the main compartment for day-to-day use, there have been a few times when I just needed more space. Not even necessarily heavy-lift, just more volume.

Well, guess what, I found something that works for me.

Inside my small compartment, which is now where I keep my pill bottles, note pad, combs and miscellaneous crap, I have a small fold-up bag.

I think this was like $5 at Wal Mart, and it literally is smaller than my fist.

Black synthetics, draw string, and a grand total of about 8 oz, if that.

Open it up, and you have something that is actually fairly large.

The gray stripe at the bottom is actually the top of the bag, that's the zipper. This is meant to be something you throw a change of clothes into and head to an overnight party or something. I wouldn't call it "durable", but it does hold up surprisingly well to regular use.

So, anyway, it has about the same volume of my bag, and can easily hold a complete chance in clothes. I wouldn't' use it for long term storage, but if I need to effectively double the carry volume of my bag for a while, like say an hour or two, this is the ticket.

You can see here an example of how I secure it to my bag with three cheep clips. One at the top, and one at each side of the bottom, using the same loops that the medical kit clips to.

In this example, I have a few sweat pants stuffed in the bag for volume and heft.

it actually does work well. I have used this to carry stuff for up to two or three hours in a pinch. So, if you need to double your cargo capacity, this is a trick to do it with.

And here is the bag upright so you get an idea of the way it rests.

So, anyway, there is it. That's my current kit. No,I don't carry any firearms or ammunition for my sidearm, I don't need to have to leave this thing at the door, which is exactly what would happen at my office. And I don't carry a lot of specialized stuff. The truth of the matter is that in any situation, be it an emergency or not, I believe my brain is my best resources, so I build all my kits to work with and around my skill sets, not in place of them. By that I mean if I ever need a full trauma kit, I'll probably pull my leatherman and cannibalize a shirt or something. And if I ever need to carry something really heavy, I'll probably pull out my rope and fashion some harness to my bag...

You get the idea, right?

So, anyway, not a Get-home-bag, not a Bug-out-bag, and not a Zombie survival kit.

Its a "me" kit, and I use it just about ever day.