“I’m bleeding mommy,” yelled Thumper as I typed away at my computer. “I’ll be there in a second,” I yelled not quite ready to handle yet another injury. I shot up running when Axel came in a few seconds later and accused me of caring more about my computer than I did about Thumper who was severely injured outside. Indeed, he had sliced a large chunk of skin off on a rock after jumping into the new pond that Baddy had built with his pet Skidster.
Having just taken a First Aid class to prepare myself for our Canyonlands backpacking trip, I stood there frozen. I learned how to dress an open wound but not how to care for an open wound that had occurred in bacteria laden creek water.
I ran for Baddy, who luckily was home, and hovered over his shoulder as he took control. “Everybody remain calm,” he shouted as I annoyingly read the first aid book to him. I was not calm. I was angry with myself for not knowing what to do and didn’t trust that Baddy did either. We have had friends who have just recently gotten very bad infections from wounds and I wanted to make sure that this did not happen to our Thumper.
Baddy scrubbed and dressed the wound but I saw that there was still a tiny particle of dirt lodged in the center and called the doctor for a follow up visit. Baddy was offended but I could not risk infection.
One week later I am taking Thumper to the desert on our school outdoor ed trip and I have no doubt that he and his other two energetic friends will be performing tricks off of every rock that they find. It worries me that I will not be able to dress his wound carefully enough as he fills it with dirt.
Baddy, who has to work, is the more capable one to go backpacking with three nine year old’s in a hot, dirty, waterless desert with ninety six degree temperatures. I have always loved the desert but have become quite spoiled and accustomed to the luxuries of sleeping in the camper that has been loaned to us by our friends who store it on our property. Roughing it was never my specialty but I would never miss this opportunity to share this experience with Thumper. I look forward to reading him stories of the Fremont Indians that lived on the land 400 A.D. to 1350 A.D. as we watch the southwestern colors magically change with the rising and setting of the sun.
Surfing for clever survivor ideas, I came to a video of Bear Grylls urinating on his shirt and wrapping it around his head and mouth to cool down in the hot sun. I was ready to cancel the whole gig immediately. I also can’t stop thinking of Aron Ralston who amputated his arm off with a dull knife to escape from the boulder that had landed on him and trapped him for five days. He was not too far away from where we will be camping.
Things happen in the desert and I can’t help but feel a strong sense of foreboding as I head off with my injured son. I am determined to be sufficiently equipped for snakebites, scorpion stings, infection, more open wounds, heat stroke, dehydration, starvation and mental dementia. I may have to include a hidden flask of forbidden tequila to calm my fears.
I am grateful that my two very efficient friends will be accompanying me on this trip. I know that they are already laughing at my trepidation and think I am over reacting. Arriving with my fifty pound bulging backpack filled with all the necessary tools to assuage my fears will most definitely open the door to a barrage of well intentioned pokes as we trek the well trodden trails.