“For thousands of years, trepanation — the act of scraping, cutting, or drilling an opening into the cranium — was practiced around the world, primarily to treat head trauma, but possibly to quell headaches, seizures and mental illnesses, or even to expel perceived demons.”
Our fellow blogger Mike MD might not see it this way, but I consider myself a ‘trail surgeon’. Let me paint the picture for you. We’ll call you LSP, for sake of convenience here on this blog, are out in the back of beyond, far from conventional transportation and the reach of cell phones. You were careless enough to venture out there without a sat phone and suddenly, you find yourself in medical distress. You have few options: (a) Crawl under a bush and wait for the valkyries to take you as you clutch your hunting knife to prove your worth to them; (b) You try and walk out, during which time you drop your knife and the valkyries will pass you by and you’ll end up in Hellheim (shudder); (c) You invite a amateur trail surgeon (that would be me) who packs a rusty knife, some parachute cord and a flask of Oh Be Joyful to assuage your pain, making use of his skills for your benefit. Now the plan takes shape for you. I can ‘practice’ medicine with the best frontier types, and may beat out these guys.
Some of you may ask whether I could do a better job patching a wound than the French Foreign Legion barbers at Sidi Bel Abbes (North Africa) in the late 1800’s. Or whether I could keep up with the French Foreign Legion engineers (photo right). The answer is, you bet your bippy I can. I also have an axe.
Sure, some of you wimps would opt for a tourniquet or quick clot and a wash down with beta dyne to keep the would clean. Some of you might even object to me taking a drink to steady my hand before I cut with the (razor sharp, but rusty) camp knife. But I also bring a copy of the Good Book in the event that I need to say a few words over the carcass before rolling it into a hole…that’s the kind of surgeon I am. RIP, and carry on.