Things About Getting Caught

I caught a cold. Well technically, it caught me, even though I was fleeing it aggressively in the form of hand washing and germ avoidance. In technical fire terms, we call this “camp crud” because everybody in camp has it, and every surface in camp is covered with it. I will take what's going around in lieu of the the gastrointestinal version of camp crud, though (give me a sinus headache over violent diarrhea any day). No yurt latch, outhouse door, or pair of tongs in the salad bar is safe. There isn't enough hand sanitizer in the world. The pervasive germ probably starts at someone’s house when a preschooler wipes snot-covered fingers across their soon-to-be-dispatched daddy’s face and the benevolent firefighter shares his family germs with the rest of his 20 man crew, who spread, from camp to camp, the viral love. It’s definitely epidemic, but luckily, nobody dies.

enter at your own risk... no, seriously. (PS, not on this fire)

Or maybe not so lucky since I woke up this morning wishing I was dead. My head felt like it had railroad spikes driven into both temples and that little spot right between my lungs and throat was on fire. And it hurt to move. I started out slowly, trying to determine if I felt like I needed to Lie Perfectly Still Forever because the NyQuil I took hadn’t worn off by 05:28 AM or if I really was That Sick. Turns out I was. I knew when I handed Nyquil to a fever-stricken girl from the kitchen crew that I was doomed. Watching all of those grubby hands root through a box of cough drops on the table in the med unit gave me full body shudders before I was even running a temp.

The beauty of getting a virus like this is that it seems like the rest of my body calls a truce from the inflammatory onslaught that is a daily occurrence. It’s as if the torn labrums in all four quadrants are like “all hail the coronavirus!” and bow down in deference to full-body aches. The bug has removed all guilt I usually feel for not getting out of my truck to do daily exercises, as any movement right now makes the whole world spin viciously like I am at a rave and on way too many hallucinogens.

I would like to offer my sincere appreciation at this time for whomever it is that developed guaifenesin as a cold remedy. I am seriously in love with Mucinex and today, specifically, the kind with dextromethorphan built it. Also a quick shout out to REAL Sudafed. I’d be lost without you, baby. All that phenylephrine crap can get lost.

One of my favorite parts about working in the medical tent at fire camp is coming up with the most effective cold remedy “cocktails” for other firefighters, and traditionally once a year, myself as well. In Oregon, you can’t get real pseudoephedrine without a prescription which is cruel and unusual punishment for all head cold sufferers and one more reason to hate the whole meth culture. The best daytime cold cocktail is real Sudafed, Tylenol or ibuprofen (depending on your preference) and Mucinex. At night, I am all about the NyQuil and Mucinex - and if I am REALLY bad, I will add more Sudafed too, unless I am in Oregon and am forced to suffer without. We usually are able to get the generic versions of all of this stuff in fire camp and have a steady supply, which is awesome. If you have to suffer, you might as well do it well armed.

Anyway, if you have any questions about how to get sick in fire camp and/or what to do for it, I’m your girl. In the meantime, I will be here in Division Zulu hacking out the inner lining of my lungs and trying not to infect the three people in camp who have thus far miraculously escaped exposure. It’s only a matter of time though…

500 man medical kit. Drugs-r-us. (PS2, also not on this fire)
PS, Speaking of getting caught, I wonder if I will get in trouble for writing about this fire, even though I didn't name names or use current pictures? Oh well. Getting caught for blogging can't be any worse than getting caught by a cold, right?

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