hot on the heels of my last post (re: being a commando), i went paintballing with some friends on saturday for my buddy chris's bachelor party. there were seven of us: mike, chris, jeremy, jeff, me, daniel (former army weapons trainer - sheesh), and nate (former tank engineer). the games were really fun and while i probably looked like this:
i felt like i looked like this:
now, in order to appreciate the rest of this story, you need to know that the place were playing was a large dry creek bed of solid rock. on either side of the ravine was shrubs, brush and woods, and the whole place was nestled in a steep ravine with a railroad track cutting across it, supported by tall columns. now, towards the end of the fourth game, i shot jeff in the mask and he called "i'm out" and started walking out. i turned my attention back to the rest of the game when i heard jeff screaming.
i ran over to find jeff - never a small guy, or one to complain - grabbing his leg and screaming. he had fallen down a small mudslide and into a little pool of water that was collecting around the base of one of the columns. it was the strangest thing - i was totally calm. i threw off my mask and gun, jumped in the water and patted his leg down - no protuberances, that's good. i grabbed him under his arms and hauled him out of the water. chris and jeremy showed up.
he was screaming about his ankle but he could move it just fine. that made me think it was the ankle. jeremy (his brother) stayed with him while chris, mike, nate and i gathered up gear and quickly moved the quarter mile back to the trucks. i left some water with jeff, told him to stay calm. when we got back he was trying to move with some walking sticks but it was slow going. i took off my belt and using some sticks made a field-splint, effectively setting the bone and isolating his ankle. when he felt comfortable, we picked him up and carried him up the steep scree to the top of the ravine. it took four of us working in tandem with jeff. it was brutal.
mike found a bed-liner for a pick-up truck in the brush and we hauled it out. jeff lay down in it and the remaining six of us hauled him maybe 200 yards through brush, cactus, dead trees and thorns to chris' truck, and then on to the med clinic. the funniest thing is that afterwards, mike asked me if i was an EMT. i laughed and said no, but he pointed out i seemed to know what i was doing. and people were looking to me for queues. it was strange but all this nonsense about survival and self-reliance i've been on about in preparation for this trip totally kicked in. it's amazing that my last post was about just that kind of feeling: your friend's leg is broken and you have to get him to safety. work with what you have. NEVER GIVE UP.