First Aid First Priority


Erin C 

After the cut

“You’re a nurse, why can’t you just pop a couple stitches in it?”

“Well, because usually I’m taking them out, not putting them in. I have never stitched anybody  in my life.”

This was the conversation my husband and I were having as he stood bleeding in the bathroom, me trying to clean up his cut.  We were butchering chickens that day and he plunged the end of a dull knife into the palm of his hand.  He needed stitches, that's not what I was doubting; I didn’t want to be the one to do them. We have a pretty impressive first aid kit, and it includes sutures, but I really didn’t want to have to stitch him up.  I did it anyway.  For one thing, I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop.  For another, it was gaping. So I put a butterfly closure on the bottom half, which stuck beautifully, and I put a single stitch in the top half because I couldn’t get a second butterfly closure to hold. That lasted most of the day until he decided to take out the stitch and see what happened.  It started to bleed again, but it had held together long enough so that the butterfly closure we slapped on it held. 

As I was digging through the first aid kit at the time, I realized that if we were more remote than we currently are, there are many times we would be in trouble. We are a five minute drive from the nearest emergency room at the moment, but when it comes time to purchase our forever property, we want to be far away from civilization. That week, we spent some money upgrading the first aid kit and added multiple suture kits, butterfly closures, steri-strips, and a lot of gauze. I already had multiple kinds of tape, Coban, Kerlix and other wound dressing items, but we needed the ability to do stitches quickly and correctly.  My husband makes knives, so he works with sharp blades, and some heavier tools.  Plus, he’s a little accident-prone. I also found a practice pad online for suturing different kinds of wounds.  I have been practicing my technique and can say the next time I have to stitch anybody, I’m ready. 

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