Monday, April 23, 2018

Stress tests and public restrooms

So you’re getting ready for a trip. Maybe it’s a 4 hour trip across the state, or maybe its a 13 hour drive for a business trip.  You have your Get Home Bag, a few extra car supplies and a new audio book to pass the time. 

Are you as prepared as your think you are?

When we plan our BOB or GHBs most of us have the basics covered.   Water, warmth, food and first aid.  Many also throw a weapon in there as well. 

What more could you need?

Have you put your bag to stress test?   

This weekend I went on a hike in a new location. Well, new to me, the location has been there since forces greater than I formed it anywhere form 6,000 to 100 billion years ago.  Most of my hikes have been in the same area because it is close and easy to get to after work.  Especially during the winter when it get dark around 3:30 in the afternoon.  

So I hit the road.  Not a long trip, but enough to get out of my comfort zone. A friend went along and we looked forward to new scenery and hiking what was to us the unknown.

The first test of our bags came at the trail head.  My friend, lets call him “Frank”, mentioned that he had been having a gastrointestinal issue. “No Problem.” I thought, and I reached for my first aid kit.  I would offer him some Imodium and problem solved. 

It is at this time I find that I have no Imodium in my bag.  I have aspirin, Tylenol,  ibuprofen, bandages, butterfly strips, tampons, burn gel, blister covers and tape.  But not one Imodium. 

Now I purchased Imodium.  I bought A LOT of Imodium.  I went to Sam’s club and bought thousands of these little pills.  I did this after I saw that the FDA wanted retailers to limit the amount of Imodium you could by because people were taking hundreds of them at a time to combat opiate withdrawal.   So I got while I could, in the amounts I wanted while I could.
I am sure this put me on a list. Some where there is a computer with my name flagged as a very possible Imodium abuser.  Possibly as an opiate abuser, possibly as someone who has an unreasonable fear of having a bowel movement. Either way, I am sure someone some day will scrutinize my large purchase of this product. BUT I HAD NOT ADDED IT TO MY BAG! Which is doubly sad since I had them on had and they are really small and easy to fit in the bag. 

So “Frank” says he will stop by the restroom at the trail head and attempt to take care of business so it does not become emergency business on the trail.  

This really reinforced my belief that Imodium is important if not a necessity.   

This restroom was one of those simple vault style restrooms that require little upkeep.  This particular one as like many others, had been decorated in what can only be referred to as “Excreta applied by fire hose”.  If this gives you any sense of revulsion, congratulations, you’re normal.  If you read that and think, “Ah ha! They have seen my work!”, please get help now. Mental and physical, the rest of us are ready to vote you on to an island all by yourself. 

As an aside, how does this happen?  What is wrong with you when you can’t even hover over the appropriate receptacle? How does it get everywhere?  Sometimes not even on or in said receptacle?   

But I digress.  Imodium not only can save a life (look up statics for dysentery), it can also provide you with the ability to choose when and where to go.  When it comes to public restrooms I am very prochoice. 

Now “Frank” is smart guy.  I give him props for bringing his own toilet paper and afterwards he pointed out various plants that from experience he knew could step in to fill the void so to speak if you ran out of TP. 

To sum this up, once again a gap in my plan was exposed by getting out and using the pack that I keep to possibly save my life in the worst case scenario.  It also can help out in a scenario of just bad timing. You never know when you are on the road how new food or water will effect you.  That truck stop you grabbed the chicken fried steak at my only employ people who have no idea what proper hygiene is, or simply not care.

So get that pack out and use it.  Go for hike, go camping, go for trip where it is your first go to before stopping at the gas station, drug store or big box retailer.  Even in a hotel room, you can depend on it first. 

Stress test your plans.  That is where the cracks show.  Doctors stress test heart patients because that is where the weaknesses become very apparent.  Your BOB / GHB is the heart of your on the road survival plans and it needs stress tested.  Until you do, you really don’t know the health of your plans.  

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Stress tests and public restrooms

So you’re getting ready for a trip. Maybe it’s a 4 hour trip across the state, or maybe its a 13 hour drive for a business trip.  ...