Friday, September 17, 2021

Wilderness First Responder Training


Date & Time
Wed, Sep 8, 7:30 AM - Fri, Sep 17, 5:00 PM MDT

YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park, CO 80511

A step up from Wilderness First Aid, our Wilderness First Responder course is designed for outdoor professionals and people who spend extended periods of time in remote settings. The 80-hour course includes standards for urban and extended care situations. This course represents the medical training standard for aspiring guides, outdoor leaders, and anyone seeking to step up their ability to act in an emergency. Adult CPR is included.


On May 30, 2021 I applied for an Estes Park Health Foundation Scholarship Program to complete the above listed Wilderness First Responder Course. On June 9, 2021 I was told I had received the scholarship! 

This is the second hardest, out of my comfort zone thing I have done in 2021. To go back to school, even if it was a 10 day course, when I am out of shape and feeling really down on myself. 

One of my nurses had taken the Medical Professionals (RN, EMT, DR, etc) version and gave me some helpful pointers to not feel so stressed about it. 

I was worried that with the crazy work schedules from the hospital that I would not be able to attend, but as I type this, it is September 6, 2021 and I am full on to go on Wednesday! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021, was the one of the hardest days of the year for me. A dear Longmire Days friend passed away and it was my first day of class - I failed at my first patient assessment, because I just froze up and couldn't even remember my name. I couldn't work through my notes and it was hot, I was tired and hungry because it was a very physical day learning how to assess the patient and getting up and down constantly in the heat.

I came home and cried. It's that simple. All of my learned knowledge from working in the ER as registration and asking questions was actually a hinderance to me learning. 

It is fun to play the patient - they even make it look so real (the above bruise is just makeup)! 

Thursday, September 9, 2021, was a better day. I had slept well and I felt better about myself. I rolled patients, carried litters with a team, took vitals, and while I still suck at the assessment part, I feel much better.

Friday, September 10, 2021, was our long day. We started at 8 am with Spine assessments, head injuries, then lunch, athletic injuries, fracture management, pain management in the wilderness, dinner, then we had dislocations. I find I do better working in large teams because I can bounce ideas off people and they help me to focus on things more. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021, saw me have a melt down again. While taking this course, I have had a dear friend pass away suddenly, another friend's grandson pass away, I have been worried about paying bills and having food to eat, because my job was messing with my PTO while I was doing this, worrying about the fact I am 50 and way out of shape, my book is missing sections of reading so I can't read what I need too (and they are trying to get myself and 4-5 others new books) and I am just TIRED with only 4 hours sleep after the night work course, because my body thought I was back on night shifts and that I shouldn't be falling asleep at night.

I sobbed through my first assessment this morning and my teammate and my patient (thankfully not a REAL one) were supportive. This was wilderness wound management. 

We got to play with steri-strips and 2nd skin.

After lunch was Heat/hydration, then hypothermia. For heat, I was a victim, and had leg cramping, stomach cramps and my two teammates had to assess if I was just dehydrated, heat exhausted or having heat stroke. 

Then came the most amazing senario! WOW! Myself and 4 others were to be patients. This was a MASS CASUALTY event. It was amazing to watch all of us acting and to see the teams work through all the traumas that each of us had. I was so blessed to be working with these people and to know them all. WOW. Amazing. 

As we hiked back to the classroom from our scenario area, one of my instructors noticed that I was trailing behind and away from people (I was feeling like that old horse that was just not going to get caught up to the herd). He walked with me and chatted and I explained some fears and frustrations - he was AMAZING, giving me encouragement and making me feel less like a loser and more like a winner. I am so grateful, even through all the tears for getting to take this class. 

Sunday, September 12,2021, was more training on all the things. We did another MASS CASUALTY scenario and I was a responder. Then we all went to THE SLAB in downtown Estes Park. 

We were given Monday, the 13th off and I so needed the break! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021, was more training and scenarios that were to help us for Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021, was a full on Night Scenario. I am just going to say it was amazing and this photo is just a practice AFTER we were all done. The main scenario was WOW. Again, I am so blessed to have worked with these people! 

Thursday, September 16, 2021, was our final day of training and we found out our team mate for our final practical. We worked with them and then said goodbye to our wonderful instructors. 

I went home, read my book (we finally got the book with all the pages today) and recopied my notes, hoping all of this information would fit. I slept, woke up and studied, went back to sleep, woke up and headed out for my written test then my practical. 

I was pretty certain that my written test was a bust. It was like I couldn't remember anything, but I did pass it with a totally better score than I was expecting. Then it was practical time. I just have to say SAM IS THE MAN. What an amazing teammate and wow, we rocked it. 

So officially, at 2 PM, Mountain Time, September 17, 2021, I became a "WOOFER" (aka Wilderness First Responder)

All of these people are amazing and I am so very happy to have met them all and been able to work with them!! It was worth all of the tears and stress and tired muscles. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Longmire Days 9.5

Unlike 2020, the 2021 Longmire Days did have some live events, limited tickets, with masks required. None of the actors came, but Craig Johnson gave some talks and took it back to the roots of the first Longmire Days in 2011. This should have been the 10 year anniversary, but with Covid still in full swing, the Foundation was calling it LD 9.5!

My Truck's starting mileage

I had booked my hotel room when it was still under consideration that the whole thing would go on, and I decided to keep it, just shorten my stay, and go since I missed Buffalo and my friends there. 

There were many things that tried to change my mind on this from work related pressures to my old truck to having to travel alone to LD for the first time in 8 years. I did it though and I am so HAPPY that I did. 

I drove to Casper on Thursday. I don't come off my mountain very often and I hit shops and tourist traps that I wouldn't usually stop at when driving. 
Chugwater Wyoming

I stayed at the Rodeway Inn at Casper. It was nice and I had a King size bed and was just lazy! It was great.

Then on Friday, I drove from Casper to Buffalo. Buffalo has so many great murals! 

I went to Craig's Talk about his new book and his writing process. 

I stayed at the Mansion House Inn and had room 14 - 14 was a lucky number

I walked a LOT on Friday!!!!

This was much different than a "normal" Longmire Days, but I got to see a lot of people that chose to come up anyway, eat some good food and relax from the hectic life I have had for the last 18 months with COVID. 

I can't wait for 2022! It will be the 10 year anniversary!! WOOO HOOO!