Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My first Exercise

At our base we do these exercises quite frequently. We pretend that we are actually at war and go through all the procedures that we would do in the event of a catastrophe. This week has been quite exciting. At work we had to wear all of our Chem Gear over our regular uniform, carry our gas masks and be ready to put it on at a moments notice. Yesterday we ended being in MOPP 4 (wearing everything; gas mask, rubber gloves, rubber boots, chem suit, hood, kevlar helmet) for about 90 minutes. Plus when we go outside we have to wear a FLACC vest which is really heavy, and I don't even have the bullet proof plates in mine! Then during that time we had to "bug out", and evacuate the entire hospital. It is really hard to see wearing our gas masks. It is kind of like walking in a tunnel with no peripheral vision.

After about an hour in the gas mask I thought I was gonna pass out. I was sweating like a pig, my lenses on the gas mask were fogging, and I just wanted to sit down. Finally I sat down and started to close my eyes. Then I thought, If I pass out, I could really die in this mask and no one would realize it. I forced myself to open my eyes and concentrate on taking big deep breaths. Finally they announced the all clear and we could take them off.

I don't know how I would ever be able to actually work and treat patients in all that crap!

Thank goodness I am off work today and tomorrow. I have to work on Friday, but that is the last day of the exercise so hopefully it will be all wound down by then.

I hate all this exercise stuff, but it is nice that if we ever actually had to do it we are prepared. They pretty much make us do it so often, that when it happen for real it wouldn't be any shocker, just another day at work!


Kameron said...

Well, here's hoping that you never have to do that! I am so clausterphobic I would freak out. When I was in labor they made me put an oxygen mask on and I couldn't stand it. I kept taking really deep breaths and then pulling it off of my face. The nurse said she had never seen anyone take O2 that way!