A Day in the Life of the First-Aid Kit – by Hamish Frayne


IMG_3422At 5:56 am the door opens. Light streams into the room as a brown Columbia hat with a Wintersport T-shirt shuffles into the room and begins packing up the total-station batteries charging peacefully on the table to my left. Soon after, a man with an Adidas hat and a green T-shirt enters the room and grabs one of my straps, startling me. This is how a day as the first-aid kit generally begins.

I am carried outside to see a mob of people adorned with T-shirts, hats and cargo pants all patiently waiting to load into large metal transport vessels. After a few moments of waiting I am carelessly tossed into the rear of one such vessel. We depart and I suffer half-an-hour of bumps, twists, turns and lurches. Afterwards, I am carried up a steep hill with a gorgeous view of the surrounding farmland. Shockingly, my escorts hardly consider their surroundings but merely trudge up the hill with their heads down. I get placed casually in the shade up against a large tree, and there I wait patiently until needed.

My first patient calls around 7:30 am. A man with a large sun hat, a white (??) T-shirt and slightly too much sunscreen on his face unzips me and pulls out a pack of Almora. My next call comes at 9:12 am as a slightly sun-baked female with a blister on her left thumb rummages through me in search of polysporin and a band-aid. I try to recommend the anti-septic spray, since the polysporin expired in 2011, but my suggestions fall on deaf ears (expired polysporin is better than nothing I suppose).

At 9:45 am the humans congregate around the tree in a daily ritual, and I generally provide a few band-aids at this time. Near the end of the congregation a tall man in a blue shirt with bloodshot eyes opens my small pouch and removes eye drops. One of his contact lenses has collected some dust, and I supervise as his fellow human helps administer the drops into his irritated eye.

My next patient comes much later at 11:08 am. By now the humans are slightly heat-exhausted, as evidenced by the quality of the jokes I overhear, making careless injuries more likely. Someone accidentally struck the ring finger of their nearby colleague while pick-axing dirt, so I provide acetaminophen, soothing cream and bandage-wrap to a woman grimacing in pain; fortunately the injury seems nothing more than a bad bruise.

The humans have another congregation around 11:30 am, although everyone is considerably less exuberant by now and I generally remain untouched during this process. Only as the gathering ends do I provide some Almora packs to people who need a boost to get through the rest of the day.

As 1:00 pm arrives, the man in the green shirt and Adidas hat (which has now been replaced by a much larger garment described as the “Sun Protection Zone”) examines my contents to ensure I am still packed appropriately. We begin the descent down the hill followed by the usual jarring ride home. At last I am removed from the transport vessel and returned to my usual home in the Office, knowing that tomorrow the entire process will begin anew.

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