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911 button or Sissy?

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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby BrianF » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:05 pm

Back to the original question about mild but worrying symptoms and pushing 911: not all "heart attacks" involve keeling over and needing CPR so the question is quite valid, especially as it seems that many of us here are over 50. As a carrier of a spot (mostly I do solo trips), I have pondered appropriate use. Given OR's scenario and recent experience I would say hit the button. For anyone with a medical history that would indicate a deeper problem it would be the smart response. For someone like me, who has been lucky in making it this far with no medical problems I would probably just keep going and monitor what happens - not smart but its how I react.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher



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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby oldranger » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:53 pm

Brian

The way you say you would react is exactly the way I would have reacted last summer. I must have had pretty significant blockage in that artery last summer, though.

And you are exactly right that not all heart attacks involve cardiac arrest. I actually brought this up because of the the discussion concerning CPR on mavericks First Aid Thread (old age made me think it was on this thread). As you can tell by coments from my "friends" if I were to sprain my finger they would probably ensure that it was fatal let alone something serious. And my philosophy (and understanding of probability) is that the more in the group the more likely some one person will get sick or injured and there goes the trip.

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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby rlown » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:10 pm

oldranger wrote:I actually brought this up because of the the discussion concerning CPR on mavericks First Aid Thread (old age made me think it was on this thread). As you can tell by coments from my "friends" if I were to sprain my finger they would probably ensure that it was fatal let alone something serious. And my philosophy (and understanding of probability) is that the more in the group the more likely some one person will get sick or injured and there goes the trip.

Mike


Don't sprain your finger.. or at least not your casting finger. We need it. Probability of death means nothing w/o a predetermination.. I'm vetted, you're vetted, Mark is, well, of Greek decendance and immune to most stuff. My thought is the more in your group (3) gives you degrees of freedom from most harm. Solo gives you zero.

I'd still be proud to stand on your SPOT device to see if it fires in an emergency.
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby gdurkee » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:24 am

There are options between pushing 911 and just continuing. First is to educate yourself on the early symptoms of the most common ailments and then listen to your body. Also educate yourself on symptoms of mental conditions. Anxiety can mimic heart problems, OR actually be caused by heart problems. Repressed fear creates some strange symptoms. To complicate things, even after you hit the 911, there will be some time before rescue reaches you. Honestly, if you are having an acute heart attack they are not going to get to you in time. If something is mildly suspect, you could also turn around and go back or head to a nearby trailhead (if that trailhead has communication services or people there). As you are retreating you can evaluate the situation and may still have to push the 911, but maybe not. Get out and get checked out be a doctor even if the symptoms go into remission. Retreat is a hard decision to make.


Gotta be really careful with any pain or discomfort involving chest or even upper abdomen. As I've often been told in EMS training, you can't rule out a cardiac event in a male over 30 (yes, that was last year's recommendation -- cocaine use has lowered the age for concern...) years old.It's absolutely true that a bunch of things, anxiety high among them, can imitate heart conditions, but you don't know... . You can't diagnose in the field, it takes blood tests and an EKG. (I'll add, that you can't diagnose most anything serious in the field without some advanced gizmos). In almost all cases, they're flown out.

When someone -- especially a male over 40 -- says to me they've got mild chest pain or abdominal pain, they're most likely outta there. I can call it in to a base hospital, but the decision is almost always to fly them out. I wouldn't recommend hiking out to "evaluate" when more stress on the heart could make it could go very, very badly. The few cases I've seen that might be called "acute" have also turned out well -- serious and almost unquestionably cardiac-related pain have all gotten out in time for definitive treatment and a good outcome. The reason for that is the people reported it quickly enough so we could get them out.

Which is all to say I disagree with the above. On the whole, when people complain about assorted symptoms, they're pretty genuine -- rarely someone trying to get a free ride out; they're authentically concerned about something. It's hard not to get into a 2nd guessing yourself loop -- whatever the symptoms -- but I'm a major fan of getting help. The SPOT and related gizmos have become a pain sometimes, but not in the case of medical issues.

George
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby oldranger » Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:22 pm

Thanks George!

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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:56 pm

I do not think the issue is taking people's complaining seriously, but rather if you are out there alone how you determine if what you feel is serious or not. They say in First Aid that the objective observer is often better at knowing something is wrong than you yourself because denial and ego get in your way. There are a continum of symptoms from none to obvious. You are not trying to be macho or get a free ride. You are trying to evaluate your situation, all there by yourself. And often just being by yourself is scary. I know what a panic attack feels like.

It is at lower end of symptom severity that we have trouble making the decision. Everyone need to learn to listen to their body. I have certain quirky symptoms that I know are not serious that if someone were watching me they may be inclined to call 911. It is when I get any symptom, barely discernable or acute, that I have NEVER experienced before that I get worried.

I read the original question as "where is the line when you are out there self-evaluating?" OR also said that once the problem was located, he could look back at subtle symptoms he had had for some time. I think that applies to all of us. We need to pay more attention to subtle symptoms.

In theory "push the button" sounds like the correct answer, but realistically, I do not think it is an easy decision. I am not an "either/or" thinker and can get way emotional if I have had a hard day. Framed as "push buttoon or be sissy" backs me into an emotional corner and if I instead think of all the other options, I can calm down. Maybe guys do not freak out. But I have a fear factor built in me that I need to calmly evaluate if it is panic or a real symptom. Denial is one end - hypochondria the other. Just wanted to share the thought that, for me, knowing I have many options is reassuring. This is a far cry from saying ignore it.
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby rlown » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:15 pm

i'm seriously doubting that most hypochondriacs backpack, let alone solo..

besides that, you ever read the customer reviews on the spot product? http://www.rei.com/product/784892/spot- ... -messenger

Its the review's link in the page.
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:07 am

Maybe hypochondriac is not the proper word. Lets just say I can stir the pot enough to get my imagination cooking getting me into panic where I may push the help button. A nice cup of tea usually does the trick, calms me down, and then I make a better decision.

I think the issue is not push button or not. I think anyone who realizes they are in a serious medical condtion would push the button. The issue is recognizing what constitutes a serious medical problem! Here is where learning more about symptoms and listening to your body is very valuable. I think everyone our age should know all the symptoms of heart disease. Regardless of family history, heart disease can hit anyone. Unfortunately, most wilderness first aid courses assume a younger demographic and say little about this. Perhaps we need a "Wilderness Medicine for Old Farts".

I read the link on SPOT. I am not sure what your point is, relative to this discusson. Sorry I did not pick up on your intent. Could you clearify?
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby oldranger » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:22 am

Daisy,

You are correct that Russ has actually introduced a new topic. His point is that you can't rely on the Spot Locator. My experience is that the Spot 1 has been extremely reliable and accurate. It seems that there was an issue re Spot II reliablility but the impression I got from a review of a person that waited a while to purchase one was that the issue was resolved.

I think the inability to make contact described by some reviewers is the result of incorrect operation (i.e. not reading the instructions carefully). On the second or third trip I took with one I forgot to review the instructions and when I pushed the "I'm ok button" I held it down for an extended period. That was wrong because that activated the "tracking function" which I did not pay for and consequently no message was sent. The proper procedure is simply to push the button and immediately release it to send an "I'm ok" message

Another problem is that some people do not understand the limitations of satellite communication, especially the system employed by Spot. There are not many satellites in the Globalstar system (though apparently that is improving) and they are relatively low and to the s. of the Sierra. The only time I operated the locator correctly and it did not work was from the bottom of Lee Vining canyon. I was concerned at the time that it might not work because of the steep canyon walls to the south. However last september I successfully sent an OK message from Tower Canyon (runs e/w just like Lee Vining Canyon). There are also limitations due to thick forest but that would be a problem with any device that relies on Satellite communication, either for direct communication or for gps coordinates. As for me, if I get injured or sick it will be in wide open spots on s. facing slopes. ;)

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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby rlown » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:34 am

Pretty much 'spot' on, mike! If you're sick, a lot can go wrong trying to set up and press a button. Esp, alone.. but back to topic.. I'd still hit the button if i couldn't figure out a medical condition really fast. Given I don't carry an emergency device and prefer not to go solo, the "survivor" in our party is instructed to secure the patient as best he can, provide water and food close by, and then daypack for help... The ol' fashioned spot device..
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:16 pm

Boy, I wish I knew what to think about your post.

For most of my life, IPhones and all the other new e-stuff were never part of the wilderness experience. Now it seems that its become important. I don't know what to think about it all. I guess all I can say is that one should be very careful while travelling in the wilderness, and be on guard. For most of the history of Sierra travelling, there were no e-rescues, and one had to rely on oneself. Seems a little cold-hearted, but reality.
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Re: 911 button or Sissy?

Postby oldranger » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:39 pm

East Side,

I don't really think the spot locator is for me but for my wife and companions if any, and potential searchers. This way companions can get rid of me and continue the trip. They are welcome to what is left of my booze and my gear. It also saves time searching if solo and I am able to get a signal out (Whether or not I survive, searching and finding a body is pretty stressful so I will do what I can to make things easy.) The reality of being responsible for yourself remains but the fact is that if you are missing people will search and that costs money and time. Many serious wounds I would struggle out with but if I think of myself as a potential fatality then it is time to think big picture.

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