Always a Nurse: Beach First Aid in Hawaii

Yesterday while at Sharks’ Cove, I wandered up to the car to get my towel and rinse off by myself. Three girls hobbled by, two helping the third who was limping in the middle. They were all islanders, 13 and 14 years old. A second girl had blood all over her thigh. I dug the first aid kit out of the dive bag. I was lucky that Patrick had mentioned it’s existence earlier. I bought it for him as a Christmas gift a few years ago.

After pulling it out, I threw my cover-up on, grabbed a towel and walked over to where they were rinsing off in fresh water. I introduced myself, told them who I was and offered to help. They were actually being fairly calm and supporting each other in ways only teenage girls can. I looked at their wounds and offered to patch them up.

It is amazing, but not surprising what ocean waves and volcanic rock can do.

The one girl had a gash about 5 cm long down her thigh, the other, a deep gash in the callous of her heel. Butterfly Band-Aids to the thigh, regular ones to the heel after washing them both out with the bottled water I had. Abby, Gabby, and Molly were their names. They all swore they thought I was only 21 years old. They were astonished when I told them I was 31. It made me smile, but be glad I was no longer that age. The other interesting thing was that I introduced myself as a Nurse, not as a Nurse Practitioner. It just seemed to require less explanation.

The girl with the thigh wound really needed some stitches. She had so little body fat that it went deep enough to hit fascia but was deceiving because of the lack of obvious subcutaneous layer. It was gaped open about a centimeter and will leave a bad scar if her father, who showed up a few minutes later, decided not to take her in because of lack of insurance.

When finished explaining to the dad what I thought, and giving my infection teaching in a subtle way, they thanked me and hobbled off. While throwing out the bandage wrappers and folding up the towel, an older islander woman, who would be called abuelita in Mexico, wandered over in her very large floral print dress and said, “That was very nice of you to do.”

Apparently she had been watching me. It is funny how much helping like that just becomes an extension of who I am, even when I least expect it.

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  1. wow!
    I’ve always looked up to you because of the “letters”, and this just shows way more.

    how cool of you to help them! ( dude you dive in addition to everything else cool about you?)
    nurse is like the universal word……..NP or not…….i guess, but assisting in a time of need goes totally recognizable, as the abuelita noticed you.

    You truely are an inspiration to younger (green as all hell) nurses like me. You really inspire me. I wish I knew more about you, in addition to your “nurse life”, because as a nurse you seem “unsurpassable, awesome, OMFG”, seriously, if you are this cool as a “person” then you are so wonderful to have as a blog friend. Thanks for the opportunity to read.