Sunday, July 20, 2008
What NOT TO DO when vacationing in Key West
I like tourists. I really do. I was a tourist once, too (and look what happened! My dream came true and I got to STAY). Tourists usually make good patients, they're mostly polite, usually scared that something's happening to them so far from home and happy that we can treat them so quickly and get them on their way. Still, it's a real bummer to anyone if you break a bone, need stitches, or end up intubated sometime during your hard-earned vacation. So Mojitogirl has put together a small list of reminders to make sure your vacation goes smoothly and you don't get to see me on a professional basis while in Paradise!
1. HYDRATE, HYDRATE HYDRATE! And I don't mean beer! It's hot here. Hot and humid. Probably hotter than you're used to. And it's also an outdoor kind of town. You're going to sweat and lose fluids without even noticing. Drink water. Then drink more water. We get all kinds of folks in for dehydration. If you drink, you won't lose a few precious hours of vacation time in the ER rehydrating.
2. It's a small town. We call it a 2 x 4 island. You walk a lot. Or you ride a bike or rent a scooter. Be really careful doing all three. The streets are older and uneven, there are a lot of parked cars, tree roots in the sidewalks, drunk tourists riding scooters. We see LOTS of scooter accidents, people tripping on the sidewalks, people slipping on wet streets, people falling off bicycles. Just be careful. Most of these happen to people who have never driven scooters, or haven't been on a bike in years.
3. Alcohol and water sports do not mix. PERIOD. What would possess anyone to drive a jetski or a powerboat under the influence? We see more near-drownings from jetski accidents than from swimming mishaps. Wear your lifejacket and watch the speed.
4. Don't take a 100 foot dive right after getting your brand new certification. It could be painful AND expensive, since the nearest decompression chamber is near the mainland and you'll buy yourself a chopper ride.
5. Don't leave your oxygen tank at home if you come on vacation and you're oxygen dependent. Just because the air is clean and the island is breeze-swept doesn't mean you're not going to decompensate. Can you imagine the vacation stories? "What did you do on holiday? Oh, I went to Key West and got intubated." STUPID STUPID STUPID.
6. Invest in an inexpensive pair of water shoes that you will shield your feet from coral, glass or any other sharp objects when in the water. It will save you a trip to the ER to remove embedded foreign bodies.
7. I understand that on vacation, you're letting loose, eating and drinking and unleashing the inner child, usually without the children along. Be sensible. Don't drink or eat or drug to excess. If you're going to pass out drunk somewhere, do it in the privacy of your hotel room, not on Duval Street, where our trusty KW police with haul your drunken carcass over to the ER. Guaranteed.
8. Sunburn is NOT an emergency that needs to be seen in the ER. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.
Otherwise, enjoy your stay in PARADISE!