While trekking to Everest base camp, I was away from normal life; no hospitals, patient charts or laboratory tests. However, injuries and sickness seemed to be constantly around.
One interesting day, I had four patients within hours. First, my brother accidentally sliced the top of his finger while trying to open a container with a knife. It was deep, nearly to the bone, and I was worried about damage to his extensor tendon (he is now fine with no problems). After a futile attempt to find a suture kit, we cleaned the wound, taped it together, splinted it with a pencil and wrapped it with gauze.
When we arrived back to our lodging, a fellow trekker approached and “needed to talk”. He had profuse diarrhea and wanted help. After a brief consultation, I gave him a course of antibiotics and he was on his way. Before I could blink, an older man approached from behind and whispered “did I hear correctly that you are a doctor?” He proceeded to explain symptoms of very mild acute mountain sickness and asked if he needed an evacuation. I reassured him that he would be fine if he did not continue to ascend and he happily returned to his room.
I sat down at the dining table, ordered a tea and out of the blue, an Indian woman said “I need your help! I have a splinter in my hand.” I looked at the palm of her right hand and could barely see a small black dot. I replied, “I do not have my glasses, you might be better off having one of your friends remove this with my tweezers”. She immediately retorted, “I need a doctor to do it”. I giggled a little, poked the tweezers nearly blindly and squeezed. To my surprise, a 5mm wood splinter was removed. I was lucky and she was happy.
Other days brought new patients.