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Mongol Derby 2014 Medics Blog 12/08/2014 Part 2

Medics Blog by Sheila Loughman

We said goodbye to James’ tent this morning, as the pole snapped in two while being packed away. I’m sure he will not miss it though, as it was too short and several mornings he had to suffer wet cold feet and sleeping bag – but there was never any whinging from our seasoned adventurist!

The rest of the morning at Horse Station 22 was spent fashioning a splint for a broken finger. After searching unsuccessfully through the car for a lollipop stick, we decided to cut one of our SAM splints to the appropriate size. Some zinc oxide tape, gauze for padding and sticky elastic bandaging as an outer cover, and we had an alternative immobilisation cast to be proud of! There were also a few locals who wanted advice, notably a little 6 month old girl with a 3 month history of green discharge from her right ear. As medicines can be bought here without a prescription, I wrote a little note for her Mum to buy some amoxicillin 125mg/5ml, 2.5ml tds for one week. I hope it will help.

The area around this horse station is known for the high quality of its “airag” – the fermented mare’s milk alcoholic drink that is so popular among the locals. We suspected that some of our Mongolian crew had been tasting it the night before, when they chose to have a basket of meat for breakfast. The basket contained the head – which from the look of it was a cat sized rodent prior to being served. James and I were persuaded to try a sample, somewhat against better judgement, and it tasted a bit gamey, like venison. As there was also milky rice pudding on offer in the ger, and real coffee (rather than 3 in 1) from James secret stash, we had a decent start to the day. Still, one of the more unusual breakfasts of the Derby.

Luckily today we did not have to race 5 stations ahead, so at HS 23 we had time to catch up with Harry, head vet. He was enjoying the beautiful river valley setting, which was a great spot for eagles, crane and geese. It was Harry who identified our mystery breakfast meat as marmot. I was very pleased to be by the river for another reason - I finally got to wash my hair for the first time in 4 days. Feeling human again and no longer worried about taking off my hat! Since we had a little time, our driver decided to get out the fishing kit, and managed to catch something just before we needed to head on.

At the next HS 24, we caught up with one of our vets, who will remain nameless for now. They had come to us for advice about laxatives, at a previous HS 2 days ago, having taken senna and bisacodyl for 2 days without effect. As we had no osmotic laxatives in our kit, we looked at what they had in theirs. As we had little else to offer, in desperation we decided to go for some old fashioned horse IV magnesium sulphate! We were keen to hear how things had gone - it turns out that 5mg orally had worked very effectively – wilderness medicine at its best!

Well, back in the car to move on to HS 25 now. Bye for now – or as they say here: Bayer-te!