It is hard to stay prepared when you can't have much stuff, but we do little things: we have good international medical insurance; I carry a large, well-stocked first aid kit; I brought a water purifier that we have never ever used...those sorts of things.
First aid kits attract me like a magnet--I can hardly resist! What does another culture think is important, if you just have a few things, to help you in an emergency?
I bought my first foreign first aid kit also here in Uruguay, from a grocery store. I will have to see if I can find the pictures of it and post another time.
So, this is actually my second Uruguayan first aid kit. They had a big bin of them at Tienda Inglesa this week, almost as if they're a seasonal item. They cost $699 pesos Uruguayos, which is about $30. Jeff told me we don't need more stuff. I told him it wasn't like we had to take it with us, we could just leave it here in the apartment. He said good, but it looks like more stuff to him, so he wasn't going to pay for it. Whatever. I bought it. It's not like we have to keep it.
MALETIN CON ELEMENTOS
DE PREMEROS AUXILIOS Y SEGURIDAD VIAL
911 - POLICIA 108 - CAMINERA 104 - BOMBEROS
Or, in other words, it is a:
CASE WITH SUPPLIES
OF FIRST AID AND ROAD SAFETY [I didn't know VIAL was a road thing, though, I thought it was vital, meaning very necessary.]
911 - POLICE 108 - HIGHWAY PATROL [Police here don't do traffic stops, I don't think.] 104 - FIREMEN
I thought that was a nice touch to have the important numbers on the outside.
On the back there is a list of contents, in abbreviated Spanish, so I was able to guess about several items.
So, opening it up...
|What's in my Purse: First Aid Kit Edition|
And here are all of the contents:
1) a little LED flash light. But, it requires 3 AAA batteries, so hopefully you've added them before you're in an emergency and you open the plastic on the first aid kit to discover you need them.
2) 2 big, very absorbent pads.
3) 2 small rolls of loose-weave gauze.
4) 2 packages that each have two square pieces of gauze. Possibly sterile, possibly non-stick. Definitely looks like the part you're supposed to put directly on a wound.
5) 1 small roll of medical tape. The paper kind.
6) 1 small pair of blunt scissors. With centimeter measurements on both sides.
7) 1 XL neon orange vest, with reflective tape around it.
8) 1 XXL neon yellow vest.
9) 2 pairs of latex gloves.
10) the case it all came in.
11) a red biohazard bag.
Antibiotic ointment? No. Tylenol or asprin? No. Burn cream? No. A band-aid? No.
That's it, folks! It puts the "first" in "First Aid" because I don't know of many medical problems that won't require more care than this. But it is something to start with, anyway.
This is kind of interesting because a couple days ago I saw a couple people stopped on the side of a road, one changing a flat on a scooter, and someone else with a car that had broken down. In both cases, it was starting to get dark on an unlit road. The scooter guy was wearing a reflective vest (I think there is a law here saying that people wearing scooters are required to wear a neon vest). The guy with the broken down car was also wearing a neon vest, and he was popping up a little reflective triangle thing to set in front of his car. That was it. No road flares. No glow sticks. I was happy for him that he had the little reflector, because 20 minutes after I passed, as it got darker, it would have been really tough to see him. People drive fast on those roads.
It does seem like a weird kit for in a car. Do you know what people need here? Jumper cables. The law says you have to drive with your lights on all the time, so people forget to turn them off, and then you have a dead battery. That happened to us once. We were renting a car at the time, so we called the rental place, and they had us call the automobile club (they had a membership), and someone came out and started it for us. Another time, I saw someone having their car jumped by the police. Interesting. I wouldn't have thought to call the police to jump my car. We bought a cheap set of jumper cables for our car, just in case.
So, if you choose to buy the Tienda Inglesa first aid kit, you can basically soak up a bunch of blood from a wound (and dispose of it in a biohazard bag), put a dressing on the wound with maybe-sterile gauze, wrap that with loose, rolled gauze and tape it shut. Then put on a bright vest and hope someone finds you! But hopefully, if you're in Uruguay, you'll find the Devoto first aid kit instead, and use that. It has more useful stuff. And then if you want a vest, you can easily find those at any large store.
Maybe later I will update with pictures from our other first aid kit, or tell about our hospital visit. Fun, fun!
(PS, the first aid kit that we really carry with us for our travels is the Adventure Medical Kits World Travel Kit. It is a little big, but well worth the luggage space.)