In a previous post I mentioned that Rod got about a hour to an hour and a half more sleep than I did each day. In that post I said I would explain why. Well, in short the explanation comes down to me wanting to be “Mr. Clean.” Hey, we all have our quirks and mine is that I like to clean up and doctor up before getting into my sleeping bag. I think the arrival procedure for most Watertribers consists of stripping off their paddle clothes, putting some dry clothes on, eating a meal and then diving into their sleeping bag for some much needed ZZZZZZZs. Not so much with me. It is not that getting dirty is something I will not do or haven’t done. In fact, I have spent my share of time sleeping in clothes several days old and dirty. It is just that if I have the option, I am going to get cleaned up. I just feel that time spent getting clean and doctoring is the least I can do for my body that has gotten me through the day and hopefully will get me through the next few days of physical abuse. Now you are probably wondering how I get cleaned up out in the middle of no man’s land. Do I seek out showers the way Rod seeks out restaurants? I wish it was that easy, but no.
The fact is that showers are not usually readily available and if you do find a fresh water spigot, the water is going to be cold. Using previous fresh water that you are carrying is not an option either. Who wants to be carrying that much extra weight just to be able to clean up? No one, not even me. What I carry is product that is considered a bath in a bag. This is a picture of the ones you can buy from stores. The ones I carry I get at a military base and are a little more heavy-duty. They really are essentially big baby wipes. Ok, let the laughter begin. Yes, I use stuff that is targeted for babies. It is the kinder, gentler side of me. Right!! I use the stuff because it works the best. So my arrival procedure consists of first setting up my tent, then stripping down. Yes, I am naked as a jay bird. Not sure how naked a jay bird is, but that seems to be the term we used as kids. Cleaning up with a bath in a bag and then putting on my dry clothes. If it is real cold I will do this inside my tent but usually I try to do it outside my tent so that I can keep my wet paddle clothes outside. After I am cleaned up and have dry clothes on, I cook my meal for the night.
There are really two reasons why I feel spending the time to do this is worth it. First, I think the quality of my sleep is better. I feel much better when I am clean and have a meal. This in turn lets me fall asleep quicker and I think into a deeper sleep. Second, it gives me a clean foundation to start doctoring my injuries. For the Everglades Challenge, I have usually been able to get to the finish with any injures I have sustained and then did any serious doctoring after the race. For the UFC, I felt that wouldn’t be an option and I had to do everything possible to start the doctoring on any injury as soon as possible. This would be very important on any open wounds that can be the most difficult to heal and the most worrisome for infection. I have seen some pretty tough Watertribers forced out of races because of open wound problems.
So what do I mean by doctoring up? For the UFC, there were two doctoring up sessions. The first was just before going to sleep. Blisters were drained and cleaned. Rashes were cleaned and Desitin applied. I know, I know, there I go again using a baby product. Look at it this way, if the stuff can counter a diaper rash, what’s a little salt water rash. Open wounds were cleaned and neosporin was applied with a dressing for protection. For any sun burn areas aloe was applied and any dried area baby oil was applied. Lastly, baby powder was applied to my feet to help dry them out. The second doctoring up session was in the morning. I would apply neosporin to any blister areas and then wrapped the areas with both water proof bandages and tape. On open wounds, I would clean them again, re-apply neosporin, and put a new protective dressing on them, hoping that the protective dressing would stay on for a couple of hours. Sun screen and lip balm were put on and Body Glide was applied to all areas that were potential hot spots for rubbing. Finally, I would be ready to put my paddle clothes on. Quite the process, huh? Now you see why Rod was sleeping longer than me. He really didn’t do much of this. He never got a bad rash and the only real bad blisters he got was on the bottom of his feet during the 40 mile portage. On that part of the UFC, he was not getting that extra hour of sleep. His blisters were so bad it took both of us to doctor him up.
All the above worked great but I did indicate in a previous post that I had suffered a pretty nasty open wound to my right leg during the first day of the race. Sure enough, this became a problem for me. I have a scar and a pain that shows up on rainy days to remind me of it. Why rainy days I don’t know, but it does. The only explanation I have for it is that it is a mental thing and I need to get over it. I knew I had a problem with this wound when one morning the redness was spreading considerably and starting to move up my leg and Rod said ………..