A members survival story

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pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
6,298
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Hi

There is an old adage here that being on warfarin can save your life ... well I just thought I'd relate a survival tale from one of the members here who just got back in touch with me last night.

His name is JulienDu and for those who don't know him hes a trapper / fur gatherer in northen BC. He's a mech valver and on warfarin.

This winter he had an accident with his skidoo and ended up flooding his gumboot (with its felt liner and wool sox) with water to pull the thing out (of where it broke though thin ice over "water over flow" on top of really thick ice). The thermometer temp was -30C (yes folks that's like -22F). He had to pull it out of where it was stuck, in order to make it back a few hours to base. On the way back one of the skis on his skidoo broke a ski (I suspect due to iced up suspension) and he had to snow shoe to an abandoned cabin and attempt to light a fire and await rescue.

Mean time his foot (in a damp gumboot with a damp felt liner) froze solid. He reported that he had lost all feeling below the knee and his leg was hard ... like a piece of meat from the freezer.

Rescue came (when he was identified as late) and they took him back to camp where they thawed his foot out slowly in melt water (like 0.5C) and massaged it bringing the temp up very slowly for 2 hours The next day they took him to hospital. It now seems to have been able to keep the leg and is now walking on it.

No one at the hospital has seen anything like this before (where amputation would be perhaps expected).

He is walking (with a limp as yet) but doing well. We were discussing this and a number of factors seem to have saved his foot, opinion is that being on warfarin contributed to preventing blood clotting in the extremities in capillaries and contributed to saving his limb.

So as many here say, being on warfarin can help you to reach old age.

Perhaps he'll post here when he gets around to it, but has shitty internet out where he is (but does have phone coverage). He also made the point to me that (having his hands in freezing waters and stuff regularly) that he has found no difference in feeling cold or getting hypothermia from being on warfarin.

So like that lady who climbed Mt Everest here's another story on how being a mech valver doesn't hold you back.

Best Wishes
 

honeybunny

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 20, 2015
Messages
1,020
Location
Outside Houston, Texas.
Thanks for the post. I remember him being concerned pre surgery about being on warfarin because of the job he has, getting injured while remote and bleeding. Ironic that it saved his life. Glad everything turned out OK.
 

dornole

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
622
Location
Minnesota, US
That's an amazing story, I remember how concerned he was to avoid warfarin due to the "extreme" nature of his job and the lifestyle he clearly loves. That's almost like a script, it's so ironic. I'm so happy for him that he seems to have miraculously kept his leg and hope it continues to do well. It's scary how vulnerable you are in those temps.
 

MIMISHA

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2017
Messages
7
Location
london - uk
dornole;n874095 said:
That's an amazing story, I remember how concerned he was to avoid warfarin due to the "extreme" nature of his job and the lifestyle he clearly loves. That's almost like a script, it's so ironic. I'm so happy for him that he seems to have miraculously kept his leg and hope it continues to do well. It's scary how vulnerable you are in those temps.
Hello Dornole I will be grateful if you could write how are you faring with your surgery if ever you have already undergone one. I have the same intervention to repair my mitral valve and now i will undergo a replacement. I pray that you get well soon. Please write to me about it so that i may know what to expect .. thank you.
 

JulienDu

Banned
Joined
Dec 31, 2015
Messages
217
Location
Alberta, Edmonton. Canada
Hello

Sorry I did not post earlier, I have been off the grid for a few months now and like my buddy Pellicle mention I do have very poor internet connection where I live. People have helped me a lot on this forum when I needed advice before my surgery and I feel like that I am not giving back enough in return. I usually do not like to brag but I think what I have experienced the last few months in the arctic not even a year after my surgery could, as pellicle mentioned, help other member understand better the life with mechanical valve.

I had my surgery in February. In November I went in the Arctic ( 180 north of the Arctic circle ) to trap at one my friend trapline with my family ( wife and 3 kids). We lived in a remote cabin for 4 months. I don't know why I decided to go there this winter knowing the rough condition but I believe I wanted to test my limits and see how normal and capable I was since I became a Terminator.

The coldest temperature I had to deal with this winter was -50 Celsius with windshield. I had to put my bare hand in the water numerous time because first part of the winter we run net under the ice and to work bare hand is easier. The coldest temperature when I had to put my hand in the water ( for a couple hours maximun) was -35 celsius without wind factor. My conclusion is that with Warfarin, there is absolutely no effect on your capacity to resist the cold. I was more resistant than some of the local guys.

I did cut myself many time knowing that there is no rescue available. Did I bleed to death ? no. Did I see a difference in bleeding ? Yes but extremely minor.

I brought my tester with me and the only problem I had to deal one time is that when my family went back down south in February, I came back to the cabin and it was extremely cold and the tester would not work, because nobody was heating the cabin.

Now about the leg episode. Pellicle mentioned about it and I find it very interesting. I spent a few hours stuck in water with my snowmachine. When I finally got it out, it broke down on me and I was 3 hours walk from camp but my leg was already starting to freeze and the constant move when walking did not help warming it up. It was exactly -34 Celsius ( without wind factor ). I was slowly losing sensation on my right leg up to my knee and making a fire where I was ( see pictures ) is tough and fire would not bring my leg to normal only stop from freezing more.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148838...posted-public/

So I went to an abandoned cabin that had 2 wallls open ( but stil helping to keep the wind down), made a fire and waited another 2 hours before my friend at the camp came to look for me. Now you have to understand that putting the leg too close to the fire was extremely painful in some spots ( the less frozen one) and that how I realized that I was in bad bad shape and I knew I was really at risk to lose my leg. Fortunately, my friend came on time and we managed to put my foot in a very cold water and after hour in it the sensation slowly came back and my foot was not a rock anymore.

The next day, I went to the hospital and nobody understood why I did not lose my foot, that what we talked with Pellicle. Funny thing is the doctor looked at me with arrogance and said to me : "you know you should not live this life on Warfarin because Warfarin will kill you".... I did not answer but all I was thinking is that I believed that warfarin helped me kept my leg....

Anyway if anybody has questions regarding living with a mec valve in extremely tough conditions dont hesitate to ask cause this winter I really pushed my limits far I can have some good advice for anybody scared (like I was before surgery ).

Here is a picture of my familliy taking during christmas in the arctic in the bush.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148838704@N07/32760313293/in/dateposted-public/


And thanks for this community to help take the good decision.
 

dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,873
Location
louisville, KY USA
Julien, you are one of a kind and I tip my hat to you. I've always said these mechanicals, like the Timex watch, can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'......and they interfere little in ones life and lifestyle.....and you are taking that to the extreme. Good luck and be careful.
 

epstns

Premium User
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
5,075
Location
Chicago area
Julien - You are truly an inspiration. I know I am not cut out for the life up there, but you seem to have managed quite well. Thanks for sharing your story, and may you continue pushing the limits!
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
6,298
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
I just wanted to add

JulienDu;n874653 said:
.... Funny thing is the doctor looked at me with arrogance and said to me : "you know you should not live this life on Warfarin because Warfarin will kill you".... I did not answer but all I was thinking is that I believed that warfarin helped me kept my leg....
But that bear, or the freezing or the dozen other things, they won't kill you ... but warfarin, weh-he-helll that's deadly ****. Worse than a taipan snake.
 

ZechariahLi

Active member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
29
Location
Singapore
I get shortness of breath reading this... it's like a desperate tragedy movie with fairy-tale ending. What an inspiration, keep rocking and keep safe! 
 

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