Paddle w/ an injury?

-- Last Updated: Aug-18-08 11:49 PM EST --

As some of you know I had two cancerous areas removed from the back of my right hand last Monday (one incision is over 3", the other about 1"). I told the doctor as he was slicing and burning that since I do a lot of paddling I might need some extra stitching in the hand. He informed me if I keep it dry I shouldn't pop open any stitching (he did put in 3 different types of sutures). I was willing to wait a few more weeks before any heavy duty paddling.
Hurricane Fay is predicted to be either due west of the Tampa Bay Area (or on top of it) around 2PM on Tuesday and either early Wednesday or Thursday morning (at the latest) I want to be paddlin' a steep (for Central Florida) creek that I estimate will have class 2 rapids (or class 3 if it hits flood stage). It might be a few more years before the creek level will be this high again.
I'll have the stitches covered with gauze, that covered with a patch of saran wrap and that covered with waterproof tape (duct tape if need be) along with the rest of the back of my sutured hand.
I just may chance it...

Have you ever seen a river crest…
from a storm ?

I am not worried about your bandaged cuts, but I am more thinking about safety !

I would strongly advise scouting the entire route that you want to paddle.

That Class II-III water won’t be like your normal year round WW in the average WW river.

It will be loaded with every type of junk that you can imagine, including trees, limbs, lots of brush and everything else that has been litering the banks above the high water line.

Tthink entrapment !!!



About the waterproof tape…
In the conditions you describe of true immersion, there is no waterproof tape available that actually ends up being waterproof. I have an ostomy, have tried them all. I’ve seen another product once in a while that is intended to coat the area with a film, but I doubt that’s any drier than the tape.

The only thing that I can think of that would truly keep that area dry is something like Nordic Blues, except pulling the wrist gasket over that area would be a bad idea, or some thinner kind of latex glove not originally intended for paddling.

Well my cyber friend

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 7:57 AM EST –

The weather report shows you may be getting wind and rain now.

I some how don't think you want any advice. You're old enough, wise enough and experienced enough so enjoy the ride.

Paddlin' on

Ask your daughter
whether you should do it, and then take her advice.

Paddling with finger cut
I sliced a finger to the bone a few years ago and had it stitched up by a hand surgeon. When I asked him if I could go paddling, he said “only if you can keep it dry”. I think he intended that as a “no,” but I took it as a conditional “yes”.

I used the triple bagging method. First a “finger condom” over the cut finger, then a blue Nitrile glove taped at the wrist and last a second glove over the first, also taped. I paddled a few times before the stitches were pulled and had no problems. There was no water intrusion or infection. Your hand will be damp from sweating and should be cleaned and rebandaged after paddling.

My suggestion is for you to bandage the area and then use a double or triple Nitrile glove method, each taped at the wrist. Use Nitrile gloves, they are tougher than latex exam gloves or food service gloves.


Storms and Water Quality
Storm Runoff usually has a high content of bacteria from sewers, human and animal wastes and stagnant waters discharged into the stream flow. Advice around here is to give a wound like that 2 weeks before getting it in bacterial soup. I got some very nasty cuts from mussels infected a few years ago, so I treat cuts with a lot of respect. Also MSRA Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is something to be aware of and pay attention to.

Do you think
Columbus asked his daughter?

Alan Shepard asked his daughter?

Sir Edmund Hillary asked his daughter?

I asked my daughter?

The answer comes from within. Follow your heart.

Paddlin’ on


storm runoff, bacteria, MSRA

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 9:58 PM EST –

All seadarts cautions are very valid and should be considered strongly.

While I was able to successfully use the triple protection method mentioned in my post (finger condom and two taped gloves) I failed to mention I was also taking a prescribed antibiotic; With a cut that goes to the bone any infection had a substantial risk of becoming a bone infection.

A MSRA infection is very scary. My wife is presently recovering from one on her shin and the first antibiotic prescribed didn't touch it. She needed a multi drug cocktail to bring it under control.


Unfortunately, following your heart
works best when you are under 50(40?). I always have done what I interpreted the Dr. to say.Sometimes that has just been stupid. Listen to your brain, not your heart.

Put gauze on it,preferably water resistant and a nitrile glove like suggested above.If it gets wet, you cann have a mess.

I have a scar on my neck because the doc said"don’t get these stitches wet" as I was leaving for vacation.It got wet and ugly.

At your age

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 3:44 PM EST –

no one gives a damn about a scar on your hand.

If you go paddling wearing a nitrile glove and get warm the hand will get wet from the heat and the tissue will get soft cause it can't breathe. Wear the glove for protection from bacteria cause it ain't gonna be worth a damn for anything else.

btw...following my heart still works for me at 60.

Paddlin' on

Storms that usually produce …

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 9:44 PM EST –

....... high caution or flood stage levels in otherwise dormant low volumn creeks , are not the pretty scene associated with spring melts swelling the northern mountain creeks .

Those spring high water conditions unassociated with short duration heavy rains , are clear and clean and fluffy WW crest .

Heavy rains associated with Tropical storms , produce heavy ground runoff , massive silting , debree clutter , and the result to me always looks like an ugly brown pollutted boiling mess .

Why does anyone even get excited about being in water like that , to me it's just a depressing ugly mess .

I mean the white water crest breaking over don't even have a white appearance do they , they are just as brown and ugly as the rest of the gummed up flood mess .

It’s probably not the beauty

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 6:00 PM EST – are talking about. It could be the experience or the adventure. Not everything beautiful is full of or about bright colors.

Paddlin' on

Richard the Philosopher.

Yes Jack, both this creek & the Hills.

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 10:09 PM EST –

At the age of six an uncle of mine took me from Lutz to his place in Green Swamp via the Hillsborough and Withlacoochie River basins after Hurricane Donna (1960?). Saw plenty of flood debris in and on the water as well as in some of the canopy.
Of all my paddles on this creek the most dangerous man-made debris was two empty large rusted propane tanks wedged between rocks and a fallen tree trunk, my only way through. I pushed them through and kept waiting to hear a big boom after hearing their metallic pinging from hitting the rocks along the way. Don't know how big the boom might've been but I always tried keeping at least one bend in the creek between me and them. The state park personnel didn't appreciate my efforts in getting those tanks that far downtream onto park property:(
Anyway, I've paddled, poled, and walked this creek from trickles to floods and know where just about where every shortcut is that I can take at various water levels. I paddled this creek during the flood of '88 (In the Hillsborough River State Park there's a plaque on the roof of the old canoe rental stand marking the record water level that day. Scary but stimulating ride.) and the flood from Hurricane Frances (about a foot higher). During both floods both the state park and Dead River park were shut down and I had to paddle through the 17 Runs to get to the next park at Flint Creek to haul out. Actually, above flood stage levels give me a lot of shortcuts, except in a few places where you're forced to stay with the channel and eat a little bit of tree canopy, then things get dicey... all 110 sq. miles flowing into a string of bottlenecks roughly 30'wide producing standing waves from roughly 24" during the '88 Flood to over 36" with Frances.
I however, don't believe the creek will get beyond halfway toward flood level. It'll still be fast but I'll still have plenty of shortcuts amongst the oxbows and flood plains, and I won't have to work my draw strokes as hard to keep the current from scouring me along a wall of cypress roots, limestone and flint composite banks on the outside bends.
My top priority in all this is to keep the hand dry as possible.

Well G_K , each to their own I guess …
… but for this one , when the water turns to mud , I find nothing of interest there , just depressing and ugly . But alas , in most waters , it always clears , and then it’s beautiful again .

I’ve run too many a swollen muddy river and creek in a Jon w/ jet , simply depresses me , but I concede that others experience may vary …

It’s just a personal thing my comments are / were ,

I find nothing adventurous in the depressing experience of boiling muddy waters , nothing beautiful , no place for my paddle to be .

Not mine either
I don’t enjoy paddling brown waters and luckily we all don’t have the same taste but I’d go with him in a minute if I lived in the sunshine state.

Paddlin’ on


Good thing ya’ll didn’t grow up in
Charleston. The water was almost always brown or black.

Maybe try a neoprene glacier glove

– Last Updated: Aug-18-08 11:00 PM EST –

or mitten that seals at the wrist
with velcro strap. We use 'em all
winter long in whitewater up
here in the Northeast. (You're hand
might get hot-as-hell down there in the
Sunshine State, but some kind of pogie's
gotta be better than just wrapping a wound
in Saran Wrap.) Oh yeah, and paddle immediately
after the flood debris settles out.

I love paddling "chocolate milk."
Enjoy the ride.

So Celia, you don’t think some
real heavy-duty duct tape will help keep the water out, even with both hand and wrist shaved? The Dr. gave me a bunch of blue plastic gloves that fit my hands better than the latex variety. With a wrapping or two of duct tape at the cuff of the glove, plus gauze over the wounds with visquene on top of that. I have plenty of gauze, six of those blue ambidextrous gloves, two rolls of some green, really sticky duct tape, and several towels to bring along on the trip. That should last me for the gruling eight miles to the state park. I can paddle lefty-style and thus keeping the recovering hand elevated and out of the not-so-clean water.