Usagi Medical Group has been busy planning for this weekend’s Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA). With over 30,000 guests in attendance, we expect to help close to 400 people with all manner of first-aid needs, and will be doing emergency medical response throughout the convention.
UsagiMed has also done extensive disaster planning for AWA, and we remain an integral part of crew training. In addition to general training, our personnel train AWA staff in CPR, disaster readiness, and even radio etiquette. These things help define the convention’s professional culture and commitment to the guest experience.
AWA is the place where UsagiMed was born. It’s like “going home” for the UsagiMed crew. If you’re at the con, please stop by and say Hello!
UsagiMed’s Joshua Law joined us in 2014. Josh says, “Whether it’s working a convention, getting training for work, or just having a first-aid kit, I’ve been doing something First Aid / Safety related for over twenty-two years.” Josh got started in Boy Scouts at the age of eleven, earning his Eagle Scout at eighteen, and he is a veteran of the U. S. Navy. Josh earned his EMT-B in 2016 to go along with his first aid, first responder, and CPR certifications.
“My dad was a missionary, and took me along on more than one trip, domestically and internationally. As a result, I fell in love with other cultures, and enjoy learning all I can about them.” When it comes to fandom, Josh is into RPG’s, crafting games, and anime. “I love Miyazaki, but Trigun is my favorite series.” In his spare time, you might find Josh finishing a woodworking project, playing ARC, or reading.
We’re friends, right? I’m not going to tell you that there’s a good time to drink so much that you get sick. That’s always a bad idea. But the last place you want to over-do it with the cocktails is AWA. Not only do you miss an opportunity for fun, but it’s like you’re losing money on your hotel room and membership.
If you’re 21 or older, a drink or two can make an evening lots more enjoyable. But if you drink too much, you cross over into a land that suddenly isn’t any fun anymore: “the spins,” vomiting, hangovers, and the inability to remember that hilarious thing that happened last night. When you’re sharing close quarters with a bunch of your friends, vomiting creates many logistical problems that are highly unpleasant for everyone involved. No one wants to miss a minute of AWA, but you risk losing an entire evening if you overdo it.
AWA is our favorite time of the year. It’s Christmas for anime fans! We wait for it all year, like excited grade-school kids, counting down the days and hours. We plan elaborate costumes, complex packing strategies that are worthy of Tetris, book and fill hotel rooms to bursting, and buy our memberships. We want to pack the maximum fun into every minute we have, and make memories and tell stories for the rest of the year, until AWA comes around again.
So pace yourself, have a great time, and send us a photo, OK?
Greg Etheridge has been with UsagiMed for twelve years. Greg started working with Anime Weekend Atlanta with our very own Laura Block. (Back when UsagiMed was still called Bunnies Without Borders.) Greg says, “Before that, Laura and I worked as part of a federal-level, disaster medical response team. She brought me into her department at the con.”
Greg is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has worked in public safety for twenty-five years. He is a paramedic with the Fire Department and also works on his local SRT (SWAT) team. Greg is a state-certified fire, police and EMS instructor. He also serves as his department’s Deputy Fire Marshal… “So change your home detector batteries!”
When he isn’t working, Greg enjoys RPG games, Game of Thrones, and is a HUGE movie buff. He says, “If you want to watch some anime with me you will have to go old school.” Greg enjoys classic shows like Speed Racer, Star Blazers, and Battle Of The Planets. There is a good chance when you see a cosplayer in one of these costumes it will be Greg. Don’t hesitate to say hello.
Take your prescribed medicine. Take it as prescribed, even at con. The laws of medicine still apply, even during the most fun weekend of the year. And don’t take anyone else’s medicine.
Many of our patients are folks who forget to take their medications. Some forget to take them on time. Others simply didn’t bring their meds to the con, or were having so much fun they didn’t think to take them all day.
We want your convention to be as fun as it can be, without interruption. I mean, we love you, but we don’t want to see you unless you’re inviting us to celebrate something. So remember to take your meds.
Create reminders Set an alarm, separate your meds into the compartments of a pillbox organizer or keep a daily log of prescriptions‚ including drug names and dosages. Such a document especially helps medical personnel to look at your medical requirements if you’re unable to walk us through them.
Plan ahead If you have an especially hectic day ahead of you, take extra care to establish reminders. Make a habit of taking your pills at the same time every day.
Con Crud. You don’t want it, and neither do we. Some words from UMG’s very own Joshua Law:
“Con Crud” (also known as “Con Plague”) is a broad term applied to any number of viruses or contagion you may pick up from others while you’re at a convention. The fact is, we all encounter all kinds of “crud” (germs, bacteria, and viruses) on a daily basis. Our bodies generally do an amazing job of fighting off these invaders every day. BUT, when you’re staying awake all night, gaming, partying, and reveling with your friends over meals comprised of pocky and red bull, your immune system taps out, and all the “crud” can have its nefarious way with you.
The trick? Keep your immune system happy. Your body needs rest so your white blood cells can fight off those invaders, and you need to supply your immune system with nutrients–fuel for the microbial fight. A few simple tips:
The 5-2-1 rule. Learn it. Live it. Love it. Your body will thank you, and so will we. In fact, be an over-achiever on this one. Because you are just that awesome.
Stay hydrated! Water (not soda) helps your cells flush the bad stuff out. It also keeps your mucus membranes happy, and less susceptible to harm.
Do the hygiene thing. Wash your hands early and often. Those gel-hand-sanitizers are okay, but you really can’t beat good ol’ soap and warm water to get con-crud off your hands, and everyone else’s. And don’t forget to cough or sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand. Yes, that is also simply good hygiene. (And it also happens to be good courtesy.)
Get a flu shot. Consider doing this at least two weeks before the con. This will give your body time to build up antibodies, giving your immune system more ammo for the upcoming microbial fight.
If you have the ‘flu or a cold, consider sitting this one out. Fever / chills, sneezing / sniffling, sore throat, body aches, and coughing are signs that you may be contagious. The same bug which makes you feel bad can have serious effects in others, especially children, cancer patients, and the elderly. Staying home when you’re sick helps curb germs in the community. You may not hear us say it, but we really are saying “thank you” when you choose to keep your cold at home. We will look forward to partying with you next year.
We all want to have a good con experience, so let’s work together, and make sure everyone goes home happy and healthy. UMG thanks you for your time and attention. We now return to your regularly-scheduled, lighthearted cavorting.
You’d be surprised how many times someone shows up at Usagi Medical Group (UMG) with problems that could be avoided for the want of adequate water.
We get it. You’re walking around a lot at the convention, surrounded by tons of other warm bodies, and you’re having a great time. We know it’s hard to overlook the water thing when you’re having so much fun. But if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. If you continue to ignore your thirst, you may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms.
Drink water, not an energy drink.Always have water on hand, and don’t forget to drink it. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy.
UMG makes sure there are water stations throughout the con, and that hotel staff will replenish them on request.
We’re friends, right? Can we have a serious talk for a second? We want you to have an outstanding time when you’re at your con. And we want you to come back next year for more of the same. Follow the 5-2-1 Rule to ensure a maximally excellent experience. This is a time-tested axiom that you should follow at every convention:
Five Hours of Sleep
It’s considered rude to sleep in panels, especially ones with a capacity crowd. Worse yet is walking around the con in a sleep deprived haze that keeps you from really enjoying everything. Seriously, a recently published study found that sleeping 5 hours a night was associated with improved immune system function. Con crud is probably not one of the souvenirs you intend to bring home. So get some sleep. Sleep horizontally in a bed, not in a video room. (Note that caffeine is not an appropriate substitute for sleep.)
Two Meals of Real Food Each Day
That energy blast and pocketful of gummi bears will do weird things to your gut, and then it’s game over. Also, Pocky is not a meal. Be sure to grab a real meal somewhere (ask the Information Desk or the hotel for a list of places). You know you’ll feel better!
One Shower A Day (Non-Negotiable)
No one likes Con Funk. Even if you only take three showers a year, take them all during the convention. Do you really want to be in a confined, crowded event hall or gaming room hall that also contains a fan who smells like a biology experiment gone wrong? We don’t either. Take a freakin’ shower. With soap. Every day.
Ah, what price vanity? Your cosplay rocks, but that blister is a work of art unto itself. UMG can help you with the blister, but you’ll have a much better convention experience if you just wear sturdy, comfortable, walking shoes that you’ve already broken in.
We are actively looking for geeky conventions across the southeastern United States where we can provide first aid coverage for staff and attendees. If you know anyone needing such services, please contact us!