Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Right Medicine

Most people embarking on this life path plan fairly well. They stock a variety of food to hold them for several years. Acquire the proper firearms and put back plenty of ammunition. Even gather a variety of heritage seeds to start down their path to a relatively self sustainable lifestyle. We tend to gather the supplies that are easy and fun but occasionally neglect the truly critical.

I picked up two large first aid kits in my preparing to leave the greater society behind. My assumption was that these kits would include everything I need, they were easy to transport and store plus a cost effective all in one purchase. I have been very wrong on this account. The kits are convenient but tend to have lots of little stuff like small band aids and tiny aspirin neglecting the larger more critical items. Here are a few examples.

For instance when I dropped the drill and gouged my stomach it left a relatively deep three inch cut on my fat belly. I went to the first aid kit dug through the multitude of small band aids found some gauze and tape. First off gauze and tape is very awkward and inconvenient especially when you are hurt and cussing. Secondly gauze tends to stick into the cut. Thirdly you run out, the big kits are stocked well with the cheapest band aids and aspirin available but anything more involved is kept in low numbers. I had to go buy some large easy band aids and antibacterial cream.

My diet has consisted mainly of rice, beans, oats some bread with other meat products cut in for flavor and protein. Mostly canned fish products such as mackerel or tuna occasionally some spam but not that often. Easy to prepare and stores forever.

So last night if you read my twitter posts you know I had a treat of Treet. Really tasty and I needed the infusion of fatty meat. Well my body had gotten used to the usual stores so this treat messed up my digestive tract something awful. I had horrible heartburn and even worse diarrhea.

For heartburn I tend to mix up a half teaspoon of baking soda in water and it kills the acid real quick. Much much cheaper than Pepcid plus it has many uses. Unfortunately one of the side effects of the baking soda antacid is a loosening of the stool from the sodium. So this wouldn't work. In the past I would just swig a gulp of Peptobismol but don't have any handy. I just bared it out and was fine the next morning.

This will happen to you if you change your diet dramatically when you move. The body gets used to particular foods and optimizes for their digestion. The introduction of something new is ok but expect a kick from the system. This is particularly true moving from the typical American high fat diet to a denser high fiber diet.

Mosquitoes are bad here this year some years they don't bother me at all but this year has been really wet and they are think. In the past I would just cover myself in a layer of dust and they wouldn't bother me, free and works great, but if the ground is wet or your showers are limited to one or twice a week this is not a good option. So a several year supply of mosquito repellent is critical. Put screens on your windows.

Make sure your medical supplies contain plenty of items to combat the gastric distresses especially if your diet is changing. I really should have heavily stocked up on Pepcid, Peptobismol and some anti gas products. Large easy to replace bandages are critical as well as antibacterial cream and really good tweezers if you are building. If you have algeries put back plenty of generic Benadryl capsules, this works on dogs also if they get snake bit or stung by something.

Plan out in detail your medical supplies get a good stock of everything you will need. This is boring but of critical importance. Ideally you will learn the natural remedies for the more common ills that overtake you but until then stock up. You can always trade out these items as you become more established.

You also need to spend sometime detailing a medical emergency plan. What if you break your leg, what about a really bad tooth ache or god forbid a heart attack. What do you do when calling 911 is not an option.


HermitJim said...

These are all issues that do need to be discussed more often. I do thank you for the reminder to go check my supplies...just in case!

BigBear said...

I don't think it is so much an issue of checking your supplies as much as it is making sure you have the right supplies for you and your family. I have plenty of stuff but not the right stuff.

Anonymous said...

tegaderm clear bandages and telfa non stick pads. tegaderm is pretty expensive but is the best waterproof clear bandage you can get (they stay on for a long time and are clear so you can keep an eye on the wound to see if its infected.)

bulk box of 6x8" non stick telfa pads is really cheap at amazon.

Anonymous said...

also steri-strips to close up wounds

Mayberry said...

Wal-Mart first aid kits suck. They're ok for tossin' in the truck or somethin', but not as a primary kit. The best way to do it is to get a tackle box and stock it yourself...

Great advice BigBear, hadn't thought of that stuff.... Prolly 'cuz I got a cast iron stomache.....

Stephanie in AR said...

Bactine with pain reliever. Kills the germs and let you dig around without wetting yourself (or your kid wetting himself). Easier to concentrate if you aren't trying to get past the pain.

Dermabond too - if you can get it - skin glue for stitches but not in bendable places like finger joints.

Anonymous said...

I was just made aware of how handy cayeene pepper is. Might be useful information to have as well. Here is a link to one article.


Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

There's a book called "Medicine for Mountaineering" that has a good checklist for various levels of first aid kit. We used that to piece together a very effective kit for some Canadian wilderness canoeing trip where we were way away from any medical resources.

Anonymous said...

In the US Army we would use superglue to close small wounds. It actually sticks to skin better than anything else on earth.
Good idea on the see-through bandages.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bear,

Get a military or first response medical kit. They are geared to trauma. Some additions - super glue for wounds (dry wounds). Lots of Betadine. Duct Tape - 'nuff said. Try to get a topical spray on anesthetic - good for giving yourself stitches etc. NOS for larger jobs and basic dental care. Scalpel blades - good for defense, offense, E&E, skinning buck, etc. Low % Hydrogen peroxide solution for stopping capillary bleeding.

I gave myself eleven stitches (lower inside calf) in Angola without anesthetic after an RPG attack. It hurt like hell, left a big scar, but... I'm here to tell the tale.