Preppers/survivalists are a funny bunch. On any given prepper site you’ll find arguments over the best guns, best places to live, baddest Rambo knives, greatest bug-out vehicle, or what super disaster or end of the world scenario is going to doom us all. If there’s a prepping/survival-related subject, then somewhere, someone is arguing about it. Medical preparedness is like that in a variety of ways. Have a bona-fide doctor enter a discussion and talk about learning to suture properly and 11 people will announce that they don’t need to learn because they are survivalists and make Rambo look like a weenie in his famous self-surgery scene. Or they will use a skin stapler, mini c-clamps, a hot iron, baling wire, or….Get the picture?
Dare to make a recommendation of getting the basic vaccinations that just may save your life and you have 5 people in the first 3 minutes loudly denouncing how they would NEVER poison themselves with all the mercury in the shots. The serum is so loaded with it that it practically shines like silver, don-cha-kno? It says so on the internet – somewhere. Besides, the only reason that stuff is offered is to make ol’ Doc Mitchell a wealthy man, first by charging for the shot on top of the office visit, then by treating you after you fall deathly ill within hours, and then again because his stock in Big Pharma, Intl just went up another $53/share after the flu season. In the end their argument seems to be that they are better protecting themselves by NOT being proactive.
What I am trying to illustrate in hopefully semi-amusing style is that we – the members of the preparedness community – have lost our perspective. Because we are preppers, we assume we are smarter than Joe Sixpack and Mary Soccermom, our erstwhile neighbors in suburbia.
In the beginning we sought knowledge to improve our chances of living through the next Stone Age. But somewhere along the way, we started challenging the speakers at the expos and our fellow preppers on the forums, deriding them because their views differ from what we believe. Eventually our responses might consist of simply “LOL!” rather than offering actual data from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on expedient antibiotic production when someone questions the actual data or lack thereof proving the efficacy of colloidal silver solutions.
When it comes to the medical aspect of prepping we tend to suffer greatly from the common knowledge (“Everybody knows that!”) school of thought, denying that we need to learn from our more learned colleagues.
Grandpa did not have the right answer when he used kerosene for controlling cough; despite what you think, it DID harm him, just not so drastically that it was immediately apparent. After a few doses of that, a camera lowered into his gut would have shown the effects of caustic petroleum products on the lining. Grandpa also used arsenic, strychnine, mercury and coal tar as internal remedies. Materia Medica books – the precursors to modern nursing pharmacology texts — from as late as the early 1950’s still list the usages and usual dosages of these poisons. But I’m pretty sure he lived to be 106 and only died after being hit by lightning, right?
People tout that 256-piece first aid kit they got on sale at Bilko-Mart as all they need. 256 pieces! That has to be worth something, right? Just because 30 of those pieces are alcohol wipes and another 72 are small band-aids is no reason to not take the kit seriously. They are otherwise going to rely on the advice of people with no medical training who write the“ultimate” prepper medical manual telling them how to cure everything. Users of Amazon’s e-book service know what I mean. Everything you need to know about survival medicine in only 36 badly written pages, index included.
Preppers frequently want to know what is the one antibiotic to stock that will address 99% of all the infectious ailments they might encounter in a post-SHTF world (hint: there isn’t one, or even three).
They are going to grow their own opium poppies and produce their own morphine, yet they have never done it and wouldn’t know if they have all the needed equipment with which to properly process it or not. Assuming they did grow their own and had processing directions they obtained from some dark web tweaker chemistry site, they would still have no way of knowing the potency of their concoction. Laudanum is not suitable for injection and does not act equally to actual morphine, just so you know.
But, they say, we have a family member who is a nurse who will handle all the medical needs that will ever arise over the course of the next 15 years for the extended family group that currently numbers 23 people ranging in age from 9 months to 73 years. After all, they work in a doctor’s office so they know a lot. Did we mention the doc is a gastroenterologist and spends his day shoving 12 foot flexible tubes up peoples’ butts and otherwise discussing their poop? Personally I don’t want that nurse trying to set a simple fracture if it is mine. I am speaking from a knowledgeable position here. For that matter, I wouldn’t care for their former employer to try either; just your luck they would have skipped the ortho rotation in med school. Though if he/she is interested in prepping they can learn ahead of time, or at least make preparations to have the required references available should they be called for. Far preferable to them merely winging it.
Until we as a movement admit to ourselves that we are not automatically endowed with superior intellect that allows us to see beyond the pale that clouds the vision of the sheeple around us, we are just as doomed as Joe Sixpack and Mary Soccermom when it comes to dying from what we THOUGHT we knew how to handle, as they are from simply being in the wrong place at the right moment in time. Just because you can whip together a snare trap in 2 minutes doesn’t mean you can reduce a dislocated joint.
In future articles I hope to offer concrete information that will allow you to build on what other authors here have contributed, and otherwise to expand into new areas. Meanwhile, conduct a reality self-check and admit what it is you THINK you know that may actually kill you if you aren’t careful. Just because you have been shot doesn’t mean that unless you dig the bullet out you will die of lead poisoning, save for in the sardonic sense. Trying to dig that bullet out, however, might actually finish the job.
Reasonable Rascal has been plaguing the internet since 1997 and refuses to go away despite years of jeers. He began his medical career using all the skills the Boy Scouts could teach him and eventually found his way into a more formal career as a Paramedic and Registered Nurse. He is one of the authors of Survival and Austere Medicine, 3rd Edition, available here at American Partisan at no cost in e-book format.