Just to keep things different and to not bring up the whole political situation in this selection cycle, I decided to share some of the things that have been going on and strengths and weaknesses that I have found. Some of this is just stuff that works (or doesn’t, depending) for me, YMMV.
Ticks. God’s meanest little parasite that is still visible to the naked eye. Hate ’em. And where I am at, they are a year round menace. One thing I have noted lately, is that I react badly to them, more specifically, my BODY reacts badly to them, in ways I don’t ever remember happening as a kid. I don’t know if its me developing an allergy to them, or if they are carrying some new bacteria or what, but every time I have been bitten by one in the last couple of years, I get this reaction.
It starts out as a weal in the skin. Then the itching starts, and after a day or two, I have what looks like a spider bite. The itching is unholy at this stage. I tried topical antihistamines, the pink stuff, powdered aspirin salve, etc etc etc. Finally, I tried something completely different. I took a bandaid, put a couple drops of Tea Tree Oil on the gauze, then placed that over the bite mark. Within minutes, the itching was gone. The next day the weal was gone and there was only a spot of redness where the site was. There was some discoloration in the gauze so I know whatever was there that my body reacted to, was drawn out by the oil. And the TTO is an antibacterial/anti-fungal agent.
It can be found at walmart but it isn’t cheap. I paid almost $6 for only 2oz, but that should last a long time as I only use it a drop or two at a time. It also has an odor that some find offensive (my opinion is it is pretty strong, but not bad). You may want to try a drop on a sensitive area first to make sure you won’t have any adverse reactions to it. I have been using it for a couple of years now for various things, and know it doesn’t bother me.
Run search engine for other possible uses of it, such as bug repellant and such. Good stuff to have on hand in a kit.
OK, next item. This one is a strength/weakness and you will understand that better after you read this. Was helping my mom and sister out and putting mom’s excess stuff in a storage unit. In the process, ripped open a gash nearly 2” long across my forearm. No muscle damage, but it did expose muscle. I had my BOB with me, and there is a pretty well laid out First Aid kit in there; one that can even do sutures. PROBLEM. I can’t do sutures one handed and the location of the cut was such that I would have been forced to. My sister does not know how to do sutures and I wasn’t comfortable with trying to talk her through it (no local in my bag and that needle stings like hell passing through skin without some type of local. I don’t think she would have taken my wincing well is what I am trying to say) So, I had her help me butterfly it closed (took all that I had, time to restock!) and I just bandaged it up and kept going. Luckily, it was a very clean cut (looked like a knife cut, but was done by the edge of a piece of formica.) and by the time I was home and could do a better job on it, it was showing signs of closure already (8 hours later). Due to the fact that it was still open, I did the sugar treatment on it over the weekend and just kept it bandaged loosely and a steristrip or two to hold it as closed as possible.
15 days later, its almost completely healed and no signs of infection were ever present.
Strength: being able to take care of a serious wound on the fly with flexibility of treatment.
Weakness: Not having another person with similar skills on hand.
So, this past week, I have been practicing a running suture with one hand. I have some #5 braided suture that is big enough to play with and I use a surgical towel folded up in a fan shape to simulate the skin. Its large enough to get the technique down and keep from punching holes in yourself while learning.
I am still weak with anything technical with my left hand, but now, if I cut my left arm again, I can sew it up. Not having that skill was another weakness in my preps. I continue trying that left hand stuff though.
I guess what all of this is, besides giving you real life experiences, and not just some theoretical stuff jotted down as notes, is that there are places in all of our preps where we have weaknesses. Not just in the physical, but in training as well. I hadn’t thought to practice something like a one handed suture because I never thought I would have to suture ME. In hind sight, with the way I live, chances are, I am the one that will have to do such, and this little situation showed me that.
Ok, enough about me, here’s where I send you off for info if you haven’t already gathered it.
Ditch medicine by Hugh Coffee. May be a little over the top for some, but excellent information for preppers. This is where I learned about the sugar treatment for large open wounds. Get a dead tree edition for your library.
There are also several books of related information out there, but I have not had chance to read that many of them let alone purchase them all. If you look on Amazon, the genre will pull up oodles of such. Read the commentary on them and make up your own mind.
SUTURES: you can buy these on Amazon*, and the manufacturer states plainly that they are labeled for Vet use only even though they are manufactured in the same plant as the ones for human use. Dunno ’bout you, but that’s good enough for me. The sterility functions are identical and legal disclaimers mean little to me. If you get them for emergency use, 3-0 or smaller 4-0 and 5-0 are what you will need. If you have never done a suture, it isn’t like sewing a patch in your jeans so look at the practice suture pads and there are even practice KITS you can get. There is some other gear you will need as well, but the biggest part of it is KNOWLEDGE, learn what you can now while we can still access the knowledge of others.
Lastly: Try to find the time to practice what you know. Make a game of it if you will. Try to start a fire after it rains. Suture up a banana peel, just to see if you can. Little things. You have to make time to do things, but if you ‘learn’ something only by reading it, you miss 90% of the skill. You may even find that you know something, only to find its beyond you because you didn’t practice something odd: like me not able to sew up my arm. (or practice shooting with your off hand because you may not be able to use your primary hand for whatever reason. Just an example.) It all will boil down to you eventually, are your prepared? (and for those that crap on us preppers, I always ask if they have a fire extinguisher at home. Yes, then they are a prepper too. No, then they are just FOOLS.)
* I am tired of watching what I purchase online. There is so much that I have to buy that I can’t find local, I have to use the nets. The way I see it, they already have me on several lists, why worry. If they are going to come for me, they are going to come for no matter what I have purchased or not purchased. Fuck it, I can’t live like a prisoner, even if I am incarcerated in the FUSA.