Friday, September 12, 2008

Survival Mindset

Check out this article on CNN's website.

Seems like it's the ones who can think who survive. Go figure. I'll sum it up by listing what qualities make for a good survivalist.

Independent Thinkers
Strong Family Ties

Thankfully I have these bases covered, although here in the "Nuclear Family" Northeast, I consider my family to extend to my close friends. I would add that one skill needed is to be able to make the hard choices. If your brother has gangrene, well without antibiotics he's going to die. You need to be mentally prepared to face the hard decisions around him. If there is no way of getting him the medication you're going to have to chop off the leg, which might kill him anyway. Or if it's too far along, then you might have to euthanize him. It's a horrible thought, and I wouldn't dwell on such thoughts, but acknowledge you might have to make that call, then get on with living in the here and now.

It's a tough balance to think about the horrible things that could happen in the future, but keep living in the here and now. It's hard for me to read 5-10 articles about economic doom and gloom, then pony up the $10 to see a movie for entertainment. We need that, though. If we focus on the doom and gloom then we lose the gift of life we have now.


irishdutchuncle said...

you have the right to cut off his leg, with his permission. you can give him whatever you can scrounge up to ease his pain, but he isn't your pet. you can play doctor, but you have no right to play GOD. agnosticism does not make you a god in your own right. euthanasia of humans is still murder. you placed humility first on your list of survivor qualities. humility is antithetical to having a god complex. you may consider your life your own, but only your life.(end of rant)

Patricia said...

Before resigning your brother to his death, you might try maggots on the gangrene. I have no idea where I found this, except on the net somewhere. I keep it in my file of "useful things to know."

Here goes:

Wound infections treated with maggots:

The fight ensues, the village is taken, their three grain bins full of corn are yours; but your man's wound is worsening. After setting up a command center, you take a closer look. Yup. Highly infected. The town possessed no antibiotics, and you hate to lose a good fighter, what to do?
Take off the bandage, and leave the infected wound exposed to flies. Try not to let them light right on the wound, as flies are filthy and carry diseases, but keep them working on the intact flesh around the wound's perimeter. Maggots hatched soon after will find their way to the infected parts. One exposure to flies is most likely more than enough, so afterwards, cover the wound again. Check it daily for maggots; they should appear within a day or two. If not, let the flies try again. If the wound is full of maggots, as many as possible should be removed with forceps or washed out with sterile water. Only 50 to 100 of the little fellas should be allowed to stay in the wound.
Once our maggot farm is going full swing, the wound should be covered again, but looked upon each day. The maggots will produce a frothy looking fluid that should be sponged out, in order to better monitor the maggot activity. The amount of time for such debridement will vary, depending on the depth and extent of the wound, the number of maggots, and the body part affected, therefore, a certain time to remove the maggots cannot be given in hours or days. However, they should be removed at once when they have scarfed up all the dead, infected tissue and before they get settled in healthy flesh.
When a maggot starts chowin' on clean living tissue, the recipient will notice an increased level of pain, as the maggots come in contact with live nerves. Once established that they have finished the job, the maggots should be flushed from the wound with sterile water. Once maggot-free, the wound should be bandaged, and examined often just in case there are any old hangers-on ("I ain't goin', by god, I was born here!"). After all maggots are for sure cleansed away, the wound should be treated as any other wound and should heal normally.
Debridement using maggots has been done for thousands of years, and is no doubt still used in the more "backwards" parts of the world. Of course, maggots won't help much for internal infections like the common cold, only ouchies outside the body.

Patricia said...

Hmmmm. I think I found the maggot information in Jim Dakin's Bison Newsletter, bought for $4 from I keep a lot of useful bits of knowledge and tips in one file, which I need to print out...