This guest post by Frugal Prepper
I have been interested in my family’s health for a long time and am careful to provide good nutrition, limit sugar and processed foods and concentrate mainly on good wholesome homemade foods, although we also greatly enjoy desserts and treats.J When one of us gets sick, we do not run to the doctor, but I do research instead and then treat whatever the condition is with natural methods if at all possible. We DO go to the Dr if necessary, but not for little things. I have planned for some health issues and keep several things on hand to treat things that crop up more often like sore throats, colds, flu, sore muscles, sprains, minor cuts or burns or other ailments. This has worked well and we tend to be very healthy and do not get sick often, thankfully.
Several years ago, one of my sons was born with medical problems which threw us very completely into the medical community and while we were very thankful for what doctors/medicine could do, we also saw many of the limitations. Our son had a trach and a heart problem and his failure to thrive and near starvation diagnosis was painful to hear and it was horrible to watch the deterioration of his health. The doctors did what they could, but eventually when not sure what else to do, said that “he will outgrow it and get better”, but he didn’t and we watched him get worse and fought to keep him alive. It was severely exhausting to be the main caregiver with all that was involved and to keep up with our 2 year old son at the same time. Our son’s dire condition and my continued exhaustion and a stress fracture led us to pursue a nutrition doctor who tested my son and I and put us on an intense program of vitamins and nutrition. This greatly increased my interest in our health as I saw gradual improvements in both of us. Thus began my hunger to learn more and more about how I could influence our health and not just accept whatever illness came along. By the way, as our son stopped losing weight so fast, a doctor told me, “See, I told you he would outgrow it”. I never let on that we had spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on vitamin therapy to get him to that point.
Through the years as he grew, I did lots of research and we continued with the nutrition doctors as we could afford it and we were able to supplement his medical care with great results. He had dozens and dozens of surgeries and it was a rough time. Thankfully, he was able to go the last 6 years with NO SURGERIES and NO medication which was a record for him, as he had normally had many surgeries each year and medications for before, during or after surgery. During these last 6 years we have done lots of nutrition and he has responded wonderfully and even has his own lawn business now at 21. What a blessing. We haven’t gone to nutrition doctors for a long time, so it is even more important that we know how to use the plants and nutrition that God has provided for us.
Recently, he had to have another surgery to remove some metal rods in his back that were causing problems and since he is stronger than ever before and in better health, he did well even though it was a big surgery and he has a long incision with 64 staples in his back. His doctor was great and the nurses were nice and helpful, but this hospital experience was different than other ones. Our experience has been that when a person is released from the hospital, they must ride a wheelchair to the front of the hospital to be picked up and are escorted by hospital personnel – it is hospital policy. Well, this time, when he was released, he was not wheeled down (not complaining, just saying), nor was he walked down. When he was released and paperwork signed, the nurse left his room and we were just to leave on our own and he walked all the way to the parking garage. It was also strange because he had just had major back surgery 2 days earlier and had only that morning been able to walk without holding onto the IV pole. He was expected to be in the hospital for 3-4 days, but was rather suddenly released after only 2 days. There were also other oddities that made it seem that things are changing, and not for the better, in hospital care. Another person that we know is currently in a hospital after major trauma in an accident and their family is reporting that the hospital is no longer allowed to set a schedule to give out pain meds, but that pain meds are only to be given when the patient requests them as long as it is after the right amount of time. We suspect that Obamacare is already affecting medical care and that will only get worse. We have read articles where medical personnel advise not going to the hospital unless you can’t help it.
I think that we dare not leave our health only in the hands of the “professionals”. It is vitally important that we know how to treat our own health – at least in minor things. Our experience over the years has been that drugs are easily given to treat conditions and when the drug causes a side effect, then another drug is given to help that problem and so on. We faced that with multiple drugs and side effects and didn’t know where to turn as our son’s body reacted to the drugs, but he had to take them. I determined to learn all that I could and thankfully, we had a couple of doctors years ago who were glad to answer my many questions and help me to understand my son’s many problems and aid me in my research. They actually encouraged my study and complimented us on the care we were giving to our son. Several medical people commented that they were sure that our son would not have done nearly so well if we hadn’t done the things we were doing.
We, as Preppers, expect for something “bad” to happen that will change life as we know it and we are preparing in many ways for that. One way that I am preparing is to continue to learn and use what I have learned to aid our health. I have learned how to do many medical things from changing a trach, inserting an ng feeding tube, then caring for a g tube (stomach feeding tube) and even how to insert a new one, which is not something lay people are normally ever taught to do. I don’t expect to need that knowledge again, but it is helpful to know that I CAN do it if I have to. There is so much that I cannot do; however. I can’t do surgeries (although I did a minor surgery once!) and I do not know how to suture, although I do hope to learn how to suture a cut. No, I do not know how to do many of the things that doctors and nurses can do and I will not learn many of them, BUT, I can learn a lot about the human body and how to treat it.
I have a growing knowledge of herbs and their uses. It is very easy to make herbal tinctures – and they are so useful for all kinds of things. Elderberry tincture works great for flu and I have a combination tincture that works great for kidney problems, another one to strengthen the liver, another one to get rid of parasites, another to help digestion and so on. It is also easy to make herbal salves and they work great. A supply of herbs to use for teas is a great addition to your preps, as well as some helpful herb books. There are many nutrition books that will give ideas for treating ailments – using vitamins, foods, herbs and other things. These are very valuable when you have a problem to deal with and don’t know what to do. I like to have actual books since there could be a time that my computer will not be available, plus I am a person who just LIKES a hard copy that I can highlight or take notes in. I also like to have a variety of them since sometimes a problem comes up that is not addressed in every book.
An example is that many health problems come from digestive problems – like constipation. Toxins can build in the intestinal tract and make a person sick, so that is a good thing to know about and know how to treat naturally. Treatments can include vitamins, herbal teas, poultices, extra fluids, coffee enema, etc. By the way, a coffee enema has been a wonderful way to quickly bring down a fever by getting rid of the toxins causing the fever and shortening the sickness. Also, there are so many wonderful recipes for making things like homemade toothpaste that can actually benefit the teeth and make them stronger. Earaches can come quickly and are very painful. Do you know what to do? Are you dependent on having to go to the doctor to have it treated? What if you can’t? What will you do? There are wonderful eardrops available that can help stop the infection, especially if started early rather than when the infection has gotten worse. You can even make eardrops of common household items and it is a great knowledge to have if you need it. I have made eardrops from onions in a desperate time and they did work. Massage is also important for things like ear infections since many times the drainage gets plugged up and infection sets in. Massage along the ear, neck, and collarbone is simple to do and can help to get things moving again. There is no magic in any of this, but so many things can be very helpful. We also use a detox bath to help our health and put things like baking soda, ginger, cayenne pepper, Epsom salts, essential oils in it, depending on what we are detoxing.
Kefir is easy to make if you can get starter grains from someone or buy them off of the internet. Then just let it sit in a jar of milk for a day or 2 on the counter and it forms wonderfully healthy probiotics. We make smoothies with it most days and add fruits and veggies to it. Essential oils can be used to help with nasal congestion, cleansing a room of sick odors, getting rid of bacteria and more. They last a long time and a supply of these could be invaluable. Growing a few herbs is easy and many of them are perennial, meaning that after planting them once, they just keep coming back, so are there when you need them. Drying herbs is simple and it is pleasant to have the smell of them in the house, not to mention knowing that you have them if you need them. Another good thing is to know what is native to your area that you could harvest if you needed to – herbs like plantain (considered a weed) are great to help with stings and they are found in most of the U.S. There are many things that can be used wherever you live and it is a good idea to figure out what a few of them are and know how to use them.
Does a person have to do EVERYthing there is? NO, even adding a few bits of knowledge and ability could greatly increase your chances of staying healthy, especially in bad times. It is MUCH easier to work to STAY healthy than it is to try to GET healthy after a health crisis. If things do get bad, we will endure many stresses that we do not normally face and it is hard to predict how our bodies will react. I have given you a few ideas of things that can be done to help our own health, but there are LOTS more. Whether you use any of my ideas or find some of your own, adding one or more to what you already do can increase your ability to care for your own and your family’s health. I know that I want to keep on learning and using what I learn. God bless you as you prepare for whatever the future holds.