Medical reading

Obviously I haven’t read every book on the subject, but I’ve read quite a few. The ones I turn to most for information and that I think are most worth having:

Where There Is No Doctor – This is one that tops everyone’s list. It’s written for the Peace Corps type who finds himself in a Third World country trying to provide medical aid. The most valuable part of the book, in my opinion, is the appendix at the back listing medications and their uses, brand/generic names, and recommended dosages. This is the sort of info you need when you’re scrounging through burned out pharmacies, wrecked ambulances and abandoned nursing homes looking for medications to keep you or someone you love going. You can usually find a .pdf of this book for free online, but it’s always good to have a printed copy handy. Number one title on pretty much everyone’s list of medical reading.

Wilderness Medicine, Beyond First Aid, 5th Edition – This book has been around a while. An excellent source of information. Many first aid manuals basically treat every situation with “…seek professional medical help immediately.” Well, yeah, that’s great when the power is on, the roads aren’t jammed with cars, and tracers aren’t crisscrossing the night like fireflies. This book addresses the notion that it might take a while before you can get to the emergency room. What makes this book so useful, in my opinion, is that the author recommends and lists out the contents of various ‘modules’ that make up a kit. For example, there’s a topical bandaging module (20 different items), Non-prescription oral medication module (ten items), etc, etc. If you like to have someone else make up a list for you of where to start when it comes to packing a kit, this is a good one. Even if you have your own ideas, the lists are an excellent starting point. A very useful book.

Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to Emergency Medical Procedures and First Aid, 5e (Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to First Aid &) – An excellent companion to, and possibly slightly better than, the previous text. This is a densely packed trove of information. Being more of an ‘outdoor adventure’ scenario-based book there’s plenty of stuff on the perils you run into camping (poison ivy, poison oak, bad mushrooms, altitude sickness, blisters, etc) but sometimes part of the apocalypse is going to , in fact, be like a long, drawn-out camping trip.

Surgical Knots and Suturing Techniques third edition – Unfortunately, when it isn’t like a camping trip, the apocalypse is going to look a lot like a cross between Mad Max and North Korea…plenty of violence with plenty of shortages of essentials. I’m a big fan of closing a wound with something that doesn’t involve needlecraft on my skin, but sometimes Dermabond and butterfly bandages just aren’t going to do it. This book gives you the basics on taking that surplus surgical kit you picked up at the gun show and actually using it. It’ll be a grim day when you need the info contained in this book, and the next one I list, but better to have it than not.

Ditch Medicine: Advanced Field Procedures For Emergencies – When you need the information in this book, you’re in a situation where it’s going to take a lot more than bandaids and aspirin to pull you through. This is another book that is not for the squeamish, but even if you are a bit sensitive to things like traumatic amputation and flaps of muscle and skin waving in the breeze you should force yourself to read through it anyway so you at least have some ideas of whats going on. It’s not pretty, but if nothing else it’ll make you think twice before doing something stupid that could get you maimed or injured.

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 18th Edition – An excellent reference that covers just about everything that could go wrong in normal times. By that, I mean it doesn’t really cover things like gunshot wounds, radiation poisoning, or anthrax exposure. But for figuring out what that clicking noise in your wrist is, or what that thing growing between your toes is, this book is tops. Also an excellent, excellent text for familiarizing yourself with medical terms, body part nomenclature, nutrition and a few other things. It’s kinda like a Chilton manual for the human body.

Another great reference is Physicians’ Desk Reference 2011 (Physicians’ Desk Reference (Bookstore Version)) (you can sometimes get these free as doctor’s offices update them and discard the old ones. Another source for this book? Law firms that deal with malpractice.) If you’re doing the wrecked-ambulance-looted-pharmacy thing this book is going to go a long way towards making sure that those pills you grabbed are the right ones.

There are some other recommended texts that I haven’t gotten yet but that I’ve heard excellent things about. For now, these are the best books I have on the subject. I have several other books but they’re all on the same subject. However, much like how you should always consult more than one reloading manual when working up new loads for your gun, I have no problem with having three or four books on advanced first aid or medical treatments since there is no such thing as too much knowledge. (I lamost said ‘too much information’, but there is a difference between knowledge and information.) The information contained in these books is also handy in figuring out what you should stock up on for yourfirst aid kits and home medical kits.

Speaking of….there’s a school of thought that says you should never stock any medical supplies that you don’t know how to use. The idea is that if you have them, but don’t know how to use them, you may wind up using them and doing more harm than good. This is true, that is a possibility. But you know what else is also a possibility? That there will be talent (a doctor, a nurse, an EMT, a PA, etc.) who you’ll run into who does know how to use that stuff and can provide the talent if someone will supply them with the gear. Don’t think so? How many times do we read about car accidents, airline flights, and similar events where someone is hurt and a doctor or nurse happens to be nearby or passing by and offers aid? So, the way I see it, go ahead and stock things you don’t know how to use…just don’t use ’em. Leave that for the folks with the talent (or for trading to the folks that need it.)

Article – How The Glock Became America’s Weapon Of Choice

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Today the Glock pistol has become the gun of choice for both criminals and law enforcement in the United States.

In his book Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, Paul Barrett traces how the sleek, high-capacity Austrian weapon found its way into Hollywood films and rap lyrics, not to mention two-thirds of all U.S. police departments.

I remember years ago when the Glock first appeared, the NYPD banned it from being eligible for pistol license holders to have. They said it was a terrorist gun that would go through metal detectors and blah, blah, blah. Then, during an interview with the chief of police, he was asked “What gun do you carry?” and he replied “I carry this machine gun right here” and pulled a Glock 17 out. The Glock was quietly approved for civillians very quickly after that.

Soulless, impersonal, disposable, and indistinguishable from one another, they are the Bic Lighter of handguns. But, thats the point….reliability and performance at a bargain price.

Icy streets, WalMart .223,

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Well, it did eventually stop snowing here. Of course, now the problem isnt so much the snow that is falling but rather the snow that is on the ground….that has been packed down…and turned to ice. Since falling down and breaking bones aren’t high on my To-Do list, I usually keep a pair of Yaktrax
clipped to the outside of my pack. I don’t use them too often, so I can’t really say much about durability, but when I have used them they work quite nicely….especially since when I’m walking around on ice these days I usually have the BioWeapon with me and he seems to find it entertaining to try and pull the Big Human off his feet. I haven’t found them to be much use out in the sticks, since invariably the snow is way too deep and uncompressed to cause traction problems, although if you like following frozen creeks and streambeds, they’d be perfect for that. Regardless, walking aroudn at the moment without them is a bit of a risk.
I did some checking, and while the .223 for sale at WalMart ($149/420 rds.) seems reasonable, I can buy Federal for around $137/500 at a local ammo outlet. However, the advantage to the WallyWorld deal is that the ammo comes in an ammo can, and is already packed on stripper clips. I have plenty of ammo cans, and I’ve a shopping bag full of stripper clips, so for me it makes more sense to not buy the WallyWorld ammo and get the Federal ammo at the local outlet. However, not everyone has an ammo wholesaler nearby, and not everyone already has a stash of ammo cans and stripper clips…so, for some folks, the WallyWorld deal may be the way to go. The deal they had on primers ($3.10/100) was definitely not the way to go for me. Their powder prices were a bit erratic, usually all the powders of one brand are the same price..these were all over the map, but $20 for a pound of Unique is a pretty good deal these days. Your mileage, of course, will vary but you may find it worthwhile to check out the gun counter at the WalMart and see if it really is a deal or not.

Containers and kits

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I upgraded the first aid kit I carry around in my bag the other day. Previously I was using an organizer from Outdoor Research. It was a tri-fold zippered organizer that worked well, but it could stand an improvement. First aid kits are fairly personal things, so I almost never find a commercial product that does everything I want. Many of them are simply an assortment of bandages and antiseptic. Part of me feels that if you have an injury that only requires a Bandaid and some Bactine, you arent really injured. However, another part of me realizes that small ‘Mickey Mouse’ injuries can get really serious, really fast if you leave them untreated and they get infected.

Originally, I was going to replace my previous first aid kit container with one of these from Maxpedition:

It had a good amount of room for all the necessities that might be called for in your average stomping-around-in-the-boonies misadventure and I really liked that it was detachable from the velcro-backed MOLLE panel. Problem was, it’s big and bulky…too bulky for most simple trips out fishing or hunting or geocaching. Great for a more extended trip or something where you’re carrying a larger-than-usual pack or where trouble is expected to be more likely than usual, but otherwise….too bulky.

So, next one was this:

This one still gave me plenty of room and organization options but was a bit less bulky. This is what I currently carry in my Tactical Tailor bag that goes with me most places. I like that it has MOLLE attachment points, as well as a couple D-rings, so I can attach it to my gear or just put it on a carabiner swinging off my pack. This is an excellent compromise between size and bulk.

Like Goldilocks said, the third one was just right:

This is the one I wound up buying several of. It’s got enough room I can stuff it with the things I anticipate needing in a non-EOTWAWKI situation, but still packs down small enough I can keep a bin full of them and toss one at the wife when she heads out the door to go hiking with the dog and say “Hey, take one of these.” For hunting, fishing and that sort of thing, where I dont want to carry a lot of gear and a lot of bulk, I go with this. It even has enough room for one of these fabulous little kits (Which I highly recommend. Sealed in a pouch to make ‘em waterproof and dirtproof, these things are awesome.)

(By the by, each first aid kit we have has a printout, in tiny type, stuffed into it with a list of materials and quantity contained within. This makes things extremely handy when calculating amounts needed to keep on hand for restocking and replacing.)

Now, I’m not going to tell you what to put in your first aid kit, that’s actually another post I have lined up for next week (or maybe the week after), but what do you do once you’ve used your first aid kit? Well, you have to restock it, of course. For storing bulk medical supplies, that lovely Hardigg Medical Chest from a few posts back would be perfect. Trouble is, $200 is a lot for what basically amounts to a waterproof Snap-On tool chest. (Plus availability is something of an issue…I see they’ve sold out and are outta stock….again.) Fortunately, there are cheaper options. I was actually tempted to get one of these older-style medical storage chests but these are simply the outer container. Like the Hardigg, they originally had a ‘dresser drawer’ style interior that is sometimes available elsewhere. However, any large waterproof container is suitable for stashing medical supplies if you organize it right. Many of these older style containers are sold locally at the surplus store as ‘bearproof’ boxes for storing edibles when out camping.

I’m very much liking this smaller, and much more affordable, container. Just the right size for stuffing in a truck box, in the rafters at your hunting cabin, or under the counter at your shop. I’ve something similar that I keep a couple medic’s shoulderbags in. The bags contain pretty much a little of everything and are identical to each other (well, yeah, of course theres more than one). This way,  in a we-gotta-go-now-now-now situation I can just snag one and run out the door with the rest of the gear if I don’t have the time or space to grab everything.

For better or worse, what with the floundering economy and the impending ‘overhaul’ of the health care system, being able to handle the minor medical emergencies that spring up is probably going to be even more important than it is now. Just having the materials on hand is going to make a big difference. Even if there isn’t a shortage or availability issue, .gov keeps mucking around and time-tested OTC medications that we’ve relied on for years are getting nerfed….heck, even my favorite The Green Death (aka NyQuil) had to reformulate and now isnt quite as effective as it used to be. So, yeah, stockpiling medications is in the cards.

At some point, I’ve got to sit down and make a list of all the books I’ve got here on the subject. I’ve got a bunch, but only a handful are, in my opinion, absolutely mandatory for any well-stocked survivalist’s library.

Article – Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization’s collapse

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

(Reuters) – When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.

“In an instant, anything can happen,” she told Reuters. “And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared.”

Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

As is almost always the case with thise little ’snapshot’ articles, the comments are more interesting than the article itself.

Surplus Snowshoes

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The novelty of this white stuff on the ground is fading fast….

Last year I was thinking it might be nice to have a set of these:

And, like an idiot, once the snow faded away I didn’t follow up on it. Now I’m cursing myself because I could really use a set of these things right now. So, I checked the SG catalog this morning and not only do they have the ‘classic’ style of snowshoe they also have the more popular version:

What’s the difference? Well one is more maneuverable than the other, mostly. For the price, I’m thinking I’ll get a pair of each to try out.

What i really could have used yesterday was this little number to haul my stuff back to the house yesterday.

We usually don’t get this kinda weather in this part of Montana but that’s really no excuse…there’s nothing to say I will always be in this part of Montana and, apparently, from time to time we do get a bit of a snowpocalypse going on.

Looks like I’m gonna have to free up a few bucks and get these snowshoes before they sell out like all the other cool stuff I want and never seem to get around to getting.

Thats a lot of snow

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Well, it’s officially more snow than I’ve seen dumped at one time in about, oh, fifteen, maybe twenty years. The wife called for a ride back from work last night and I said “Ok, I’ll be there in five minutes”. Hell, it took me twenty minutes just to shovel the truck out and push it outta its parking space. The snow is already over the top of my pac boots. Driving anywhere is either an exercise in stupidity or a challenge to four-wheel drive. Me, I’m no fool….rule number one of avoiding any disaster is to not be there. Hence, the truck stays parked and if I need to go anywhere, I’m going on foot.

I’ve already helped dig out two stranded motorists…both people who should have known better than to be driving in this crap in their Tauruses and Camrys.

Supplies? Well, I need another 12-pack of Coke but otherwise there’s nothing we need that would warrant a trip through this crap and it’s attendant risk. I’ve enough beef and chicken in the freezer to keep me going for a couple months. This weather has me wishing I had gotten one of these. After walking to the shop in the morning it would be nice to have a hot bowl full of chili or soup to have for lunch.

The dog, of course, is thrilled with the snow. He winds up having to bound through it like a dolphin breaking the surface…yes, he’s a dog with porpoise.

The forecast is for more of this stuff, which means I really shouldnt plan on being anywhere the next few days except at the house or at the shop. Fortunately, because we are a prepared and practical household we’re in a good position to simply ’shelter in place’ and stay put. Heck, between Netflix, Warcraft and internet porn there is pretty much no reason to leave the house.

So, let it snow…if nothing else it’ll be some vindication and perhaps some bragging rights, depending on how bad it gets.

Tactical Levergun

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

It was only a matter of time ……..

From the folks that brought you The Chainsaw………

Part of me is appalled. But the intellignet part of me says that this is actually not a bad idea. Folks have been tacticooling leverguns for a while now, but this is the first one from the factory like that. If youre in a locale that prohibits a semi-auto this might be a good choice. It’s very much a ‘rule beater’ like Remington’s 7615P carbine.

The flash supressor is a nice touch since that means a fella with a sound supressor could thread it on and have absolutely zero noise from the action cycling after the round is fired. Not sure about the need for a telestock, but, as long as youre pimping it out…. I do like the rail option for a tactical light, though. Put on a regular stock, keep the rail for a light, keep the flash supressor, add a forward scope mount fo a ‘Scout’ scope and you’d have a handy little carbine.

I’d love to see this offered in a ‘Combo-Pak’ like their shotguns were. Get the 464 carbine and it comes iwth regular wood furniture and a thread protector so you can swap out the parts between a ‘tactical’ gun and a ‘hunting’ gun…..similar to the package they offered where you got a 500 shotgun with a hunting barrel and a short barrel, and a woodstock and a pistol grip.