Recently, we had an incredibly tough week with a lot of ups and downs. We had not one, but two trips to the emergency room in a week. The first one was pretty understandable and all turned out well. We know why my son is passing out now while he running a race and it is fairly treatable. However, we also had to take a trip to Des Moines to the pediatric cardiologist to make sure his heart was looking good and, according to Dr. Becker, his heart looks beautiful and strong. That was the balm to my worried soul.
The second trip to the emergency room was for my daughter and while I understand the precaution that was being taken, I am still angry over that trip. Mostly, I think I am angry because I don't take my kids to the emergency room when they are sick. I knew she wasn't sick enough to go. However, the college she is attending forced the issue and made her get a meningitis test. I did not realize until that day that you could not go anyway but the emergency room to get this test done in the area she lives. The front desk nurse and the doctor could not believe she was there for that either. She had been to urgent care the day before and had gotten antibiotics for strep and tonsillitis. The ER doctor concluded that is what she had.
We have a rule at our house that has been broken a few times, but not very often. I think we have been to the emergency room maybe 6-8 times in the 24.5 years my kids have been on Earth. The rule that I have said jokingly but seriously is "We don't do emergency rooms in this house. I will not take you!"
I always wanted my kids to understand that emergency rooms were truly for emergencies. They were not to be used as a walk-in after-hours clinic. If they were sick, we would wait until the next morning to go to the doctor if warranted. However, we didn't go to the doctor too often either for illness. I would really try to let their bodies fight the illness first. The only time I did take an ill child to the emergency room was for severe dehydration due to excessive vomiting over the course of three days. Nothing would stay in her stomach nor settle her stomach. It wasn't pretty.
Fluids, sleep, and a pain reliever can help a lot when you are sick. Antibiotics are good too, but too many of those can also cause problems like resistance and upsetting your stomach. Knowing the difference between your kid just has a virus and when they need more can be difficult, but you can learn. I have made some misjudgments, but usually, I like to let them fight the illness themselves first.
I was pretty angry after taking my daughter to the emergency room. I may have sent an email to the college about overreacting, being overly cautious, and a complete lack of common sense. I also found out that colleges will freak out if the word meningitis is even breathed. While I understand that meningitis is very serious and very contagious, some common sense still needs to be used.
Your greatest tool in any prepping is your brain and the knowledge it contains. Medical prepping is no different. You need to understand what you are dealing with, diagnose, and decide on treatment. You don't have to be a doctor or a nurse to use your best judgment.
The second greatest tool in any prepping, but especially medical prepping, is using reasonable judgment and common sense. Having knowledge of medical problems and how to treat those problems helps with using good judgment and common sense. Knowing how to treat fevers, colds, viruses, and other medical issues at home can go a long way towards you and your kids having healthy immune systems. Knowing how to protect yourself and your family from getting illnesses makes a difference also.
I'm not a doctor or any sort of medical professional. Being a mother for 24 years means I have seen a lot. I have done a lot of research and used common sense to treat what I could at home. We avoided the doctor's office a lot because (1) I couldn't afford the bills, (2) my kids always seem to pick up more illness there, and (3) most of the time we walked away with a diagnosis but little else. I have called our local medical facility's "ask-a-nurse" hotline to sort out what my kids had and if they needed to be seen. After awhile I learned what was serious and what was just the crud or a virus.
You can take this further by knowing how to treat injuries and when medical intervention is needed. We have had to get stitches, seek treatments for sports injuries, and have broken bones mended. We have also had jammed fingers, sore backs and hips, twisted ankles, and more that were treated using chiropractic care instead of going to the doctor. We have also used time and rest to heal injuries which seems to work the best. Again, these were all judgment calls using knowledge, common sense, and judgment.
You need to develop judgment and common sense for medical prepping. That all starts with acquiring knowledge and keeping this knowledge at your fingertips. I do recommend keeping some books in your reference library to help you make the right decision.
- Where There Is No Doctor
- The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help Is Not On The Way
- ACEP First Aid Manual 5th Edition: The Step by Step Guide for Everyone
- The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook
- Survival Medicine & First Aid
To be clear, I am not saying you should never see the doctor or have your child treated. Not at all. I am also not a medical professional and would never assume to be the replacement for one. However, I have learned a lot over the years. I put a lot of stock into that experience, knowledge, and am continuously learning. I learned a lot in the last few weeks again. I also trust my judgment and gut instinct to help me make my decisions when it comes to medical situations.
If you are looking for more hands-on experience, look in your area for medical training classes or just good informational classes. You can also find local prepping groups who have professionals come to teach classes. Local community colleges also have classes and seminars on medical topics for you to learn more about medical issues and techniques.
Thanks for reading,