Something To Lean On

Reasons to Add Crutches, Canes, and Wheelchairs To Our Preps
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No one plans to trip and fall–especially not to fall and get hurt–but we do. It happens faster than we can say “oops”. Most of the time we quickly (or slowly) get back up, check to ensure all our parts still work, and somewhat sheepishly go on. But sometimes you either can’t get up, or it really hurts when you do.

A little while back I was thinking how difficult it would be to get around in a collapse situation with a leg injury. Trying to improvise crutches or a cane, though doable, wouldn’t be ideal. So we decided to purchase (from a thrift store) a set of crutches, a cane, and a wheelchair. So far we’ve got the crutches and a cane, hanging neatly in a corner of the garage. We haven’t found a decent wheelchair for good price yet, but when we do it’ll be folded down and hung with the others.

When an injury first happens, especially if it looks serious, everyone available helps and cares for the injured. But in the days afterward, the injury is mostly forgotten by everyone except the injured. He (or she) now has to get around and function as best they can. Injuries such as sprains and strains* are rarely crippling, but they make even minimal walking painful and difficult. Having that set of crutches or a cane (though a cane is easier to improvise, storing one takes almost no space) allows a patient to be ambulatory and more independent. In addition a wheelchair, for someone who can’t even get around on crutches, would be invaluable. Remember we’re discussing a situation where there is no other medical assistance available; a situation where you only have what you have.

This doesn’t have to be just a collapse situation. What about an injury during an ice or snow storm where it’s difficult to get out, or to have an ambulance respond? How much easier would it be if you had what was needed to allow your patient to be ambulatory? Then, when care is available, hang it back up until it’s needed again – they’re reusable.

Ryan is currently healing from an injury of his own. His involves the collar-bone and shoulder region (bike crash), so it doesn’t limit him walking around. But I was reminded how long those type of injuries take to heal, the pain associated with them, and the inconveniences they cause doing simple day-to-day activities.

The other thing I plan to add to our medical preps is a folding military-style stretcher. I thought about this again when I read Dr. Bones’ post, Thoughts on Patient Transport. A stretcher is in a somewhat different category since it’s used to carry an injured person, and may not be as necessary because it can be improvised. But we know that people are going to get hurt and that they are going to need to be moved; so we may as well prepare for it.

I know this isn’t brain surgery, but frequently we don’t think about preparing for medical injuries beyond having a first aid kit. As I’ve stressed before, in a collapse situation people who aren’t used to physical exertion will be forced to be much more active and injuries will happen – and they will happen more frequently.

(Friday: What I Did This Week To Prep)

*A sprain is an injury to a ligament (in a joint), i.e. sprained ankle; a strain (aka as ‘pulled’) is an injury to a tendon or muscle, i.e. strained, or pulled, hamstring). For first aid treatment, remember the mnemonic: P.R.I.C.E. – protect, rest, ice, compress, elevate. Crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair will help protect the injured extremity by not putting weight on it, and allow it to rest by using it as little as possible.

4 Comments

  1. Certainly something that I’ve never thought about as a prep item. Thanks for bringing it to mind. Looks like I should probably keep an eye on the thrift stores.

    • That was kind of how I felt when I thought about it. We got the crutches for $4 and the cane for $2.50. Wheelchairs seem to be available for around $35 from what I’ve heard, I’m still looking.

  2. julie Lewis:

    Never thought of this at all! Great idea. I see them in thrift stores all the time. Also, I meant to comment on your previous post on injuries and wound care…but forgot. Something that I am using and stroring is essential oils. Have you heard much about essential oils? I use DOTERRA oils and have been sooo happy. Alot of the oils have antibacterial properties and help with healing. For example, my son had a sore throat and felt awful, I rubbed some OREGANO essential oil on the bottom of his feet and within hours he was was feeling better. I use oils on bruises and sprains and burns. Google doterra and find out about them. Thanks for your blog…its insightful.

    • Thanks Julie. Yep, frequently it’s the little things we overlook. Sure there’s such thing as having too much crap sitting around ‘just in case’, but I think this is something worth having.

      On essential oils. I’ve only been around them a little bit, mainly Tea Tree Oil which I’ve really liked, it’s on my to do list; just haven’t gotten to that project yet. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy on the Doom & Bloom Show have done a couple shows on essential oils and have some real good info. Nurse Amy is a retired nurse practitioner midwife who is now specializing in growing and using medicinal herbs.

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