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How's this for a scenario?

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So yesterday we had another freaky storm in our area...hail, thunder, lightning, driving rain and cold temps. All this happened during my work hours. By the time I start walking home from work it's sunny and beautiful outside. About 30 steps from my house my left foot hit a muddy patch on the sloped side of the sidewalk and I fell. Landed on my behind...but my right foot kind of stayed under me. I actually heard crunching. :shakinghead: It didn't register right away that I was hurt and I managed to get up and saw that I was covered in mud. Took 2 steps and began to feel my ankle and foot swelling. Had to hold onto fencing to hobble along. Called ds16 and then dh to see if anyone was at home to help me get up the walkway. No one home but both on way. I hopped to steps and then crawled up steps. Got out of muddy clothes and then saw how bad swelling was. Looked like a tennis ball on my ankle body and was...well...twisted looking.

Got an ice pack, elevated it and called Kaiser who said come to emergency room (thank goodness I have health insurance...even tho it was a $50 co-pay and $10 for the meds). Two hours later I am headed home with a hard splint on my leg up to my knee, crutches and a letter to my work saying I can't go back (school is out on the 16th..bummed I will miss graduation ceremony and not get to say goodbye to kids who won't be back next year). But, I do have sick leave to cover the days left. Once swelling goes down I will be put into a hard cast for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Of course, this is just in time for summer vacation....:angry:


Mt. Riders scenarios are always popping into my mind when things happen around me. This morning...while I'm feeling lucid after taking the heavy duty pain meds they gave me....I started thinking about how this would've been in a shtf situation.

How do you deal with a broken bone when there's no doctor? How do you even know if it's not just a bad sprain? X-rays were necessary to see the break in my case. How do you set something like that without all the modern conveniences like the plaster sheets they wrapped it in?


And now that I'm laid up here on my couch the reality is setting in. The plans I made for this summer....expanding the garden, dealing with new chicks, a solar cooking challenge I was going to do, canning, re-organizing my food storage...it will either be impossible or almost impossible to do. Fortunately dh will cook (limited) and clean, friends are bringing over meals and ds16 will take over animal chores...but I'm concerned about my garden and I have transplants that need to go in...I'll have to enlist ds16 when his school is out next week.


All this makes me realize how you have to be around like-minded, knowledgable people. We can't do everything for ourselves. We can't know everything.

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First thing, ds16 should be enlisted. The old adage, you don't work, you don't eat comes to mind in this case. Food is getting more expensive by the day it seems now. We will need every bit this summer and harvest times to get enough put up and enough to eat now I think, most of us, so that we can get through what will probably be a very rough winter and spring next year.

They say this weather cycle of bad storms will last another two to three years so consider that when you put up food this year. Even if you feel you have enough put by, it saves money and is healthier to eat what you can grow now.


As for breaking bones, thats very possible. I am thinking cloth strips like sheeting cut into strips, clean and rolled and having plaster of paris dry might be a good addition to a home first aid kit ( in case there is no doctor).

Green fractures not so bad. It would assist us all to learn how to set a fracture). Also to learn to properly cast a break. If you do not have these materials, some padding, flat smooth pieces of wood which can whittle down to have, or make and have handy in various sizes and ties to immobilize the break is best and to make the person rest it for several weeks. Compound fractures , it is more delicate, messy but also the same, as well as tissue , irrigating, cleaning and treating the wound area as needed. If we can get information on how check by feel for breaks when there is no xray available thats a good thing, how to set different types of breaks, that would be excellent, the mechanization / movements required as some of it will require twisting and force as well.

The sooner it is set the better. The swelling of the muscles around it if let unset make it much harder the longer one goes.


More serious breaks and fragmentation make it more difficult to heal and one has to decide what is best, this might include amputation. Learning how to amputate is a good skill to know as well, because it saves that persons life. Also deals with gangrene infections.


I know these are frightening to deal with, but they well could be part of our individual situations at any time during disaster or economic failure and we will have to buck up our own selves if required.

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You didn't need an xray to know it was broken. Thinking back, you remember that crunching sound (I shudder, because I broke a toe once, and I remember the snap it made- sickening), you saw the swelling, you saw how it wasn't lined up just right. Now, you may not have been able to set it as well as a dr, but you didn't need the xray to tell you it was broken.


As for how to treat it. well, I don't know nuthin about setting a bone, but I know that comfrey poultices can help the swelling go down and heal it quickly once it's set the best you can get it.

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FWIW, Dogmom, I imagine after a week in the hard cast and on crutches, you will be doing most all the things you normally do at home. If for no other reason than the forced inactivity will drive you bugnuts otherwise!


I hope you heal fast, and heal well.

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First of all, Dogmom, I am SO SORRY you broke your poor ankle!!! :(


I hope that it heals quickly and without any ill effects. I wish that we were able to do something for you and your family other than just commiserate!


As far as knowing what to do for a broken bone, I guess the best thing is to glean as much knowledge as possible before TSHTF. I desperately wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, and read everything I could get my hands on about anything medical. The best thing is to get a detailed book on first aid and basic injuries and illnesses. Of course, there will always be things that simply can't be fixed in a situation where advanced medical help is unavailable...but having a working knowledge of what to do about things that a medical layperson can do about things like broken bones is invaluable.


I also have a book entitled "Where There is No Doctor" as well as its companion volume, "Where There is No Dentist," both of which are good resources to have for how to provide basic health care in a difficult situation.


In the meantime, get your kids and husband to help you as much as possible, and PLEASE don't try to do too much too soon! I know that if you're anything like me, you'll be seriously tempted to try to get up and return to your normal routine as soon as possible. Just remember that if you overdo, you can make your ankle worse. Think of it as an enforeced vacation!! :D


Hugs to you, hon...


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Ack...Dogmom! :grouphug: Just getting on here tonite (and the dingy computer is loading pages for a change...) Summer is an awful time to be laid up. 'Course where I live, winter would be worse with ice/snow and all but ...not CA mebbe?


Here is an "UNORTHODOX" TIP on how to see if bone is broken...even slight crack. Get a large size tuning fork...(those metal things that look like a slingshot frame). Study anatomy to know where the bones are. Twaaannngggg the tuning fork so it's really vibrating. Set the handle end against the skin just firmly enough to transmit the vibrations thru the bone. ...that's why you have to know where to position the handle so the possibly broken bones will be set to vibrating. If you get no reaction, move the tuning fork around so you know you didn't just miss the target. Especially important when there are a LOT of bones like in the foot.


Now if the injured person suddenly screams and wants to sock you....they have a break. :darth duck: If they only have a bad sprain, the vibrations will have no effect. This is a definite positive for break tho if they suddenly have intense pain. NOTE: You are not twisting anything or causing more damage...but the vibration of broken bone fragment against broken bone fragment will be ...aah, noteworthy. Don't push hard with the tuning fork so as to cause pain in that way.


PLEASE NOTE: This will NOT tell you if the break needs to be re-set or if it's already in place ...or if it's just a 'hairline' fracture and doesn't need to any adjusting. THAT is what an Xray would tell you clearly. :shrug:



Chiropractors are taught this method [and in this modern world, then they send the patient pronto to an ER]. DH found a tiny fracture in our friend's DD's finger when the initial Xray didn't show it. They took her back and repositioned and found the crack.


As to post-hooey options for fractures....it will depend on the complexity. I'm curious...what does the "Where there is no Doctor" book say for that? Set, Immobilize, and tie them down so they don't screw it up when surgery is no longer an option? I think Ambergris has it right there in simple fractures.


Pre-plaster ways of IMMOBILIZATION: rigid slats on either side of break {in long bone like arm/leg] and tied into postion with strips of cloth. Make sure you pad inside the rigid slats. Make VERY sure you didn't tie so tight that circulation is impaired!!! Check frequently for 'bed sores' under such bandages and reposition carefully if necessary.


For odd angles like ankles, I heard long ago to immobilize by wrapping in a big pillow and secure tightly with straps.


[Any other way of immobilizing?]




Bones sticking thru skin [compound fractures] are worse cuz of infection potential. Got your Fishmox? Bottles of Betadine scrub?


Good scenario to ponder!!! In primitive times, people could die of fractures....or of the limits badly healed limbs put on them in pre-techno times.



So Dogmom, in order that your family doesn't set you out on the ice floe for being useless.... :lol: ....do you happen to have one of those gardening seats with wheels that scoot along the row? Or....in my tired state of fatigue, I scoot along on my rear, down the row to plant/weed. :shrug: Once the initial pain has leveled out and your body is no longer in New Trauma mode, you'll be able to do things...somewhat. BUT DO NOT FALL OVER....FALLING IS CONTRAINDICATED!!!!! :tapfoot:



Keep us posted on your progress!


MtRider [ :pray: Heal her quickly and completely please, Father]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Prior to modern surgery and antibiotics, it was very common to have a severely fractured limb amputated. Better than dying of gangrene, though frequently the person would die of the surgery.


Prior to modern casting, the patient would usually be kept on bedrest for many weeks. Of course that has its own complications.


Be aware that you can get a fat embolism with any fractured bone. So watch for sudden shortness of breath for several days after a break.

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Thniking of you and wondering how you are doing.


Well, I'm back. Thanks for the kind words. That first week turned out to be pretty bad. I was in so much pain I ended up going back to the doctor early. Even Vicodin wasn't helping...that stuff is strong! I don't remember half the conversations some people said they had with me. They took another x-ray and discovered that the tibia as well as the ankle are broken. I'll be in a cast and a wheelchair 8 weeks.

And...when one thing goes wrong...something else usually does. We were in the process of switching our ISP and because of timing issues we were without interent for a week and a half. dry.gif


What have I learned? Watch where you step! :grinning-smiley-044:


Actually, I've learned that I'm not very good at handling big pain. I'm embarrassed to say I got a little loud when the doctor told me I would be in a cast for 8 weeks. I had to

check myself when he reminded me it could've been worse.


I also learned that it's very challenging to get around an old house with narrow doors in a wheelchair. It's been necessary to declutter... And hop into places the wheelchair won't go...like the bathroom.


And...the mental stuff is almost as bad as the pain. Especially when you look around at the 3 doors to get out of the house and realize you can't get out without help because of the steps. I had an anxiety attack in the first week because I was sitting up awake at 2 am really wanting the cast off and really wanting to go outside. (Might've had something to do with the meds).


The biggest thing I've learned...prayer can get you through the worst times...and support from friends and family is essential...


Now that we have internet and I feel more sane....I get to be around more..... :pc_coffee:

Edited by dogmom4
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Welcome back to the land of the internet! lol I am so sorry you have been through so much pain. Can a temporary ramp be installed to help you get out of the house? Take care. (((Dogmom4)))

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You didn't need an xray to know it was broken. Thinking back, you remember that crunching sound (I shudder, because I broke a toe once, and I remember the snap it made- sickening), you saw the swelling, you saw how it wasn't lined up just right. Now, you may not have been able to set it as well as a dr, but you didn't need the xray to tell you it was broken.


As for how to treat it. well, I don't know nuthin about setting a bone, but I know that comfrey poultices can help the swelling go down and heal it quickly once it's set the best you can get it.

I will add that when you break a bone, the xray is done before it is set and only rarely do they do another xray after the bone is splinted. This is from personal experience. I have had follow up xrays during the healing process, but never has a doctor checked right after it is set. They have always waited a week or two and at that point the bone would have to be re-broken in order to fix it if it was set wrong. What you would need to do is get the bone lined up as close to what is normal position as possible and then immobilize it so that God and your body can do the healing work.

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  • 3 months later...

I READ YOUR STORY AND CRINGED REMEMBERING WHEN I LANDED ON TOP OF MY RIGHT LEG AS WELL. OOOOUUUUUCCCCHHHHH!!!! i was on crutches and needed physical therapy for some weeks. right in time for Christmas vacation too! at the time i was a substitute teacher. that would be the last assignment for me before the holidays at there were still two more weeks to go. i still have the crutches...you know just in case! i hope your leg is much better. i know it's been months since you posted about this.

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Since RosaryChaplet brought this back up to the top, I'm going to throw in my 2c.


Get items now to help in case of an injury later. Crutches are cheap. Get them used at thrift stores. You might wish to buy new underarm pads and handgrips, but that's up to you. Thrift stores also have canes and shower chairs. A rolling office chair is great for getting around the kitchen or over smooth floors. I'm a nurse and I wouldn NOT attempt to cast a break, but I would apply a splint - make sure you have splinting materials. I also would not attempt to set a break unless I'd been trained. For arm injuries a sling is essential,both for immobilization and for comfort.


Dogmom, I hope you've healed well.

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