Monday, February 27, 2012

Chemicals and cuts.

The wonders of healing.

Well, I already did a write-up on herb lore, and that post was hella-popular in Germany. I don't know why, I assume that it was a single individual hitting the post over and over again every day for a month. Or at least that's how I like to imagine the happening.

Anyhow, herbs have been seen to. But this leaves a large section of the healing arts untouched. It goes to assume that in the apocalypse people will take injury or become sick. All that extra stress, and those falling chunks of asteroids are going to play havoc on our delicate nerves. I swear I get the vapors just thinking about it all.

Medical science has expanded explosively over the last century. We've gone from 'bad air causes disease' to discovering the actual parasite culprits of so many of our woes. We've even managed to find ways to combat many of them, though as they grow and evolve they step beyond our current technology. Hey, it is highly possible that we've created our own apocalypse with these bounds in knowledge and technology. Honestly, our species has yet to fully understand the workings of our own bodies, and a little knowledge is dangerous indeed as we jump around and try to form hypothesis to explain observations.

Modern medicine, first aid aside, seems to be easily divided into two major categories. Cutting and chemicals. Surgery or Pharmacy. From what I've seen of those many delightful Hospital dramas, either one route or the other is often taken. Well, I admit that Dr. House might not be the best source of information on the subject. Shock I know, but it appears that sometimes television writers don't always do silly things like letting little things like Facts get in their way of telling a good story.


From my understanding there is usually two different approaches taken in day to day medicine. Either the patient is cut into through the delicate are of surgery or they are prescribed chemicals to alter the body's function. These are the two major approaches, broadly grouped, in the Western medical tradition. Once again, I am probably forgetting something but it's getting late and I'm tired. Plus, I really don't much pay attention to the medical profession. I don't think I can articulate the divide that well, as I do not Grok. But regardless, medicine and medical care are important. More so when the world becomes more dangerous. Unless the zombies have risen, then you'll wish you'd put your time into studying some proper marksmanship.

But for the rest...

There are so many different routes to take here and they all work together in a complex and interconnected fashion. First you have the doctors and other hospital staff. They diagnose any disorders and offer a plan for treatment. Be it “Acquire use this medicine” or “see this specialist for more options cause I'm out of my league.” Then you have the specialist fields, too many of which to name. Then there are the Nurses and Physicians Assistants and the rest of the crew who make up a functioning hospital. I really have no idea what they all do.

Ok, after six hours of waiting you've had your fifteen minutes of face time with the physician. Sweet. He told you to go pick up some chemical compound to help alleviate your symptoms. Cue a visit to the Pharmacist. Pharmacists(RPH) spend the same amount of time in school as do doctors. Though I think that their post-school fellowship is far shorter by a matter of years. The RPH specializes in all the chemicals that are produced as medication, and how those chemicals might interact with one another as well as with the human body. Most drugs have side-effects, some of which are unpleasant to say the least. As with many complicated systems, the more layers you add the more that can go wrong. This is where a good pharmacist comes in handy here and now.

In my writing I work under the assumption that some of the world's infrastructure will survive, and this means hospitals and pharmacies with parts of their stock and equipment will be there intact. I do mean part, as such places will probably be ransacked by the mob when things turn ugly. If you're part of that mob, how much more helpful to be able to tell the difference between Oxycodone, oxycotin and oxyclean? Yeah, that is a problem with medications, many of them have similar names, and most have radically different applications. No good for you you're looting a pharmacy to clear up a headache and take that shiny red caplet that cleans out constipation.

The problem here, is that both approaches involve years upon years of training and many of the areas of knowledge that lie under these branches are extremely specialized. The human body is far to complicated for most human beings to master more than a small piece of it's workings and mystery. In my years I've only gone so far to plumb the depths of it's secret workings to learn that sticking one's finger down their throat leads to unpleasant consequences(though funny in the right setting). I don't really have any interest in learning more about medicine – let alone devoting the next ten years of my life to learning the ropes of the profession. I'm a dabbler and that path is far to specialized.

My normal plan of “Buy book, read book when issue emerges” probably won't pay off this time around. PLAN B – locate and befriend a slew of medical professionals and hope that they survive the blast. Get plenty of vitamins and exercise in the meantime.

Plan B sucks.