Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Medical Care

If this is your first visit to Prairie Sense, view my Welcome and get acquainted!

My whole idea behind this blog stems from the constant thought, "What did they do about this in the old days?" Most everything in our lives is a modern convenience, a modern way of doing things, or a technological advance of some sort. Don't get me wrong: I'm not against modernization. I LOVE my air conditioner, my car, and the internet. I love my fridge, my phone, and indoor plumbing.

But what have we given up in exchange for the modern lifestyle? I think we've given up our independence. We've said good-bye to self-sufficiency. In so many ways, we can't do things without the help of outside sources.

Specifically, we can't take care of our health anymore without the 'advice of a physician.' So how did civilized people for thousands of years manage to live without the American Medical Association, a pediatrician, a general practitioner, and a pharmacy? How did they survive without medical insurance? What did they do without Tylenol, for goodness' sake?

Let's look at Laura's family. There are numerous instances illustrated in Little House where a medical problem arose. (By the way, they probably didn't even use the term "medical problem.") Knowing what to do was part of life. They knew how to take care of a physical ailment just like they knew how to make bread, build a cooking fire, and grow carrots.

In Little House in the Big Woods, Laura tells the story of a naughty boy who stomped up and down on a yellow-jacket nest. Needless to say, he was stung numerous times. So much so, that his entire body was swollen and his eyes were squeezed shut.

They lived in the 'wilderness' with no close neighbors, and of course, no emergency room. They didn't have Benadryl, or an epi-pen, or any injections. They had old-fashioned, everyday wisdom. They packed the boy with mud and wrapped him up tight with cloth. That's it. And he actually lived through it!

In Little House on the Prairie, Ma was helping Pa build their new log cabin when a very large log fell on Ma's ankle. Pa couldn't call 911. They were out in the middle of the Kansas prairie. Pa had picked the location because there were no neighbors close by. The nearest town was 40 miles away, and their only form of transportation was horses.

But Pa didn't waste a minute. He instantly examined Ma for broken bones. He determined that she had only sprained it. Then he had her soak her foot in the hottest water she could stand, and wrapped it tightly. She stayed off her feet for the day. That's it. And the next few days she hobbled around the campsite, continuing on with her work as usual, cooking outdoors, washing clothes, and caring for three little girls. Oh, and Pa sternly said, "You may not help me build the house anymore until your foot is better." : )

Now, I know the argument could be made that we don't live in the wilderness. We don't need to know how to set a broken bone, or treat excessive bee stings, or anything like that. But, is that really true? Have we become so accustomed to calling the doctor, or rushing to the ER, or asking our doctor's advice before starting an exercise program that we can't think for ourselves anymore? Do we really need a prescription for restless legs? Couldn't we just cut back on sugar or caffeine?

Why shouldn't a mother be able to treat minor (and some major) physical ailments? Why should we fear the label of 'bad mother' for not taking our children to the doctor for routine checkups? Why don't we use some common sense?

Since we do live in modern times, we live pretty comfortably. This message could easily fall on deaf ears. But, take a look at history. Civilizations come, and civilizations go, and before one disappears completely, it falls into chaos and then ruin. Are we so sure that America and her modern ways will last forever? I'm not. It could fall into ruin and become only a memory with just one catastrophe. Or it could come very close before it's rescue.

And where will the people be in the midst of the chaos? Where will we turn if the hospitals are overrun, the doctors can no longer practice, or over-the-counter pain relievers are not easily available? Just take a look at Haiti. All it takes is one disaster to plunge a nation into chaos.

But, armed with a bit of knowledge, independence, and self-determination, that same people could survive, and possibly even thrive, because of a little basic knowledge.

So what's my suggestion? Do your research. Learn what they knew in the old days, before major pharmaceutical companies existed. Google phrases like healing herbs, natural healing, nutritional healing. Educate yourself, and then educate your family. Add this information to the basic stuff you teach your kids, like making beds, mowing the lawn, and making pancakes.

Stay healthy. Eat right. Get fresh air and exercise. Turn off the TV. Grow some vegetables. Drink more water.

Sound simple? It is. Haven't you read Little House yet?


  1. Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We have such a "microwave" attitude toward everything. You are right, we do need to eat better and slow down and smell the roses.

  2. I wish you could make this post go viral! So many people today have an attitude of invincibility when it come to our nation and way of life, that they don't consider for a moment "what would I do without these things?"