When Illness Strikes

Continuing on with my series of Prepping tips and essays, here is my newest one for you all. I am going to say what happened during the storm. I am also going to say what happened afterward.

Today we will all find out what happens when a family is stuck for a week with no medical attention. Yup! We got sick.

It happens to all of us, you know. We catch something or exhaustion hits hard to our already overworked bodies.

Our family caught the infamous influenza that is going around. When we were able to contract it is a mystery since this winter has been very isolating. It had to have happened during one of our many doctor, specialist, or therapy appointments I was able to get everyone to.

But first, the storm sucked. We kept our power, but our vehicle did end up getting stuck. In fact, my friend’s vehicle was also stuck when we ended up needing to be rescued during an attempt to get to the ER. Ricky, my nine year old, fell down the stairs at the end of the storm. As they were opening up highways, we were trying to get the van to move with the hope that he hadn’t broken anything on his tumble down. It took us two and half hours to get to the hospital after the fall. On the way back, though, my friend’s vehicle slipped into the high banks of snow in one of the many farm ditches along our dirt road. We had to wait for another rescue. Her car was pulled out with a tow truck the next day. Three days later we were able to also get a tow truck out to get my van out finally. By that point, though, we were battling our illness.

So, the flu sucks. Not the gastro-intestinal issues that are most commonly called the “flu”, either. I am talking about the high fever, trouble breathing, coughing, and the aches so bad you feel like a god is pulling you apart one joint at a time. That is the “real” flu. Influenza.

The worry with Influenza is the fever and breathing. I have one child who gets pneumonia and another that has asthma. The flu becomes dangerous for children like this. Then add in that I was the only adult for at least a mile around for these days we were stuck out here, you have an even more dangerous situation. I knew once I caught it, then it would be time to beg for help. I made sure to not catch it.

Here is how you make sure to keep your family safe during most medical issues. I am going to cover sickness that doesn’t need medical intervention right away. With these things we can keep the flu and other such illnesses from spreading. Always try to for help if you feel you can’t handle it, though. I am, as stated before, not against the ER being visited.

Our few things needed will be for a two week illness. Any longer and you’ll probably need help anyway.

Remember that with all illnesses the body needs to have nutrients and liquids. My children had a sore throat from the coughing. I made them warm water and had them take a spoonful of honey to sooth their throats. If this was an infection of the throat, then we would have had homemade lemonade with the honey. Just what I do, but get medications if you feel the need.

I don’t mind the body fighting the illness like it should. I prefer not to lower any temperatures with medicines. I use cool clothes, warm baths, and honey spoons.

In your medicine cabinet, I say gather together two bottles of cold/flu medicine for all ages in your house, then get a large bottle of honey (so many uses for this and make sure the ingredients is pure honey), pain relievers and fever reducers (if you get the fever too high, then push one of these onto the patient to see if it helps before medical attention), decongestant for everyone, anti-dhiarriah, heart burn medicine, allergy medicine, laxative, and alcohol wipes.

My medicine cabinet is actually a large two shelved – two doors cabinet in my kitchen. All of my medical supplies for everyday use is in there.

The person who is sick needs to be isolated from the rest of the family. As people get symptoms, they are put into the sick room. The person caring for the sick people should have hand sanitizer outside the door of the sick room. Use it going in and out. It would suck to get strep or a bad cold alongside the flu. Remember they do this in hospitals. It does work. I also have a robe that goes on outside of the door and I take it back off before sanitizing when I leave. If it is a known air born, then grab some masks from the medical section to also wear. It really is for the caring person to not get it, too.

Now that we have our medicines set up, let’s move on to other things. If you can’t leave the house for two weeks while caring for a sick person, then you will need food. I suggest easy to make food for the rest of the family. This is the time that we pull out our homemade microwave meals from our freezer or our all-in-one canned goods. Buy them if you need to. Rotate every six months to a year depending on their expiration date if bought. I make our meals every six months. We usually go through them within that time anyway due to someone getting sick.

We now have meals for the non-sick and the care person. You will need easy meals for the sick person/people as well. Canned soups are great for this. Go for the more broth type to replenish liquids, fill the stomach, and be easy on the body. Chicken noodle soup is also a great thing to have if you can make it or buy it. We always keep at least seven jars of chicken soup on hand from our storage room. I make it from scratch and can it myself. If the sick person is holding down liquid, then try at least one of the meals to have chunks of goodness in it. Do not force anyone throwing up to eat anything solid.

I also keep some extra snack like foods for the person who is caring for the sick people. There are times, I know, where I couldn’t stop from soaking rags in cold water to actually make a full meal and sit to eat. Trail mixes, chips, and such are fine for a meal or two during the few times you can’t walk away. Once all four of my kids had it, I knew I wasn’t going to be eating full meals anymore. I drank milk for the protein and added it to my snack grabs.

Getting ready for having the flu or a serious cold is easier than it sounds. Just try to remember what it was like to be sick the last time you were. For gastro-intestinal diseases and viruses, then be prepared for those as well. I am glad we didn’t have that this time, but we have fought those as well. With those it is usually the holding down liquid that is the toughest. Keep mint on hand to settle a stomach to hold down water. My kids know as soon as they say they are going to throw up that the mint leaves are out for tea.

If you are looking for alternative medicinal help, here is a small part of what I have in my cabinent besides the Nyquil and such:

-Eucalyptus oil to add to a humidifier or on the bottom of socks. (DO NOT PUT IN MOUTH!)
-Lemon oil to add to a spoonful of honey for a sore throat.
-Peppermint oil for fever reducing water on rags and also to kill athletes foot/foot smells.
-Melaleuca oil for acne and rashes.
-Frankincense oil for bug bites and to use with honey for scratches.
-Honey is used as an antibiotic on wounds and sore throats during illness. Local honey a day can ease allergies.
-Homemade ear oil for ear aches and ear infections.
-Three corn bags and four rice bags

We are all better now. Cleaned up and washed down everything. Make sure, always, after having such an illness to disinfect the house again. Keep everyone from places if possible and use hand sanitizer like it is lotion until all coughs and sneezing is done.

Adversity Prepping Tip: Medicine and supplies can be expensive. It is alright to check the clearance section for things about to “expire”. The date on the medicine can be used up to a year after it “expires” and still have it do the job it is required. If something goes on sale again, then grab it if you are able to.

Death By Stickman

A new story is now free to view on my Patreon this week. It is small and silly. Nothing like I usually write, but I thought I’d have some fun with it. Feel free to head over. Read the free things and leave some comments.

Become a Patreon on my page and get updates on book chapters and some short stories only for members.

$10 tier gets signed copies of all of my books published at this time to their mailbox. If they are still $10 members at the time of another published release, then it is automatic they get another signed copy sent to them of that book as well!

I am still trying to figure out Discord, but I hope to have that up and running one day as well. Hope everyone enjoys my attempt at quick humor!

https://www.patreon.com/posts/25263178

Come back next Tuesday for another link to another short story!

Through A Winter Storm

Since writing Blackout, I decided maybe I should let everyone into my life a bit more. I did a lot of research for the book series, and have been trying to make it as close to a good version of fiction-realty as I am able to. I spent hours looking up doomsday prepping. Among other things my poor kids have had to endure now through the years, is also my new passion for canning and homesteading.

So, in light of that information, here will be my weekly segment on my “doomsday” prepping and homesteading.

This week we have been dealing with a new storm coming our way. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Southern Minnesota we feel done with winter now. As I am writing this we are looking at over a full foot of snow. Two weekends ago we had a complete shut down of my area of the state for two full days. The army was called out to rescue people from the highways and local citizens grabbed their snow mobiles to help wherever they could. This storm today is looking to be just as similar.

This week’s prepping blog will be on getting set up for long storms like this one. This will not count for anything destructive like a tornado or hurricane, but will work for any storms that cause you to shelter in place for up to a week. Here are a few things you should always have prepared for such a situation: water, warmth, and food.

As my kids constantly repeat while we are learning new skills: You will die in 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.

Obviously this is dependent on location and climate, but it is a great reminder to get things in order.

FEMA says to prepare for three days without government interference during most natural disasters or dangerous situations. I say that is a good start, but as this winter has proven to my family, prepare for a week instead.

Air: make sure your fire alarms, carbon dioxide alarms, and fire extinguishers are working well. Another air quality issue is to make sure you can burn candles or lamps safely indoors. Check your cooking supplies as well to make sure they are for indoor use during a power outage and not the ones that can kill you by giving off fumes or toxins.

Shelter: Make sure your house is set for a long time without electricity. Remember that electric covers all water pumps and heating/cooling systems. This also includes sanitation issues like flushing toilets and keeping things clean without running water. Stock up on paper and plastic throw away things instead of trying to do dishes if your power goes out. Another tip is to fill the bathtub up to as high as possible to be able to gravity flush your toilet.

Water: A gallon of water per living thing in the household per day. In my house we have four kids, two adults, three dogs, three cats and a frog. I can use one gallon a week for the frog. The other animals and people follow the one gallon per day each. This is drinking and cooking water. So do not think that a gallon a cat is excessive. You might find you need that water to cook a meal.

Food: An average person needs quite a few calories to survive in a high active state. I am going to give you the best advice I can ever with this, though: Don’t go crazy or overthinking your food supply. Create a list in advance to the storm. Make a weeks worth of non-refrigerated breakfasts, lunches, a snack, and a supper. We can our own food, but if you’re not against it then get some canned meals like raviolis or soups. Food fatigue is a thing, though. Do not think that everyone will enjoy rice and beans with every meal.

How do I do it? Here it goes:

My first trip to the store is always to stock up on water. My water through my tap from my well is not drinking water. If the power goes out then we lose our filtration systems. I always filter our water three ways before we store it if I am getting it from my well. For a storm such as today’s I will just go to the store and buy our water in gallon jugs. We keep these gallons underneath our large queen size bed. When I restock for a new storm, then we pull out the old ones and use them in our kitchen. Not hard to just rotate these every month or so.

I then sit down and come down with a complete list of meals for the week. Every meal and every snack is set in my plan. Get shelf stable foods. Remember we are planning for a power outage with the large storm. I also check my pots and pans in my camping gear to make sure I am able to cook such meals. I use a new small grill as my indoor cooking “stove”. DO NOT USE COAL OR OTHER GRILL SUPPLIES INSIDE! It takes longer, but I put candles inside the bottom of the grill as close to the grate as possible as my “fire” to heat my camping pot. Remember to keep your supplies for putting out the fire if need be close by and to keep your CO2 detector also in the room. Most store canned foods can be eaten without being heated up. Get some dried fruits and bars for snacks. Go shopping for the things you need as soon as you have this.

Now that we have food and water, we need to start checking our shelter. A winter storm like this will cut the wind through the windows. Stock up on blankets, try to make sure you have your windows set to insulate, and again check your sanitation supplies. We make sure we have the tacks set to close off one of our living rooms to make the heat stay in one room. During the large polar vortex our outside temperature got down to negative 60 (F) and we lost our heater for the entire thing. The kids still set and played games just fine and did some school work in comfort. We kept the one room we had at about 68 (F) degrees. When the guy came to fix the heater he was shocked at our set up. Be the shock for your rescuers, too. Stay warm. Remember to insulate windows, doors and openings with blankets. This allows breathing but doesn’t let in the cold to the degree leaving them open would. Look into any heating that isn’t ran on electricity with caution. Read everything you can before you buy it. Not everything is meant for a house.

Bathtub filled for flushing the toilet, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, and paper dishes for garbage. If you know of anything more that your family might need every day during a week, then grab it now as well.

Not really in either category is our electronic needs. Most of us don’t have phones connected to our walls any longer. We only have cell phones in this house, so we have three battery packs for them. Our phones stay on their charges to the wall until the power is out. Once we have no electricity then we only use the phones for emergencies until power is restored.

Entertainment would be an issue without computers, TV, video games, and such in most cases. Especially when everyone must be stuck in one room for safety and warmth. We have many card games, board games, activity books, reading books, and of course toys that don’t need a lot of room to play with. My kids are homeschooled so they also have their school work to do if need be.

All of this seems like one week of no fun, but really we like to just pretend to be camping during this time. The kids love using their flashlights (with red coverings to not blind me when they accidentally turn it to my face like all kids do). We make things as entertaining as possible for the kids and they never realize their full danger of the situation. This is for one storm, too.

We always make sure we are prepared for every storm. This was just for a winter storm. We have already been stuck inside for more than 90% of this winter due to the weather. Since I prep for long term issues, then we are very much comfortable even if we missed going to the store for this storm (we did make it out before the storm to gather our supplies).

Do not feel the need to go broke for one storm, either. Do not go out with the masses to grab random things, either. Go before the rush and do it with a complete list. This keeps you in a budget and also keeps you away from the panic.

Adversity Prepping Tip: When going shopping for food on a regular day or week, just grab a few extra cans of a sale item your family will eat to add to your food preps. One or two cans a week to put into long term storage starts to stack up over time.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday, so that means more goals for a new year. Let me catch everyone up on my year:

Last year I got very sick. Finally my disability put me into a blind situation in a bed for weeks. I could only lay with my thoughts. I couldn’t speak, look at anything, and my hearing was even worse than usual. As I was stuck in that bed, I came up with new stories. I couldn’t type them out. I couldn’t even dictate them to anyone. My voice didn’t work. I could only use a few signs from Sign Language with my family to get across anything I needed.

It’s over with, though. For the most part, at least. I am glad for it. I have found my limit and to the point where I can be upright for almost a full day again. It does keep me from being able to get to town when I need to. I feel bad, because I have a pile of books to send out for my Patreon. If you are one of those waiting for my books, then be ready.

I also got into a book signing in a local town. It was a blast. I was able to be interviewed by a local newspaper, as well. I am so lucky to have been able to do that. I also have another few signing appointments set up for this new year. I love meeting you guys in public.
Then last summer I went on vacation for two weeks. We had a great time. For one whole week we went around Michigan and enjoyed the tourist locations. Then we went back to upper Minnesota and camped in the wilderness as survival training. So many new ideas came to me while laying in that tent. We even survived a tornado while hugging each other and hoping the trees didn’t fall onto our camping location.

The last major thing I have to announce is the release of Blank Slate as an original book! I revamped it and set it up for sale. Buy it now and keep it forever on your shelves.

With a new push to keep on schedule, please know I am ready to finally get things released for everyone. My goals are going to be shown instead of declared this time.

Enjoy my stories and free chapters on here? Please feel free to check out my books available and my Patreon for some paid for stories and chapters. Don’t feel like subscribing to anything? That’s fine! I also have a ko-fi set up for one payment only to send me a gift!

-France
Blank Slate
by Amazon.com
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1790820286/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_MGwGCbDSM15YD