Several weeks ago my mom’s red heifer got loose. I was in the field trotting after her when I dropped my foot into a hole. I ended up with a moderate sprain and a dislocated bone. It was NOT fun. That is just one of many injuries I’ve sustained on the homestead over the past decade. So, how do homesteaders handle injuries, and the aftermath of getting chores done? That’s exactly what we are going to dive into today.
Learn First Aid and Basic Triage
I learned first aid and triage as a teenager. It was one of the most useful skills I was ever taught. Not only has it saved my own life, but I have been the instrument of preventing other people’s death due to learning this skill. The book we used in my class was the good old Standard First Aid and Personal Safety by the American Red Cross. In college I took biology, anatomy, and biochemistry. I find all three have increased my understanding of the human body and have helped me immensely in understanding how injuries effect the body. I also earned my CPR certification at one point. I’ve used it, too.
All kinds of things can happen on the homestead and in rural communities – anything from someone falling off a tractor and being ran over by a bushhog to hunting accidents, to being horse kicked to minor everyday injuries. Getting a good understanding of what to do, what you can’t do, and how to help someone until help arrives (which can be hours) is the first step in handling injuries on the homestead.
In addition to the Red Cross manual I highly recommend Kids to the Rescue, DK’s First Aid Manual, and Medicine for the Outdoors.
Have a Homestead Manual
I’m currently working on a new Homestead Manual. In the event you are laid up for a while others need to know what to do, how to do, and when to do when it comes to caring for your gardens and animals. This will save you so much grief in the long run. Not only does a Homestead Manual help friends and neighbors who may need to step in, but also helps other family members know what needs to be done. This manual needs to include all the little things that we each do that another person may not know about. For example, “feed chickens” does not give the information others need to make sure the chickens are fed enough and with the correct feed.
This manual needs to be logical with direct instructions and be somewhere easy to grab. I keep a reference book with gardening information, medication dosages, what medications and herbs treat what diseases, signs of diseases and disorders, vaccine records, etc. This is also wonderful information to keep on hand.
Seek Medical Attention when Needed
I’m about to get personal. I KNOW how much many of us do not like going to the doctor. I know people of the land so often just muster on. I know I do. I know many people who wait until the end of haying season, or will go to the doctor once the harvest is done, or will literally stich themselves up.
While self sufficiency is admirable, I’ve also watched people end up permanently damaged, cancer not caught until it was too late, and have preventable diseases upend their lives and the lives of their families. One man complained of a back ache for days and ended up having an aortic dissection from a fall a few days earlier. Going to the ER saved him.
Give Your Body Time to Heal
Now I’m just preaching to choir on this because I’m really bad about this. I’ve continued shearing with broken ribs, walked on a broken foot, continued cooking with burns, and all kinds of stupid things. When you need time to rest, you need to make time to rest. It’s hard to do with so many things that need to be done, but being down longer doesn’t help you or anyone else.
I remember having the flu one winter, running a fever, and taking water and feed out to all of the animal twice a day. When times like that hit I prioritize the most important chores to keep the stock alive and break down those tasks into very small increments of time. I went out, fed the sheep and dog, and then went back to bed. Then I went out, fed the horses and the chickens and then went back to bed. It was grueling. But it was the balance between self care and caring for the homestead. Not every little thing can be done during times of injury and illness, but most of the time we can still take care of the BIG things. If you can’t – it’s time to call in reinforcements!
Have Good Communication
Good communication with your family during recovery time is also important. It’s easy to think someone else will take care of it. That’s why it’s important to know exactly who does what. It’s also important to thank those taking over extra tasks and let them know how much you appreciate them. After all, in a homesteading family it’s a team effort to find success.
I hope you found this helpful, and I hope you read it in GOOD health.
Take good care of yourself. You only have one body!
Until next time,