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Good health and community are your best preps
A few months ago I sustained a serious injury to both of my shoulders. A combination of rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, and other issues took me from a fully able-bodied man to someone who couldn’t do basic tasks like brushing my teeth or driving my truck. Life kind of ground to a halt, and if it weren’t for my wife and extended family helping out I’d be in dire straights.
As a relatively healthy, relatively young adult, it can be tempting to view prepping for SHTF through the lens of a “lone wolf” mentality. Decades of Hollywood movies and fantasy fiction has led many to believe that when the proverbial zombies rise up from the dead, your wits, a gun, and a backpack is all you’ll need to survive.
Unfortunately, real life is a lot more complicated, and difficult, than fantasy fiction.
On the move
In real life, a bug out situation can become entirely untenable after you slip and sprain your ankle a mile into your trip.
Do you have someone in your group you can (literally) lean on?
Can your wife or kids carry your backpack if you get injured? Or did you pack 50 lbs of survival gear that has to be left behind now? Don’t assume you’ll have time to pick and choose either - depending on what kind of disaster you’re fleeing, every second could count and if you can’t carry it, you just have to leave it behind.
Can you operate all your essential survival gear one handed? I have a Grayl water filter bottle. It’s fantastic in almost every way - except that it requires a lot of force and two hands to operate - not great if you get injured!
It’s not just about being effective while mobile, either. Ideally, bugging out is a last resort and you should be bugging in if at all possible.
If you’re planning to (or already are) homesteading and growing a garden, tending to animals, repairing fences, etc. to sustain yourself in a prolonged grid down scenario - who’s going to do those tasks if you’re injured? And who’s going to help you out while you’re recovering?
A few months into my rehab and I’m still not back to normal. Rotator cuff tears are a slow thing to heal from, unfortunately. My new philosophy when it comes to equipment and plans is to assume injury and prepare accordingly.
Lone wolves aren’t going to survive. Small family units might not survive very well, either. You should get to know your neighbors and be on friendly terms with them. Help them out when they need it; who knows if one day you might need their help. Get your friends involved in your disaster preps and plans.
And finally, stay on top of your health. If you’re dependent on meds, do everything you can to heal yourself so you don’t need them anymore. If your knee kinda hurts when you run and play with your kids - go figure out why and fix it. Do physical therapy and rehab until you’re able-bodied again. Don’t ignore problems because they will sneak up on you when you least expect it.
If the worst happens and you do sustain a serious injury during an SHTF event, make sure you have plenty of supplies, in an easy to access location, so you can wait it out while you heal. Several months of food, water, medication, toiletries, etc., would be a great start.
In my case, my shoulder injury was a combination of a chronic untreated issue and an injury doing a very intense overhead lifting task. Had I stayed on top of my health more and pre-emptively fixed the chronic issue, I would have been fine doing that overhead lifting task and not torn anything. Learn from my lesson. I am.