Post Peak Medicine

As I’ve said before, I am interested in preventative care measures much more so than after the fact fixes.  And I’m advancing my education with the aim of being able to give primary care to my neighbors and community which will be needed even more so in the coming years.

I have had concerns for years about the impact of Peak Oil on medicine as we understand it today – syringes made from non renewable resources, used only once and disposed of just as a for instance.  All the medicines available today are available only because of fossil fuel inputs – what happens when those are too expensive to ‘waste’ on medical purposes?  I think perhaps even those in the medical community who might be Peak Oil aware tend to close their eyes and put their fingers in their ears chanting “LaLaLa” because there appear to be no answers to the question, and there is presently no alternative.  I admit, it is depressing and stressful to contemplate.

I found a site today that really excites me: Post Peak Medicine .  This is exactly the answer to my concerns even though much of it is still a work in progress.  I even found a page where the owner is asking for submissions from registered nurses and I really want to begin working on a submission!  I never pictured myself as having much to add to the nursing community but in this case I believe I do have important contributions to make, and that I have an obligation to try.  I will post here if my article is accepted so you can read if you are interested.

In other news, this house has been alcohol free for over a month.  No freak outs, no fights, no lapses of memory, no drama.  While I miss a cold beer on a hot evening, I’d prefer the money to stay in my bank account for things like the tire my husband suddenly needed to replace on his car, or the TB test we just found out he needed.  We both get more done as well…although I am still a gamer’s widow.  It evens out though, he loses me to the loom, spinning wheel, and school work.


7 responses

    • I’m guessing that it will require quite a bit of fossil fuel inputs to manufacture as well, which is going to be a problem in coming years.

      Old fashioned needles may be larger bore and hurt more, but they can be autoclaved and reused indefinitely as can glass syringes. A pressure cooker can be used as an autoclave – Lehman’s sells pressure cooker specifically marketed for use as an autoclave, it’s manufactured by the All American Pressure Canner company, owned by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry.

      I think we may see the return of these, maybe not in our lifetimes, but certainly in my children’s.

  1. As a patient who has to use an sc needle for an IM type injection, at least once a day, and can only get sc needles on prescription of the type approved by my doctor for the medicine provided, what are the alternatives? My injection is life changing and I cannot do without it, but administering it by needle is the only option. I have tried to get hold of other types of needle but they will not allow sales directly to a patient, and I do try to use my needles more than just once by sterilising it, but it does get blunt very quickly.

    • Those are exactly the types of questions I seek answers to. I wish I had an easy answer for you, I really do. I have seen antique glass syringes, as well as metal ones in antique stores here in my area – not very often, but I occasionally do. I think it may be an area ripe for experimentation as far as manufacture for reusable equipment goes. It hasn’t been so long that we’ve been crazy for single use, only in the last 20 years, because of the AIDS scare. I can tell you that even “single use’ tools like scissors and small forceps, supposedly used only once, ARE in fact collected and sent back to the company for autoclaving and repackaging – again as a ‘single use’ device.
      I will research the syringe issue and let you know – there have to be workarounds.

      • Thanks. I use the U100 insulin type syringes and they aren’t even suitable for what I need. My medicine is designed to be injected into a muscle and in the UK, patients are not supposed to administer IM injections to themselves. Community health carers cannot visit your house to administer them, nor can you go to a clinic every night . The protocol, is to hospitalise, but then I would never get home and be totally dependent on help. It made sense to train , but there is a ban on allowing me to have IM needles prescribed. U100 use are a little too short. And trying to get them as deep as possible into a muscle can blunt them even in one use. Added to that, any trauma to a blood vessel can cause me to have a reaction. This is avoided with slimmer and sharper needles, so the old fashioned type may not be the correct thing either. I get a max of about 3-4 uses from one needle.

      • In my experience it’s the reusable needles not the reusable syringes which are the problem. In the 1980s I worked at a small mission hospital in the Caribbean where they still used reusable needles and syringes, and after a few reuses the needles became so blunt that it was very difficult and painful to penetrate the skin with them. So I guess then you have to think about resharpening the needles. Plus, adequate sterilization of a needle may be more problematic than with other equipment, because it might be difficult for the sterilizing solutions to penetrate the long thin bore of the needle.

      • You are right, and that was what I wanted to research. I really am curious to know how they dealt with this in the early years of hypodermic use – were they blunt and just hurt more? I hope to find some early diaries or something like that to find out.

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