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While it’s still preparedness month, how’s your med kit?

Yeah, it’s preparedness month for people like us all year long. But September is official. The government say so, so I believe it. 😉

Yes, I’m late to mention it.

Saturday at 2:00 a.m. I got a reminder of the one weakness in my prep kits. I woke up feeling as if I had something in my eye, way back in the outside corner where it wasn’t easy to get at. Hours later, it was still there, despite doing expedient things like sticking my head underwater and wiggling my eyeballs around. (I’m so glad nobody was around with a camera. I probably looked like this.)

Later in the day that pesky mote was still around despite a trip to the drug store for proper eyewash.

Today, either it’s still there or it’s gone but left a painful scratch. Luckily, I found a drugstore that’s open for a hour on Sunday for prescription pickup and I got an ointment that temporarily soothed my eye, if not my wallet. From here, we shall see what we shall see.

But I should have had both eye wash and some type of soothing ointment — and perhaps a terramycin antibiotic ointment (for veterinary use only, wink-wink, nod-nod) — in my kit. Now I have two of those items and the third on the way.


Fortunately, the whatever-it-was-or-is in my eye is more irritating than seriously painful. But it brought back a bad memory.

One day many years ago I was walking my dogs on a beautiful morning when my eyes abruptly became super-sensitive to sunlight. By the time I got home, sensitivity had turned to agony. I spent the next day, until I got get an appointment with an ophthalmologist, sitting blindfolded on the floor of a darkened room, weeping in pain.

By the time a neighbor drove me to the doctor, I would have done anything — anything — that doc told me to do, without question. If he’d said the only solution was to remove both eyeballs, I’d have said, “Take them — NOW!” If he’d have said I needed brain surgery, I’d have let him hand me over to be cut up without question.

Fortunately, the fix was less drastic and in a few days it was as if nothing had ever happened. But I’ve never forgotten the combination of rapidity, agony, and helplessness.

Habitual wellness makes us over-confident — and sometimes under-prepared. And it’s easy to put old pain out of mind.


  1. Claire
    Claire September 30, 2018 4:13 pm

    I think comprehensive kits are great for people who can afford them and who can also inventory them and know how to use all the items in them.

    Otherwise, I think there’s a large risk of OMFG, what do I do with that? that comes with buying large ready-made medical kits.

    Personally, I’m not in the league for big medical kits and my experience with simpler kits has been poor. Items leak, go bad, or otherwise become unusable. So I favor buying individual items, based on likely need.

    That said, first aid is an obvious weakness for me.

  2. jed
    jed September 30, 2018 4:26 pm

    My first aid kit is more of a collection than a kit. I did finally manage to get the range essentials stuffed into a bag (very cheaply available at Home Depot), except it still lacks Quik-Clot. Everything else is … distributed. Which isn’t the best thing. But what I lack in organization, I make up for in duplication.

    But eyeball stuffs? Hrrmmm. No. I should at least get some eye wash. The few times I’ve needed that, just awkwardly using a cupped hand and the faucet has worked, but that isn’t exactly portable, unless one lives in an RV.

  3. Pat
    Pat September 30, 2018 5:00 pm

    Was just going over several kits this a.m. while fall housecleaning. Will be going to the store tomorrow for some items. I agree re: individual items; there’s no way to maintain a comprehensive kit unless you drive am ambulance.

    To sympathize — I had a fruit fly (I think) divebomb my eye a couple years ago; under my glasses and skidded across my eye, out the other side, all in a flash. It hurt for two days. Never found him, so I assume he left, because no amount of washing and lubrication discovered him. But it was worrisome for awhile.

  4. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 30, 2018 5:05 pm

    IMHO DIY kits are the best mainly because you know what you have and why you have it. And comprehensive kits are great guidelines for your DIY kits too.

    Having said that as for a comprehensive kits I like doom and gloom because they seem to use high quality products.

    Time is money and knowledge is everything so which ever you have the most of go that route.

  5. James
    James September 30, 2018 5:51 pm

    Claire, the instant light hypersensitivity thing sounds hideous. What was the cause?

  6. Claire
    Claire September 30, 2018 6:08 pm

    By the time I got to the doc, my eyes were in such rough shape — literally rough — that he couldn’t tell by looking at them exactly what I had. He named two possibilities. The only part of the diagnosis that sticks in my mind is the word keratitis (inflamed cornea). Some form of bacterial keratitis, probably from wearing contact lenses. Came on literally in minutes out of nowhere.

    Sure wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

  7. Claire
    Claire September 30, 2018 6:14 pm

    “To sympathize — I had a fruit fly (I think) divebomb my eye a couple years ago; under my glasses and skidded across my eye, out the other side, all in a flash. It hurt for two days.”

    Ugh. Pat. That’s as gross as it is scary.

  8. Alan
    Alan September 30, 2018 9:13 pm

    I recently got a trauma kit together for my car after a presentation by a member of our gun club (Former special forces medic, current RN) and his wife (another RN). He said not to bother with quick clot, you’re better off just packing that type of wound with gauze and/or using a tourniquet.

  9. larryarnold
    larryarnold September 30, 2018 11:50 pm

    My “Hill Country Character” for this week featured one of our county medical first responders.

    (Rural county, and if you’re out in the hinterlands with a medical emergency it may be half-hour or longer before EMS shows up. So the county has volunteer first responders who live and work out in the sticks, and who are trained to EMT Basic and carry med kits in their vehicles.)

    The guy I interviewed has been a member of his local VFD since 1973, and was one of the first first responders when the program started in 1994. They carry AEDs, oxygen tanks with several accessories to deliver the gas however the patient needs it, blood-pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters, glucose meters, 4X4 gauze pads and tape, splints, tourniquets and other first-aid supplies.

    That’s what I wish I had, and the training that goes with it, but it’s not happening.

  10. Arthur
    Arthur October 1, 2018 12:33 am

    Downside to kits – of anything, food, medical equipment, car supplies, tools, etc. – is they’re assembled by someone who doesn’t know your circumstances, needs or capabilities. Better to build your own.

    Plan – making a list of possible calamities/needs and the supplies to deal with them is necessary. And, you’ll always find an unmet need that will require adding something to the kit.

    Replenishment – Med stuff requires periodic replacement. here’s where that list earns its keep as the basis for a “refill/replace checklist.”

    FYI, you might take a look at “Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops.” My opthomologist recomended them as treatment for dry eyes (wind on the bicycle dries my eyes out, even behind wraparound sunglasses). They are single-treatment clear plastic tubes, about 3/8″ diameter and 3.5″ length, each tube is 7/10 cc. I’ve taken to keeping several in my EDC kit so I always have a few on me. Break the end off to open, look up and squeeze tube to dispense. It’s not as good as a bottle of eye wash and an eye cup, but when I get a speck of very irritating dust in an eye, one or two Systane tubes usually adds enough fluid to clear it out with some blinking.

  11. Georgia
    Georgia October 1, 2018 7:58 am

    Please don’t store too much of that terramycin eye ointment. It contains tetracycline,one of the few antibiotics that breaks down into unsafe compounds soon after expiration date.

  12. Steve Watt
    Steve Watt October 1, 2018 8:51 am

    Some of my old folks used to use cinnamon in place of quickclot, haven’t tried it myself but I could see why it might work.

  13. Claire
    Claire October 1, 2018 11:00 am

    Thank you, Georgia. I didn’t know that.

    Steve Watt — Interesting. I wonder what other kitchen items might do that job? Alum? Baking soda? But then, I wouldn’t want to guess about which items would either be excruciatingly painful and/or toxic.

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