Unexpected Survival/Homesteading Lesson
Day before yesterday my knee did something unexpected.
While trying to keep two of our dogs from getting into a fight, I turned and moved but my right foot stayed planted for some reason. It didn't turn and move with the rest of me. Then one of the dogs bumped into me.
My knee suddenly bent the wrong way and completely dislocated. When it happened I didn't understand exactly what had happened, because 1.) it happened very quickly, 2.) I was preoccupied with the dogs, and 3.) there was no pain. The knee just folded the wrong way and I went down.
So I got back up and as soon as I put weight on that leg again, it happened again. This time I knew something was dreadfully wrong. Still, there was no pain. If I kept the leg bent at the knee a little, it held weight. If I tried to take a normal step, it collapsed.
By this time, the dogs had escalated into full-blown fight and there was no longer had a chance to calm the situation down. My husband left the dogs alone to duke it out and came to help me instead. As soon as the one dog that had started the scrap had asserted his dominance, after enough blood and dog spit had flown, the fight ended. But now the bigger issue had become my knee.
We were not near the house, but we had the 4-wheeler. The circumstances made me think about what I would have done in a worst-case scenario of being alone and without transportation.
What would I have done?
First of all, I would have needed to cut or break a branch to use for a walking stick. I would have needed to find some way to brace my knee to keep it from folding up on me, so I would have needed wraps and sticks for that too. I suppose for wraps I could have used my clothes if there was nothing else.
The knee brace I'm using now was at the house. It makes walking, even if very slowly and with a cane, possible. So from now on I'll carry a knee wrap in my backpack so if this happens again I'll have some sort of support. Between a walking stick and a brace, I could probably have made it (albeit very slowly) back to the house.
What did I do to treat?
By the time I got up to my bedroom and took a look, the knee was very swollen and stiff. Hubs brought ice packs and I applied my ginseng & lobelia rub. Also used a comfrey ointment I had made earlier in the year. Next day there was still swelling, and more pain and stiffness than the day of injury. I called our insurance provider's nurse hotline and was reassured that with ice and rest there was a good chance it would heal on its own.
Today is the second day after the incident and the swelling has gone down a lot and stiffness is still there but not as bad. I am still not putting it to a lot of use and will continue to let it heal a few more days. I have an arnica rub I made a few years ago and that seems to be helping with pain. I've also been taking ibuprofen every 4 hours to help with inflammation, but in a survival situation I hope I have herbs on hand for this. Black cohosh, red clover, lobelia, arnica are all good options. Mullein poultice is also supposed to be good for pain of pulled muscles (thanks for that tip, Sara). Comfrey poultice actually helps with healing of muscle and tissue, and I think the comfrey ointment I'm using is helping a lot.
So this is something every homesteader should probably be aware can happen with no warning. I had never given it a thought before my own experience. We had a knee brace on hand from when my husband wrenched his knee last year and it has been extremely helpful. I'd recommend one in every homestead first-aid supply box. It's also a good idea to learn the plants that grow near you or can be grown in gardens that help with pain and inflammation.