Thursday, June 23, 2022

You and Your Feet (Again)

Seven and a half years ago I wrote a post about taking care of your feet. Nothing has changed in that time; you're still likely to be relying on your feet for transportation after TSHTF. 

Back then, I wrote about a friend who had a minor wound on his foot get seriously infected. That wound is still a problem today. More recently, I've been working with a homeless vet for the last two weeks, trying to get him into a job and a place to live. He's living in conditions that most of us wouldn't have a clue about how to handle: no car, no income, nowhere to sleep, living hand-to-mouth off of the kindness of strangers. 

We get a few panhandlers at our local truck stop, but this guy wasn't begging, just looking for a way out of his crappy situation, so I'm doing what I can to give him a hand up rather than a handout. I have a good line on a job and am trying to arrange an interview with a place that has temporary housing for employees.

I gave him a tent and sleeping bag, and got him set up in a nearby park that charges $5 a night for tents. This gives him access to running water and bathrooms, and he now has a place to sleep where he can stretch out rather than trying to sleep in a chair at the truck stop. 

One of the problems he ran into was his feet. Being in a public place, he wasn't able to take off his boots for most of two weeks. He didn't have a change of socks or extra shoes, and bathing was limited to a sponge bath in the restroom sink. I got him a collection of toiletries so he could clean up at the park, along with some clean clothes and socks, but he'd already done some damage to his feet: edema (swelling due to fluid retention) of his lower legs was pretty bad, but being able to sleep laying down was reducing it. 

Today he contacted me to let me know his feet were getting worse. He took off his socks and found that flies had laid eggs in the open sores while he slept. That's right, he had maggots living in the skin of his feet. Maggots only eat dead flesh, so he was on his way to developing a serious infection that could cost him a foot. I made a few calls and got him a ride to the hospital, where the Emergency Room folks will get him patched up for free (it's a small, church-based hospital), but I'm out of town for work all week and can't check on him until Friday. I'll write an update this weekend after I get a chance to get more details, but it's looking like he'll be unable to work for a few weeks. 

Taking care of your feet is not optional. Read the post from the past for details, but you need to keep your feet in good shape if you want to be able to move without crutches or a wheelchair. Clean and dry feet are the main goals, with attention to blisters and treatment as soon as possible. Without access to modern medicine, failure to care for your feet will kill you as surely as catching a bullet.

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