Thursday, November 09, 2006

Peak Oil and Medicine

I have been sick for about a week. Nagging cough, headache, fever, malaise.... I think I have been over doing it and not getting enough sleep. I have been trying to take it easy - drinking a lot of water. The only way I have been able to get my fever down is to take ibuprofen.

This makes me think about how fortunate that we live in a time when we have medications that can reduce fever. Historically, it was not long ago that people would die from simple things like fever, a small wound, etc.

While I have been focused on the food problems related to peak oil, Jonathan has been concerned about medical issues related to peak oil. Currently, he works in rural Iowa / Minnesota emergency rooms. He tells me how many cases that he sees that he could do nothing about without petroleum products. Almost all products he uses are petroleum based (syringes, IV bags, tubes, etc). Almost everything is manufactured overseas. Many medications have to travel long distances.... Jonathan and I are starting to look at some naturopathic remedies. Will post peak oil produce such bleak outcomes? Will all products be unavailable? Will we have a limited selected supply? No one knows exactly what will happen, but we do realize that things will be different.

For now, I keep hydrated and keep nursing Samuel.


tracey said...

I hope you start to feel better. It is never fun to be under the weather. You raise some interesting points about peak oil. I have also been thinking about how much our world will change once we are past peak oil. It will be a challenge for many.

BurdockBoy said...

I wish you well in your search for more natural remedies. I have had good luck with them. However you are a step ahead because of a healthy lifestyle-perventing sickness is key.

Wishing you better health.

Emme said...

Tracey, I agree that it is interesting to think about how our world will change. Some people think it will be middle ages and others think it will be like the 19th century. Some think there will be minor changes, but new technology will prevail. I wonder if ther eis something that you can learn from your history grad studies that can help us prepare?

Next time you are in town, let me know!

Burdockboy, I agree that a healthy lifestyle is important. It is very important to keep ourselves healthy so that we are not in need of as many medical interventions. Of course, accidents do happen.

RAS said...

Get well soon!
I don't think that medicine will go back to the Middle Ages. We know so much more now about sanitation, nutrition, etc. Many people used to die simply from lack of adequate sanitation -the child death rate didn't drop significantly in most U.S. cities until they installed sewers, for example.
Many natural remedies DO work, some even better than industrial medicines. And, many of the common meds, such as acetaminophen, were orginially obtained from natural sources before it became possible to synthesize them.

Further, there's the issue of how many LESS problems will have after PO. Many of the problems we need high-tech meds for are byproducts of our high-tech society. How many car accidents will there when there isn't any gas to drive? How many gun shots wounds will there be when no one can get bullets? Some things though, will be with us for a while I'm afraid. In 1900 the cancer rate was about 1 in 30. Now it's almost 1 in 2. That's mostly do to pollution.

I think some of our current medical interventions could be in similar ways using low tech. Centrifuges existed in the 1800s for instance. There must be some way to do things. Maybe Jonathan can lead the way!

Paul Roth said...

Hi there Emme,
I found your blog through a Google search on "peak oil medicine". I thought that I would point you towards my blog (if you don't mind me doing so). I am a doctor in Australia. I have been thinking about the health effects of peak oil for a while and have covered several angles on the blog. I am trying to generate a wide discussion of the issues, so please leave a comment if you care to do so. Thank you for your time.