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R agnar Benson lives on nine acres in southern Idaho with his pet skunks and his wife and plus guns of varying caliber. Benson is what you and I would call a survivalist, and what Benson prefers to call a preparedness type of person.

Benson is more prepared than other preparedness types, for he has thought through what many others have not: things like, What if the hydrogen generator explodes in my face? What if I need a root canal? Benson is the author of two medical books for the preparedness culture: "Survivalist's Medicine Chest," and "Do-It-Yourself Medicine," the latter having sold more than , copies.

How do recluses in backwoods Idaho procure such an item? They shop the Internet. Both Benson's medical books ship within 24 hours, as do his -- as he puts it -- "more strident" titles, e. Benson has no medical degree. His expertise comes from his youth, which was spent on a farm in Indiana. In figuring out how to translate livestock dosages to human ones, Benson offers this jaunty rule of thumb: "The dose for a medium hog is usually correct for an adult person.

Do-it-yourself medicine is a crude, catch-as-catch-can art. Benson's books explain how to use a plastic soda straw for wound drainage, how to rig an impromptu chloroform mask from an automotive funnel, how to pull metal fragments from eyes with a sterilized shop magnet. The do-it-yourself doctor gets the job done, but doesn't get it done with a great deal of finesse.

Benson describes an encounter with a man in Africa whose eyes he had treated, and who kept taking off the bandages and reinfecting his eyes. Between his book titles and passages like the above, one gets the impression Benson has perhaps ended more lives than he has saved.

He is not easily pinned down on this. He claims to have learned about man traps while serving as an agricultural specialist in rural Southeast Asia and to have gleaned his explosives know-how as a teenager helping the local "powder monkey" blow up foundations and retaining walls for farmers. Benson knows a fair amount about medicine, but mostly he knows about procuring medical supplies without prescriptions.

For those without access to veterinary supply stores, he details several alternatives: flying on the cheap to Puerto Rico or Mexico, where pharmacies sell drugs to non-doctors, or ordering by mail from overseas druggists in similarly lax places like Jakarta or Bangkok.

To get the phone number of an overseas pharmacy, Benson suggests contacting that country's U. There is apparently a government publication listing all the phone numbers of overseas embassies, but I'm not going to tell you any more than that, because then you'll have no reason to buy "Do-It-Yourself Medicine" and Ragnar Benson will come beat the crap out of me with a wooden chair leg. When it comes to putting medical supplies to use, Benson is less copiously informed.

He advocates practicing stitches and injections on oranges and general anesthesia on livestock or pets. He explained that the critter in question was a beloved pet skunk that he was de-scenting.

And what if there's no Ragnar Benson-type around to administer to you? What of the hapless Ted Kaczynski-type loner? Can you sew up your own letter-bomb mishaps, debride your own hydrogen burns? Benson says yes. He tells the story of a Londoner named Evan O'Neill Kane who performed his own appendectomy and had so much fun he repaired his own hernia two years later. I asked Benson what exactly preparedness types are preparing for.

I thought they could use this information, and that's why I wrote this book. I want to stick my thumb in the eye of the government. Profile Go Ad-Free Logout. The survivalist's guide to do-it-yourself medicine Come the apocalypse, who will fill your prescriptions?

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Do-It-Yourself Medicine

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