Solo Remedies and Lessons

Okara learns more about anatomy and some recipes.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 10th, 2018, 8:51 pm


Summer 29, 518

Okara walked along the cobbled pathway, meandering her way towards the Panacea for her morning shift. Icy blonde hair was pulled back into a tight braid and her backpack was fitted snugly on her shoulders. Today she had slipped her journal alongside her typical kit which included kukri, suvai, healing kit, and waterskin. Jansen had told her it was time to create some new herbal medicines, so she intended to add the recipes to her smattering of notes.

The Konti hummed a small tune to herself, lost in thought until the shrill shriek of a monkey broke through her reverie. She stopped and looked up to find a troop of monkeys lounging in the trees around her. She put her head down and kept walking forward, hoping that if she didn’t look directly at them they would just ignore her. She had come to realize that monkeys were creatures of chance, you never knew what you were going to get with them. You might get to watch them delightfully play with each other or you might get rotten fruit and feces pelted at you.

Another scream and she couldn’t help but look up into the trees only to have a hard object thrown right at her face. She clutched her forehead as a burst of pain radiated over her face and her hand came away sticky with blood. The monkeys around her hooted in raucous laughter as they jumped around and began to swing away through the treetops. Okara grimaced in pain until the glittering of the object that had struck her caught her attention. It appeared to be a necklace, an amulet of some sort. She picked it up to examine and noticed it was rather pretty. A teardrop gem wrapped in gold wires on a simple chain. She might have been pleased to find it had it not caused her forehead to gush blood. Grasping the amulet in one hand and holding her forehead with the other she hurried her way to the Panacea.

”Girl, how many times are you going to show up here with injuries? Should I just pre-emptively wrap you in bandages every time you leave here? I'm going to start docking your pay if this keeps up.” Jansen asked as soon as he saw her walk through the door.

”Sorry Jansen, the monkeys were out in force today and they pelted this necklace at me. It’s pretty but the amulet was quite sharp.” Okara explained sheepishly.

”It’s Kalum.” The akalak said shortly as he pressed his fingers to her forehead and the wound healed itself under the power of his gnosis. Kalum grabbed a towel and gently wiped the blood from Okara’s forehead.

”Kalum?” Okara asked, confused what he meant.

”Did you really never speak to or about Akalaks back on Mura? We have two souls that share the same body. It’s not something everyone would know but Akalaks and Konti are often joined in families so I figured you would have learned this from your own kind. We share equal control but Jansen is often the one people interact with most.” Kalum explained.

”Oh, I guess I never really paid attention, to be honest. It’s nice to meet you Kalum. Jansen had told me we would be producing medicine today, is that still the case?” Okara said with a friendly smile. She had just begun to think she had gotten her mentor all figured out when he surprised her still. It certainly made her think back on several interactions when she was young on Mura with a different perspective.
Last edited by Okara on July 11th, 2018, 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 10th, 2018, 9:39 pm


”It is. You will be spending most of your day in the lab today. I will handle whatever patients may crop up and you will keep an eye on the things we brew in the lab. Some of them take some patience. When you have down time waiting for things you can study some of the diagrams I brought along from my own studies. There are some things that are harder to learn in practice, like anatomy and sutures. I’d rather you didn’t practice sutures on live patients, better to practice on inanimate things first until you are comfortable.” Kalum advised and led Okara into the small laboratory room.

The materials she had gathered with Uta earlier in the season were thoroughly dried out and piled along the counter while coconuts were heaped on the floor. Okara slung off her backpack and set it in a corner where it would be out of the way. She tucked away the amulet and pulled out her journal, opening it to a fresh page.

”We’ll start with coconut oil. It’s going to be an ingredient for what we make later and it always useful to have around. First, we need to open up the coconuts and drain out the water. Ultimately what we want is to scrape out all of the coconut meat and gather it into a bowl. I-” Kalum’s instructions were cut off by the sound of footsteps approaching the clinic. He left Okara to get start while he investigated who might be in need of help.

Okara dug her kukri out of her backpack and set to work on cracking open the coconuts husks. She struck the coconut several times to crack open the husks, peeling away fiber until she came down to the brown shell. She repeated this process dutifully with the coconuts, a dozen in all. She had the mature, brown coconuts heaped on the counter with green outer husks and fibers littering the floor around her.

She found a deep bowl and placed it on the counter before her. Grasping a husked coconut, she cracked it open with her kukri. The first coconut she lifted to her lips and drank the sweet coconut water inside. The others were emptied into the bowl. Kalum hadn’t said they would use it, but it seemed wasteful to toss aside. If nothing else she would bring it to the community kitchens for someone else to enjoy.

Okara was in the process of scraping the coconut meat out of the shells into a second bowl when Kalum came in to check on her. He quickly swept up the fibers and husks around her feet while she continued removing chunks of meat with a dull knife.

”Good, good. You are working fast. It can seem like a lot but by the time we are done with we only have about a liter of oil. It takes a lot of material to extract. When you’ve scraped all of the meat out, grind it down in the mortar so its kind of a gritty paste. Then strain it through cheesecloth to separate out the coconut milk, the milk is what we need to extract oil from. I need to make a house call now but I should be back before you finish to help with the next step.” Kalum instructed. Okara gave him the bowl of coconut water to bring to the community kitchens on his way.

Working quickly but thoroughly, Okara finished scraping the coconut meat. She had to stop and stretch her arms a few times, all the scraping was leaving an ache deep between her shoulder blades. Pulling the morar and pestle out from its corner, Okara loaded up some coconut meat in the mortar and began working it with the pestle. This step was lengthy and made her arms feel like they were going to drop right off her body. Grinding was tedious but took plenty of concentration.

Kalum returned when she was halfway through. He took over the grinding, making small work of the task with his muscular arms. Okara began gathering up the ground material and straining it through a cheese cloth. The coconut milk slowly collected in a bowl. By the time they had completed separating the milk from the meat morning was beginning to wane towards afternoon.

”Now comes the lengthy part. We have to boil all the water out of the milk so we can start separating out the oil. Someone needs to stay and watch it boil, and that someone is you.” Kalum said with a dry laugh. Okara sighed but nodded in agreement. These sorts of menial tasks were all a part of being an apprentice. Kalum dug through several cupboards before he found a folded up diagram of a human skeleton for Okara to study while she waited. As Kalum left to oversee the clinic, Okara carried the large pot of coconut milk out to the firepit in front of the clinic and poured it into a large kettle suspended over the flames. She returned quickly for the anatomy diagram and her journal and settled in to watch the coconut milk boil.

Okara unfolded the diagram on the ground in front of her and balanced her journal on her knees to take notes. Okara slowly examined the skeleton drawn and labelled on the parchment. She mouthed the strange names of the bones to herself as she read them.

Finally she began to roughly sketch the skeleton. Her drawing was incredibly simple compared to the professional looking diagram. She made a stack of rough circles for the spinal vertebrae and drew in ribs surrounding it. Thick uneven lines made up the arms and legs while she tried to draw the scooping pelvis as accurately as possible. Straight lines made up the clavicle and it was all topped with an oblong skull. Okara made wrote the names of the bones with lines pointing to their drawn counter part: clavicle, mandible, humerus, tibia..... On and on until she had them all copied in her poor, scratchy writing. The page was terribly crowded by the time she had finished her diagram.
Last edited by Okara on July 12th, 2018, 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 11th, 2018, 8:34 pm


Okara watched over the bubbling coconut milk as she memorized the bone names and placements, occasionally touching her own body to feel where each bone was located. She stirred the mix frequently to prevent it from boiling over or heating unevenly. Over time the water slowly evaporated and she noticed the glisten of oil rise to the surface as it separated from the coconut cream.

”That looks about done. Here, let me take that off the fire and it will separate further as it cools.” Kalum said, startling Okara. She was surprised such a large man could move so quietly. Either that or she had just been totally engrossed in the skeletal system. The bones fit together so perfectly was awe-inspiring to the Konti healer. Kalum wrapped a hot pad around the handle of the kettle and lifted it off the fire, setting it in the sand to cool.

”Alright. That’s a big mixture, it’s going to take some time to cool so lets work on something else in the lab while we wait.” Kalum said and motioned for Okara to follow him back into the clinic. She quickly gathered up her journal and the anatomy book and trotted after him obediently. Kalum was a little more straightforward and less laughing then Jansen but she appreciated his direct and efficient approach with her.

”So what are we going to make next?” Okara asked as she sidled up beside him in the philtering laboratory. Kalum pulled over the pile of dried cinchona bark until it lay between them.

”We are going to extract the medicine from this cinchona bark by making a tincture. Now, a tincture is typically made by soaking material in an alcohol solvent. Stu at the Tidepool keeps us pretty well stocked in exchange for our services. Now tinctures produce some very powerful medicines, but the downside is that it is a lengthy process. We want to make sure we never get too low on our tinctures because if we face an emergency where we need them we won’t be able to respond very quickly.” Kalum explained, pausing as Okara hurriedly jotted notes about tinctures in her journal.

”Okay, you will do the work and I will walk you through it step by step. We start by chopping up our material. Breaking it up like this makes it easier for the alcohol to soak in and extract out more of the medicine.” The akalak handed Okara a large chopping knife while he spoke. He watched carefully while she gathered up bits of bark and chopped them coarsely. When she had reduced the dried bark down to a pile of coarsely chopped material he nodded in approval.

”Next, we put it into our jars. We only want to fill up the jars about a quarter of the way as the dried bark will soak up the alcohol and change in size. Then fill up the jar all the way to the top.” Kalum reached up and pulled down three empty jars from a cupboard. Okara divided out the bark between the three carefully, trying make everything according to Kalum’s specific instructions. At his gesture, she uncorked a large jug of alcohol, wrinkling her nose at the sharp scent that wafted out. Holding the heavy jug carefully she poured alcohol to the top of each jar. Kalum put a piece of wax paper on top of the jars before screwing the lids on tightly.

”Okay, lets give them a good shake and then up into the cupboards they go. They need to be shaken a couple of times a week for, oh, six weeks at the minimum. Then we strain out the bark material into a different jar and we have our medicine!” Kalum’s explanations were matter of fact but got the point across. Okara shook each of the jars firmly and wrote the contents on the lid before tucking them into a cupboard. Okara took a moment to write the recipe in her journal:

Quinine Tincture: Fill 1/4 of jar with dried bark of the cinchona tree. Fill remainder of jar with alcohol and seal. Store in a dark cupboard and shake several times a week for six weeks. Strain liquid into stoppered jar.

”So what exactly did we just make?” Okara asked curiously as she finished her notes.

”The medicine extracted from cinchona bark is called quinine! We use it to treat malaria. It's not a cure, mind you, but it does wonders to reduce fever and relieve muscle spasms. Malaria can be a deadly illness so we have to take it very seriously. Patients who have malaria often present with fever, shivering, headaches, and vomiting. When it starts getting worse patients may start to have yellowing of the skin and seizures. If it’s not treated, people can fall into a coma and die. The initial symptoms can present a lot like the flu but it’s important not to rule out malaria until you are really sure.” Kalum explained. Okara nodded gravely and wrote the symptoms of malaria in her journal as well as the purpose of quinine to her recipe.

"So cinchona helps with fever and spasms?" Okara asked, charcoal poised over her page.

"Fever, muscle spasms, hemorrhoids, and indigestion can all be treated with cinchona bark. Not all are treated with the tincture though, I would recommend a decoction for indigestion. Kalum answered. Okara added that to her notes:

Cinchona - Can treat fever, muscle spasm, hemerhoids, and indigestion.
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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 12th, 2018, 11:32 pm


”Well what are we tackling next? The peppers or the leaves?” Okara asked, looking from the pile of dried peppers to the pile of dried neem leaves. They looked very different from when she had initially foraged them in the jungle with Uta. The piles were much smaller and she was dissatisfied with how little they had left now.

”Well the neem leaves will be quick, so we will deal with that first. We are just going to grind it up nice so we can use it later for a tea, or tisane.” Kalum explained. “Here, you grind up the leaves and I will explain what we can all do with neem.”

Okara pulled the mortar towards her and put in a handful on the dried leaves. She used the pestle to begin working it down into a powder as Kalum began his explanations. Okara bit her lip, anxious to be writing notes in her journal.

”Neem leaves are excellent for dealing with parasites of all varieties. We can make it into a tea that can combat intestinal parasites such as tapeworms or pinworms. The tea can also be used to help reduce inflammation. Made into a skin cream, it can also treat conditions like external parasites, such as ringworm, and acne. The bark and seeds are also effective for these uses, as well as making an excellent insect repellant. You can extract it into an oil to make the repellent or just tuck neem leaves around your food supply to keep them away. The most important thing to remember though, is not to give neem to a patient that is pregnant as it can cause miscarriage.” Kalum explained slowly as Okara ground down all of the neem leaves. When she had finished, Kalum poured them into a jar and sealed it tightly while Okara jotted notes in her journal:

Neem: Using the leaves to make a tisane it can treat intestinal parasites and reduce inflammation. As a skin cream it can treat external parasites and acne. It can also be extracted into an oil to use as insect repellent. DO NOT give to pregnant patients or miscarriage may follow.

”If neem leaves can cause miscarriage in a pregnant patient, why would we use it?” Okara asked with knit eyebrows. It seemed strange to keep an herb on hand that had the potential to hurt someone.

”Every herb has the potential to help and hinder. Often it is all about correct dosage, a small amount of an herb can treat the symptom of an illness but too much could poison a patient. Neem is excellent at treating parasites but luckily it is not the only treatment method of parasites. So while it is perfectly safe for someone who is not pregnant to use, we would want to use a different method for a pregnant woman even if it may not be as effective. One of the most important things about being a doctor is understanding your patient and fully understanding the treatment you are prescribing.” Kalum explained carefully as Okara nodded soberly. It made sense to her and the magnitude of responsibility that he described settled around her shoulders like a weight.
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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 12th, 2018, 11:33 pm


”Well, I think we should wait a bit longer for the coconut milk to cool before we collect the oil. You’ve already covered the skeletal structure of humans, I see, so should we discuss bone breaks and treatment next?” Kalum asked with a smile, trying to lighten the serious mood that had descended on them. Okara nodded, smiling back, and opened her journal to a fresh page.

”The medical term for a broken bone is a fracture. Bones can break in lots of different ways and so there are many different types of fractures. When a bone has broken but still lines up and is mostly in place, we call that a simple fracture. If the bone has broken and no longer lines up, we refer to that as a compound fracture. We add the terms open or closed based on whether the bone has pierced through the skin. So a broken bone that has moved out of line but is still within the skin would be called closed compound fracture whereas when the bone sticks through that would be an open, compound fracture. Transverse fractures are when the bone breaks horizontally, and comminuted fractures occur when the bone has broken into several pieces.” Kalum explained, pausing between each term as Okara jotted them down in her notebook. She wrote carefully:

Types of fractures:
Simple – broken but still lines up
Compound – broken and out of place
Open or closed – Depends on whether the bone is sticking through the skin
Transverse – horizontal break
Comminute – broken into several pieces


”How do we heal fractures?” Okara asked as she finished writing.

”I was just getting to that. It can be hard to diagnose a closed fracture, particularly a simple one, since we cannot see inside the body. However, if a person show obvious discomfort with movement, such as being unable to place weight on their leg or their arm cannot hold anything, you may begin to suspect it is a fracture. Simple fractures may require only immobilization and rest to heal while more serious ones require bone-setting. Immobilization can be done with wooden splints tied around the limb if you are in a pinch, or we can use linen soaked with waxes or egg whites that stiffen to form a cast.” Kalum paused as he watched Okara note his advice. ”In the case of a compound fracture, particularly an open compound fracture, bone-setting can be quite difficult and when possible you should use several people to do. Someone to hold the patient steady, and one or perhaps two more to guide the bone back into place before immobilizing. The patient will need to rest and avoid using the broken limb. The amount of time it will take depends on age and health. Children have an amazing capacity to heal and can heal from a broken bone in weeks if it isn’t too serious, whereas an adult in poor health or an elderly individual make take months to heal from a broken limb.”

Okara patiently wrote out everything in her journal, taking care to get all of the details. Her writing abilities were chicken scratch at best so she wrote slowly in order to make sure it would be legible if she should ever need to refer to it again. When she finished she stretched her neck and shoulders, noticing that the day was shifting to late afternoon. Building up the clinic’s supplies had been a lengthy process. Cooking the oil out of the coconuts had taken up a large part of the day.
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Okara
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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 12th, 2018, 11:34 pm


Kalum decided the coconut oil was ready so Okara set her journal aside and followed her blue boss outdoors where they had left the kettle. Kalum had brought a ladle and large jar along from the lab. When Okara looked inside the kettle she noticed that clear oil had risen to the surface while she could see the thickened coconut cream below it. Kalum handed her the ladle and jar and Okara carefully scooped up the oil, trying not to get the coconut cream mixed in. When Okara finished she held up the jar of fragrant oil with pleasure so Kalum could see. He nodded in approval. She had not been able to extract as much as he had hoped but she had certainly done her best.

Okara brought the jar of oil back into the lab as Kalum carried the kettle of coconut cream inside the clinic. It would donated to the community kitchens like the coconut water had been that morning. Okara appreciated the giving nature of the settlement. Everyone helped everyone, whatever one person could use was not wasted but rather left for someone else who might be glad to it.

”Alright, it’s time for our last creation before I let you go home. Hopefully before evening comes.” Kalum said, as he joined her in the lab.

”The peppers?” Okara asked as she scooted the pile of dried cayenne peppers closer to her.

”Yes indeed the peppers. We are going to make hot pepper salve, it’s excellent for arthritis and joint soreness. I like to keep some on hand and just give it to people since those problems tend to be consistent and the cream can safely be used several times a day. Grind up the peppers and I will get our double boiler set up.” Kalum said, giving instruction for the countless time that day. Okara used a cloth to clean out the neem leaf residue from the mortar before placing several dried peppers in. She worked the pestle as she watched Kalum place a bowl of water over a brazier then a second bowl tucked into it. Okara ground the peppers until she had achieved a fine powder.

”All done? Excellent. Now we aren’t cooking the ingredients, just melting everything. That’s why we are using a double boiler so it heats more gently. We need a cup of coconut oil, a little less a fourth cup beeswax, and three spoonfuls of cayenne powder.” the Akalak explained and grabbed a jar of grated beeswax. Okara measured out the coconut oil and cayenne powder while Kalum saw to the beeswax. He handed Okara spoon and she gently stirred the mixture as it heated.

”Coconut oil gets pretty firm at room temperature which is why we are using a bit less beeswax. If we were using a softer oil like almond or olive we would increase the beeswax in the recipe. Though it gets hot enough in the summer around here we don’t have to worry about the ” Kalum advised.

”What if we wanted a stronger salve? Would we just use more cayenne?” she asked.

”No, actually if we wanted a stronger salve we would soak the cayenne in the oil overnight so it drew out more of the medicinal properties of the fruit.” Kalum said, gently correcting her. Okara took a moment from stirring to write in her journal,

Hot pepper salve: 1 c oil, ¼ c beeswax, 3 spoonfuls of ground cayenne pepper. Heat in a double boiler until melted, stirring frequently. Pour into jar. For stronger salve, soak cayenne in oil over night. To be used for arthritis or joint pain, rub into afflicted area.

She picked up the stirring again quickly when she finished writing the recipe. The legibility of her words has suffered a little from her rushing. Okara watched with Kalum peering over her shoulder as the beeswax melted and the mixture slowly turned into a bright red liquid. When it was done, Okara used some hot pads to gently lift the bowl and pour the liquid into a small jar. Kalum left her to see to a patient as she set about cleaning up their utensils and work space. She was tired from a long day of learning but also proud of what she had accomplished in helping create supplies for the Panacea. She had so much left to learn until she was as good of a doctor as Jansen and Kalum, but she was excited for that journey.
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Okara
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Remedies and Lessons

Postby Okara on July 13th, 2018, 12:10 am

Grades and Awards

Experience
Observation 3
Anthropology 1
Cooking 1
Drawing 1
Copying 1
Medicine 4
Philtering 2
Writing 4
Herbalism 2

Lores
Akalaks: Have Two Souls in One Body
Kalum: Jansen’s Other Half
Cooking Recipe: Coconut Oil
Medicine: Skeletal Structure of Humans
Philtering Recipe: Quinine Tincture
Medicine: Symptoms of Malaria
Herbalism: Uses of Cinchona Bark
Herbalism: Uses of Neem Leaves
Philtering Recipe: Neem Leaf Tisane
Medicine: Importance of Proper Dosages
Medicine: Types of Bone Fractures
Medicine: Treating Bone Fractures
Philtering Recipe: Hot Pepper Salve

Misc Rewards or Injuries
( + ) Amulet of Desire, as awarded by marathon weekend challenge

Notes
Self grade, yay!

Please edit your post in your grade request to reflect that it has been graded. PM me with any questions.
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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
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