The End of the World as We Know It – December 21, 2012 – Thanks Mayans!

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

Not Completely Useful Medical Advice for Survivors of the Apocalypse

 Jeffrey R. Carlson, MD

As December 21, 2012 quickly approaches, many of you are feverishly shopping and may need some advice.  My mind is awhirl with many different thoughts about preparations that need to be made.  Not for finding just the right Christmas present, but for what type of medical supplies may be best to have around as the world comes to an end, at least according to the Mayan calendar.  Don’t be fooled by your selfish, uninformed brother-in-law that expects you to shop for his Christmas present, as the end of the world nears.  You have more important things to attend to.  So, whether you expect the cataclysmic event to be caused by a meteor impact, ET coming to Earth to set up house, being overrun by zombies or any number of horrific events, I have you covered.

end of the world

We just saw a meteor pass by earth, a mere 140,000 miles above our atmosphere.  This surprised our smartest NASA scientists, who didn’t see it until 2 days before its fly-over.   Coincidence?  Maybe not.  For the rest of the 12/21/2012-believing population, this meteor was most likely a practice shot “across our bow”, taken by our soon-to-be invaders from another galaxy.


As a physician, I thought it was only prudent of me to share my knowledge and expertise in times like these with folks who want to know.  There ARE some things you can do to prepare yourself and your family IF you happen to survive the initial meteor impact and global flooding which will ensue.  You wanna talk about climate-change…after this, start looking for a shift in the earth’s axis, affecting its rotation and causing equatorial Africa to turn into an icebox and a penguin paradise.  As a fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopaedic provider, I try to help where I can.

As you know, your feet will be your most valuable asset when all electronic devices, including automobiles, are rendered useless by the magnetism of the meteor.  As a result, it will be very important to have good shoes and/or boots so that you can remain ambulatory.  I recommend having both, as you want to be able to make long hikes into the mountains, but also want the comfort and soft-soles needed to scavenge in the burned- out cities and towns.  Most aliens have advanced listening abilities, so the quieter your shoes are, the better.


Wounds from injury and flying debris will be common-place in this apocalyptic world.  Having alcohol for cleansing wounds (youch!) and antiseptic creams for dressing wounds will make the difference between surviving or not.  Plenty of clean gauze and cotton dressings to keep wounds covered will prevent contamination from any of the radioactive soup that may splash onto your injuries.  It would be unfortunate to live through the end of days just to be felled by an infected ingrown toenail.

Splinting materials will also be of great help.  Make sure to gather a few straight boards (of varying lengths) that can be strapped to an injured limb to immobilize broken or injured bones.  These boards should be thin and strong.   Aluminum pieces would be best, but pine and oak also make light-weight splints.   The same goes when trying to fashion a cane or crutches for helping a person with an orthopaedic injury to the lower limbs.

Any type of strong cloth can be used as a sling.  Folding materials will make them strong enough to support an injured arm or leg.  Duct tape, of course, is the most helpful material for a whole host of applications.  Other than the discovery of fire, the invention of duct tape stands out as a truly monumental event in the history of humankind.  Duct tape can be used to bind wounds, secure splints and to immobilize any wandering aliens or zombies that you need to take out of action.

alien battlefield

Any medications that you normally take should be stockpiled.  Get your medications refilled now, so you have a supply available.  Your pharmacist will probably not come to work after the Alien/zombie/vampire invasion, so try to get their home address for future reference.  Giving your local pharmacist baked goods at this time of year can engender some good will and may make them more likely to help you and your progeny in the future.  As a matter of fact, this would be good to do for anybody you think would be helpful to you after the world ends.   (I eat gluten-free, in case you were wondering.)

Between now and the big collision, it would be a good idea to prepare your body, mind and spirit to survive in the difficult times.  You don’t have much time to get your underground bunker ready.  Get any exercise programs from your physical therapist in written form for later reference (remember there won’t be any Internet service).  There are many movies that were meant purely as entertainment at the time they were released; however on December 22nd, you will realize that, in fact, these movies were documentaries.  They include:

  1. Alien, Aliens, Aliens III
  2. War of the Worlds
  3. Battleship
  4. Men in Black I, II and III
  5. Predator, Predators
  6. Alien vs. Predator
  7. Signs
  8. Prometheus
  9. Independence Day
  10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  11. My Stepmother is an Alien
  12. Cowboys and Aliens
  13. ET the Extra-Terrestrial
  14. Monsters and Aliens
  15. All Star Wars Movies (especially the bar scene out of the first Star Wars movie, with that weird music and the cast of aliens)

These films will give you some insight into alien reasoning and help you to expect the unexpected.  I am sure that you can also gain an extra edge by watching Zombie/ Vampire/ Monster movies as you will find many similarities and helpful hints for fighting off ghoulish creatures as they try to eat your face.

If by some, off-chance, the Mayan’s just ran out of room on their rock for the rest of the calendar AND the earth does not become completely decimated on December 21, there is some good news…your stockpile of necessary goods can be re-gifted for the holidays.  Show them how much you care with anti-septic cream, duct tape and movies about aliens.  After all, isn’t it the thought that counts?

When not dispensing advice about the end of the world and fending off aliens, Dr. Jeffrey R. Carlson is the Managing Partner and an Orthopaedic Spine Specialist at Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Newport News, VA.  For more information on Dr. Carlson or OSC, go to or call 757-596-1900 for a consultation.