Ukraine Notebook: What medications to bring when you volunteer

Bring these medications to Ukraine when you come to volunteer and your contribution will be even bigger.

  1. Moxifloxacin is what an American combat medic will give you if you have a penetrating wound. I have no idea how to find it in Ukraine, but your doctor can give you a prescription for it. I was very, very happy to have some with me here when a frightened cat sunk a fang very, very deep into my arm. (I was also very, very happy to have clear ballistic glasses with me when I was trying to get her out from under a bathtub while she was trying to scratch me to death, but that’s a topic for a post about ballistic glasses, right? Fang explained in the English notes at the end of the post.)
  2. Do not bring aspirin or ibuprofen. US Department of Defense guidelines say not to take them for a week before entering a war zone. And, yes: since Putin deliberately targets civilian targets of no military value, all of Ukraine is a war zone.
  3. Meloxicam is what an American combat medic will give you for any battlefield injury. See above regarding the situation in Ukraine.
  4. Acetaminophen (sold in the US as Tylenol or in generic form) is the third thing that an American medic will give you if you are injured.
  5. The antidiarrheal medication of your choice. You shouldn’t travel ANYWHERE without this anyway.
  6. All medications that you normally take. Bring more than you think you will need. All problems in Ukraine are supply chain problems, so do not assume that you will be able to buy ANYTHING wherever it is that you happen to find yourself. Yes, I do understand that it is difficult to get more than your allotted quantity of prescription medications in the US, since your insurance company rations your health care.

Want to help the situation in Ukraine? Base UA/База ЮА is an excellent organization doing evacuation of civilians from the front lines (and a bunch of other stuff). I vouch for them completely. Send PayPal contributions to, and please mention that you found us through the Zipf’s Law blog.

Photo source:

English notes

fang: “A fang is a long, pointed tooth.” (Wikipedia) Fang often occurs with the verbs to bare and to sink into. Examples from Sketch Engine, purveyor of fine linguistic corpora and tools for searching them:

  1. He sank his fangs into her shoulder.
  2. Spike longed to sink his fangs into Xander’s hot flesh.
  3. “Then you deserve this,” he said as he sunk his fangs into the man’s throat and drank hungrily.
  4. Sink those fangs into one of our mini milk chocolate caskets.
  5. How I used it in the post: A frightened cat sunk a fang very, very deep into my arm.

To bare means to uncover completely:

  1. He raised his lips, baring his fangs.
  2. His ears lay back and his fangs were bared.
  3. But a beaten dog will bare its fangs eventually.

3 thoughts on “Ukraine Notebook: What medications to bring when you volunteer”

  1. “fang” being an abbreviated form of “fang tooth”, i.e., a tooth specially suited for the purpose of “fanging”. The verb is related to German “fangen” (= to catch, capture), coming from the Proto-Germanic form of exactly this verb: “to catch”. Misunderstood rescue attempts of cats certainly are prone to lead to encounters with their fangs, but at least equally productive (in terms of being fanged) can be the mere attempt to bathe a cat in the kitchen sink in order to apply flee shampoo (last time I tried was over 30 years ago – and I do not recommend it, esp. as there are better alternatives now). While being caught by cats or dogs of any sizes can have serious consequences, kids in German-speaking countries still play the harmless (but linguistically interesting) game of “Fange(n) spielen” (= to play catching each other).

    While the etymology is quite clear, the by far more common form “Fange spielen” clearly lacks the “n” in the end of “Fange”, which would have to be there to make this a simple, nominalised verb. “Fange” is the nominalised, second person singular, imperative form of “fangen”. Quite surprisingly, though, other transitive (or intransitive) verbs do not seem to be used in this form. “Kochen spielen” (play cooking), “Backen spielen” (play baking). They still carry the terminal “n”.

    So, we probably have to assume that until today “Fange spielen” still reflects the excitement of its participants by using the (immersive) second person imperative rather than the more objective noun “Fangen” of a neutral bystander. I can virtually see the kids chasing each other and yelling “fang mich doch!” (catch me if you can).


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