Outlander: A Place to Find Refuge During Life’s Most Unexpected Moments
Have you ever been faced with a difficult life moment and without conscious knowledge or thought turned to the Outlander series as a place of refuge? Not under the best circumstances, but I found that this happened to me while sitting at the Ophthalmology office waiting for the physician to look at my son’s newly stitched, three-inch eye-lid laceration. The depth of the laceration unfortunately led to the exposure of the lacrimal gland, causing additional complications. An unforeseen accident, we were faced with surgeons and a series of doctor appointments that were not only stressful, but also terrifying in the process. I have often heard many fans describe the Outlander series as place to find sanctuary or comfort when faced with difficult life events. Here I was sitting in the doctor’s office, having the same experience that I have often heard from many other fans.
Being in the medical field, I thought I was prepared to be able to handle these types of moments. However, everything changes when you are no longer in control and are on the receiving end of intensive medical care. To take my mind off my own fears and keep them safely tucked away from my son, I started thinking of the Outlander books. In particular, I was thinking of Claire’s innate abilities that I so often admired when reading the series. Although she is a fictional character, Diana Gabaldon is able to bring her to life as a woman that shows strength and collection in her approach to medicine. Most importantly, she is a woman who shows courage, compassion, and hope to those she cares for when faced with surmounting obstacles.
Comfort Leads to Hope – My Catalyst to Research
Prior to this incident I had just finished re-reading the eighth book of the series, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood. It is a book that you could can never put down, as it is filled with so many memorable scenes. However, there is one particular scene that resonated with me as I sat while sitting in the office listening to the topical and oral antibiotic regime that I must have my son take. This significant scene spoke of the application of honey as a treatment modality by Claire Fraser. I never knew the medicinal importance of honey throughout history until this book. When I compared the current approach to medicine with those described by Claire in the Outlander series, I became intrigued by the continuous links between historic application of medicinal uses and those of modern day society. Only Diana Gabaldon can portray her talent of research and science so beautifully through the healing hands of Claire Fraser.
Breathing audibly through his nose, he clamped his mouth shut and suffered Fergus and Germain to immobilize him. I’d debated whether to dilute the honey with cold water, but the heat of the day had made it sufficiently thin that I thought it better to use it at full strength.
“It’s antibacterial,” I explained to the three of them, using my cautery iron again to lift the eyeball and squirting a slow dribble of honey under it.”
“But the chief virtue of honey in the present instance,” I went on, annointing the eyeball generously, “is that it’s viscous.”
The handling had of course made the eye water, but even dilute honey regains viscosity; I could see the altered gleam of the light across the sclera, indicating the presence of a thin, soothing-I hoped-layer of honey.
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, pg. 366.
The intricate details of each character and the building of the context in which each person finds themselves, create an incredible story of which you can never tire. What I truly love most is that within each of Diana Gabaldon’s books I learn something new. In my opinion, this is the greatest gift any author can give to readers. Not only had I found an escape, but I have also developed a great interest in learning more about the culture and history of medicine. The latter being of great importance on this particular day.
History of Honey in Medicine
Upon my return home from the doctor, I found an opportunity to re-read this scene and then research individual pieces to clarify Claire’s reasoning to use honey as the chosen treatment for Lord John Grey’s injury. I found that honey has been incorporated into various therapeutic regimes all throughout history. The restorative components of honey have been identified in many forms of historical medical literature. Some research supports that even in the ancient times, honey was known to possess an antimicrobial property. This was especially important during the treatment of topical wounds. The primary aspects of honey that aid in wound healing are the antibacterial components that it innately possesses, the ability to maintain a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity to help provide a protective barrier to prevent infection.
Remarkable! The same historical thoughts of wound treatment are often not too far from our western medicine views, as I witnessed first hand in my son’s care and treatment. My son, thankfully, has fully recovered from this unexpected and terrifying injury. Only follow up visits are now required. However, it was comforting for me to have a means to relieve the uncertainty that I felt during this situation and find comfort in my research for answers. I did this by re-reading pieces of the Outlander series.
Sacred and Mythical Qualities of the Bee
Diana Gabaldon’s storytelling ability of mixing suspense, drama, war, spirituality, and new pieces of knowledge is the primary reason I am completely addicted to the Outlander series. As I look to the future, I love how there are further references to bees in the Outlander series from Diana Gabaldon’s title of her highly anticipated ninth book, Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone. The new title is based upon early Celtic mythology in which the honeybee was viewed as a messenger between the real and spirit worlds. This custom involved telling the bees of any important event, such as births, marriages, or departures and returns in the household. If this message was omitted or forgotten, the bees would be encouraged to leave their hive, stop producing honey, or even die.
Once again I found myself learning something new. Only Diana Gabaldon can be both author and teacher, fostering a global community where we all take pride in gaining more knowledge and sharing it with each other. In the process, we also find a place to re-center and find refuge from whatever events we may find ourselves. Just as I had on that particular day.
For the Love of Bees
In celebration of our love of the Outlander series, rediscovering the importance of honeybees, and, of course, the anticipation of the next book in the series – many fans have begun a collection of bee inspired items. Sass3 is no exception! Our wee addiction is inherent, we love to find treasures that provide any symbolism of the series we deeply cherish. Here are just a few of our most recent finds that we have either added to our collection or discovered during our adventures: ♥
A Change in Views
When I first encountered this series, I did so out of curiosity. I was interested by the possibilities of the storyline, which was unlike anything I had read before. Little did I know that my love for the series would grow to the depth it has today. I can genuinely thank Outlander for helping me get through life’s most difficult moments by immersing myself in my escape to this fictional world. However, more importantly Outlander also has allowed me to find qualities of strength from each character’s struggles and apply it to my daily life to keep moving forward. My relationship to this series is certainly personal and each person with whom I have interacted has their own story. Outlander has certainly changed me. How has it changed you?
Did you know?
Smoke has been used to calm bees since ancient times. The smoke actually masks alarm pheromones that are released by guard bees or other bees that have been injured during a beekeeper’s inspection. This creates an opportunity to open the beehive and work while the colony’s defensive response is interrupted.
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