Basic:The Physiology Coloring Book, 2d Ed. $14
Advanced:Human Physiology,Fox, 14th Ed. $244
Nice to have: Gould's Pathophysiology For The Health Professions, 5th Ed. $114
Cool sites: Ward's Science Supply , Carolina Biological Supply
Those 10 major body systems from anatomy?
Learn how each of them works. First independently, and then how one relates to the others.
Take your time, and go back over it until you have at least the grasp of a fairly skilled layman. Pay especial attention to the nervous system, the cardio-circulatory system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, and the skeletal system.
All the systems of the body are important, all the time, but those five are where the vast majority of problems will crop up, over and over and over again, in both emergent situations, and chronic conditions.
Anatomy was about structure. Physiology is about function.
You need both as a building block to understand why you're going to do (or not do) what you do.
And Pathophysiology is what health care is all about: the dysfunction of the original system.
How things got there, and how to get them back, or work around them some way or another.
If you were hoping to get this from a pill, or a blog post, nice try.
Put. In. The. Book. Work.
The coloring book is an excellent and inexpensive way to start this.
The text by Fox, while pricey for some, is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. It is quite simply masterful, and you'll find out it's pretty accessible to anyone.
If you have any school-age children around, the Ward's site is a cornucopia of science toys, including lab-grade instruments. If you're homeschooling, or thinking about it, you should already know about the Ward's site, and Carolina Biological. (And lest you think this is just for play or school, they also sell dissection supplies. That would be surgical instruments, by any other name. And generally better quality and cheaper than those from people trying to sell you Apocalypse Field Surgical Kits. Just saying.) Their stuff is exactly what's used from grade schools all the way to med school. Hint: You might decide down the road that having a medical lab-grade microscope, and some other toys, isn't a bad idea.
If this sort of thing grosses you out, or PETA has successfully conditioned you otherwise, it's time to revert back to first aid classes, and stay out of this.
And mayhap die, or let loved ones die, on the day, because you're too squeamish. There's no shame in that if you know going in, because health care isn't for everyone. But find out now, and focus on other things, before things get sporty in a disaster or such.
Everybody needs a medic, but not everyone can be one.
(Nota bene, I'm not suggesting, with either this nor anatomy, that you can nor should attempt to grasp this in a day. But you can put in the work, and should, indeed must, at some point, if you're serious about all this. You can get an excellent idea of what's involved, and the reality of college-level education is that an entire semester's class, which health science college-level biology is, is in fact about a week's worth of 8 hour days of lecture, and about two weeks of lab time hands-on. Put another way, that's less than two solid weekends of 12-hr days for the lecture, and four solid weekends for the lab time. In other words, if you applied yourself for three workweeks, or six weekends total, you'd have the same amount of training in either subject as a nursing student, in either subject. You can make this as hard or easy as you like, but unless you're working three jobs and raising 5 young kids, this is within reach for just about anybody who wants to put in the effort, in your spare time. Like just about anything else. Bonus if you go serious: if you grasped either the Tortora or Fox texts for A and P, better yet both of them, you could likely walk into the local community college and test right out of them. Really. - A.)