1. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Dunked in a River in Winter

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Keitsumah, Mar 31, 2014.

    Just tagging on something that started to bug me lately.

    One of my MC's (let's call her A) in the book ends up being shot in the side with an arrow and falls (down/backwards as she was hovering over it) into a partly-frozen-over river. The other MC (aka: B) kills the archer, then dives in after A and nearly drowns in the process of getting her out, but due to the fact that B is not exactly human, he was able to head-butt the ice and break free. (aka: he's a giant wolf)

    Now, B is fine, his body temperature is too high for most cold to affect him, but A is now at risk of hypothermia. B does wrap his coat around her, as well as one of his freinds', then gets her into the Fortress to try and bring her to his room and a fireplace to warm her up, but then he's confronted by his father, the MV (major villain) and questioned. After a tense moment when it seems that the MV might recognize the girl for what she is, B manages to get her away and safely upstairs.

    Now, that scene bugs me, because that means hypothermia may have already set in during that timeframe. Does anyone know how long it takes for hypothermia to come into effect and if there is any way to keep the victim alive?
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hypothermia can set in within seconds or it can take hours, depending on the person and situation. If the water is very cold, like the northern hemisphere ocean or river in winter, the person who falls in will start experiencing some symptoms such as uncontrollable shivering and peripheral circulation shutdown (designed to increase body temperature) pretty much straight away. Once they come out of the water, the big hurdle will be wind and wet clothing. So it'd be an imperative for the character to take off all the wet clothes, dry off and put dry ones on, or even just stay naked and wrapped up, it's better than staying wet.

    I assume the Fortress is already warmer than the outside, at least there is no wind, so the character could stay alive, although you can show them slipping back into being more hypothermic due to draught, or not being close enough to the hear source.
     
  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    How does a wolf head butt ice????????????
     
  4. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    lol, well...

    the ice would be around three inches thick i'd imagine as it is a running river, and with Batos being around 600-700 pounds when in wolf form...(aka: these suckers are big, think Twilight, and he's not the biggest of his kind -around the size of an Elite rank i think -but i dont have my notes atm)... and a lot of force put into his hind-legs, he should be able to break the ice if with a big headache.

    (explanation) He couldn't do much more than head-butt to try and break through as his fore-paws couldn't do much, and in human form he wouldn't have the brute force. (They are under water at the moment in that scenario with the other MC in his mouth)

    That explain it?
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I fell through the ice in a lake once. Fortunately the water was only up to my knees. If you want reality, my legs were instantly numbed and we had to warm them up before I had any muscle control.
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, but how does a wolf head butt ground? I'm trying to imagine it but I question the range of motion a wolf's neck would have, not too mention his snout getting in the way. How does he use his hind legs to drive force into the ground, anyway, or is he doing a dolphin flip?
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If you watch polar bears do it, they rear up and come down on their forepaws to break through ice.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe he head butted the ice from underneath, coming up from the bottom of the river? That could work.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This would make more sense . The head butt sounds comical
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Hypothermia would not only have set in, but staying in the water could kill her in a matter of minutes. If she's wearing wool she can keep her clothes on, otherwise getting naked and dry is priority one. Wool will retain it's heat trapping attributes even when soaking wet.

    The problem with hypothermia is that the bodies mechanism for staying warm has been compromised. Putting her in bed and under covers isn't going to help much because her body isn't generating enough heat to warm her back up. She'll need a fire, or a bed pan, or another person under the covers with her. Getting something hot into her, tea or coffee or hot (non-alcoholic) cider, will go a long way toward getting her better.
     
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  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did you actually read the OP's synopsis? Pretty sure all the above will be taken care of...
     
  12. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's tiny details, that some people might notice. OP mentioned a fireplace, but not the warming cider, or blankets/bedpan. The biggest issue with a fire is it only warms from one direction, and more the limbs then the core. We tell people to get down near the fire and cuddle it as close as the can, if that's all they have to get warm.
     
  13. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    he went in originally from where she fell in, thus he only had to come back up...

    did i miss something?
     
  14. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, my bad, for some reason I had it mixed up.

    However, head butting from below the ice seems even less probable. How can he use leg strength when he's floating in water? I'm having a very hard time imaging this.
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that makes sense. As long as he isn't supposed to break a thick layer of new ice from underneath (like 123456789 pointed out, that'd be quite difficult to do) if the ice is weakened from a nearby crack or what have you, it would work fine.
     
  16. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, how does the wolf head butt the ice AND carry out his damsel from the water at the same time? That really makes no sense to me.... :confused:
     
  17. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK, I thought about it more. It's a shallow river and the wolf exits by the bank, that way he can use his legs to push himself through the thin, broken ice, and then just walk ashore, even with the extra weight of the heroine. Obviously he's not exiting through the middle of the river, as I don't think any sort of wolf would actually be able to pull itself up out of ice. Is that what you're saying?

    ***And it wouldn't really be a head butt, but more of a simple upward push as he climbs the slope
     
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  18. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Around here, people go swimming in winter all the time and they're ok, so as long as she gets out of the wet clothes, is dried, and taken to a warm place, she should be all right, taken that she doesn't spend minutes on end in the water.

    It would have helped her climb out of the water herself if she had a knife / dagger or some such.
     
  19. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    he was dragged back by the rushing water so it was pretty deep, and since it's a fantasy book i figured i could get away with a few things.


    Unless that didn't knock her out, she was pretty much unconscious or nearly drowned when he managed to get her out.
     
  20. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, so the MC's running around with a 'huge' and we must deduce, domesticated wolf but we're having trouble conceptualising the wolf breaking through ice? If you've managed to suspend your disbelief re. the huge wolf, surely the ice dilemma pales into insignificance?
     
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  21. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then why bother worrying about hypothermia at all?
     
  22. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not worried in the slightest. ;)
     
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  23. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Unconscious from the cold, blood loss (internal or external?), or did she hit her head somewhere? If it's just a muscle wound and she's not too long in the water, I doubt she'd lose consciousness (which imo happens all too easily in fiction anyway and often lasts way too long in comparison to real life). Not saying she couldn't be unconscious, but the unconsciousness needs a reason, especially if it's sustained longer than a few seconds.

    Another option to unconsciousness would be disorientation / panic / shock if she's not used to violence, pain, and discomfort. That can be just as debilitating and even more dangerous to the rescuer than an unconscious person.
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't doubt that, I've seen videos of people jumping in water through holes cut in the ice. But do people who jump in the water through a hole in the ice stay in long enough to "swim". ;)

    It may be that I had a bit of distance to walk out of my break through the ice. We were cross country skiing across a small lake that looked safe. It was 22F outside and there were snowmobile tracks on the lake. Once I fell through, I had to take my skis off and carry them. With one's weight distributed only across one's foot and not across a ski, each step broke through anew. I don't know how many minutes it took to get out, not many but more than in and out once.

    Perhaps there were other factors involved in my completely numb feet. My skis caked with ice so there was some kind of instant freezing going on. We had to scrape them. I luckily had a pair of dry socks. Wet wool is overrated. :p
     
  25. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Right but those are adults, with a pretty healthy fat pack, not scrawny little children. The difference between a guy at the fatty end of his BMI and a 90 lb kid is miles on the hypothermia chart.

    Is she scrawny? I get a scrawny vibe from this.
     

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