1. bustead
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    bustead Member

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    Need a special wound/injury

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by bustead, Aug 4, 2015.

    In my newly started story/novel, my protagonist (average male in his 20s) needs to be wounded by a cold weapon at a range (eg arrows/throwing spears/whatever you can think of). Can you give me some suggestions on this? I just can't think of any wound that is...
    1. Serious enough to hinder his movements but does little damage to his CNS (Central Nervous System) so that he can fight on for 1 hour or so before collapsing.
    2. Recoverable with no long term effects.
    3. Recoverable within 1-2 weeks in a modern hospital.
    I have thought of arrow wounds but these tend to do excessive damage to muscle tissue. This will be bad for recovery. Do you have any ideas? If so please leave a comment and tell me about it.
     
  2. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    I’d almost be inclined to say that no such injury exists. If an injury is serious enough to hinder mobility (so damage to bones, muscles, nerves, tendons or ligaments...), it’s unlikely to be rehabilitated in 1-2 weeks.

    I’m guessing you have some reason for wanting a quick rehabilitation? If it has to be 1-2 weeks, you’ll need to write your story around this. That might be a good thing. You could have your character ignoring the doctors. He could do whatever it is he needs to do, suffering with pain the whole time. He could become reliant on painkillers. Perhaps he could become re-injured later in your story, putting himself in further danger, all because he didn’t allow himself enough time to heal. These kind of flaws add depth to your characters.
     
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  3. stormjinx
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    stormjinx New Member

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    Perhaps strategically placed ninja stars/knives/kunai? He could have some of his tendons slit so its hard to move, but can recover within a reasonable ish amount of time.
     
  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm. I'm by no means a medical expert, but have you considered giving him a nice concussion? You see this a lot in sports where somebody gets their bell rung pretty hard, and they're going to be confused, but a lot of them stagger on and keep playing, often insisting on going back out. The damage manifests more in terms of behavior, obviously cracking the skull doesn't do damage to limbs, and if anything people tend to get punchy and maybe make more rash decisions than they would otherwise. And you could definitely throw in a temporary loss of consciousness.

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/basics/symptoms/con-20019272
     
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  5. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Most arrow injuries are a result of not just being shot at a specific location but the victim to pull out the arrow. Main reason why any arrow injury is temporarily resolved by cutting the shaft and leaving the head in the body. Pulling it out will result in tearing and possibly cutting through vital areas of the body. Something that is recoverable in a matter of 1-2 weeks would be an injury to the extremities, being arms or legs. A graze on the outside skin or a minor flesh would requiring only stitches will be ideal. The weapon would have to make a clean entry into the body (Meaning cleanly enter without shredding the body's muscle skin and vessels). Same procedure with knives, they must never be removed until medical attention can be given. However in 'Untold Stories of the ER' there was a case where a man had a sword go clean through his body barely missing any vial organs. However the recovery time was 4-8 weeks. You would need something smaller and for the weapon to his an area of the body not surrounded by vital veins and nerves. The top of the quads is a large area that is a possibility. Or the side of the person's torso that is between the skin and pushing against any vital organs. Further away from the center of the body. Example would be punching through the skin and fat that is on the side of the appendix.

    Any injury giving 1 hour of fight time and then KO would either result from blood loss or shock. Other option is for the weapon to be laced with a drug that would slowly hinder the movements of the character as his racing heart rate from adrenaline pumps it through the body. You can research real poisons or makeup your own.


    Here are some references for you to get started

    http://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_81kwlsx2
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_poison
     
  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I'm inclined to agree, you're asking an awful lot. If you're trying to remain realistic, there is really no injury to the body that you can shrug off in a couple of weeks that also "hinders" in the way you describe.

    If he's going to "collapse" after an hour there is either serious damage to the nervous system, of he's gone into hypervolmic shock. Unless he's getting to a hospital within a couple of minutes, his prognosis is pretty terrible. If it's nerve damage he'll take a long time in therapy to get everything working. If it's hypervolmia he's probably suffering pretty severe organ damage, possibly even brain damage.

    Sorry, it's not the movies where you can shrug off an arrow through your shoulder, and swing a sword with that arm two hours later.
     
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  7. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    How about some intercostal muscle damage? Painful, with breathing difficulty (depending on severity), and not long-lasting given rest.

    In other words, cracked/badly bruised/sliced ribs. How you crack/crush/slice them open is up to you.

    But it's damned painful (acute) and breathing is limited. Every breath stretches the damaged ribs and muscles.

    Just a thought.
     
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  8. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Compression: brain bleed, raging like a mad cow for a day at least, probably resolvable OR lower spinal - induces, creates (involuntary) priapism, my personal favourite.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
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  9. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    He could have a wound which bleeds and he ignores, stopping only when he loses consciousness almost an hour later.

    There are some fairly big arteries deep in the legs which could be cut, and in a stressful situation, such as in the heat of battle, I imagine a wound to a blood vessel such as this would be kept open by the use of the damaged limb.
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Not a good idea at all. The femoral artery is what you're talking about, and if you open that one up you're going to bleed out in about five minutes.
     
  11. bustead
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    bustead Member

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    The wound doesn't have to knock him out cold. It just have to stop him from fighting effectively.
     
  12. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Not this: tendons are about the slowest tissue to heal (if at all). I'd stay away from anything nervous too; depending on the exact damage, nerves can heal, but it takes a long time and might not be too reliable.

    I think @SwampDog 's idea is pretty good. The other option I'd suggest is a slow bleed (haemorrhage) from something that's not vital (i.e. no major organs, no femoral arteries, etc). A big bruise to a muscle might fit the bill. If it has to be ranged damage causing immobility, perhaps a rock or something hits his thigh (not big enough to actually crush his leg though, and not high-velocity like a bullet)? You'd want to point out that it's just muscle damage - no bone fractures or anything - but being unable to use his quadriceps would hinder his ability to walk (/stand?), while he'd still be able to use the rest of his body.

    Muscles have a big blood supply, but the vessels are mostly small (capillary beds), so clot quickly following damage. Continuing to fight might keep disrupting the clots, causing a progressive "oozy" bleed (and for big muscles like the quads, there's a lot of area to ooze blood from, so it can add up). He could start experiencing early hypovolaemic shock (as @Jack Asher mentioned) and be unable to maintain activity. He'd want prompt treatment though: intravenous fluids, ideally whole blood. You may want a medico to say, "Lucky we got to you early, or you might have been stuck here much longer for multiple organ failure," or something.

    Once stabilised, it might be a simple recovery. If his muscle has haemorrhaged without a lot of damage to the actual muscle fibres, it might heal fairly quickly (although it'd be very improbable to have a bunch of haemorrhage and no fibre damage...). Torn muscle heals by scarring over the gaps, and can return to function moderately quickly (depending on the damage), but never fully returns to 100%, as the scar tissue isn't as functional as the original muscle tissue. The scar tissue remodels over time to increase its strength - your character could start using the muscle again once it starts healing, but it might be a bit weaker and using it too much too fast might damage it further (or at least stop it from healing).

    If you go this route, you'd want to show him progressively having a harder and harder time fighting as he loses blood. If he's still demanding a lot of his body in the face of blood loss, it's possible he could faint (not enough blood to supply adequate oxygen to the brain, because he's diverting what little he has to fuel his muscles), or his shock could just progress to the point that he can no longer fight, but remains conscious (probably fairly "out-of-it" though): more of a gradual collapse.

    @mad_hatter makes a great point: use his compliance with recovery to characterise him or the urgency of the plot he's faced with :)

    Sorry I've written so much - I always seem to do that here; start typing a quick idea and think up more details before I finish typing. If it's an information overload or you have other questions, I'm happy to try to help further. Otherwise, good luck!
     
  13. Carl Magnus
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    Carl Magnus Member

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    How about making something up that does not exist? As long as the process is explained to the reader, they will buy it. It is fiction after all. "Invent" a special poison dart or something.
     
  14. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_Trautmann

    "...Trautmann, diving at an incoming ball, was knocked out in a collision with Birmingham's Peter Murphy in which he was hit in the neck by Murphy's right knee...Trautmann, dazed and unsteady on his feet, carried on. For the remaining 15 minutes he defended his net, making a crucial interception to deny Murphy once more. Manchester City held on for the victory, and Trautmann was the hero because of his spectacular saves in the last minutes of the match. Trautmann admitted later that he had spent the last part of the match "in a kind of fog".

    His neck continued to cause him pain, and Prince Philip commented on its crooked state as he gave Trautmann his winner's medal.[34] Trautmann attended that evening's post-match banquet despite being unable to move his head,[35] and went to bed expecting the injury to heal with rest. As the pain did not recede, the following day he went to St George's Hospital, where he was told he merely had a crick in his neck which would go away.[36] Three days later, he got a second opinion from a doctor at Manchester Royal Infirmary. An X-ray revealed he had dislocated five vertebrae, the second of which was cracked in two.[36][37] The third vertebra had wedged against the second, preventing further damage which could have cost Trautmann his life.[37]

    Recovery from injury[edit]
    Trautmann's convalescence took several month
     
  15. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    What about an injury to the butt. the character won't be able to sit down because he will be in some pain and their is a lot of muscle tissue in the butt.
     
  16. hilal
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    hilal Active Member

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    I had a similar predicament and thankfully some of my friends are doctors. One can do only so much on his own. Ask an expert, im guessing your a biologist or a psychologist becz u used the word CNS. Ask a doctor.
     
  17. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    The OP was made five weeks ago. I suspect they may have moved on from this scene. Although if they write at my pace, maybe not.
     
  18. bustead
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    bustead Member

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    Nope. I am not a biologist. I am just a biology student.
    You can say that I have moved on from here but still knowing a thing or two about wounds can be helpful :D
     
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  19. hilal
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    hilal Active Member

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    Same thing, now time to become a consulting detective.
     
  20. Shattered Shields
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    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    No such injury exists. All injuries have effects later, no matter the seriousness
     
  21. NobodySpecial
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    NobodySpecial Active Member

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    I think a big part of the 'injured and fight on' is going to rely more on how tough your character is. How deperate is his situation? I remember a while back hearing the story of an Ex Navy Seal who was shot in the belly and was tough enough that he just plugged the hole with his fingers, chased after the guy who shot him and then drove himself to hospital. To do something like that is somewhere between totally nuts and tough as hell.

    For your character you can either focus on the severity of the wound or this other facet of the character. How tough is he? What is his motivation to keep fighting? What happens if he doesn't or doesn't win?

    ETA Yes,I know i'm a bit late to the party on this one.
     
  22. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about a wedgie?

    Wedgies can be very uncomfortable in the short term and seriously impair movement until one has an opportunity to rearrange their wardrobe (which is difficult in the heat of battle). I believe that recent research has shown the recovery time to be significantly less than two weeks.
     
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