need some medical knowledge for a WIP

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Michael McAfee

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Nov 12, 2002, 2:37:46 AM11/12/02
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Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
mashed by a press. I don't want the damage to be such that
the finger has to be removed, but I'd like it to be the
maximum that could otherwise happen. Thus, I'd like
to know:
a) What damage a finger could take and the proper
medical terminology for such damage (I'm pretty sure there
would be lacerations, but could I get away with a fracture,
a torn ligament or tendon, et al.?)
b) What would be the proper way to tend such damage
(stitches? casts?)
c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
problems)

If I haven't explained properly, feel free to let me know
and I'll try to rewrite it. Thanks in advance.

--Michael McAfee

Brian D. Fernald

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Nov 12, 2002, 8:15:50 AM11/12/02
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"Michael McAfee" <mmca...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:3DD0B136...@earthlink.net...

>
> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
> mashed by a press. I don't want the damage to be such that
> the finger has to be removed, but I'd like it to be the
> maximum that could otherwise happen. Thus, I'd like
> to know:

What type of press?


> a) What damage a finger could take and the proper
> medical terminology for such damage (I'm pretty sure there
> would be lacerations, but could I get away with a fracture,
> a torn ligament or tendon, et al.?)

To tear a ligament you would need a bending, twisting,
or unnatural movement of the joint, most 'pressing' injuries
wouldn't cause this (unless the victim was flopping around
like a fish while their finger is stuck.)

A fracture is a possibility as is an extremely painful bruise.

> b) What would be the proper way to tend such damage
> (stitches? casts?)

Immobilization of the affected area.

> c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
> for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
> should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
> problems)
>

This depends on the injury. If it a just a deep bruise the
individual would be out of work for a couple of days to a week.
Fractures could have a longer recovery time.

Lawrence Watt-Evans

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Nov 12, 2002, 11:13:22 AM11/12/02
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On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 08:15:50 -0500, "Brian D. Fernald"
<bfer...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>"Michael McAfee" <mmca...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
>news:3DD0B136...@earthlink.net...
>>
>> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
>> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
>> mashed by a press. I don't want the damage to be such that
>> the finger has to be removed, but I'd like it to be the
>> maximum that could otherwise happen. Thus, I'd like
>> to know:
>

>> a) What damage a finger could take and the proper
>> medical terminology for such damage (I'm pretty sure there
>> would be lacerations, but could I get away with a fracture,
>> a torn ligament or tendon, et al.?)
>
>To tear a ligament you would need a bending, twisting,
>or unnatural movement of the joint, most 'pressing' injuries
>wouldn't cause this (unless the victim was flopping around
>like a fish while their finger is stuck.)
>
>A fracture is a possibility as is an extremely painful bruise.

I've broken a finger. It's definitely possible. It actually wasn't
all that hideously painful, despite the broken piece of bone sticking
out to the side.

>> b) What would be the proper way to tend such damage
>> (stitches? casts?)
>
>Immobilization of the affected area.

Which is to say, either a cast or a splint. Probably a metal splint.

>> c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
>> for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
>> should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
>> problems)
>
>This depends on the injury. If it a just a deep bruise the
>individual would be out of work for a couple of days to a week.
>Fractures could have a longer recovery time.

A bad fracture would take about six weeks to heal, and then you'd need
to allow another couple of weeks, maybe more, for the finger to
recover from atrophy after six weeks of being immobilized. The
atrophy was much worse than I'd expected -- the finger was there and I
could move it, but it had no strength at all. Couldn't push or hold
anything.

The finger actually worked better in the splint than right after it
came off; what I lost in flexibility I gained in strength by using the
splint's weight and rigidity.


--

The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 10/12/02
My latest novel is ITHANALIN'S RESTORATION, published by Tor.

James Nicoll

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Nov 12, 2002, 12:59:32 PM11/12/02
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In article <3DD0B136...@earthlink.net>,

Michael McAfee <m...@haven.org> wrote:
>
> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
> mashed by a press. I don't want the damage to be such that
> the finger has to be removed, but I'd like it to be the
> maximum that could otherwise happen. Thus, I'd like
> to know:
> a) What damage a finger could take and the proper
> medical terminology for such damage (I'm pretty sure there
> would be lacerations, but could I get away with a fracture,
> a torn ligament or tendon, et al.?)

I once accidentally placed a large boulder on my middle two
fingers of my left hand during a card game that went horribly wrong.
I'd say the rock was about 300 pounds. I had broken bones and some
nerve damage (The only finger on that hand I still have full feeling
in is the pinky finger, although only two were involved in the cards
incident).

> b) What would be the proper way to tend such damage
> (stitches? casts?)

I eventually got aluminum splints, one bent using the tip of
a crushed finger as the fulcrum and the other one, after some commentary
from me, not. Painkillers, good. Cold water to soak the fingers on route
to the hospital, harmless.

> c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
> for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
> should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
> problems)

It took me about six weeks.
--
"Repress the urge to sprout wings or self-ignite!...This man's an
Episcopalian!...They have definite views."

Pibgorn Oct 31/02

Joann Zimmerman

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Nov 12, 2002, 1:30:45 PM11/12/02
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In article <aqrfi4$bjp$1...@panix2.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...

> I once accidentally placed a large boulder on my middle two
> fingers of my left hand during a card game that went horribly wrong.
> I'd say the rock was about 300 pounds. I had broken bones and some
> nerve damage (The only finger on that hand I still have full feeling
> in is the pinky finger, although only two were involved in the cards
> incident).

I know that this is a "James Nicoll story", and therefore I *think* you'd
better explain further. The connections between a card game and a 300-lb
boulder may be obvious to you, but not, I think, to your audience.[*]

[*] Parts of which may rise up and commit mayhem to you electronically if
you don't provide the details

--
"I never understood people that don't have bookshelves."
--George Plimpton

Joann Zimmerman jz...@bellereti.com

James Nicoll

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Nov 12, 2002, 1:46:45 PM11/12/02
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In article <MPG.183b04cdd...@newshost.cc.utexas.edu>,

Joann Zimmerman <jz...@bellereti.com> wrote:
>In article <aqrfi4$bjp$1...@panix2.panix.com>, jdni...@panix.com says...
>
>> I once accidentally placed a large boulder on my middle two
>> fingers of my left hand during a card game that went horribly wrong.
>> I'd say the rock was about 300 pounds. I had broken bones and some
>> nerve damage (The only finger on that hand I still have full feeling
>> in is the pinky finger, although only two were involved in the cards
>> incident).
>
>I know that this is a "James Nicoll story", and therefore I *think* you'd
>better explain further. The connections between a card game and a 300-lb
>boulder may be obvious to you, but not, I think, to your audience.[*]

1978 or 1979 Algonquin Park. We're two days into the bush. Three
of us decide to play cards. Problem: two rocks by a shelf will serve as
seats but the thrid rock is some way off. We pick the rock up and move
it. I stupidly slide my hand under for better leverage. We put the rock
down. *pop* I lift the rock up with one hand but the crushed hand doesn't
hurt. "Dodged the bullet" I think. Ten minutes later my fingers think "OK,
that was enough time for him to get to emerg" and they start to hurt like
hell.

John Krill goes over to the next camp site to ask for painkillers,
which the two well groomed naked men in the very small pup tent don't have
(This is funnier if you consider we were all from a very rural high school,
where 'alternative life style' meant 'Not Old Order Mennonite'). Averting
his eyes, he returns and we decide to make a fast run into the emergency
station the park must logically have.

We stop to watch the Northern Lights.

Reaching where we entered the park, we discover that there are
no first aid facilities. Instead I have to call an ambulance (Luckily
unlike my previous trip in an ambulance I am not declared dead as a
result). Walking to meet the ambulance, my trick knee goes out.

Huntsville has one of the worst emerg departments in Canada.
They let me wait in an empty room while the doctor flirts with the nurse,
then he tells me my huge, purple fingers are either broken or bruised.
Ditzy the nurse bends one splint over a crushed finger tip and the next
one over an non-crushed finger tip. Then they warn me to hide my money
walking to the hotel so when, not if, when I am mugged the natives won't
get my wallet.

Note: I dated a native woman from the region and she didn't seem
to have the universal criminal tendencies the doctor claimed natives had. Ah,
the 1970s. The natives wouldn't get the vote for another 6 years and women
were still considered property of their husbands.

A cop sees me limping down the street and gives me a ride. Nice guy.
He sets me up with a cheap room at the hotel. I go to my tiny, stuffy room,
slide the window up and am looking at the stick on the sill thinking 'What's
that for'

You'd think I would know to curl into a protective ball when I think
that

when the window slides shut on both hands.

I take my painkillers and wake up eighteen hours later, except for
the brief stoned episode where I woke up with my left arm tucked under
my head, numbed from lack of blood (the arm, not the head) and reaching
over to move the arm failed to find it where it had been for most of my
life. It only took a few minutes for me to discover I was not in fact
suddenly an amputee.

Walked back to the hospital, got x-rays, wandered around Huntsville,
found _Darker than You Think_ and _Web of Everywhere_. Eventually I met
my friends, who finished the trip on their own, and we went home.

Helen

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Nov 12, 2002, 2:06:34 PM11/12/02
to
In article <aqrial$plj$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll
<jdni...@panix.com> writes

[tale of woe snipped]


>
> Walked back to the hospital, got x-rays, wandered around Huntsville,
>found _Darker than You Think_ and _Web of Everywhere_. Eventually I met
>my friends, who finished the trip on their own, and we went home.
>

Oh, dear. This story brought tears to my eyes. Tears of laughter, that
is. Thank you. I did so need cheering up. :-)

Helen
--
Helen, Gwynedd, Wales *** http://www.baradel.demon.co.uk

James Nicoll

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Nov 12, 2002, 2:28:02 PM11/12/02
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In article <cxO75UA6...@baradel.demon.co.uk>,

Helen <ken...@baradel.demon.co.uk.please.delete.this> wrote:
>In article <aqrial$plj$1...@panix2.panix.com>, James Nicoll
><jdni...@panix.com> writes
>
>[tale of woe snipped]
>>
>> Walked back to the hospital, got x-rays, wandered around Huntsville,
>>found _Darker than You Think_ and _Web of Everywhere_. Eventually I met
>>my friends, who finished the trip on their own, and we went home.
>>
>Oh, dear. This story brought tears to my eyes. Tears of laughter, that
>is. Thank you. I did so need cheering up. :-)
>
The previous trip a tree fell on me(1). That hurt less than
having the fingers crushed, actually. After enough concussions head
injuries all seem to blur together. I don't camp anymore, though.

That same emergency department twenty years later looked at a
leg wound a friend got tripping onto a upthrust root, commented that it
was the dirtiest wound they had ever seen and then prescribed -no-
antibiotics. Luckily doctors back here in civilization managed to save
the leg. It's nice to institutions keeping their traditions.

James Nicoll

1: _Of course_ it was my fault. What, did you think trees lurk around
waiting to fall on me? I found a dead tree by a cliff and needing fire
wood decided to use its resonent frequency to snap the truck and send
to the rocks below, which in my plan would break it into little bits.
Key oversight: what happens if the tree breaks as I am pulling rather
than pushing? I'm not sure, actually, but the evidence suggests it fell
on me.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen

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Nov 12, 2002, 3:57:21 PM11/12/02
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Michael McAfee <mmca...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
> for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
> should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
> problems)

By the way, recent research has shown that ibuprofen lengthens the time it
takes for bones to heal. Just because you wrote in a SF writing forum,
thought I'd give you some science to hang onto.

See article here:

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992364

--
_Deirdre http://deirdre.net
"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done." - Steven Wright

Brenda W. Clough

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Nov 12, 2002, 6:59:15 PM11/12/02
to
James Nicoll wrote:


Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

Brenda


--
---------
Brenda W. Clough
Read my novella "May Be Some Time"
Complete at http://www.analogsf.com/0202/maybesometime.html

My web page is at http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda/

James Nicoll

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Nov 12, 2002, 7:26:31 PM11/12/02
to
In article <3DD195D3...@erols.com>,

Brenda W. Clough <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>
>Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

Other people save them but I've long suspected that an
entire book or website or major motion picture of my mishaps would
get dull quickly. There's only so much spurting blood one can
watch before becoming bored.

Cathy Purchis-Jefferies

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Nov 12, 2002, 11:11:27 PM11/12/02
to
Michael McAfee wrote:
>
> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
> mashed by a press. I don't want the damage to be such that
> the finger has to be removed, but I'd like it to be the
> maximum that could otherwise happen. Thus, I'd like
> to know:
> a) What damage a finger could take and the proper
> medical terminology for such damage (I'm pretty sure there
> would be lacerations, but could I get away with a fracture,
> a torn ligament or tendon, et al.?)

I hit my left index finger with a sledgehammer a while back. I guess I
just pinched the fleshy part without hitting anything more solid,
because I managed to do it in such a way that I did not break anything,
or even end up losing the nail. I did get a very large blood blister,
it's still rather lopsided, and for a couple of weeks I didn't like to
put pressure on it because it felt really weird. I assume I did some
nerve damage. That's getting better.

> b) What would be the proper way to tend such damage
> (stitches? casts?)

My neighbor the EMT had me elevate it for a while, then he washed it - I
did break the skin a little and bled some. (Bled a lot? I don't
remember. The blood blister broke the next day and it bled a lot then.)
Then he bandaged it and had me stick it in a bowl of ice water for the
rest of the evening. (What do people do when they don't have EMTs for
neighbors? This wasn't really anything to go to the hospital about, but
I was having trouble staying conscious and couldn't have cleaned it
myself. In fact it took about 15 minutes after it happened before I felt
like I could stay upright long enough to call my neighbor and ask for
help.)

> c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
> for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
> should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
> problems)


It's been about 6 weeks now, and it's pretty much back to normal. I laid
off the wood splitting (which is what I was supposed to be doing when I
hit it) for about a week after it happened, but was back to that after a
week, just favoring the finger (and making sure I kept it out of the
way). The nerve damage/funny feeling when I put pressure on it lasted
about 3 weeks. It still has a sort of callous on the side and the
sensation there is different than the fingers that I did not hit with a
sledgehammer, but it's no longer unpleasant.

Did I mention that it was very difficult to maintain consciousness for
quite some time after this happened? Even when my neighbor was cleaning
it, I had to sit down because I kept trying to black out. That is my
clearest memory of the whole thing, how shocky it made me. I'm not at
all sure why my finger was in the way of the sledgehammer in the first
place.


--
"George" Cathy Purchis cat...@value.net

The problem with having 3 cats
is that since cats sleep 18 hours/day,
I'm expected to provide 54 hours of lap

Marilee J. Layman

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Nov 13, 2002, 12:07:27 AM11/13/02
to
On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 18:59:15 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
<clo...@erols.com> wrote:

[Re: James' stories]

>Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

Cally has been compiling them.

--
Marilee J. Layman
Bali Sterling Beads at Wholesale
http://www.basicbali.com

Neil Barnes

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Nov 13, 2002, 1:28:57 AM11/13/02
to
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote in
news:aqrko2$8hi$1...@panix1.panix.com:

<snip mayhem and woe>

> 1: _Of course_ it was my fault. What, did you think trees lurk
> around waiting to fall on me? I found a dead tree by a cliff
> and needing fire wood decided to use its resonent frequency to
> snap the truck and send to the rocks below, which in my plan
> would break it into little bits. Key oversight: what happens
> if the tree breaks as I am pulling rather than pushing? I'm
> not sure, actually, but the evidence suggests it fell on me.

You know that butterfly that's generally accused of causing
hurricanes? Notice it's been quiet on the hurricane front? I
think it's on its way back to Canada...

--

Neil

note - the email address in this message is valid but the
signal to noise ratio approaches -40dB. A more useful address
is the same name at ntlworld com.


Brenda W. Clough

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Nov 13, 2002, 1:33:50 AM11/13/02
to
Marilee J. Layman wrote:

>On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 18:59:15 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
><clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>
>[Re: James' stories]
>
>>Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>>suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>>markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)
>>
>
>Cally has been compiling them.
>


Oh good. They should be preserved for future generations.

Manny Olds

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Nov 13, 2002, 6:50:04 AM11/13/02
to
Marilee J. Layman <mjla...@erols.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 18:59:15 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
> <clo...@erols.com> wrote:

> [Re: James' stories]

>>Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>>suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>>markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

> Cally has been compiling them.

Someone better ship over a copy of the rock story to keep the archive
complete.

--
Manny Olds (old...@pobox.com) of Riverdale Park, Maryland, USA

"...When you hit your thumb with an eight-pound hammer it's nice to be
able to blaspheme. It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of
atheist to jump up and down...and shout..."Aaargh, primitive and outmoded
concept on a crutch!" -- Terry Pratchett

Penelope Green

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Nov 13, 2002, 7:02:33 AM11/13/02
to
In article <3DD0B136...@earthlink.net>, Michael McAfee says...

>
> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
> mashed by a press. I don't want the damage to be such that
> the finger has to be removed, but I'd like it to be the
> maximum that could otherwise happen. Thus, I'd like
> to know:

<snip questions>

From a purely personal perspective, I caught a football boot to the last
two fingers of my right hand a year or so ago which gave me bad
bruising, a fracture and a couple of bone chips. (I was playing football
at the time.) The chips may well be because of the way it happened - not
crushed so much as lined up by a flying boot.

It was supposed to take 8 weeks for the bone damage to go away and the
serious discolouring bruising took about a week. I couldn't use the hand
at all for that week, and it took me about six weeks to get reasonable
use of the fingers without having them taped together. It took another
six weeks to get full movement back, although I still can't make a fist
without warming that hand up.

I guess the main thing to note (certainly what surprised me) was that the
swelling and bruising extended across most of my hand, even though the
boot only hit the last two fingers. Also that in this situation, one
should come off the football field, even if your team only has 16
players.

HTH

Penny

LK

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Nov 13, 2002, 1:07:25 PM11/13/02
to
On Wed, 13 Nov 2002 04:11:27 GMT, Cathy Purchis-Jefferies
<cat...@value.net> wrote:


>Did I mention that it was very difficult to maintain consciousness for
>quite some time after this happened? Even when my neighbor was cleaning
>it, I had to sit down because I kept trying to black out. That is my
>clearest memory of the whole thing, how shocky it made me. I'm not at
>all sure why my finger was in the way of the sledgehammer in the first
>place.

General Query: Why is unconsciousness the body's reaction to trauma
(physical)? Is it a blood pressure thing wherein the body focus on
dealing with the injury so blood and energy are focused at the point
injury?

Or way of dealing with senory overload of pain?

LK

James Nicoll

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Nov 13, 2002, 1:23:41 PM11/13/02
to
In article <eq25tuojk3vs72b68...@4ax.com>,

LK <fountai...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>General Query: Why is unconsciousness the body's reaction to trauma
>(physical)? Is it a blood pressure thing wherein the body focus on
>dealing with the injury so blood and energy are focused at the point
>injury?
>
>Or way of dealing with senory overload of pain?

Just So Model: you go into shock and the tiger eats you but
while it is busy the rest of the tribe runs away.

Michael McAfee

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Nov 13, 2002, 3:31:59 PM11/13/02
to

Thanks everyone for their responses. I believe I can
now write credibly about the character's recovery from
the accident.

--Michael McAfee

Patricia J. Hawkins

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Nov 13, 2002, 4:39:12 PM11/13/02
to
>>>>> "JN" == James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> writes:

JN> In article <3DD195D3...@erols.com>,


JN> Brenda W. Clough <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>>
>> Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>> suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>> markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

JN> Other people save them but I've long suspected that an
JN> entire book or website or major motion picture of my mishaps would
JN> get dull quickly. There's only so much spurting blood one can
JN> watch before becoming bored.

It's not the content; it's the execution. So to speak.

--
Patricia J. Hawkins


Patricia J. Hawkins

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Nov 13, 2002, 4:42:43 PM11/13/02
to
>>>>> "DSM" == Deirdre Saoirse Moen <dei...@deirdre.org> writes:

DSM> Michael McAfee <mmca...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>> c) How much time it would take for such damage to heal enough
>> for the finger to be usable (doesn't have to be 100%, but
>> should be enough that day-to-day activities have no notable
>> problems)

DSM> By the way, recent research has shown that ibuprofen lengthens the time it
DSM> takes for bones to heal. Just because you wrote in a SF writing forum,
DSM> thought I'd give you some science to hang onto.

DSM> See article here:

DSM> http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992364

Interesting! There has also been research showing that NSAIDs increase
muscle healing time. I'd have to search PubMed to find it, though.

--
Patricia J. Hawkins


Marilee J. Layman

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Nov 13, 2002, 8:52:25 PM11/13/02
to
On 13 Nov 2002 11:50:04 GMT, Manny Olds <old...@pobox.com> wrote:

>Marilee J. Layman <mjla...@erols.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 18:59:15 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
>> <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>
>> [Re: James' stories]
>
>>>Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>>>suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>>>markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)
>
>> Cally has been compiling them.
>
>Someone better ship over a copy of the rock story to keep the archive
>complete.

First, Cally reads here, too, and second, we've already heard the rock
story in both rasff and rasfw.

Patricia C. Wrede

unread,
Nov 13, 2002, 9:13:03 PM11/13/02
to
In article <3DD0B136...@earthlink.net>, Michael McAfee
<mmca...@earthlink.net> writes:

> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
> mashed by a press.

What kind of press?

If it's the modern variety, even the (relatively) small 25-ton presses are
going to require amputation. The larger 100-to-300 ton presses...well, I can
ask my folks if you really want details -- they ran a tool and die shop for 50
years and no matter what sorts of safeties they had on the machines, every few
years somebody would do something stupid and lose a finger or two. If you're
talking the sort that were used in medieval coin-stamping, it'd take more
research, but your guy might have a chance of keeping his finger ...if he had
modern medical technology to go along with the medieval machinery.

There are some related potentially squicky details below -- this is a warning
for the potentially squicked.

>a) What damage a finger could take and the proper
> medical terminology for such damage (I'm pretty sure there
> would be lacerations, but could I get away with a fracture,
> a torn ligament or tendon, et al.?)

Unlikely. Presses are designed to smash stuff *flat* -- think road kill of the
sort that has a visible wheel mark right through the middle of it. A number of
years back, my mother got her left forefinger caught between the top of a
wooden 4x4 pier support and the railing of a middle-sized boat that some
friends had idled too close to the dock, which washed up and came down with the
weight of the boat behind it. She had the sense to resist the impulse to pull
her hand away -- which would have torn the remains of the tip of her finger off
-- and when the next wave lifted the boat off, the tip of her finger looked
about like the bowl of a spoon. One of the doctors at the hospital wanted to
amputate; the other said that she'd have a chance of keeping it if she could
prevent gangrene. This involved lots of careful, regular, gentle cleaning in
warm antiseptic-laden water (two or three times a day, IIRC) with sterile
bandage changes in between. She did it, and kept the finger, though the nail
is kind of claw-like now. And that boat was a lot lighter than even the
smalled press I know of.


Patricia C. Wrede

Patricia C. Wrede

unread,
Nov 13, 2002, 9:28:47 PM11/13/02
to
In article <20021113211303...@mb-fg.aol.com>, pwred...@aol.com
(Patricia C. Wrede) writes:

>And that boat was a lot lighter than even the
>smalled press I know of.

^^^^^^^^^^^

"Smallest." Sheesh.

Patricia C. Wrede

Manny Olds

unread,
Nov 14, 2002, 6:48:03 AM11/14/02
to
Patricia C. Wrede <pwred...@aol.com> wrote:
> In article <3DD0B136...@earthlink.net>, Michael McAfee
> <mmca...@earthlink.net> writes:

>> Hello. I'm working on a piece, and there's a piece of
>> info I'd like to get right. A character has had a finger
>> mashed by a press.

> What kind of press?

> If it's the modern variety, even the (relatively) small 25-ton presses are
> going to require amputation. The larger 100-to-300 ton presses...

I immediately thought of printing presses, where you have the rotary
motion pulling the affected limb in. This case:

http://www.state.nj.us/labor/wc/cases/arce.htm

gives a description that sounds a lot like what I have heard anecdotally
around here (Big Printing Plant). This particular guy did not have any
fractures, but the soft tissue injuries were bad enough.

--
Manny Olds (old...@pobox.com) of Riverdale Park, Maryland, USA

Ouch.

Charlie Stross

unread,
Nov 14, 2002, 5:55:32 PM11/14/02
to
Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
as <jdni...@panix.com> declared:

> That same emergency department twenty years later looked at a
> leg wound a friend got tripping onto a upthrust root, commented that it
> was the dirtiest wound they had ever seen and then prescribed -no-
> antibiotics. Luckily doctors back here in civilization managed to save
> the leg. It's nice to institutions keeping their traditions.

Remind me never to stand under James during a lightning storm.


-- Charlie

James Nicoll

unread,
Nov 14, 2002, 6:13:36 PM11/14/02
to
In article <slrnat8af4....@raq981.uk2net.com.antipope.org>,

MY theory is that if I stand next to the tallest conductor
the lightning will hit it and not me.

I did see a transformer struck by lightning one. V. spectacular.

Brenda W. Clough

unread,
Nov 14, 2002, 10:04:18 PM11/14/02
to
Charlie Stross wrote:


Actually one wonders how it is that James has any social life at all.
One must postulate a loving and numerous family, very forgiving and
blessed with generous health insurance.

James Nicoll

unread,
Nov 14, 2002, 10:59:14 PM11/14/02
to
In article <3DD46432...@erols.com>,

Brenda W. Clough <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>
>Actually one wonders how it is that James has any social life at all.
> One must postulate a loving and numerous family, very forgiving and
>blessed with generous health insurance.

I Am Canadian. We get the regen and adamantium claws paid for by
OHIP or other provincial single payer health care system.

Sara Thustra

unread,
Nov 13, 2002, 11:58:39 AM11/13/02
to
Hey yeah, silly point that might come in handy along those lines: Nothing
heals bones and ligaments (and even skin, actually) like a good ol' salve
of comfrey. Just in case your character is or meets an herbalist, you
know. ;)

MSL

"Deirdre Saoirse Moen" <dei...@deirdre.org> wrote in message
news:hi68a-...@emperor.deirdre.org...

Helen

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Nov 14, 2002, 6:57:23 PM11/14/02
to
In article <3DD1D2C1...@value.net>, Cathy Purchis-Jefferies
<cat...@value.net> writes

>
>Did I mention that it was very difficult to maintain consciousness for
>quite some time after this happened? Even when my neighbor was cleaning
>it, I had to sit down because I kept trying to black out. That is my
>clearest memory of the whole thing, how shocky it made me. I'm not at
>all sure why my finger was in the way of the sledgehammer in the first
>place.
>
Perhaps there's something about fingers. They do, presumably, have lots
of nerve endings. But last Easter I crushed my left hand little finger
by slipping on the rocks near a river and sitting down suddenly on the
clipboard I was carrying, thus trapping said little finger between
clipboard and rock, I nearly fainted. Fortunately there was lots of
cold water available to soak finger in. I think I broke/crushed the
main joint because it was 6 weeks or so before it was comfortable to
use. It's taken until now before it will bend fully.

Marilee J. Layman

unread,
Nov 15, 2002, 8:04:55 PM11/15/02
to
On Thu, 14 Nov 2002 22:04:18 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
<clo...@erols.com> wrote:

>Charlie Stross wrote:
>
>>Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
>>as <jdni...@panix.com> declared:
>>
>>> That same emergency department twenty years later looked at a
>>>leg wound a friend got tripping onto a upthrust root, commented that it
>>>was the dirtiest wound they had ever seen and then prescribed -no-
>>>antibiotics. Luckily doctors back here in civilization managed to save
>>>the leg. It's nice to institutions keeping their traditions.
>>>
>>
>>Remind me never to stand under James during a lightning storm.
>>
>
>
>Actually one wonders how it is that James has any social life at all.
> One must postulate a loving and numerous family, very forgiving and
>blessed with generous health insurance.

You haven't met James? He's as nice and interesting in person as he
is online.

James Nicoll

unread,
Nov 15, 2002, 9:32:50 PM11/15/02
to
In article <ec6btuc7sfsaffr6p...@4ax.com>,

Marilee J. Layman <mjla...@erols.com> wrote:

We met at Albacon in, um, '98 I think. '98 or '99.

Brenda W. Clough

unread,
Nov 15, 2002, 10:54:26 PM11/15/02
to
James Nicoll wrote:

>In article <ec6btuc7sfsaffr6p...@4ax.com>,
>Marilee J. Layman <mjla...@erols.com> wrote:
>
>>On Thu, 14 Nov 2002 22:04:18 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
>><clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>>
>>>Charlie Stross wrote:
>>>
>>>>Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
>>>>as <jdni...@panix.com> declared:
>>>>
>>>>> That same emergency department twenty years later looked at a
>>>>>leg wound a friend got tripping onto a upthrust root, commented that it
>>>>>was the dirtiest wound they had ever seen and then prescribed -no-
>>>>>antibiotics. Luckily doctors back here in civilization managed to save
>>>>>the leg. It's nice to institutions keeping their traditions.
>>>>>
>>>>Remind me never to stand under James during a lightning storm.
>>>>
>>>Actually one wonders how it is that James has any social life at all.
>>>One must postulate a loving and numerous family, very forgiving and
>>>blessed with generous health insurance.
>>>
>>You haven't met James? He's as nice and interesting in person as he
>>is online.
>>
>
> We met at Albacon in, um, '98 I think. '98 or '99.
>

Yes, I think so. Although I recall no startling calamity striking the
city of Albany at that time.

James Nicoll

unread,
Nov 16, 2002, 11:45:25 AM11/16/02
to
In article <3DD5C17...@erols.com>,

Brenda W. Clough <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>James Nicoll wrote:
>
>>In article <ec6btuc7sfsaffr6p...@4ax.com>,
>>Marilee J. Layman <mjla...@erols.com> wrote:
>>
>>>On Thu, 14 Nov 2002 22:04:18 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
>>><clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>>Charlie Stross wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>Stoned koala bears drooled eucalyptus spittle in awe
>>>>>as <jdni...@panix.com> declared:
>>>>>
>>>>>> That same emergency department twenty years later looked at a
>>>>>>leg wound a friend got tripping onto a upthrust root, commented that it
>>>>>>was the dirtiest wound they had ever seen and then prescribed -no-
>>>>>>antibiotics. Luckily doctors back here in civilization managed to save
>>>>>>the leg. It's nice to institutions keeping their traditions.
>>>>>>
>>>>>Remind me never to stand under James during a lightning storm.
>>>>>
>>>>Actually one wonders how it is that James has any social life at all.
>>>>One must postulate a loving and numerous family, very forgiving and
>>>>blessed with generous health insurance.
>>>>
>>>You haven't met James? He's as nice and interesting in person as he
>>>is online.
>>
>> We met at Albacon in, um, '98 I think. '98 or '99.
>
>Yes, I think so. Although I recall no startling calamity striking the
>city of Albany at that time.

_Something_ must have done terrible things to Albany because it
looked as worn out and run down as Schenectedy to me.

Sylvia Li

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Nov 16, 2002, 8:32:16 PM11/16/02
to

I think there is something about fingers. Once, I was cleaning the
bathroom and accidentally jabbed something sharp under the nail of my
index finger. It was nothing, really -- a sharp intense pain, but it
didn't even bleed. A bit dizzy, I turned to go back through the hall
to the bedroom. Big mistake. Three steps into the hall, I was falling:
conscious, aware, and quite unable to control my collapsing body. I
fell forward against the opposite wall, and slid helplessly sideways
in slow motion down three steps to the landing. By pure luck I did not
end up doing serious injury to myself. It was still a frightening --
and surprising -- moment.

I promised myself then and there that if I ever injured a finger
again, the very first thing I would do is *sit down.*

--
Sylvia Li


Lucinda Welenc

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Nov 16, 2002, 10:06:34 PM11/16/02
to
Did you ever see a picture of the manikin that was made in proportion to
the corresponding areas of the brain? It has a tiny, spindly body, good
sized feet (and IIRC genitalia), and absolutely HUGE head and hands. If
such a large proportion of the brain is invested in your hands, then it
makes sense that injury to your fingers is perceived by the brain as
much worse than a similar injury elsewhere.

--
Alanna
**********
Saying of the day:
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate. --
Steven Wright

Marilee J. Layman

unread,
Nov 17, 2002, 2:19:16 AM11/17/02
to
On Sun, 17 Nov 2002 01:32:16 GMT, Sylvia Li <meta...@escape.ca>
wrote:

We have more nerves in our fingers than in other places.

Brenda W. Clough

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Nov 17, 2002, 5:30:17 PM11/17/02
to
James Nicoll wrote:


I'm told it's always like that. Must be something in the water.

Cally Soukup

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Nov 18, 2002, 3:02:13 PM11/18/02
to
Brenda W. Clough <clo...@erols.com> wrote in article <3DD195D3...@erols.com>:

[James Nicoll Stories]

> Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
> suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
> markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

I've been saving them for some years now, from three different
newsgroups that he and I both happen to frequent. (Any deathless tales
in other groups have gone unlogged, I fear.) I'd be happy to email
you the text file (about 1400 lines of straight ascii); on the other
hand, one of the people I've emailed it to has said he'll be HTMLizing
it and putting up a web page. When he does, I'll post a link.


--
"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend
to the death your right to say it." -- Beatrice Hall

Cally Soukup sou...@pobox.com

Cally Soukup

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Nov 18, 2002, 3:06:53 PM11/18/02
to
Manny Olds <old...@pobox.com> wrote in article <aqte9c$m6a$1...@news1.radix.net>:

> Marilee J. Layman <mjla...@erols.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 18:59:15 -0500, "Brenda W. Clough"
>> <clo...@erols.com> wrote:

>> [Re: James' stories]

>>>Surely all of these are compiled on a web site somewhere? (And I
>>>suggest a graphic, perhaps a diagram of the James body with suitable
>>>markings that link you to the appropriate tale.)

>> Cally has been compiling them.

> Someone better ship over a copy of the rock story to keep the archive
> complete.

Heh. I'm about a week behind, but haven't (that I know of) missed any
messages. I'm doggedly reading in chronological order, with a little
skipping ahead here and there.

There's an older version (same details, different telling)
of the rock story already in the archives, but this version is now
there. As is the tree. I figure a little redundancy in the stories
collected is a good thing; this is storytelling, after all. And each
repetition has a different emphasis, and mentions different elements.
I don't believe the splint/bad emergency room/mugging warning/window
part was in the earlier version, for example.

(BTW, James, I've fixed a couple of obvious typos; hope you don't
mind.)

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