February 9th, 2011

Infected injection sites, fever, horrible-but-successful self-treatment?

One of those "I want to have something nasty and life-threatening but not ultimately fatal happen" problems.

So, suppose it's 1892 and you're on the run through Eastern Europe, (I haven't settled on exactly where) and you inject yourself rather carelessly with cocaine so as to stay awake and alert (WHO COULD THIS MAN POSSIBLY BE?) and the injection site -- on your left arm -- gets infected, and you can't do anything about this immediately and even when you do find a temporary safe place, you don't dare contact a doctor...

... what can you do, as an intelligent and desperate amateur, and how ill can you plausibly get and still survive without someone having to chop your arm off? What are the symptoms of the just-about-survivable worst? 

As per usual, the worse things can be while still being retrievable in the absence of antibiotics, the better. Agony= fine.  Big ugly scar = fine. Amputation = bad.

What I'd like to have happen is for the feverish character to find some sort of shelter, and there attempt painful and horrible self-treatment with, for example, blades or heated metal or carbolic acid or what have you, and then collapse all delirious and in agony thinking, "Well,  now I suppose I just wait and see whether I die or not."

But things can be slightly less dramatic if necessary. I'd still really like the fever and the risk of death, though.

I've searched "infected injection sites" "abscess" "carbolic acid" "cauterisation" in various combinations, including in Google Books. As far as I can see the problem with the various nasty things I fancy having him do is that they might stop the wound draining ... so should he be poking around in there with a scalpel (or as near a substitute as he can manage) first, or should he just be cleaning the area as best he can and hoping for the best, or what?


Victorian era Chinese girl addressing white female boss...

Same character and situation as these posts.  Victorian Era US, probably northeastern.  Looked here, but I don't know what if anything would be era/situation appropriate.  Also googled  "Victorian era Chinese term of respect", nothing looked promising.

One of my mad scientist roleplaying characters' assistants is a 16-year-old half-Chinese orphan (unknown white mother, Chinese father).  She was (I decree by fiat) mostly raised by her now-dead father, who was a sailor.  She is fluent in English (or at least enough so not to impede communication), but likely speaks at least some of whatever her father spoke.

She was taken in by my mad scientist shortly after her father's death (when she was ~12), though said mad scientist is only 7 years older than her.  She is now the resident math genius.  So is there any particular mode or method of address she might use, or would she most likely call her boss Miss Lastname like everyone else?

(yes, I'm putting *waaaay* too much thought into these NPCs)

edit: The consensus seems to be that she'd call the mad scientist "Miss Lastsname" (or just Miss/Ma'am) like everyone else.  I was just trying to figure out if there's anything Chinese  that would be likely to be natural and reflexive to her for someone she has a close relationship with, or if she'd just go with the prevailing mode...