w_a_i_d (w_a_i_d) wrote in little_details,

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?

Tags: ~medicine: illnesses to order, ~medicine: injuries to order

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