carvedwhalebone wrote in little_details

Delayed First Aid Following Animal Attack + Misc.

Hello, fine people at little_details.  This is my first post here — usually, I try to BS through the medical miscellany and try to extract what I need from online first aid manuals, but since this is the first significant scene for my character in the last fic in the series, I'd like to get it right for once.

Setting: Post-apocalyptic urban environment.  Medical care is a couple of miles away, and isn't spectacular.  Maybe they have some antibiotics, maybe not.  Nothing's very clean and there aren't many good doctors around.  Nor are people generally inclined to be helpful to disoriented strangers, and I'd like my character to make it through this without help for thematic reasons.

Situation: Character (female, 24, 5'5" 120 lbs.) is having a hard time.  Her long-time travelling companion and friend (who actually was a good doctor) disappeared abruptly two days ago, taking with him all of their medical supplies and maps.  Since then, she's been running herself ragged, going in circles trying to find him, not eating, drinking, or sleeping well.  Mentally, she's not that stable to begin with, and she's used to letting other people make the big decisions on where to go and what to do.  Cognitively, she knows how to take care of herself, but she's not used to being alone and doesn't have the clearest head for making choices right now.

Anyway, when she drifts into the wrong part of an unfamiliar city in late evening, I have her accidentally running into a group of hostiles — humanoids with guns and very, very large (~200 lb.) dogs.  She outruns the humanoids without getting shot, but the dogs keep up with her and scratch/bite through the denim on her lower leg as she's climbing a stack of crates and pulling herself up on a catwalk in an abandoned warehouse.

She shoots the remaining dogs from this vantage point, but, alas, the crates are all knocked down, leaving her stranded about 10 feet above a concrete floor.  The strap of her pack tore in the climb, and everything she owns except for her gun is on the floor below, including the last of her water.  She can hear more animals out in the dark, and, rather than risk a jump down in the fading light, she spends a cold, thirsty night on the catwalk without doing anything about the claw and teethmarks on her calf.  She's very tired, and at this point it's more like passing out than making the conscious decision to go to sleep.  The leg bleeds sluggishly for a while, then clots in the night.

Specific questions:

1) How fast can infection set in?  Assuming it's twelve hours between the bite and cleaning the dirt/saliva/cloth from the punctures, is it inevitable that she's going to have problems eventually?  What can she do if there aren't any antibiotics?  If she only finds about eight ounces of water in her pack in the morning, should she use some of it to clean the wound or drink it all, and then continue on to look for more?

2) Can an adult with an injured leg take a ten-foot jump onto concrete, or would that be problematic?  Is there any way to take some of the sting out of it?  Character is moderately athletic, but weakened by recent events and not very graceful or agile.

3) In what order should she pursue what she needs?  Food/water/shelter/medicine?  What's most important now?  What physical challenges would she face forcing herself the last two miles to a human settlement?

Whew.  Sorry if that's too many questions.    Thank you!


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