View Full Version : Traveling with a chest injury

02-05-2009, 04:14 AM
Another question, I've had a lot of those lately regarding my WIP.

So my MC in my WIP set during the early to mid-renaissance has a pneumothorax inflicted by a dagger, but he has been patched up nicely; how soon would he be able to travel? And if he can travel what would be recommended method wagon or horseback?

I read that the most comfortable position is siting upright if you have a pneumothorax, is this true?

Thanks in advance!

02-05-2009, 05:41 PM
I was stepped on by a horse, resulting in 9 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. I did not want to lie down at all. Never lost consciousness. I was transported to a major medical center (Dartmouth) - the EMTs actually asked if I preferred to go to a smaller local hospital which was closer, I said no thanks. I was in intensive care for 8 days, in the hospital for a total of 11 days. I don't know how soon you're planning on having your MC travel, but I wouldn't think he'd be excited about it in anything less than a week. My lung reinflated as soon as they got the chest tube in drain the blood, but I was still having a hard time breathing (which could have been related to the broken ribs and bruising.) There is no way he would want to ride a horse. Wagon travel, sitting up, with a pillow to hold to his belly, maybe after a week. It was 8 weeks before I was back on a horse, and I was an intense upper level competitive equestrian. Again though, I did have the broken ribs. Sorry I can't speak to your specific scenario.


02-05-2009, 07:03 PM
In a mid-renaissance setting, with limited ability to reinflate a collapsed lung, we're talking months to get someone to the point they could travel. And they would be short of breath for a REALLY long time afterwards if not for the rest of their lives (if the lung never reinflates). And that's not even counting the co-morbidity problems with pneumonia, wound infection, pain management (drinking alcohol would not be recommended but guess what they'll give your character?) and a host of other things (Was the dagger clean? Poisoned? Rather septic? Just used on some other person with some debilitating condition like hepatitis or plague?).

Basically this character is out of commission big time.

02-05-2009, 07:46 PM
Major wounds like that sustained in war or a joust took months to heal.

Healing procedures differed according to the competency of the leech aka physic who might just be a religious man and he'd pray, a traveling barber who also drains abcesses and yanks out bad teeth, a midwife who barely knows enough to cut the cord with a rusty knife, a 'witch' specializing in herbal lore accumulated for generations, an Oriental, Jewish, or Arabic dr trained in the specialist universities for such, or anything in between. Also, medical care was expensive whether or not it worked and most common folk couldn't afford even the stump water and rotgut mix from the snake oil salesman.