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NewKidOldKid
06-07-2012, 07:50 PM
I have a character who either gets shot or is stabbed. In either case, it has to be “light” enough that he can get into his car and flee the scene. But, and this is the tricky part, I also need him to get really sick soon after. With no medical attention except first aid from a non-medical person (to stop the bleeding, maybe?), he makes it to his own bed and sort of passes out. Then I need him going in and out of consciousness for the next 24 hours or so (he can’t be completely out).

Ideally, he would get a really high fiber and hallucinate, but I don’t know how realistic it is that he would get a fever (which I guess would be the product of an infection) quickly and from a wound that’s not too serious. Keep in mind that I need him to get better rather quickly (a few days) and without medical care. There’s somebody there who could give him antibiotics and take care of the wound, but no hospital.

What I just described is the ideal situation for the plot. How much of that can realistically happen? If little or nothing, how can I make this work? Any ideas?

espresso5
06-07-2012, 08:34 PM
Fever is a response to infection. After a GSW, it might take a bit longer than 24hrs. for a fever the extent to which you're talking about to set in. He might be feverish after twelve hours, but to actually start passing out and hallucinating might take another twelve hours or so (24hrs. total). Realistically I would expect it to be longer, but there can be quite a bit of variation.
Bacteria can double relatively quickly, so maybe if the individual who patched him up had dirty hands or used a dirty rag or something, the speed with which he becomes feverish might increase. Also, if he lost a lot of blood, he could pass out from that rather than fever.
If he has someone who can get antibiotics and administer them, he could probably recover (reduced fever) in 24-48 hrs.

rainbowsandunicorns
06-08-2012, 10:11 PM
If he had a small infection prior to the injury it might help. Like the espresso 5 said, the person could have dirty hands. Or he's stabbed with a dirty knife. If he already has an infection his immune system would be weakened and it would allow the infection to spread faster but the bacteria still need time to multiply. Or it could be a super strain of bacteria?

Chekurtab
06-11-2012, 07:02 PM
Ideally, he would get a really high fiber and hallucinate, but I donít know how realistic it is that he would get a fever (which I guess would be the product of an infection) quickly and from a wound thatís not too serious. Keep in mind that I need him to get better rather quickly (a few days) and without medical care. Thereís somebody there who could give him antibiotics and take care of the wound, but no hospital.



What you describe is a florid sepsis and septic shock. He's unlikely to recover from it outside of the hospital. In some books I remember people develop gas gangrene and get better with penicillin. It's possible but unlikely without surgery and full resuscitation.
Instead of septic shock, you may want to consider hemorrhagic shock. Your MC can have significant external bleeding that will stop. Barring major injuries, he can recover without medical help.

GeorgeK
06-13-2012, 11:04 AM
What I just described is the ideal situation for the plot. How much of that can realistically happen? If little or nothing, how can I make this work? Any ideas?

The only way for him to get that sick that fast and recovery that quickly spontaneously is if the wound is not the cause. If the wound is incidental and minor but he ate a gas station egg salad sandwich about 6 hours before the fight, that would do it, but would also include diarrhea and vomiting.

For your time line salmonella sounds good, but if you want something faster, look up staph food poisoning. If you want a longer time, then consider vibrio.

Todd Young
06-13-2012, 11:14 AM
Could he simply be suffering from shock? I don't suppose there'd be any fever, but he might recover reasonably quickly.

Raventongue
06-14-2012, 03:27 AM
Also, if he lost a lot of blood, he could pass out from that rather than fever.

This is a very frequent error in fiction. Once someone's lost enough blood that they pass out, the chances of recovery outside of a hospital are next to nihil.

espresso5
06-14-2012, 03:41 AM
This is a very frequent error in fiction. Once someone's lost enough blood that they pass out, the chances of recovery outside of a hospital are next to nihil.

Perhaps I should have used the term faint. Plenty of people faint from minimal blood loss.

Raventongue
06-14-2012, 06:24 AM
That's true. Sorry, I'll stop being anal now.