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So I Was Shot By An Arrow....

Discussion in 'Research' started by Asterisk, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    And armor, of course, was everything.

    If you want your character to get a superficial wound, put him or her in armor. That's what it was for.
     
  2. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    I think I know just the sort of tumblr bloggers who would love to hear that.
     
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  3. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

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    I saw on TV last night a moderatly chubby guy is stabbed in the chest. Right on top of the heart area. Saved by like a centimeter. Guy is out of the ER in like an hour.

    Basically, in medieval times, an arrow anywhere is death. Even if the arrow doesn't kill you, you become much easier to hunt down.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    @Malik: thanks for the useful post. I've got a character who has yet to appear in any story, who received a wound in the shoulder while still in his prime. Actually, it wasn't even a wound, it was a muscle torn in the heat of a battle. It didn't cripple him but it leaves him with pain whenever he tries to swing a sword. He can do it, but it hurts like blazes. For a long time, he tried to hide the fact that he was not 100% but eventually it catches up with him.

    I thought this character up as a result of a rotator cuff tear. The thing hung around with me for years. Ruined my career as a major league pitcher. ;)

    But I've thought of this fellow off and on for a long time. I'm sure a great many soldiers accumulated injuries that affected their abilities in battle. I thought including that in a character could add a dimension missing from many. Not a missing hand or anything obvious like that. Just that damned rotator cuff.
     
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  5. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    There was a movie made back in the 70's called North Dallas Forty in which Nick Nolte plays an aging professional football player. And by "aging" I mean "in his 30's." There are scenes in that movie where he's trying to sleep, or he's up in the middle of the night cracking his back and trying to get muscles to unkink and bones and sockets to sit right, or lying in a tub of ice water drinking whiskey by the glass. My buddies in the Army who are in their 40's -- and some in their 30's -- are like this. And we're like this with modern medicine, space-age supplementation, and an encyclopedic knowledge of physiology and training. I would imagine that any professional fighter, whether he's a soldier or a sport fighter or pro athlete, would be in tatters by his mid-30's, even without being wounded per se. It's a short, hard career.

    I'd love to read about a fighter with a shoulder injury from his heyday. I hope you work him into a book someday.
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I know that movie. A real football story can be found in the 1980s movie, Disposable Heroes. Very sad and sobering.

    I had only thought about the physical difficulties entailed from the injury, but it would be worth exploring also the psychological aspect. Just as football players who can no longer play can find it difficult to adjust, what would it be like for a knight who could no longer fight or hunt?

    I'm not so fascinated as to make this a main character, but I do think he fits in somewhere. Maybe as a Duncan-type (Dune).
     
  7. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    Well, depending on a few things. One sweep from a boxcutter could disembowel someone. Ripping the blade off to the side as it's withdrawn. A stab from a gladius would be a lot worse than a stab from a stiletto.

    There are historical accounts of people surviving multiple stab wounds through the body from rapiers. Jim Bowie took the blade of a sword cane through his chest, where it snapped off and lodged. He beat the crap out of the guy before passing out, but he survived it. Cole Younger suffered eleven gunshot wounds in 1876. He was captured and jailed, 19th century medicine in a 19th century jail, but he survived. Somewhere I've got an account of arrow extraction in Medieval Europe, but I don't have it handy right now. I'll post it later.
    There is some evidence to suggest gladiators were a bit portly for this very reason.
     
  8. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    Found it. The Great Warbow by Matthew Strickland and Robert Hardy is an excellent book on the subject of archery in Medieval Europe. Starting on page 284, they talk about Henry V taking an arrow to the face at the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. They quote the prince's doctor, John Bradmore, giving the doctor's account of how he extracted the arrow and cured the prince. He said the arrow enters on the left side of Henry's nose and penetrated to a depth of six inches. The quote from the doctor is extensive, so I won't place it here, but he essentially performed a surgical extraction on the prince, sans anesthesia, of course, but Henry lived on for another nineteen years. The same chapter details numerous men getting killed in hunting and shooting accidents. Point being, getting shot doesn't necessarily mean a death sentence.
     
  9. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    There's a great Ming account of a Han surgery where a man was wounded by a poisoned arrow in the arm. After extracting the arrow, they peeled back the skin and scraped the bone clean in an attempt to cleanse the poison and then sewing him back up. The patient was executed within the year by the force that wounded him, so there's no telling the long-term ramifications of that kind of surgery, but it's interesting nonetheless.

    Anyway, Henry V's survival from that kind of wound seems to be rarer than death. I'm thinking specifically of Richard the Lionheart - 'winged,' took the time to salute the man who shot them, went back to his tent and dropped dead soon after.
     
  10. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    As an archer, I just want to add some information about arrows in general


    There are different types of arrows.
    A war arrow is about 36" long and has a quarter inch shaft. It does major damage because the pull cn be upwards of 150 pounds and it's shot over long distance.

    A hunting arrow will be probably 70 or less pound pull but be a razor sharp edge used to cause maximum bleeding.

    Soldiers will be using war bows from a keep wall, whereas a scout or hunter will have a hunting bow.

    a crossbow is another matter. High pull poundage 75-150 pounds, but it will be a bolt with a bodkin, most likely. Some were stuck on with feces or barely stuck on at all, meaning the wound will quickly fester from bacteria or the point will be left in the wound if you pull the quarrel out. The solution is to push it through.
     
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  11. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    Actually, it penetrated his side pretty deeply. The infection took several days to kill him.
    Medieval crossbows had much higher draw weights than that. Depending on what they were made of and how they were spanned, they could have draw weights of 300 or 400 pounds or more. One specimen from late 15th/early 16th century that was spanned with a windlass had a draw weight of 1,200 pounds.
     
  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    yeah, but those took a winch to draw. Most of those high poundage ones were mounted like turret guns, they weren't something you could reload quickly. I was speaking of a handheld crossbow that one might carry for protection. My friend has a hundred + pound crossbow I almost pulled, but the stirrup was hinged rather than fixed, which impeded my efforts. I'd bet most men could pull a 150 pound crossbow with a fixed stirrup. anything more than that, though, would have a winch system and be used as a wall of archers, not a single person with a bow.

    Also, one more thing to note...

    Recently, a woman was shot with an arrow at my local dog park. The arrow came from a compound bow where someone was shooting targets in their yard and missed. She got struck in the back of the shoulder and walked around for several minutes before someone kindly pointed out, "Um.. miss... you have an arrow sticking out of your back."

    She said she thought she was struck by a rogue tennis ball from someone playing with their dog and didn't realize she was injured.

    Just an interesting tidbit...
     
  13. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    Incorrect on the wound. Richard was hit in the shoulder, though his surgeon butchered him pretty badly all over trying to dig out the arrow. He died within two weeks, which is what I meant by 'soon after.'
     
  14. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    After going through his shoulder it went into his side.
     
  15. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Wow, scraping the bone to clean the poison, with instruments that were probably clean but not sterile. Delivering bacteria to the bone is a very tough infection to fight off, even with the best antibiotics. The bone has poor blood supply to the surface, the bacteria grows until it sets off an immune response from the nearest blood supply, but the original site usually isn't affcted. Basically a life time of recurring infections.
    Or they might have saved his life from the poison. Rsiky but might have paid off that time.
     
  16. This thread is making me light-headed.
     
  17. Gen

    Gen New Member

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    Hello, I know you posted this a while ago but I was wondering if you knew what the damages would be if someone were to hit the collarbone and lodge the arrow in there. How would you go about fixing that and what would the person no longer be able to do while healing or even after it had already healed? Also, since the arrow is stuck in bone, would it be best to leave it in there until someone can safely remove it? I hope you are able to help!
     
  18. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm pretty sure the collarbone would shatter or at least snap on impact, with catastrophic to fatal results. Wait for confirmation, though.
     
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  19. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    As far as bones go, the collarbone is a pretty expendable one. And easy to break. Cyclists break them all the time without too many bad side effects. Wikipedia tells me it's the most commonly broken bone.

    What I think would happen is that the bone breaks at the point of impact. Which hurts a lot and inhibits you moving your arm. It will most likely take you out of action, though you can fight through the pain if you really have to (again, back to cyclists, they get up and can continue biking for a short while with a broken colarbone if they must, though they usually give up after half a km or so). Since the bone breaks, the arrow doesn't get lodged in it but sits at the fracture point.

    As for taking it out it is the same as with all arrows, knifes or other items stuck in a person. It's (almost) always safer to remove them in a safe location where healing is possible. Actually removing it may kill you where leaving it in place does not. The reason is that as long as the arrow (or blade) is safely in place it more or less closes the wound, where removing it leaves you with a big open wound and potentially severed arteries. So you're more likely to bleed out if you remove the arrow. Of course, this depends on what you do afterwards. If you move a lot, then leaving it in will make things worse, since the effect is that you start moving a sharp object in your shoulder. So if you expect you need to move a lot or fight then taking it out is probably better.
     
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  20. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Inkling

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    Yeah, I broke my collarbone somehow as a little kid and no one even knew it until years later (there's a slight bump where it mended).
     
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