View Full Version : Chilling Realization
09-02-2006, 08:36 PM
Last weekend, I attended an event at which the weather was rainy, and when not rainy, cold and damp. My family (my immediate "messmates," if you will) had all been sick at one time or an other in August with a respiratory infection of some sort. I felt it coming on as I drove home last weekend, and this entire week, I've endured fever, coughing, congestion, etc. It was miserable. When my daughter had this, it turned into walking pneumonia.
The awful realization I had was this: I went home at about the time I started to feel sick, and still had a fairly lousy week, even when treated with wonderful modern medications. Had I been forced to continue the campaign, I probably would have developed severe infection, possibly quinsy, which would have sent me to a hospital. I can see contracting pneumonia there as the next frightening step. I don't think I ever realized before how easy it could be to become one of those casualties of disease rather than bullets.
09-03-2006, 12:33 AM
Twice as many men during the war died of disease as combat.
Medical treatment was better than it had ever been, but was still not good.
Life expectancy was much, much less than it is now. Families expected some members would die "early" from diseases and illnesses we take for granted now. It was accepted as the way it was, a fact of life.
Rather than being surprised someone died from many illnesses, they would be surprised that someone managed to pull through and survive.
Their only "advantage" over us today is that they didn't know it could be any better.
09-03-2006, 01:35 AM
Wait, Weaver! Are U tellin us you left an event EARLY!!?? How DARE you!
We have a whole thread about that sin ALREADY!
Anyway, I know what you mean. I actually ended up with body lice from an event! I attended the 125th for Atlanta and fell in with a crew of Virginians who had been on grounds a few days already, slept campaign in their company rows for five days, and came home with lice!
It was just that easy. I did nothing "special" to end up with lice. All I did was BE there! I can see the same happening with illness. You don't have to be doing something to let your guard down, or something wrong. It just picks you out at random and nails you.
Now throw in those bullets and cannon balls flying about and the true randmoness of being killed, or coming home alive, drives itself home in your brain.
The LUCK to live through such an ordeal is amazing.
Warner Todd Huston
09-03-2006, 01:33 PM
Yep - left early. Do it all the time. I have a congregation at home that expects me to be present to preach on Sunday morning, regularly and without fail. Once a year or so, I may take a Sunday off to go to a reenactment, but I do not feel that this is fair to my family, since Sundays reenacting translate to vacation time that I don't have to spend with them. Or to travel to Central America to adopt as we did earlier this summer. The good news about my vocation is that I almost always can make the Friday of a 3 day event. The bad news is that only rarely can I make the Sunday.
09-03-2006, 04:32 PM
While during a long campaign several years ago, I grew quite ill. I went to see the regimental surgeon, who was a self proclaimed doctor in life. I told this man of my symptoms and asked him what his diagnoses was. He told me that I had been consumed with a serious respiratory ilness and unless I recieved proper medication and treatment, I would more than likely not live out the year. being in the middle of the campaign, I felt it was my duty to stick with my friends and family that were beside me in the ranks to make sure they made it out OK. three weeks later, I was layed up in a bed near the main camp with a high fever and barely able to breathe. I again called upon a doctor who told me i would be dead within twenty four hours.
Of course this story is completely untrue, at least in the sense that it happened to me personaly. in reality, everything said here did happen. it is an occurence which specificaly happened to a young man in the 18th OVI during the Chickamauga campaign, in which a heavy storm caught this part of the army, and shortly after the 18th OVI suffered heavy losses, not by the bullet, or by the bayonet, but by disease.
Thank You for your time,
09-03-2006, 08:22 PM
One only has to think about what might have been if antibiotics had been available then. Some things may have been different.
09-03-2006, 09:07 PM
A van load of us went to one of the old incarnations of Saylor's Creek back in the early 1980's. One of the boys, Danny, had ridden a Greyhound from Memphis to Nashville, in his CS uniform, to catch the van from there. We drove all day to get there. After checking in and selecting a campsite, we into to town for a meal before the event began. Afterwards, as we walked from the parking lot to the camp. I was walking behind Danny and noticed he was staggering. Danny had not been drinking, but could not walk straight. I watched him closely and when he got back to camp, he dropped to the ground and rolled up in his blanket immediately. He was shivering, while I was sweating. I lit a candle and checked him. He was wetter with sweat than me, yet shivering violently. When I tried to talk to him, he didn't respond. He was nearly unconcious. I called a couple of guys over and they concurred that Danny needed a doctor immediately. We got a gum blanket, rolled him into it with his blanket around him. We drafted two more men and with 3 men on each side, and another leading the way with a candle, we carried him out of the woods and back to the van. The 2 senior men in the group drove him to a hospital emergency room. Danny was admitted, diagnosed with pneumonia and heat exhaustion simultaneously. His temp was dangerously high when he arrived. Our 2 men came back and we participated in the event. As soon as possible, we left and returned to the hospital to check on Danny. Danny was still out. He had not woken up since we brought him in. We left Danny in that hospital because we all had to go to work the next day. Danny came home a week later.
Danny was 18, but lived with his mother. His mother had a different last name, but we didn't know it. Danny had no insurance card or identification with him, because he had ridden the bus. When we left him at the hospital, we had no idea how he would get home. Thankfully, Danny woke up the next day and was able to call his mother and tell the doctors important information about himself.
Since that event, I've always reminded people to carry current ID and insurance cards on them during events. Your pards might know your dog's name, but they might not know your insurance or contact information.
09-04-2006, 07:15 AM
What a frightening story! I'm really amazed he kept going given how terrible he must have felt. How times have changed, too. A cell phone would have made his evacuation a lot easier. And carrying insurance information where somebody else can find it if they need it! I think you've given me a good idea for our unit.
09-04-2006, 08:24 AM
Ladies & Gents,
I've tried to encourage folks in my group to carry a card with insurance info, emergency contact, allergies, meds, other health-related info, in the tool compartment of their cartridge box. It would be good if this became standard practice in the hobby -- that way, in the event that someone passes out or is otherwise unable to communicate, we'd have a starting place to look for such info. Using cards similar to those given out by the Christian Commission (available from Bob Sullivan) will keep it sort of period.
When you are with a group of friends with whom you reenact regularly, you probably know each other fairly well. On the other hand, if you attend events where you fall in with strangers, they may know you by your reputation as a reenactor but they don't know you from Adam otherwise. Can't hurt to improve your odds a bit.
09-04-2006, 10:56 AM
Ladies & Gents,
I've tried to encourage folks in my group to carry a card with insurance info, emergency contact, allergies, meds, other health-related info, in the tool compartment of their cartridge box.
I carry ID and insurance information cards in my period wallet. It's the most likely place to be searched if I am unresponsive. This is one place where safety trumps accuracy.
09-04-2006, 03:53 PM
Several events I have attended required a copy of your insurance card to be included with your registration form -- for such extreme emergencies.
09-04-2006, 10:38 PM
... come on. You aren't authentic unless you could die on the field!
Come on, WHO'S WITH ME.... wait, let me turn off my cell phone, first.
09-05-2006, 07:22 AM
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You could be run over by the shuttle bus in front of the convenience store at Cedar Creek, too. :-) :-)
And don't touch that cell phone.
The Verizon is Good mess
09-05-2006, 11:37 AM
"Attention, Company. By the Right of...."
Beep, beep, beep
"Ah, hold on guys, I gotta take this."
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