View Full Version : Walter Reed, Pharmacy reading, and miscellaneous notes

01-25-2008, 08:18 AM
Just last weekend I went to the medical museum at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Their museum is rather small, but there is a big section on the ACW. Mostly weird wounds, a smallpox vaccinator instrument which could be mistaken for a stitch ripper used by the sewing crowd, models of hospital trains and boats, and a few examples of surgical instruments.

Them green medical tins were on display, just as Tim Kindred made his. Little on pharmacy or disease treatment. Another section unrelated to the CW had on display scarificators, blistering cups, fleams, and blood transfusion equipment. I saw a Confederate tourniquet which was a large carpenter's clamp with padding on the grips.

Another section had the history of the microscope, from the 1600s to today. A full display, poorly-lit and explained, attempted to show how Dr. John Woodward took photos of what he saw under the microscope. (His hobby in between writing manuals for the Army.)

I took photos, but I cannot upload them easily because my laptop shat its hard drive last week. This makes it hard to keep up with posts and the like - limited during the week, and non-existent on the weekends except for occasional forays to the library.

I am reading up in preparation for the Winter of 64 event in NY. I have loaded up some bottles with reproduction medicines. Some of them are in original bottles, so I got away with using water and food coloring. I will not dispense from them, because I do not trust their contamination factor, even though I had soaked them in water-diluted bleach. Further tip - I put some salt into these display bottles, and did not fill them up all the way, in an effort to prevent them from freezing and shattering. I remember the last time I was there; I had to put a lot of my meds on the stove to melt them.

I have been reading Edward Parrish's Introduction to Practical Pharmacy. He lists in detail how to create tinctures, extracts, fluid extracts, medicinal waters and wines, what equipment to get, and so on. Worth reading to me, though I use Wayne Bethard's Lotions, Potions and Deadly Elixirs as "Cliff's Notes". Some of the stuff is technical, and a lot of it is nott directly applicable to my impression. I'm not going to create a tincture in front of everybody, so I don't need the glassware or the burners or the alcohol. It's "nice to have" background information.

I have also been working with a couple of reenactors to simulate rheum and/or chronic diarrhea at W-64, and I have hashed out a couple of "prescriptions" to treat the rheum, using a "Tr. Colchici" and laudanum to reduce the infalmmation and ease the pain.

I've also written up a quick "patent medicine 101" article for the W-64 list serve. The article explains the basics of patent medicines, what they were supposed to do, and how they were packaged. I included simple instructions on how to make your own patent medicine repop, should anyone decide to make one for their "box from home".

One last note before I put you all in the comforting arms of Morpheus out of sheer boredom - shameless plug for Novicki's medical setup At High Tide. If you want to see how it's done properly, he da man. Sign up. God knows we need people who can do it right, and just about all of them haunt this section of the forum in one way or another.

01-25-2008, 08:57 AM
I have also been to the Medical Museum at Walter Reed and I have to admit I was a little disappointed. The one thing I walked away with, though, was the awesome damage the mine' ball would do to the human body. There was an example of a thigh bone showing massive spiral fractures and a couple skulls shot through and through which were completely shattered. An absolutely devastating round. It was easy to see were amputation would have been the only recourse.

01-25-2008, 09:31 AM
. . . a couple skulls shot through and through which were completely shattered. . . It was easy to see were [sic] amputation would have been the only recourse.

Amputation of the head?!

Well, makes sense for some people I know :roll: (not on this list, thankfully).:cool:

"Doc" Nelson
01-25-2008, 12:01 PM
Amputation of the head?!
Well, it would solve a lot of ailments and injuries :mrgreen:.

01-25-2008, 11:17 PM
Little out of context, Noah. :D Actually, I believe the skulls were recovered from a ditch/trench outside of Petersburg. They were allegedly Confederate soldiers.