Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fiction and Injuries

Warnings: Significant discussions of injuries including animal attacks and broken bones, healing process. Also, brief mention of menstruation.

I write fiction sometimes. A lot of people do. Unrealistic injuries and reactions to them are really common (often authors neglect the fact that while a character may be able to adrenaline/stubborn their way through injuries at the time of the injury, there is also time spent healing and recovering lost strength, itching/aching scars are things, stuff like that.)
People deciding reactions I've actually had to my injuries are unrealistic are also common. Sometimes causing me to have my recovery path be that of "no treatment," including for a broken foot.

So here's some stuff I'm going to point out, coming from major injuries I've had.

1) If you get a concussion, the worst effects might not be the right-away effects. They weren't for any of the times I got concussions, actually. Right away effects were mostly along the lines of "ow that hurt," but later on? Especially a few days later? Nasty headache, and I had difficulty concentrating. Dizzyness can happen for a while too.

2) Broken bones: It is absolutely possible to break bones and not know right away, so long as everything still takes weight and moves approximately the way you tell it to (or about as close to that as it did before.) This also assumes that there's not bone sticking out visibly or something.
Even in these cases, healing will take just as long as it normally does. Eventually, you're going to figure out that it was broken.

a) Broken nose? Headaches, oh my goodness the headaches are terrible, and it can last a few months. Also, I didn't get a nose bleed the time I broke my nose so that is possible. If someone is a doctor/healer/nurse type, they will recognize a broken nose should they see it, and will probably comment, but there may or may not be anything that they can do. Sometimes they can make sure the bones are lined up properly, sometimes doing so would require re-breaking the nose.

b) Broken tailbone? Sitting is going to be very unfun for a while. Horseback riding is for no. If your character menstruates, there will be a bigger blood splat from whatever impact broke the tailbone (soooo many things make bigger blood splats during menstruation it is obnoxious.)

c) Broken leg? The type of fracture matters. Someone with a focal fracture may or may not realize they have a broken leg until it still hurts much later than it should for a bruise or even when they realize months later that "oh wait my leg bone has a dent in it." I might be speaking from experience. [I am. There is a dent in my right shin from a focal fracture that happened about five years ago.] If it's a focal fracture, your character can probably walk and run, but their leg hurts and will for a while.
If it's not a focal fracture, your character still might be able to stand, depending on if it's broken all the way through or not (there's levels of how broken legs can be) and if they have anything they can use as a crutch, but they shouldn't choose to unless it is truly dire. Healing crooked may be a worry if they can't get at treatment, and unless magic is in play the broken leg will be an issue for months.

d) Broken foot? This is one of the ones where my actual reaction gets called unrealistic, because I could (and did) stand, walk, hike, run, etc on my broken foot. It was not a good idea, but because my pain threshold and tolerance are both ridiculous, I didn't realize it was broken for a while.
That said, I did eventually figure it out, and healing took a long time. I got the injury near the end of July of one year. An MRI happened near the end of August and the location of the break was pretty visible. I was told it couldn't be a break because "to look like that a break would have to be a month old," with the doctor knowing the injury was a month old. No, it doesn't make sense to me either. I think "walked on a broken foot for a month" was too much for the doctor to handle.
I couldn't physically get my foot into my sneakers until late October. That's how swollen it was. (I'd worn approximately hiking sandals all summer and into the school year, it wasn't until I attempted my cleats for Ultimate that I realized I couldn't get my feet into those and tried (and failed) sneakers. Cleats took until January or so.

3) Attacked by a wild pig/boar? Well, mine was theoretically domesticated, but at 800lb it's fairly close. So a few points: Your character is lucky to be alive. They should be aware of this. If they were bitten, they are at risk of infection (this goes for getting bitten by smaller animals as well.) If they were bitten, even with treatment this is going to take time to heal, and depending on where they were bitten, this will put different sorts of hitches in their plans. Remember that wild pigs/boar are big, and this is likely to be a crushing injury (or a body parts missing injury.)
For me (rammed in the rear, then bitten on inner thigh,) I limped significantly for about a month. I took several more months before I could run/walk the same distances I used to walk/run. The doctor told me to expect to miss several weeks of school due to inability to walk (they didn't count on stubbornness+ridiculous pain tolerance, and I mean ridiculous. If your character has not trained themselves to ignore large amounts of pain and does not have sensory processing issues, your character can not do what I did.)
Five and a half years later (this happened in the same school year as the shin fracture but not the same calendar year) there is still a scar, and it still sometimes itches. The bitten thigh remains slightly thicker than the uninjured thigh. Despite the fact that I am right hand/foot dominant, my left leg remains slightly stronger and more flexible than my right.

So remember: injuries have long-term effects. Even if your character is able to ignore/push through major injuries at the time (and there should be a reason that they can, if they can, as well as a very good reason for them to choose to should they be aware of the extent of their injuries,) they will still have to spend a good long time healing. Some injuries will have permanent effects.
Even if you aren't registering the pain consciously (or can't feel the pain for whatever reason, like if someone is paralyzed from the waist down and then has an injury on their leg) pain still affects the body.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you were attacked by a pig? How did that happen?

    I had a pig trying to attack me once, but since she was on the other side of a fence, it wasn't much of a threat. My Dad had taken me to visit the large animal hospital section of the vet college he worked at, and one pig objected to me looking at her cute little piglets. (Which were in a separate pen from her, maybe to protect them from her since some pigs get nuts postpartum.)


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