Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Of Men and Meninges

I've been in a hospital since Monday morning with my wife.  It has allowed me ample time to observe modern medicine in action.  Or inaction.  Three doctors look at the same test results and all three tell you something different.  At least a Civil War doctor would amputate something!  But finally, it looks like the doctors have agreed.

The experience has caused me to reflect on illness during the Civil War.  The microbe killed more than the Minie Ball.  Diarrhea killed more men than combat.  And as often as I have seen people flailing around at reenactments pretending to have been shot, I wonder why you don't see more of them running wildly towards the latrine.  That would be more accurate.  Though both are somewhat inappropriate.

When you have a spouse diagnosed with something that would have been fatal during the 19th Century, it makes you stop and think.  Or at least it makes me stop and think.  Luckily she will be okay.  I cannot express how relieved I am.  I don't know what I would do if I lost my tour partner.  A Civil War battlefield just wouldn't be the same without my little redhead.

And if you are in the mood for some cheerful medical reading, check out the multiple volume Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. It should be standard reading at Medical Schools.

I am Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict.