Would you have survived in the middle ages?

By Shamus
on Jul 17, 2007
Filed under:
Random

447 comments

Last weekend one of my gaming buddies and I were talking about surgery. I have surgery coming up this weekend and we were comparing notes. One thing we both realized was that both of us would have died before we were six if not for modern medicine. He had his appendix out at five. My life more or less depends on medication to keep my asthma under control. I’ve had several life-saving trips to the hospital due to severe attacks in my lifetime.

I’ve mused on this sort of thing before, but since we were about to play D&D in a fantasy setting my mind was on it again. In the medieval times people got married at ages that would scandalize us today. They began having sex at a young age, and continued to do so without birth control for their entire lives. Women cranked out babies at an alarming pace, yet the population remained flat. Run those numbers in your head and it becomes clear that people who lived to adulthood where a small minority of the total number of people born. Their lives were bleak, harsh, and filled with death. They died of things that are trivial to fix today.

I wouldn’t have made it. Asthma would have killed me. If that didn’t get me, the infection I had at 20 would have done the job.

My dad would have died six months before I was born.

My mother would have died a few years after I was born.

My friend wouldn’t have made it. He would have died of a burst appendix at five.

I think my brothers and my sister would have made it. (Ignoring the fact that two of them were born after my mother would have died.)

How about you? How long would you have lived in the middle ages? Ignore all the general risks – like typhoid or the plague or cholera – that everyone would have faced in general. Let’s assume you were lucky and missed those. (Unless by some chance you actually DID face one of them in your life.) Also ignore the fact that your deadly injury might have been caused by modern technology, like an auto accident. Just pretend you were trampled by a horse or something. So, given the injuries and illness you’ve faced in your life so far: Did you make it? Would you have survived to your current age?

I don’t want to go on the cart!
I don’t want to go on the cart!

I’m curious to see the responses on this one. If you like, post your results to your blog (I’ll link back) and pose the same question to your readers. If you don’t have a blog you could always use the comment gizmo below. I hear it works pretty good.

(ADDITIONAL: To answer goblinpaladin’s question below, yes. Let’s assume we didn’t die in a flood, or a famine, or get worked to death, or die in a war, or anything else like that. Let’s just go with what’s happened to us in our modern lives. For a lot of us, even that is enough to kill us.)

The tally so far:

On The Cart Pulling The Cart
Shamus Young
Oscagne
ms_danson
e_scapism101
Steven Den Beste
Webs
Nick
Bogan
Winged Ignorance
Ingvar
Remus
BriScan
Sir Sefirot
RedHillian
goblinpaladin
Jag Dell
talorina
JohnW
Rollie
Erik
Galenor
Delta Force Leader
SimeSublime
Deathblade_penguin
Gus
Mari
arlani
Otus
Mik
VikingMonkey
Rupert
Gary
Michael L
Rich
Dan
Ariel
Eltanin
guy
Tom Gunn
Joel
Gary
Cradok
BlueFaeMoon
Doug Brown
Anonymous Botch
Kalle
MintSkittle
Downtym
Tarous Zars
Rob
Jacob
AJ
Space Bumby
DavidS
Mr. Blue
Ysabel
Allura
David H.
JasonS
Katy
Poet
Shadow Wolf
Arson55
Jimmy
Don
wumpus
Browncoat
milw770
ZackTheSTGuy
Doug Sundseth
SiliconScout
Al Billings
lplimac
Dangerous_Jade
SteeleButterfly
chuko
Ken Talton
dreamfarer
Refugee
Joe M
Corsair (Don’t be such a baby!)
Rhea
Kevin
Kurt
MONKEEYYY
xbolt
Devin
Mrs T
DoveArrow
coz
beckyzoole
Brett
Matt`
Siobharek
trigear
SteveDJ
jpetoh
stevend
AnnMCN
Smyth
J Greely
unseelie_sidhe
M Hamann
Nothing
Davemonkey
Chris
Ralff
Attorney At Chaos
Yonder
Sion
Jewbacca
Lanthanide
Rixaxun
phobiandarkmoon
veloxyll
luagha
Woerlan
Raved Thrad
Chrystalline
Sem
Justin Alexander
Kajen
Ravs
Mark Caliber
the_corruptor
Clint Memo
AdaMM
Zaxares
Antendren
Roses
Jon
Contagion
Mrs. Who
KMC
Mandi
corwin
txknight
indikate
Matt J
Knastymike
Robin Z
out_totheblack
Spider
Jimmie
Telophase
Melfina the Blue
Rev.Dr.Blacky Thanatos Roach
NRD80Y
Alden
Jennifer Snow
phlux
Robyrt
Anh Minh
Arthur
Christopher
Locri
gomi no sensei (Pulling with gusto!)
Hanov3r
Marmot
Redguy
Katy
Nathan M.
Michael McHenry
Ryan
-Chipper
Zak
Falafel
Jeremiah
Jessie
TwiddleStooch
Martin
Kevin
Amanda
Nilus
Lars
Matt P
Segev Stormlord
Janneh
Joe
leopardeternal
quadir
SongCoyote
Althanis
Alex
Dan Morrison
Skeeve the Impossible
Alexis
BlackJaw
Dev Null
Maia
Vykromod
Guy
Karen
John
Myxx
Deoxy
Cenobite
Cadamar
dishuiguanyin
Nanja Kang
Osvaldo Mandias
Jack of Spades
Coyote
Gobo
icekatze
brian
Kristin
Gothmog
Dave
Mark
TooMad
PurpleStarfish
ravenkith
Sewerman
Mysterium
rou
Otters34
Sauron
Jeremy Bowers
ohnoabear
Water_Singer
CJG
melchar
Seracka
Anna
capitain
Petrushka
Julia
Dave Klecha
andy
Clarifon
rogue_stupidity
kdorian
Pilomotor
Glumly
lynnylchan
wildweasel
Pixy Misa
jdhays
Dix
Rick
Ben
Masakados
Purple Library Guy
Daebereth
Zaghadka
Nefke
James
Hito
Traiden
Tolmar
dragonbane
Brian
kat
Paul Arthur
Pffh
Danzaemon

A further thought: I should have made three columns for our list above: On the cart, Pulling the cart, and Beggars. A lot of so-called cart-pullers up there are missing limbs, very ill, blind, or otherwise not up to performing their cart-pulling duties.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!20207447 comments. Keep commenting and you're liable to break the internet.

From the Archives:

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  1. Poet says:

    I would’ve bought it for the same reason as you. Wheezing, slow, boringly annoying death. Even if I survived my asthma, two car accident before I was ten, and being knocked from the second floor of a building to the first would’ve killed me. Actually, that last one DID kill me, so without CPR I’d be wormfeed.
    Throw me on the cart!

  2. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    Medieval Me is still alive and kicking. My vision is terrible, though, but maybe if I’m a peasant or a priest that doesn’t matter so much.

    Also Modern Me has an extremely robust digestive system so maybe Medieval Me would have been more likely to survive those childhood illnesses that we’ve decided to ignore for now.

    Modern Me broke his arm pretty bad when he was a teenageer–I don’t know how that would have changed anything for Medieval Me. I assume they knew how to set bones pretty well.

    Medieval Me has parents who are still living and in fine health, and 6 living brothers and sisters, but one brother is deaf and one brother suffers from a chronic, debilitating ailment and probably lives on charity. Two of his sisters are dead. His wife probably died sometime during her first pregnancy or soon thereafter.

  3. Shadow Wolf says:

    Crohn’s disease would have killed me at 16 – it almost did even with modern medicine, as I was bleeding into my gut (and passed out from blood loss before I was diagnosed).

  4. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    On second thought, I was too sanguine about Medieval Me. Modern Me had a thigh gash that required stitches when I was young and several bouts with strep, one of which required antibiotics. So Medieval Me’s survival is chancy. He’s an Uncertainty Lich.

    Also Medieval Me’s beggar brother is actually dead since infancy.

  5. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    I don’t think women married as early as you are saying, Shamus Young.

  6. I’ve been fortunate enough to never have an injury more serious than a broken finger or an illness more life-threatening than the gout. Medieval Me would probably be in better health than Modern Me, since he’d get more exercise and eat more veggies (and probably not be rich enough to have the gout).

  7. Arson55 says:

    Put me on the cart. Burst appendix in the 4th grade.

  8. Shamus says:

    Osvaldo Mandias: My Tardis is at the shop so we can’t go back and settle the matter. I’m going by anecdotes I’ve heard over the years that ~15 was a perfectly reasonable age for marriage. And really: Why wouldn’t it be? We wait until mid-20’s now because people have to finish school. There was no good reason to wait for 18 in the middle ages. I’m open to counter-evidence, though.

  9. Spider says:

    I posted you on Nerd World Country as well, although I directed them all here, so there shouldn’t be any additional responses over there.

  10. Coyote says:

    I think I would have made it. I’ve had some nasty aches & pains & allergies, but nothing life-threatening, and the only surgery I’ve had has been from the dentist and some exploratory surgery that wouldn’t have been done back in the day.

    Lucky me. I may even make it to the ripe old age of 40, yet!

  11. Gobo says:

    I think Medieval Me would still be alive and kicking at my current 31. Only had a slight skin cancer issue, which would not have killed me quite yet. Might have been starting to spread however, so how much longer I would have survived in medieval times I don’t know.

    Apart from that, no deadly illnesses, nor broken bones. *knock on wood* And after 25 years(!) with computers in various forms, I still don’t even need glasses either.

  12. Jimmy says:

    Let’s see… pseudohemophilia, congentially weakened bones, Crohn’s, cancer…

    I would have been on the cart if I had been born in 1940. I’m also the reason your health-insurance premiums are so high. Sorry.

    In other news, my sister would be dead at six (serious infection). My father has been pretty healthy, but my mother might have starved at 19 when she shattered her jaw. Of course, that point would be moot given that my grandmother was dying of TB as a little girl, and was saved at the last minute by advancing medicial technology.

    I’ve speculated on this before, but pitched it slightly differently: what’s the earliest date you could have been born and lived to your current age? Depending on where you lived, appendicitis wasn’t a death sentence after about 1400 — the surgery was extremely painful, and there was a risk of infection, but surgeons specialized in performing three-minute appendectomies. In my case, though, I’d have died if effective chemotherapy hadn’t been developed — circa 1960.

  13. icekatze says:

    hi hi

    I’ve had surgery twice, but it wasn’t for life threatening reasons. So I wouldn’t be dead exactly, but I’d be a partly disabled wreck that couldn’t work and would probably die in the near future.

  14. Jimmy says:

    [Shamus]We wait until mid-20’s now because people have to finish school. There was no good reason to wait for 18 in the middle ages. I’m open to counter-evidence, though.[/Shamus]
    Google answers all.

  15. Coyote says:

    Based on anecdotal evidence, I tend to agree with Shamus on the marriage age thing. Even here in the U.S., many states allow marriage at only 14 (with parental consent).

    Incidentally, the term “spinster” comes from the fact that families often apprenticed off their children very young (like, age 6ish). Girls often went to spin yarn / thread at this age – and an older woman who was still doing this had something wrong with her that made her undesirable, I guess.

  16. Don says:

    Flip a coin. Sometimes hernias remain static for years. Still, even if I’m not on the cart, I wouldn’t be pulling it.

  17. Telophase says:

    The age of first marriage mostly depended on location – city women with more options for work (especially domestic service) married later, while women in the rural areas, where farms needed all the working hands they could get, married earlier. Don’t forget miscarriage and infertility due to malnutrition and infections as factors that helped keep the population fairly low. Wars, too – at times and in places where there were fewer men to go around, there were fewer marriages.

    I get to die in a plague! I had malaria at age 5. We lived in Tanzania at the time, as my dad was a wildlife biologist, but malaria was known in medieval Europe. I might have survived the age-5 case, as it was mild enough that we were able to thoroughly knock it out and I’ve never suffered any relapses, but in medieval times I *would* have suffered relapses several times a year, and if there were complicating factors – such as my becoming lactose intolerant at age 21, which would have led to severe malnutrition if I were in a dairy-based society – it would have probably killed me.

    Seeing as how I’m now 37, an unmarried woman with no kids, and working in an academic setting, I assume my medieval self entered the Church as a young to middling teenager, provided I survived the malaria, and lived and died in an abbey.

  18. brian says:

    I would be all broken and bent and nearsighted, but, would probably live.

    I’ve broken both wrists, both ankles, dislocated an elbow, but no serious illnesses or life-threatening injuries.

    I don’t know that I’d be able to pull the cart but I could probably shuffle along next to it.

  19. wumpus says:

    Heh. This whole thread is an invitation for people to (rudely) talk about their medical issues – how can I resist!

    – Apparently ether was involved in my delivery – no, I don’t know how or why – which makes my birth and mother’s survival unlikely.

    – I’m plagued by allergies and severe rhinitis, possibly to the level of asthma. But I think their effects would’ve been much less in pre-industrial society.

    – I’m more or less legally blind. But there is significant research that indicates that this, too, is caused by literacy (i.e. modern society). If I hadn’t spent so much time reading (esp. in low light) as a child, I probably would have much better vision.

    – I had chicken pox at around 7, but I’m pretty sure that that was just as unlikely to kill you in the Middle Ages as it is now. Smallpox, not so much, but we’re not factoring that in.

    – I fell on my head a lot as a child. But it never required major medical intervention, just some cosmetic stitchery.

    – I had my wisdom teeth surgically extracted. My life would probably suck if that hadn’t happened, possibly unto the point of death.

    – I had minor breaks to both feet in my 20’s. I’d probably walk funny.

    – What likely would’ve killed me, though, was the minor puncture wound to the thigh from rusty barbed wire when I was around 13. Back then, that was a death sentence.

    – Additionally, neither of my own children would have survived their very premature births.

    Grim. Let’s hear it for immunization and dentistry! But really, my favorite modern technological advance has to be the hot shower…

    Alex

  20. Kristin says:

    Ignoring the fact that neither of my parents would have made it to having me (my dad nearly lost his arm at 13 – although there’d be no printing press to have run it through… my mom would have died of mono at 19), I’d have made it and be the perfect noblewoman… completely helpless because of severe myopia. Sickest I’ve been in my life was a nasty nasty cough that went away on its own because I didn’t have health insurance or money so I didn’t go to a doctor to get medicine stronger than Robitussin.

  21. Browncoat says:

    I would have been burned as a witch at a young age for my mad yo-yo skills. Had I survived that, I probably would have died a few years ago from a “medical complication”. We all thought it was my appendix until they opened me up and looked inside–appendix looked fine, but there was a weird growth next to it that they took out, but we don’t know if it was life-threatening now or then.

  22. Telophase says:

    More references for the age of marriage:

    http://snipurl.com/1of6m – links to Google Books, Katharine Lynch’s _Individuals, Families, and Communities in Europe, 1200-1800_ Note that the upper class historically tended to marry earlier, and as Europe modernized into the Renaissance and the number of urban centers grew, marriage ages in general rose. The usual explanation is economic – when women can work (and women worked) and earn money, there is little incentive to marry early in order to support yourself.

    http://snipurl.com/1of74 – article by Fiona Harris Stoertz “Young Women in France and England, 1050-1300” She mostly focuses on elite classes, but points out that although noble girls got married as early as 12, the marriages seem to have been only consummated a few years later, as they usually start bearing children in their late teens and early 20s.

  23. Gothmog says:

    I would’ve been pulling the cart- I’ve been blessed by never having to be hospitalized for any reason- Yay, me!

  24. milw770 says:

    On the cart.

    Born 3 months premature, needed an incubator to protect me and a nurse rubbing my back 24 hours a day to remind me to breathe. In and out of the hospital with various life threatening problems until age 5.

  25. ZackTheSTGuy says:

    I was placed into the ICU at birth and had to be respirated for 2 full days before my lungs could operate at normal capacity. I would not have made it.

    Aside from that, however, I’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided any form of serious injury or illness for my entire life. There haven’t been any other complications which may have cost me my medieval life, but I guess it really only takes one.

    Put me on the cart. :(

  26. Doug Sundseth says:

    I’ve had pneumonia three times; dead is the way to bet.

  27. Cadamar says:

    The interest in this topic isn’t so much the morbid curiosity. It’s the reminder that even though we fantasize about the past, we are all very fortunate to live in the present.

  28. SiliconScout says:

    I would be dead.

    Surviving my birth would have been chancy, but for sure a burst appendix at 16 would have finished me. I might have already had kids by then though.

    My sister would not have survived her birth, nor would my mother have survived it.

    My brother may well have survived into his 20’s before a car accident (horse trampling) took him out.

  29. Al Billings says:

    Born six weeks premature and put in a lighted warm box for a week for jaundice.

    Dead at birth, in other words, at any other era.

  30. lplimac says:

    On the cart within a month after being born. Heck If I was born a few years earlier the treatment I needed wouldn’t have been available. Thank god for medical reserch

  31. Dave says:

    I’d be pulling the cart.. unless the cut I got stitches for got infected.. but it was with an exacto knife cutting cardboard.. (making a board game at age 8.. Motocross game) .. wasn’t that deep.. bled enough to get clean.. other than that.. only my paranoia gets me to the doctor’s office.. our drug-ad-laden TV society has us all thinking we’re falling apart.

    I was too shy to get an STD.. yup.. I think I’d be alive..

    The high deathrates made it so the surviving population was pretty stout. Our current social contract has us with a herd with many more elderly and sick than would be natural for an animal species.. though.. I guess our population is like a zoo’s population.. lots more sick and old.. and we do tend to fear actually living.

  32. milw770 says:

    As an aside: This question raises the flip side question: How much longer are we living at end-of-life? Not just medications, but surgeries, feedings, pacemakers, defibrillators, and other implants. Now they’re grafting onto nerves themselves (infancy of cybernetics) and stem cell research promises growing whole new organs and rejuvenating systems. How long should life be prolonged? When is the end?

  33. Dangerous_Jade says:

    Let’s see – breech birth resulting in cesaerean, Dunno if that counts against me or my mother. However, I was premature, underweight, and would randomly stop breathing. None of that is neccesarily insurmountable though.

    Was deaf until I had tubes put in, also was a pretty sick kid with lots of infections.

    So unless I was really really lucky and/or determined, I think I woulda been on the cart. At the very least I woulda been deaf and very unhealthy, but I think I have to call a spade a spade here and say I probably wouldn’t made it very long, especially with my crappy imune system as a kid.

    And yes, I have thought about this before too – only more as a measure of my survival skills and whether or not I’d be able to take care of myself and family. I wish I was half as resourceful as my D & D character! =P

  34. Knastymike says:

    Oh yeah, considering I’ve needed glasses since I was 14, I probably shouldn’t be the lead cart-puller. I’m not helpless without my glasses, but I shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car (or carriage, for that matter).

  35. I’d have died in 1988 with the birth of my second child. I started bleeding, and had to have an emergency C-section to save both our lives. He might have survived, but I wouldn’t have.

  36. chuko says:

    What a perfect question! No doubt I would’ve died in my youth, many times over. There were enough complications when I was an infant they weren’t sure I was going to live in modern times. I also had my tonsils out when I was four – but I don’t know, did infection of the tonsils actually kill people? presumedly…

  37. Mark says:

    I have scoliosis and had to wear a back brace for 5 years to avoid surgery. Left untreated, I’d most probably be in pain (and possibly a hunchback of some sort), but I’d be alive. Other than the scoliosis, I haven’t really experienced anything life threatening. I seem to have a pretty good constitution and have never suffered from allergies, asthma or other ailments. I’m even pretty resistant to motion sickness. It’s just the scoliosis, but again, I don’t think that’s life threatening on its own.

  38. Ken Talton says:

    I would have died at age 6 months when I began bleeding from a meckles diverticulum (basically stomach gastric cells in the intestine)surgery saved my life.

    I would have died again when I got any number of infections that required antibiotics.

    I would now be lame because of the knee injury I suffered in the Coast Guard a few years ago.

    I would be even uglier as I’d not have gotten stitches for a head injury when I was 14..

    Note that “Lame” “deformed” and “dead” would affect my com and soc stats.

    Thus I’d use the stats freed up by the disad points to buy up my INT and spell casting ability.

    As such I’d have a head start on being a powerful lich…
    (I’d freakin’ OWN the middle ages!)

  39. dreamfarer says:

    Dead as a doornail at 12. Killed by a ruptured appendix. That’s assuming that one of the less memorable “cuts-requiring stitches” or “fevers high enough to go to the emergency room” as a little tyke didn’t kill me first.

  40. John says:

    I think I’d be puillng the cart… Nothing worse than some spilt blood here and there, although I’m sure the scars would be much nastier.

  41. Refugee says:

    However long it would have been, I would have spent my life as a near-sighted, club-footed cripple.

    I had my tonsils out at 8; I don’t know what would have happened to me without that.

    Very likely, I’d’ve spent my adult life suffering from an peptic ulcer, and eventually it would have perforated and that would have been it for me–I’m guessing by the age of 30, 40 at the latest.

    What really interests me is whether or not I’d’ve been burned at the stake. How much of a free-thinker would I have been, raised in a society that viciously suppressed such tendencies? I’m a preacher’s kid, so there’s a good chance I’d be literate, possibly even trained for the priesthood. But nobody could answer the questions I started asking around kindergarten. Would I have kept asking them after the first few beatings, or would I have just quietly become a clerk, scribe, physician, or lawyer?

  42. Joe M says:

    I would definitely be on the cart. I’ve been to the hospital twice for asthma induced pneumonia.

  43. Corsair says:

    It’s debatable if I would have survived. I’ve never been seriously injured or sick, but then again, in the Middle Ages, my mother would likely have died giving birth to my next older brother, he was a C-Section. Even assuming that didn’t somehow destroy me, I would probably have gotten strung up by the Inquisition. So, uh, I have no clue where I’d be. I don’t want to go on the cart…

  44. TooMad says:

    Pushing the cart. Never had any medical problems at all yet. *Knocks on wood*

  45. Refugee says:

    Wow, appendicitis seems to be the most popular killer. Glad I never got it.

    I forgot about teeth. My bucked-teeth would be rotting by 15, assuming that it’s not just modern diet that got mine. Regardless, by 30 I’d’ve been contemplating suicide over my wisdoms.

  46. Rhea says:

    Woo, lots of comments here. Ignoring the fact that I probably wouldn’t have been in the states to GET rocky mountain spotted fever, I would’ve died at age 17 without modern medicine to take care of the virus.

    Other than that one tick bite, I’d still be alive.

  47. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    I’m going by anecdotes I’ve heard over the years that ~15 was a perfectly reasonable age for marriage. And really: Why wouldn’t it be? We wait until mid-20’s now because people have to finish school. There was no good reason to wait for 18 in the middle ages.

    Well I don’t know what I’m talking about either. :) I’m largely going off of research which shows that in pre-modern England the birth rates were fairly low largely because people didn’t get married until well into their 20s (or later, for men). Birth rates went way up and average age of marriage dropped when England hit the Industrial Revolution and there was more food to go around. This also happened to an even larger degree in the Colonies.

    When you say that we put off marriage because of school, you’re saying that we put off marriage until we can get a solid footing economically. I imagine that a similar dynamic could have delayed marriage ages historically, depending on the time and place.

  48. PurpleStarfish says:

    I’ve been quite healthy for my entire life (I’m 20 now), except for a few snags.

    I dislocated my kneecap twice in my teens, but I think that’s minor enough for even medieval medicine to take care of (the treatment was a man pulling my leg straight and then me not walking on it for a few weeks). It might have left me limping, though.

    I also got pneumonia at 19, but I didn’t get treatment for it until over a week had gone by and I was feeling a little better (I just thought it was a mean cold). I don’t know if that would have killed me, either, as I was recovering on my own and medicine merely sped it up.

    I’d likely be begging, I think, due to my aforementioned limp and terrible eyesight.

  49. PurpleStarfish says:

    Oh, I forgot, I had a horrible fever as a baby, so maybe that would have finished me off. Awful to think of.

  50. Melfina the Blue says:

    Repeated bladder infections at a young age with high fevers, but I came through okay without antibiotics. Grew out of the issue that caused them in the first place.
    Of course, I’d be blind by now (damn psuedotumar cerebri), but my body’s built for childbearing, so I’d have a decent chance of surviving that. Yay for wide hips. My wisdom teeth would have made me miserable and impacted, but I’m not sure what that would do.
    So, pulling the cart with a white stick.

  51. Kevin says:

    Yeah, I’d be in the cart. Appendicitis again.

  52. ravenkith says:

    Blind in one eye, but still alive and kicking, damn it!

  53. Kurt says:

    Hydrocephalus as a baby. Dead with an exploded head, no less.

  54. MONKEEYYY says:

    I’d be as dead as a dodo. An infection in my appendix meant that it had to be removed when I was eleven. An infection in that area would have been lethal during the middle ages. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about this.

    Get me in that cart.

  55. Sewerman says:

    This is a good question- I think I’d be pulling, as the worst thing that has happened to me was a fish hook in the leg at 9 (it hurt tho).

  56. xbolt says:

    I would not have made it. I had to go in for heart surgery at the age of three, without which, real problems would have started a couple of years ago, and I would be dead right now.

    Hooray for modern medical science!

  57. Melfina the Blue says:

    Oh, and reposted

  58. Devin says:

    Likely dead at five from complications of the chicken pox. If not, then I’d likely be alive, albeit unable to see anything.

  59. Mysterium says:

    Hmmm… good question actually. What’s your stance on a tonsillectomy that wasn’t for inflamed tonsils but rather disintegrating tonsils. Supposedly, they would have just completely disintegrated on their own but I was warned it was a very painful process. O_o ew, right?

    Other than that I’ve had 9 stiches put in my face/head by getting mauled by a cat, adn I got attacked by a metal table that gave me 17 sticthes but not much infection. Other than that.. I think I’ve been pretty lucky. *ponders on this*

  60. Mrs T says:

    I died after several attempts by trepanning to release the demons in my head. I know a lot of people survived them, but as many migraines as I’ve had, I’d have either run out of skull or gotten an infection.

    (also childhood cancer, but trepanning’s more fun)

  61. Shamus says:

    This is, by far, the longest comment thread on the whole dang site. Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. It’s always funny to see what captures the attention.

  62. DoveArrow says:

    Nope. My heart stopped when I was being born. If it hadn’t been for modern medicine, they wouldn’t have been able to get me out in time, and my mom probably would have died too. Oh, and I was 11 lbs., 4 oz. Without a Caesarian, there was no way I was going to be born. Oh, and did I mention that I was a week overdue and that they had to induce labor? Yeah, modern medicine is the only reason I even made it out of the starting gate. Hmmm… maybe starting gate isn’t the right phrase to use in this particular situation.

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