Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1860's Medicine: Laurie Kingery (Part 2/3)

Laurie continues her three part series today with an excerpt from her novel, The Doctor Takes a Wife. This scene makes me thankful I'm a nurse now and not in the 1860's.

An Excerpt from The Doctor Takes a Wife, by Laurie Kingery
(Love Inspired Historicals, January 2011)

This excerpt illustrates just how limited the physicians of the nineteenth century were—no I.V's, no aspirin, no antibiotics or anticonvulsant medications…

Just then, a harsh, guttural cry erupted from the woman on the bed. Her spine arched like a tightly-drawn bow.

"She's having a seizure!"

Sarah's slender frame threw itself into a racking series of alternating contractions and relaxations. The bed frame thudded in a horrible rhythm against the wall with the force of the convulsion.

Nolan's hand dived to her forehead, and flinched as he felt the heat there. She was as hot as if the very sun had taken up residence within her.

"Dear God!" Chadwick cried.

"Help me turn her on her side, Reverend!" he said, fearful that Sarah would choke.

Prissy ran into the room, perhaps drawn by the noise of the bed shaking, and screamed when she saw Sarah convulsing.

"Prissy! Go out and see if there's ice in the rain barrel—or in a water trough in the stable. I need it to get her fever down!" Nolan wasn't even sure if she could get it in time to help her friend, but he sure couldn't think with Prissy's shrieking reverberating in his ears.

He was dimly aware of the preacher trembling and sinking to his knees on the other side of the bed, his hands clasped, his head bent.

The seizure went on for an eternity, though in actuality it probably only lasted thee minutes. Then her body sagged in limp exhaustion and a faint pink crept back into Sarah's chalky, blue-white lips. Nolan felt engulfed by hopeless despair flooding through him. It was never good when a fever soared so high the patient convulsed. He was going to lose her. Perhaps he should have let Prissy cut her hair…

"Reverend, please, pray harder!" he whispered desperately.

What medical treatments fascinate you from this time period?


You can find out more about Laurie at her website:


  1. That novel looks really good. I think I should try reading it sometime. Thanks for sharing.

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