Fort Weyr - Central Infirmary

This room looks fairly similar to most other infirmaries, with it's faint scent of antiseptic and an eerie quiet that goes along with convalescence. Rows of cots line both walls, each separated by a privacy screen. Breaking the line of cots along the outside wall is a entrance to the dragonhealing section of the infirmary. The far end of the oval room is filled with metal cabinets that hold the tools of the Weyrhealers trade, as well as a desk from which the healer can supervise his domain. Upon one wall rests a thick 'chart' containing the information on all patients within the infirmary.


What better time to have a safety course than when the weather is cold and blustery? None, that's what. The day has been a thing of cold and wind, with the clouds spitting out snow in intermittent bursts that leave the ground covered in ever-shifting drifts of snow. It's a day to be bundled up, indoors, with some kind of warm beverage … but, alas, it's also a day for two former healers to set up the infirmary for a class. Thankfully, there is no need for a watchful Master or senior journeyman; the pair are allowed to fly on their own, so to speak, and are doing so rather well. Galina is occupied with making sure all of the demonstrative supplies are in order, her expression bland while she watches periodically for those who are arriving to attend.

Pralius is, obviously, there as well. While Galina is adjusting the expected supplies of braces, wraps, and kits he oofs from the door, lugging in a huge bucket. There's a clunking a swishing sound both from the tub and it soon becomes clear that this is because it's full to the brim with ice water. His hair is disheveled from the lugging, but otherwise he's in normal sorts, eyes grey in the dim as he nods to Galina, "I'm ready to make my points, you?"

Neyuni comes in rubbing her nose, slightly reddened by even the short trip between the sands and the infirmary. At least with this weather she doesn't seem to mind hanging out on the heated grounds so much, if only it wasn't such an extreme to leave them. Shrugging her jacket loose she looks about for a good spot, and a refresher on dealing with the cold. Most of the faces are unfamiliar, candidates brought in from afar which she has glimpsed only in brief touchings on the sands or dining in the caverns. Nods go to those she does recognise and a soft chuckle at something another passing rider mutters "Timing indeed…"

N'drei is among the attendees for the class and she slips inside quietly also removing a coat to get comfortable. She lays the coat over the back of a chair then takes a seat then looks to Galina and Pralius with a smile, the same offered to Neyuni, along with a lift of her hand in greeting. She's actually brought a notepad and she takes that out settling it on her lap as she waits for instruction to begin her head turning toward the woman she doesn't know, "Hello, I'm Green Shisuth's N'drei," she offers in introduction to Neyuni.

A figure walks in through the door to the room close behind N'drei, his face hidden by a hood and face mask. The man's sapphire eyes however give away his identity, as does the the little flit on his shoulder of the same vibrant color. Using two fully gloved hands, the figure removes the hood of his jacket and pulls the mask down to reveal that it's just Joanethen and his little blue protector, Zaffiro. Removing the gloves from his hands, he turns to the group, "Hello everyone, i'm not to late for the class am I?" He wears a smile on his face which is warm and friendly to all. His deep yet joyful baritone voice resonates with a pleasant tone as he sees his fellow candidates at the front of the room. "Good afternoon Pral and Galina, i'm looking forward to this class of yours." he says in a pleasant voice. Seeing Yuni a slight ways away conversing with the dragonrider whom he overheard was N'drei, he gives a wave towards his fellow smith. "Afternoon Yuni, how are things going at the Smithy since my last visit?" he asks politely

"Of course." That's directed to Pralius, Galina barely looking up from her work to do so. With her task finished and people starting to settle into their chairs, she straightens and steeples her fingertips on the tabletop they've commandeered for the purpose of demonstrations. While Pralius' water bucket lugging is noted with a sidelong look, they've either discussed this beforehand or she likes the idea of a surprise for she doesn't comment at all. No greetings are given, though she does incline her head briefly in acknowledgement to those that arrive and are familiar to her. Instead, her voice lifts, clear and cool as ever: "Please take a seat. This cold weather safety course has been organized to cover various cold weather-related topics, including general safety, strains and sprains, frostbite and chillblains, and hypothermia. There will be a questions and answers session following the presentation." Pause. "We may, at certain points, call for volunteers — either to answer questions or to assist in a demonstration. It is to your benefit that you participate." Thus does it begin, with a sidelong look angled to Pralius as she steps back and aside.

Neyuni nods in return to N'drei, the name familiar if not personally known. "Afternoon, a pleasure and definitely a time to meet indoors. N'drei, hmm, you're something of a healer yourself?" she thinks, or her memory may be fuzzy, there's so many folks about the Weyr she's never paid too much attention to details if she could help it. Joanethen is given a brighter smile. "Candidate," a more formal reply though tone a bit teasing towards the fellow smith. "Thigns are well, there's even rumor of a nwe addition to one of the buildings come spring, though I think its just rumor. Of course I haven't really had a chance to visit personaly of late. Have a seat?" she's settled into her own, draping jacket over the back of the chair like so many others. Then attention is drawn as the class sounds about to start, looking forward towards Galina and Pralius.

N'drei smiles and nods her head, "Dragonhealer," she answers, if briefly, after all things are getting ready to start and Joanethen is arriving to greet Neyuni as well, he's offered a wave. She looks to Galina when she starts to speak then resettles herself to listen, eyes on Pralius as Galina gives him the nod and the floor.

Pralius steps up as Galina steps back, nodding to the gathered as a whole before he begins, "Slips, sprains, and strains are common occurrences here during the cold winter months. Slipping on ice or hidden pitfalls is the most common cause of sprains and strains as well as contusions and breaks. The most a contusion will need is a little ice and in the case of a break healers should be sent for immediately to prevent further damage during transport. Strains and sprains, however, every person in the Weyr of majority age can manage pre-treatment of. The most common areas injured in a slip are the knees or ankles. In the case of both strains and sprains, the injured joint should be iced and wrapped tightly to prevent injudicious motion. Once a healer has verified that it is just a sprain or strain it should be wrapped, iced, and elevated until the torn tendon or muscle heals. Since it is the soft tissue that is damaged, even once fully healed the joint will never be as strong as it was prior, though there are exercises healers specializing in therapy can suggest and instruct someone in to help strengthen the region." He finally pauses, glancing around to make sure people are listening, "Assuming that at the time of injury you do not have a brace or wrap kit with you, you can assist the injured person to the infirmary putting minimum weight on the injured limb. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be required to keep weight off of it for a sevenday or more." He steps back then, allowing Galina to step up.

Giving a sly grin at Neyuni's tease, Joan quickly takes the nearest vacant seat he can find. He turns to his little blue companion with a friendly look in his eyes. "Ok little one, I need you to get off my shoulder for now." Lifting his hand up to Zaffiro, the little blue steps into his hand and is gently placed in his lap. With his jacket thrown on the back of his chair, he replaces the little blue to his spot and listens intently to the two healers comming lessons.

When Pralius finishes speaking, Galina nods, once, and waits until it's her turn before stepping back up to the table. "While I am certain most of you have heard of frostbite, how many of you have heard of chillblains? More to the point, does anyone know what chillblains are?" This is queried generally, with the pale-eyed healer glancing across the collected faces in pursuit of either someone not paying attention or one willing to answer.

Neyuni catches N'drei's answer, well she was close. Perhpas she'll remember better now. She's mostly quiet, trying not to fidgit like a child as the class gets underway. a grimace at the many icy slips though some small amusement at putting ice on such an injury after how its commonly aquired is hidden behind one hand with a soft cough. As one switches to the next and a question put to the audience she remains quiet, trying not to volunteer and let one of the newer folks gain some experience in such matters.

Pralius moves around behind Galina while she speaks spreading towels around the offending bucket as it's started to sweat. A thermometer is dunked into the water for a few moments before he grins and disappears behind a screen, reemerging with another bucket of ice and dumping it in with a series of thumpa-splats.

N'drei looks from Joanethen to the teachers of the class then writes on her notepad, it could be a doodle for all anyone might know, but it's likely actually notes from the class. Chillblains. She doesn't offer an answer either, being a dragonhealer that might be unfair, besides, there's candidates here who need to volunteer!

With a raise of his hand, Joan is willing to be one of the first to answer his fellow Candidate/healer's question. With a calm even voice, Joan speaks up loud enough to be heard. "I don't no the exact definition off the top of my head" he admits plainly, "But isn't that a reaction of the blood vessel's within your skin being exposed to the cold for several hours without any decent form of protection?" Joan isn't afraid to embarass himself when it comes to learning something new.

One brow quirks at Joan. "Partially. However, exposure is not always necessary if one is not prepared properly. Chilblains are often confused with frostbite, but are fundamentally different. Being both cold and wet is enough to risk chilblains. Toes, fingers, and earlobes may become inflamed, reddened, and itchy. Extreme cases result in ulceration of the fingers and toes." Galya lets that sink in for a moment or two before continuing, "While frostnip is generally a harmless precursor in the form of redness, itching, and numbness with skin discoloration, frostbite is a much more serious situation that can result in a need for amputation. The skin may harden and grow blistered, with the blisters hardening or turning purple or black. Nerves and other tissues may become so damaged that permanent sensitivity to cold and heat can result. If gangrene sets in, then amputation may follow." One beat. Two. "Treatment of all three afflictions involves drying and warming up the afflicted areas slowly. Prevention includes not wearing snug-fitting clothing or shoes that may chafe, ensuring that clothing and shoes are sufficiently warm and waterproof, and that one has healthy circulation. Additionally, alcohol exacerbates the effects of cold weather." With that said, she moves aside for Pralius.

Pralius straightens from testing the temperature of his water once again with a downright fiendish smile on his face, "Ah, yes, the cold and damp. Water is an especially good conductor of cold into the body, which can cause hypothermia and related reactions. Before I get too far into that line of discussion, though, I'd like to give everyone a first-hand experience of what I mean. This water," he indicates the tub-bucket of ice water, "is a little warmer than the lake is right now. I'd like everyone to come up and dunk a foot for at least 20 seconds to feel just how quickly it can chill you, then take a towel," he indicates a stack of big, fluffy towels that are maybe even a little warm, "Can anyone tell me why it's important to rub while drying a cold appendage?"

Neyuni watches several of the newer candidates in the audience from warmer climes squirm a bit. It's not a pretty picture by any stretch that Galina paints. She can't entirely suppress a shudder but is quietly thankful for the profession she's chosen over the healercraft. As Pralius takes over she dutifully gets up into the line which passes by the bucket, though she puts a hand in rather than wrestle with her boots. It's plenty cold enough "Sure you didn't just get this from the lake?" she grumbles wrapping towel abotu fingers and rubbing as instructed as she retakes her seat. Oddly she looks curious tot he answer, enver having thought about it much before. Rubbing just seems… logical?

N'drei does kick off her boot and then walks right up and sticks her foot into the bucket, shivering as she counts off…."seventeen..eighteen..nineteen.." and she jerks her foot out and grabs a towel. "To warm it up and get the blood circulating!" she chirps, quietly, if excitedly, brrr.

Joan was to busy taking notes to be either disturbed or disgusted by Galina's recititation of what Chilblains were, or to notice the fiendish smile on Pralius' face. Alas, he's also more than willing to jump up and be part of the lesson. Rolling up one leg of his pants, he sticks his foot in one of the buckets. The cold gives him a shock as his bare skin contacts the water, but nothing he wasn't already prepared for. However, the cold water does start to get a little painful after a while a few seconds after he started counting. At twenty seconds he pulls out his foot and starts to dry it off immediately, constantly rubbing his foot the entire time. "What N'drei said." is the young smith's response.

Galina has likely done this very exercise before from the way she regards the line of volunteers, that grim look of /knowing/ that she gives. But, while they go through the motions of becoming familiar with the freezing cold, a blue firelizard is summoned to perch on her shoulder and drape languidly there without a sound. She remains off to the side slightly, just watching and listening for now, with an eye on Pralius.

Neyuni settles back in her seat as the line continues thru the bucket testing. A very young candidate shivers at the chill and looks questioningly toward the healers. "Between is much colder, why don't riders suffer these effects more?"

Pralius chuckles at Neyuni's questions, "Of course not, ma'am. I'd have needed the help of a dragon to get lake water. And it would have warmed far too quickly." He nods, watching the various reactions, but he waits until everyone has returned to their seats to continue, "Now imagine your entire body being immersed in that sheer cold that seeps in so quickly." He casts a knowing look at Wyn, he knows she knows. After a brief pause, she nods, "You're both mostly right. The rubbing motion encourages circulation, as you mentioned, and heats both the towel and the skin. It's also important to change towels once the initial wetness is soaked up or the cold water will continue to affect the patient." He pauses to nod to Neyuni, "There are three reasons for that, WeyrWoman. The first is that a rider going /between/ wears thick flight leathers to protect them. The second is that the moment /between/ is much shorter during a normal than even those brief seconds you just experienced. The third, and perhaps most important, is that /between/ isn't wet. Many weyrhealers have had the luxury of treating riders who have made the mistake of going /between/ wet. At best they get colds or minor infections, at worst they get serious cases or flu and even firehead if the season is right." Are there any other questions before I go over the symptoms of hypothermia?

N'drei smiles up at Galina and Pralius as they explain and she slips her boot back onto her dry foot, picking up her notepad to start taking notes again. "I hate cold wet.." she mutters as she writes a few things down. She shifts in her seat and her eyes unfocus for a moment then she's right back to present company, listening attentively to the healers' presentations.

Pulling his pant leg back down; Joan quietly returns to his seat. From the look he has in his eyes, one can tell that he is getting genuinely interested in this lesson. With notepad and pen out, he's intent on jotting down more notes as he patiently and respectfully waits for the healers to continue

There's naught that the other healer seems inclined to add on the topic and, when all's done, she starts to drift through the rows of chairs to gather towels if people seem done with theirs. The floor remains Pralius', though Cyanosis offers the occasional chirp or chitter for faces that are familiar or not. Galina is just playing clean-up for now, though she pauses here and there to observe notes or answer any low-pitched questions that might be had.

Neyuni wrinkles her nose. Cold and wet jsut about describe most of winter, kinda hard to avoid, but the healers comments are noted. "Ah, tehre's always plenty of dragons to help a healer out." she offers to Pralius before fallign back quiet as he answers the other candidates question regarding betweening. There's several heads nodding.

Pralius nods, letting the silence linger a minute before he continues, "Hypothermia, or an extreme lack of heat, is caused most quickly by immersion in a freezing cold liquid, usually water, but a human can also suffer from it due to exposure in the out of doors, even if you feel bundled up. The biggest, and most dangerous, signal of hypothermia is when someone stops shivering even though they're still in the cold and the heat situation hasn't changed. Eventually as exposure to the cold continues ones thoughts will get muddled, or dissociated from their environment and they will start to get sleepy. It is /essential/ that you not let them fall asleep cold. This is the most common reason for people not waking back up." It's a little harsh, but the truth. "If you're lucky enough to be in Weyr, Hold, or Hall, you should seek healer assistance /immediately/ if you believe someone is suffering from hypothermia. As opposed to piling on lots of blankets, just a few dry, warm blankets should be rubbed against their skin. Especially if they're wet, but even if they're not, it may actually be more beneficial to them to remove their cold clothing and use just fresh warm blankets. Portable heating units can be used, but should not be aimed directly at the sufferer because such a drastic temperature change can cause shock, but even obliquely it will help warm them overall. If you're stuck away from others you should make every effort to warm them and keep them awake including making a fire and even sharing your own body heat." He pauses there, his face clearly saying, 'questions?'

Joan raises his hand, his mind acting like a sponge just completely soaking up this information. "How would one tell the difference between Chilblains and Hypothermia?" he seems to ask outright.

N'drei frowns at the thought of it and listens, brows wrinkling. Being stationed at a cold place makes the lesson so very applicable and hearing it explained as opposed to reading, well, really drives it home. She looks to Joan at his question then up to the healer pair for an answer.

"There are stories," Galina finally intones with a peculiar, grim weight to her words, "of people in the latter stages of hypothermia who wedge themselves into tight spaces or burrow under the snow before they expire." A slanted look is given to Joan when he places his question and the younger healer answers, "Chilblains is localized to the fingers, toes, nose, and earlobes primarily and manifests as nothing more than redness, itchiness, and mild irritation. Hypothermia is a state in which the core body temperature drops, resulting in violent shivering and cyanosis of the extremities and lips." The blue firelizard is tapped. "Cyanosis meaning 'blue' in this case. Chilblains are also superficial in contrast to hypothermia, which can result in psychological upset as Pralius stated — disorientation and general confusion are as severe and dangerous as the actual effects of the cold."

Pralius nods, "Yes. Chilblains and frostbite are often precursors to hypothermia as a much more serious condition. Chilblains and frostbite alone will not usually result in fatality unless in the rare cases that they cause an infection of the blood. Hypothermia is almost always terminal if not treated properly and quickly."

N'drei lifts a brow as she looks up then back down to write more and she grins about the flit's name then her nose wrinkles, along with her toes, imagining frostbite, which..ow ow ow. She looks up and smiles, a hand lifting, "How long from the onset of hypothermia does one have to warm the victim before recovery becomes impossible?"

With his curiosity satisfied for now, Joan politely waits for the healers to answer N'drei's newest question.

A lingering look is given to Joan, likely to confirm whether her answer was satisfactory, then her gaze drifts to N'drei when she speaks. The question is neatly deferred to Pralius for this round, with Galina glancing over at him. Likewise, the question of 'why is Cyanosis named that?' is also answered.

Pralius pauses for a moment to consider N'drei's question, "That's a hard one to answer. Officially, no one is dead until they're warm and dead since the cold can cause the body and organs to slow down so much as to appear dead, but they will perk back up when re-introduced to heat. However, there is a point where lack of bloodflow to the brain will cause damage and eventually death. Within 3 to 5 hours from loss of consciousness a healer can be certain that at the very least the patient will be suffering from oxygen deprivation to the brain and organs, but some people's bodies can hold out longer than others both before succumbing to unconsciousness and to eventual death. More often when people are said to have frozen to death, it is actually because the water in their bodies' cells froze, causing the cells to burst instead of from the hypothermia itself.

Neyuni lets the questions and answers quietly absorb. An important if chilling topic in its own right, N'drei's question poignant, the answer not to pleasant but at least there seems to be some time before a fatality. "I heard that drinking warm liquids is faster at warming someone than warmth on the skin. Is that true?"

N'drei nods to Pralius and then writes a few things down, some of the details of human healing escape the dragonhealer, she finds it truly interesting and it may be important some day. She looks to Neyuni and then ohs, what a good question.

"It is not necessarily faster, no. The use of warm fluids to revive a person depends on the severity of the hypothermia," Galina responds, eventually coming back around to the front of the class to stand off to a side again. "In milder cases, it is unnecessary; external rewarming is typically enough to revive a person from a state of hypothermia. In severe cases, it may be used in conjunction with external heating, but the temperature of the fluid should not be hot enough to induce burns. It is possible to induce rewarming shock if it is not done correctly, so any situation where warm fluid is imbibed should be overseen by a healer in a best case scenario."

Pralius nods, adding carefully to what Galina has already intoned, "It also depends on what the fluid is. There is a common misbelief that alcohol with alleviate or even prevent hypothermia. However, even when warm it will help in the short term with a sense of warmth, but in the long term it both dehydrates and pulls heat away from the core of the body."

Joan wears a serious face as his mind absorbs all of the new information the healers are presenting the class with. He is so involved with taking detailed notes that he's unable to think of a single question at the moment.

N'drei writes that part down then nods to Galina and Pralius in understanding. She sits back and stretches a bit, arching her back some, crossing one leg over the other as she turns her pages of notes to scan for anything else to ask. She grins some, "So..when I fell through the ice.. how close to serious was it?" she asks.

From the back of the crowd there's a couple of awws and long sighs as the alcohol-warmth myth is so clearly dispelled. Neyuni takes in the answers offered with a soft "Thanks." definitely good information to have, but perhaps not getting into such a situation sounds best for the moment. She returns her focus as one of many students, though she doesn't take any physical notes.

Leaving N'drei's question for Pralius to answer, Galina simply ventures forth with, "Are there any other questions?" Pause. "If any of you have further questions at any time, please feel free to speak to Pralius or myself or any of the other journeymen and senior journeymen." Another pause. "Furthermore, if there are any candidates who have not yet had a physical, do not hesitate to ask us to perform one. During winter especially, it is critical to remain in good health to avoid being sick."

Pralius locks eyes with Wyn, "Had no one been there, you likely would have slipped unconscious and drowned since we were near the center of the lake. Being in the Weyr and quick access to the infirmary had you been at the shore or since you were with someone, you were relatively safe because you received immediate treatment." He swallows, it was a hard experience on both of them. After a moment he nods with Galina, "Yes, the key to health is preventative, though most of what we've discussed today is emergencies or unexpected situations."

N'drei nods to Pral's answer then she frowns lightly, remembering. She inhales then looks to Galina and smiles at her comments about keeping healhty, another good point to write down. It seems obvious but, people often forget the obvious.

Neyuni gathers herself as the class winds down. She'll leave others to set up their physicals, can't forever avoid the healers when they get in their routines. Jacket is shrugged and back into and buttoned up tight as her eyes drift to the bowl and grounds beyond. Looks like her time away is up and she's back to dealing with broody queen. A sigh and she nods a quiet goodbye to those about before slipping back off.

N'drei smiles at Pralius and then stands as well, collecting her coat to slip out quietly and leave the healers to their work. "Thanks.." she says, tapping her notebook, "Good job..both of you.." and she's padding out on Neyuni's heels.

With no further questions forthcoming, Galina inclines her head and intones for the sake of those who still linger, "You are all summarily dismissed. Be well." And, just like that, she turns to gather up the assorted things that were brought out, ready to start putting them away.

Pralius nods, watching Wyn exit for just a moment, then turns to begin the clean-up process. woo, cleanup.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.