OF BROKEN BONES & BONESETTERS

Welcome to Wildflower Junction and another year of chatting about wonderful books and the Wild West. Looks like we have a great line-up of guest authors coming our way on Fridays this year!

To start the year off right, I am offering a give-away at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!

I am currently writing the OAK GROVE SERIES which is shared with Lauri Robinson. It started last May 2017 with MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF OAK GROVE. A complete listing of all the books in the series can be found at http://kathrynalbright.com/about-the-books/oak-grove-series/

My newest book in the series, THE PRAIRIE DOCTOR’S BRIDE has just been released. (YAY!) Since the hero is a doctor, I had to portray him doing doctorly things. In books or movies about the Old West, someone with a broken leg or arm will often have their injury splinted with sticks for immobilization. Usually this is “out in the bush,” and although Doctor Nelson Graham could certainly do this method I wanted him showing off his education a bit. Doc Graham was not a lay doctor or a bone-setter (a barber or in a pinch the local blacksmith.) He attended a prestigious school in Boston, and then had several years of experience, employed by the Kansas-Pacific Railroad Company to attend the men building the railroad. He had his own home-office in Oak Grove, Kansas. So, I had to find about a little more about the history and care for fractures.

Hippocrates

HIPPOCRATES

The earliest known care for a broken bone (after resetting) dates back to the early Egyptians of the 5th Dynasty (2400 B.C.) Hippocrates, a physician of the 4th century BC, wrote about immobilizing the bone to let it heal and also having the injured person do specific exercises to prevent atrophy of the muscles. His writings spoke of using cloth soaked in resin and wax. A little later on, starch was added to assist with quicker hardening. Throughout the next 1500 years, different solutions and pastes were used, such as egg whites, clay, and gum mixtures. If a person had a broken bone, they did a LOT of laying around.

Plaster of Paris had been used as a building material for centuries, but in the early 19th century, it became widely used for immobilizing broken bones. The injured limb would be reset and placed inside a wooden box and then the plaster poured over it, encasing the leg or arm in a rigid sleeve. This was heavy and made it impossible for the injured person to move.

Then in the 1830s, Louis Seutin, a doctor in the Belgian army, used strips of linen and carton (or pasteboard) splints that were wet and molded to the limb. The limb was then wrapped in bandages and coated with a starch solution and allowed to dry.

GAUZE COATED WITH PLASTER OF PARIS

Building on Seutin’s work, Antonious Mathijsen, a medical doctor in the Dutch army, found that strips of coarse cotton cloth into which dry plaster of Paris had been rubbed, could be applied and then moistened with a sponge or brush. The cast would harden as it was rubbed and would dry in minutes. Another version of this would be to very carefully dip the dressing or cloth into a bucket of water, so as not to dislodge the plaster of Paris already rubbed into the cloth, and then apply it to the limb. This lighter-weight, smaller cast made it possible for a person to move about while a bone healed.

WALKING CAST

Mathijsent wrote about his method and it was published in 1852 in a medical magazine, Repertorium. This became the standard for setting broken bones until 1950 with only a few minor changes—ie: the use of shellac to make the cast water-resistant. And alterations such as this picture–with a stub to enable walking and yet keeping the cast dry and clean.

So – knowing this – I could finally write the scene where Doc Graham took care of Wally Brown’s arm and actually used a plaster of Paris cast! Since I was a nurse in my past life and the history of medicine has always fascinated me, I had to be careful not to “talk technical” as I wrote the medical passages but to remember to use regular words. Instead of “new, granulation tissue” I described the skin as reddened, a bit puffy, and without any sign of purulence.

If you are interested in finding out more, here are a few links to check out:

http://hankeringforhistory.com/history-of-the-cast/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420179
https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/setting-a-broken-bone-19th-century-medical-treatment-was-not-for-sissies

* * * * * * * *

Now for the Giveaway!

How about telling me what book you are reading this first month of the year!
Those who comment will have their names put into my Stetson for a drawing for my new release!

* * * * * * * *

THE PRAIRIE DOCTOR’S BRIDE

Nelson Graham has had every advantage in life.
Is it possible for this Boston-trained doctor and a woman who “lives off the land”
to find any common ground?

  • * * * * * * * * 

“This book was a pure delight.” San Francisco Review of Books

 

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WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  |  BOOKBUB

 

Kathryn Albright
Kathryn Albright writes sweet western historical romance. Her stories celebrate courage and hope with a dash of adventure. Kathryn’s stories have been finalists in the distinguished RWA Golden Heart® and the HOLT Medallion as well as several other industry awards. When she isn't caught up in a good story, she enjoys road trips with her husband (when he drives) and planning her next home improvement adventure. She lives with her family in the rural Midwest. Visit her at http://www.kathrynalbright.com.

55 Comments

  1. Hey Kathryn, I just finished Naomi Rawlings, Loves Bright Tomorrow. It was so good!
    Thanks for all the information about setting bones, I didn’t realize they started 2400 B.C.
    I was wondering if The Prairie Doctor’s Bride will be a real book?

    1. Hi Pam,

      Absolutely The Prairie Doctor’s Bride is a real book! LOL – I am interpreting that to mean in print and not just an eBook.

      1. Haha! That was so funny. After I sent it i even though,of course it’s real.

  2. I am reading “Too Far Down” by Mary Connealy.
    Thank you for opportunity to win your new release.

    1. Hi Mary B!

      I love Mary Connealy’s books! I started reading her way back when she wrote The Husband Tree. That was such a crazy title that I had to read the book.

  3. I’m already on my 5th book of the year! Woohoo not too bad of a start! I’m currently ready the Bitter Creek series by Joan Johnston! I love the opportunity to read one of your books! I’m always looking for an author to add to my go to list of authors! Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Stephanie!

      Your 5th book! Way to go! I am reading more this year than usual — fiction interspersed with non-fiction. I do like Joan Johnston, although I haven’t read any of hers for years.

  4. I have read several books this year. Currently I am reading Black Jasmine by Toby Neal.

    1. Hi Estella,

      That is an intriguing title. I always like to ask readers this question because I get all kinds of new ideas for books I might like to read. For some reason, that title sounds suspenseful and sexy to me. I haven’t heard of Toby Neal before…

  5. Hi. I just finished my 6th book of the year. A contemporary romance by Barbara Speak. Called… Let It Be Me.. Had never read her before. It is the first book in a 3 book series… I loved it… Read it front to back in 1 day… ?

    1. Hi Tonya,

      That’s quite an endorsement for Barbara Speak’s book. I haven’t read her either. I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, but I have one now by Becky Wade that I am partway through and enjoying. I am amazed at how many comments talk about the number of books already read this year! We are a group of avid readers — and it’s so nice to share what we enjoy!

  6. I am reading Violet by Lauren Royal. This is about my third book of the year. I am a slow reader but really enjoy reading at night before bed.

    1. Hi Quilt Lady,

      It’s only January 22nd! I wouldn’t say that being on your third book this year is slow under any circumstances! One book a week adds up! Just by the title and pen name, I am thinking Violet is a historical romance. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. Such interesting timing for this post. Christmas Eve my Mom fell and broke her right arm near the shoulder. She has a follow-up appointment this morning.

    Last night I finished Still Life by Louise Penny.

    1. Hi Caryl,

      So sorry to hear about your mom! I hope she is healing well. I can’t imagine what the orthopedist would do with that kind of a break. Would she need a shoulder cast? It sounds like a nasty place to have a break (although I guess any break is bad.) I sure hope she heals up without problems and is able to get back to her regular routine soon.

  8. I am reading Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang. Thank you for sharing your very interesting post.

    1. Hi Melanie!

      How nice to see you back with us this year! What an interesting title. It sounds a bit like JK Rowling’s type of title, so I immediately thought of Young Adult (which I like to read.) Oh–just checked it out. Good reviews…

  9. I loved that part and it was interesting to read, as a non medical person. You did good! I had wondered how they did casts back then. I adored this story, by the way!! (so don’t enter me!) I have only ever broken a finger and that sure is annoying to let it heal. I can’t imagine the huge, heavy, obnoxious casts they did waaaaaay back in history!

    1. Hi Susan!

      Thanks! I’m glad that part held your interest. My editor had me cut it down some because I did get a bit too “medical.”

  10. I’m reading A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen.

    1. Hi Minna!

      That looks like such a good book! So uplifting! And it just came out as a movie that got good reviews!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s13Fnj8LzD8

      There are just so many good stories out there!

      1. P.S. That URL is the trailer for the movie 🙂

  11. I have been very busy reading ARCs that are coming out – Rhonda Lee Carver’s newest currently!

    1. Hi Teresa!

      Thank you so much for helping authors get the word out about their books! I wonder if you read all types of stories or mostly stick to historical romance?

  12. Very interesting, Kathryn! Boy, I’ll bet those old casts were really heavy and hard to lug around. Congrats on The Prairie Doctor’s Bride! It sounds great.

    1. Thank you Linda! I’ve never broken any bones, so I can not even imagine the inconvenience and the difficulty. But I know it is so much better today than it used to be, when laying around for months could mean pneumonia and all sorts of issues.

  13. A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

    1. Hi Kara!

      I’ve read Debbie Macomber often over the years, although not this particular one. It surprises me that there are still readers who haven’t heard of her. I sure enjoy her books.

  14. I am in the middle of a shifter romance collection…

    1. Hi Colleen,

      Thanks for popping in and commenting! I used to read Lori Devoti and also Lori Handeland who wrote shifter romance, but I haven’t read that genre in years now. It’s great that there are so many choices in books!

  15. Loved your post and the way they set fractures back in History. Interesting. Your book sounds wonderful. I just finished 2′ books by Laurie LC Lewis. The Dragons of Alsace Farm and Love On A Limb. Both were incredible reads. Both are stand alone reads. She’s amazing. Try her books, you won’t be sorry.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for the tip on Laurie LC Lewis. I checked out her website and her books do sound interesting! The Dragons of Alsace Farm blurb really pulled me in.

  16. my favorite book in january was Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. (historical fiction based on real people set during WWII)

    1. Hi Anon1001! YAY! I actually have that book on my kindle to read!

  17. What a coincidence! I am just starting Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I look forward to THE PRAIRIE DOCTOR’S BRIDE.

    1. Hi Caroline! Even the cover of that book drew me in 🙂 I look forward to reading it too!

  18. Loved the info. Thanks.

    Meanwhile, I’m reading The Fiery Cross, book# 5 in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

    1. Hi Alisa!

      That is such a cool title. I read up to book #4 in that series years ago, and have not had to pleasure of book #5. Diana Gabaldon sure has a way with evocative words, doesn’t she?

  19. Beneath copper falls by colleen coble. Were in a blizzard right now so good time to stay in and read.

    1. Hi Kim,

      A blizzard? I noticed on the news today how much snow was dropped in Utah and Colorado and Kansas. It’s coming my way, but I believe it will skate just north of us. I’m glad that you have the choice to stay home and read in such nasty weather! Now that I am retired from my “day job” and writing full time, I am glad that I have that choice too! (As a nurse, I didn’t!)

      I chuckled when I saw what you were reading and the author. I know she tells wonderful stories — but to try to say that title and her name three times fast would stump me totally 🙂

  20. Hi Kathryn! What a great post! And so timely for me since I will soon be wearing a cast myself 🙂
    As for what I’m reading, I’m judging a writers contest so I’m currently reading book entries. Discovering some wonderful new-to-me authors in the process.

    1. Hi Winnie,

      Thanks for taking a moment to stop by today, sister filly! It sound like you are really going to be laid up for a long time (which will probably help with your reading 🙂 I hope all goes smoothly for you. I’m sure your family with rally round you and be such a wonderful help. Hugs!

  21. The picture of the walking cast brings back painful memories. They were a particular fashion accessory of mine on and off for about a year.
    I just finished reading “Hearts Entwined A Historical Romance Novella Collection” a title very familiar to a couple fillies here. I’m reading A Bouquet of Brides collection in the evening and will be catching up with Winnie Griggs by reading Once Upon a Texas Christmas (finally).

    1. Hello Andrea,

      Sorry to hear that you had to deal with casts for a year! I trust that is way in your past now and there are no residual issues. I always wonder about people who say they can feel storms coming or changes in weather because of an old break or because their joints ache. I find it interesting.

      Sounds like you are very busy reading! And so wonderful that the stories are by some of the fillies here!

  22. I didn’t mention what I was reading! I usually have 2 books going at the same time and once in-awhile 3 books. One is always fiction and one is always non-fiction. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy young adult books and my grandson got after me to read the I Am Number Four Series. I just finished book #3. I’m enjoying it — the pace keeps picking up with each book. They are very imaginative — and I heard that they were written by 3 authors, which I find interesting.

  23. Thank you for an interesting post. I had no idea that putting casts on broken limbs went back as far as it does. zI wasn’t aware that the knowledge of the body’s interior and what was needed to fix it was that old.
    I am currently in between books. I just finished COWBOY’S LEGACY by B.J. Daniels. I love her books and this one didn’t disappoint. A bonus short story at the end of the book was a nice surprise. Older people deserve romance and an HEA and she gave them one with all the suspense and danger she gives her younger heroes and heroines. My favorites are historicals and suspense. Set either one in the West and it has a good chance of being a winner. If B. J. Daniels is the author, I know it will keep me wanting “just one more chapter.”

    1. Hi Patricia!

      Yes–BJ Daniels always puts out a good book. I’ve read a few of hers. I don’t naturally gravitate to the suspense genre, as huge as it is, and even though I have written a few books with a suspense-type plot. I know there is a big market for her books.

      Thanks for joining in the conversation, Patricia!

  24. I feel so bad!! I haven’t started to read anything this month! Ugh!! We are currently remodeling our bedroom, bathroom and closet area of our house. I have found books that we’re in my room that I didn’t know I had… I know it sounds pathetic but what can I say!! I am looking for some good recommendations to get me out of my winter slump and from under the sheet-rock dust!! Lol!

    1. Hi Lisa!

      It sounds like you are busy, busy, busy! And I think remodeling parts of a house requires a lot of brain energy (and if you are doing the revamp yourself — physical energy too!) There are so many decisions to make — and Pinterest to check out — and Home Depot — and Youtube! I had to have some remodeling done on one side of my house last year and now I am working on the other side. New landscaping too. It is a never-ending job when you own your own house, but I really enjoy the results!

      I hope some of the books everyone is reading here give you lots of ideas for when you finally get to take a breather!

  25. Hi Kathryn. Thanks for sharing your great post. I recently finished Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews and I just received a copy of The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi Connie!

      So nice to have you stop in! I’ve heard of both of those authors, but never read their books and I really should! Way back when I first thought about trying to write for publication, my goal was to write stories of biblical times like Mesu Andrews. A friend of mine, Barbara Britton has recently become published in that same genre. You might check out her books too and see if they interest you.

  26. I am currently reading through Mary Connealy’s The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection. I always enjoy anything written by Mary! I look forward to reading your new book, too! jumpforjoy at gmail dot com

    1. Hello Joy!

      Mary’s humor comes through in her stories! Do you follow her on Facebook? She is a joy (no pun intended) and I am so glad that she is one of the “fillies” here at P&P. Thanks for stopping in, Joy!

  27. The giveaway portion of this post is now closed and the winner of an autographed copy of my newest release is Andrea Stephens! Andrea, please contact me at Kathryn at kathrynalbright dot com and let me know if you prefer print or ebook format. (And if print, I will need your address!)

    Thank you everyone for joining in the conversation! I love to hear what others are reading! It give me ideas of what I want to read next!

    1. Thank you! Thank you! I’m so excited to win.
      I’ve added some books to my wishlist from reading all the posts.
      I’ll email you now.

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