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Content Notes for "A Way to Make Right" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Content Notes for "A Way to Make Right"
These are the content notes for "A Way to Make Right."


"As long as you live, it is never too late to make amends. Take my advice, child. Don't waste your precious life with regrets and sorrow. Find a way to make right what was wrong, and then move on."
-- Karen Hesse

Sweetgrass is a sacred herb for many tribes. It has a mellow grassy smell, like chamomile with vanilla. People often braid it for smudging, sometimes with other herbs such as sage or cedar. Learn how to make smudge sticks.

Buddha's hand is a type of citrus with "fingers" joined at the base. This video describes it in detail. It has a vivid lemony scent with floral notes, very uplifting. You can use it to make candy, syrup, and many other things. Here is a recipe for candied Buddha's hand. It was all I could do to keep from eating the stuff before I even got the sugar coating on it -- before that, it's like a celestial gummy bear.

Penetrating injuries are common in car crashes. Best practice is to leave foreign objects in place and stabilize them so they can't move, then rush the victim to a hospital. However, this relies on the hospital being able to remove them, and not all hospitals have the kind of equipment that a heavy rescue truck carries. Extraction requires not only knowing the options on the scene, but what will be available at the far end. Having a one-man cutting crew gives the paramedics much more leeway in treatment, because Rizal can cut apart a whole car door if someone comes in wearing it.

A survival knife is a large, heavy-duty blade with many uses. Know how to choose the right one for your needs. This is Skink's survival knife.

Point control is an aspect of hand-eye coordination that allows you to aim at a small target accurately, such as touching a dime with a forefinger or ticking a box with a pencil. Here's an example from fencing. I first heard about it in relation to goats -- if you move the horn buds together to make a unicorn, it improves point control enough that they'll use that horn for things like untying knots in ways that ordinary two-horned goats just don't. Skink needs to transfer the regenerative gel from his body to someone else's, so cutting just above the wrist gives the best flow and best point control for the least amount of effort to regrow lost tissue. Furthermore, the sensory homunculus shows how hands and fingers have more nerves than other body parts, which means they feel pain more keenly than the forearm does. Cutting off a finger wouldn't provide enough gel to do much; cutting through the hand would be miserable; cutting just above the wrist still hurts, but a lot less.

The wrist actually consists of many small carpal bones joined together, which attach the hand to the forearm. Cutting through that is more work to regenerate because it's such a complex area. Cutting through the long bones makes a much simpler injury, and then the wrist can regenerate as a whole unit along with the hand. The bumps near the wrist are the head and styloid process of the radius and ulna, which together form a cup to seat the wrist bones. Rizal makes the cut just above those bumps. Just an inch or two difference in position makes a huge difference in both point control and pain perception, thus in Skink's ability to perform. While Skink has figured out a significant amount of this on his own, it only takes once for the advantages of a medical setting to spoil him to the point that he never again wants to do this in the bush.

Tourniquets come in many styles. You can improvise one from any kind of sturdy cord or strap, such as the boot lace that Skink has used in the past. The wider the band, the more it disperses the force, causing less pain and damage. The narrower the band, the nastier it is, but the more concentrated force may make it easier to shut off the blood flow. A surgical tourniquet has fantastic features, but isn't durable enough to use in the field. In an operating room, it provides a much better experience than anything else Skink has used.

The radial pulse occurs where the radial artery crosses over the radial and carpal bones at the wrist, allowing the artery to be pressed against the underlying bone and felt through the thin skin to detect the heartbeat. This is one of the main pulse points on the body, and among the easiest to use. Since the purpose of a tourniquet is to cut off arterial blood flow, losing the pulse below it is a good way to know you've got it tight enough if the person isn't already bleeding from an injury.

Pain control methods include some non-pharmacological ones. Various breathing techniques can help. Distraction works mentally and physically. Both self-touch and being touched by someone else can disrupt pain signals, reducing the subjective discomfort. T-America has a much more refined and functional process for helping people choose, and use responsibly, methods effective in managing their level of pain. They also pay more attention to what they call Total Comfort Level, which is to say that someone might be less upset by a certain level of pain than by side effects or vulnerable feelings from taking a painkiller, hence Skink declining painkillers after his superpower activates. This approach requires more knowledge, skill, time, and attention but it pays off in better pain management and lower risk of complications.

For serious injuries, a universal sling provides better support and control than a cheap standard one. It can be adjusted to fit either side, with the arm flat or angled, and includes a waist belt to keep the arm from moving in relation to the body. A cheap one is fine for minor injuries, but for anything serious, the more sophisticated model can make a dramatic improvement in comfort and sometimes improve healing.

Boost Very High Calorie Nutritional Drink has 530 calories and 22 grams protein for a respectable meal. Several companies make products like this. In T-America these provide an excellent method of frontloading or backloading calories for people with superpowers.

Bananas are among the highest-calorie and healthiest fruits.

Nut butters are made by blending nuts, with or without add-ins such as chocolate or coconut oil. They offer a variety of benefits. Commercial nut butters include flavors like Protein+ Chocolate Peanut Butter, Protein+ Vanilla Almond Butter, and Protein+ Vanilla Peanut Butter.

Flaxseed has many benefits. Flax crackers can be bought or made at home.

Calcium chews offer a tasty source of this bone-building nutrient. One or two a day is plenty for most purposes, occasionally more if mending a break. Even soups should not eat the whole package all at once.

Nutrient deficiencies can trigger food cravings that are difficult or impossible to resist. In Skink's case, letting Rizal control the food supply is safer -- they just need some practice to get the hang of it. There are plenty of ways to handle food cravings.

Overdosing on some nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, can cause muscle cramps. (So can a shortage of nutrients.) Here, the most important thing is to prevent the problem, but there are other ways to address cramps too.

Skink's Regeneration follows similar stages as hand development in a fetus. Watch a video showing the process.

Different nerves specialize in different signals, but they also overlap in pain, heat, and cold. The perceptions of pain are complex. Pain control techniques include such things as sensory splitting, for example, feeling pain as heat. When you add superpowers, it gets even more complicated, because the body takes a stimulus it doesn't recognize and translates it into one or more physical senses. Here the physical injury is present, but the cut is so clean and the energy so distracting that it registers as heat until Skink moves.

Adaptive clothing comes in many styles to accommodate different needs. These include options like pull-up elastic waist, side zipper, velcro fly, covered cutout seat, velcro or magnetic dress shirts, and back-fastening shirts. Check out Makoa and Adaptive Clothing Showroom for examples.

This shirt comes completely apart into front and back halves, fastened along the side and shoulder seams with velcro. The T-American version uses vrip, which is softer and more comfortable. You can see what a tremendous difference that will make for Skink. It's a simple fix to replace any shirt's seams with vrip, or buy medical garments that come that way, but he didn't know about it until an experienced nurse tipped him to the possibility.

Read about skinks. They're interesting little lizards.

Cedar is sacred in many tribes. It is used for smudging, flutes, and other purposes.

Saunas come in different types. The hospital has the infrared kind.

Lizards sunbathe for their health. They act almost stoned when they're doing it. Basking seems to give them strong feelings of pleasure, thus encouraging them to do it. When chilled, they gravitate to any warm spot and exhibit similar behavior. Having a sauna will improve both Skink's comfort and his Regeneration speed.

Nonsexual intimacies, especially combined with moments of imprint vulnerability, can increase the potential for human bonding. In L-America, few people are consciously aware of this, which means a lot of bonding happens by accident and vulnerable people are not always handled with care. In T-America, more people -- especially health workers -- get education in the principles of kindness and the proper care of vulnerable people. This makes life a lot nicer for everyone.

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