Skin Deep

Time, rs and Ks, for another installment of Fleshfest ’11. As you can see, the healing of my leg continues apace:

Actually, that’s not really my leg (at least, not yet). It’s actually an effigy created by one Duff McCourt, who — upon learning of my fondness for Baileys and marzipan — actually whipped up batches of both from scratch and had them hand-delivered to the Magic Bungalow. You may know Duff as the editor of the recently-launched AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. He interviewed me a while back for that ‘zine, and I met him briefly at a con a few months back; but I wasn’t expecting this kind of payout. The marzipan is great. So’s the Irish cream; more of a bite than Bailey’s, and a strong hint of gingerbread. Being home-made, and given my luck as of late, there’s a part of me that hopes I don’t go blind from chugging the stuff.   But if I do, it’ll probably be worth it.

Duff is one of surprisingly many, btw: well-wishers have sent me everything from chocolates to stuffed animals to books to amazing home-made flesh-eating-themed get-well cards. I am hugely touched and blown away by all of this, and I fully intend to post a picture of all this booty at some point in the near future (so if you happen to have, you know, a Big Daddy costume or something sitting around that you don’t have any use for, there’s still time). But today’s subject is, once again, The Leg, and so I guess I should probably insert another one of those Cut options before I show you how much better it’s gotten over the past few weeks:

Really starting to fill in now, isn’t it? The local experts seem to be quite impressed by my speed of healing, and not at all concerned by the fact that when we air out the wound it reeks faintly of rotten, maggoty fish in a toluene-stained barrel at the height of July in Lord’s Cove, Deer Island circa 1982. So I guess I shouldn’t be concerned.

Sadly, it isn’t filling in fast enough; so a few weeks hence they’re going to scrape a couple of Nazca landing strips off my thigh and staple them down onto the wound. This will have the side-effect of immobilizing me for another two goddamn weeks, just when I’ve started to run again. (That’s a projection. At the moment I can merely manage a fast hobble, and then only when a car is bearing down on me as I try to cross against the lights.)

But that won’t be happening until after Ad Astra, so for those of you who are wondering:  barring some other catastrophe I’ll be in attendance there. In the meantime the VAC continues to work its wonders; by now I’m swapping out the dressings myself, thusly:

Peter "Fucking Hardcore" Watts operates on his own leg without benefit of painkillers. (Photo credit: Stella "Micropone" Rossiter.)

The VAC continues to suck the foam down into the crater…

This links to a video on a different page. There may come a day when I figure out how to embed the damn video on the same page like everyone else does. But it is not this day. Anyway, click on it.

and the gore out of my leg, into these little canisters…

…but having now had substantial experience with this technology I have to say I still can’t see why their promotional campaign seems centered around a “creepy old people abducting children into the woods” theme:

Perhaps it has to do with some optional accessory I haven’t encountered yet.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011 at 3:57 pm and is filed under Flesh-Eating Fest '11, public interface. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

32 Responses to “Skin Deep”

  1. ScottC

    Juxtaposing pics your meaty leg wound with photos of real foodstuffs. Kinky. And disturbing in that I don’t react to either any differently.

    I must say,though, I’m concerned about the giant grafts they’ll be doing, but I’m completely ignorant about such things.

    I had to have a skin graft done one from a deep wound where I lost some flesh near one of my finger joints. In that case I had to have a graft done because the scar tissue would have affected the dexterity of my finger. Why do they have to do one in the case of your wound, which is not near a joint? It seems to me it’s going to be ugly one way or the other. Why inflict even more scarring on the rest of your body?

    Will the leg wound not fill in sufficiently on its own? Medical types, or people with a shred of common sense about the human body, enlighten me please.

  2. ScottC

    Re: Video

    *Sigh* QuickTime.

    I suppose I’ll have to update something. I don’t let Apple phone home on my system. I get sound but no gory video payoff in QT. Downloading the vid to desktop I can play it in VLC player, though.

    Cool stuff ! Thanks for entertaining us with your suffering.

  3. PixelFish

    I was actually trying to figure out what pathology book that marzipan picture came out of before I realised it was marzipan, which I shall never be able to eat again.

    (Trying to figure out why the marzipan is grossing me out, when I was able to eat a chicken sandwich while staring at fetuses in bottles just fine in high school. Ah, methinks my stomach has grown queasier over time.)

  4. V

    Honestly, I’m less grossed out than feeling sympathy pain. My threshold is nowhere near yours I’m sure.

    But like your work, your posts about getting through this give me optimism just as your fiction does, strange as that may sound. If there’s a terrible future coming, certainly we should work as we can to prevent it. But perhaps a dose of “against the odds” doesn’t help either.

  5. V

    argh that meant to read doesn’t hurt either. *facepalm*

  6. idleprimate

    I had to have a skin graft done on the better part of my right leg, all borrowed from the left. it was due to burns. I have to say, the removal of the staples (they were counting for me until 135, then we all lost focus) was the most painful part of the experience, and up there with having a finger amputated, the most painful thing i’ve ever felt. so i don’t envy you.

    The ‘Peter “Fucking Hardcore” Watts operates on his own leg without benefit of painkillers’ is the best gross thing i’ve seen in some time.

    Glad you are healing. The world needs Peter Watts far far more than some bacteria does.

  7. TheEchoInside

    Hrm, I should get my contribution to you soonish then hehe =P

    And have to say, that photo of you working on your own leg has got to be one of the more surreal things I’ve ever seen in my life. And taken in such a way that it seems almost like the leg isn’t yours. Nice. The video was… interesting as well.

    Hope the operation and continued healing go well!

  8. D

    You mentioned the marzipan. You neglected to elaborate that it was leg-shaped, crater and all. Glad to see you’re so obviously on the mend.

  9. AngusM

    “Today, at ‘Intimacy 2.0: The Conference on Cyber-Exhibitionism’, noted author and academic Dr Peter Watts will present his award-winning paper titled ‘A million strangers have seen the inside of my leg’, with photographs and video. Please arrive early, as seating and supplies of anti-nausea medication are limited. Post-trauma counseling will be available in Annex C after the presentation.”

  10. Peter Watts

    @ScottC: it’ll probably take about 6 months for the hole to fill in on its own, and it will evidently look ugly as sn (and nonflexible to boot, which compromises running). Grafts speed everything up and replace one ugly Cronenbergian scars with two lesser, merely distasteful ones.

    @idleprimate: Oh God. I’d hoped they were kinda joking about the staples. So those’re real, huh?

    @D: Are you blind, man? The marzipan leg was rendered in full hi-res photographic glory! Above the cut, even! You using some kinda text-only browser?

    Some futurephile you turned out to be…

    P.S. We ate the leg last night while watching BSG reruns.

  11. Nestor

    The leg is filling up nicely. It looks like candy rather than meat now, though that just might be priming from the marzipan talking.

  12. Kai

    The autocannibalistic breakfast picture in particular is very touching.

  13. rm3154

    > P.S. We ate the leg last night while watching BSG reruns.

    And that, my friends, summarizes the first decade of the 21st century

  14. MaryL

    I’m getting imagination-poking sound effects but no visuals from the video. That’s OK. I like radio. And the next time I use my vacuum sealer before I freeze a few pork chops, I’ll think of you and your leg, Peter.

  15. ScottC

    Peter Watts:it’ll probably take about 6 months for the hole to fill in on its own, and it will evidently look ugly as sn (and nonflexible to boot, which compromises running). Grafts speed everything up and replace one ugly Cronenbergian scars with two lesser, merely distasteful ones.

    Ah that makes sense. I didn’t think of it needing elasticity there just to allow for the flexing of muscle, even though it’s not near a joint. The grafted area will still be pretty freaky looking, just a nice fleshy pink now instead of jerky-like slaughterhouse reds and purples. My own graft looks like a giant fleshy wart on my finger. My donor area scar just looks like a big stretch mark.

  16. bam

    Have followed you woind healing right from the start, my son sent me the link as he knows my interest in wounds. I am amazed how well it is coming along and just how clean it is- Keep away from hospitals!!!
    My son had a leg wound that requierd a muscle graft as well as skin graft. The skin grafts will really speed up the healing process, I wish you well and look forward to seeing more pics!

  17. Bastien

    See, this is the kind of thing I hope I receive if I ever get a limb blown off by an IED one of these days. The marzipan body part, mind you, not the horrible flesh devouring disease. It bears mention.

    Definitely going to be at Ad Astra, really looking forward to meeting you.

  18. Hljóðlegur

    Can’t see the video.

    I’m agog at the Photo of a Man Working Inside His Own Leg, though. O.O

    It’s like the best thing ever, something about what defines mankind or something, idk. Anyway, marry me? I’ll have to check with my spouse first, but once he sees you calmly digging with a pair of scissors into your own leg…

    @rm3154:And that, my friends, summarizes the first decade of the 21st century

    I laughed out loud.

    Also, anyone know what a Big Daddy costume is? Is that like a 70’s pimp outfit?

  19. Julian Morrison

    Why am I reminded of that scene from The Terminator?

    At any rate, if you get maggots, fear not, they are good for you.

  20. Nestor
  21. Thomas Hardman

    Dr Watts: With that photo of you working on yourself, you have gained Total Street Cred of the top level.

    The thing is, as you mention on the front page of the Rifters site, about being scared as hell of the future, you’re probably in a better emotional place than are most people. Considering that the bad and scary parts of the future — as seen in science-fiction since long ago — are starting to show up here and now, at least you won’t go through shock.

    First NF, and now CRKP. Actually, you appear to have been better off with the NF than with the CRKP. That’s “carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae” in the States, but that’s a subset of “Carbapenem-Resistant or Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae”. It’s evidently becoming a problem extremely rapidly and becoming widespread at the same rate.

    See that link to the US CDC and think about whether or not you should add it to the FEQ… it might be the case that with an apparent epidemic of clinic-acquired CRKP building around us, especially for someone in your condition, you’re a heck of a lot more safe at home taking care of yourself than in any clinic setting.

    Best Wishes,

  22. Nestor

    That picture of you rooting around in your leg is begging for a caption. Something pithy about healthcare, maybe.

  23. Hljóðlegur

    @Nestor: Thank you very indeed.

  24. Tim

    Pretty flexible there, Peter. Not an easy position to maintain, a man your age. I guess the yoga must be paying off. I’m surprised you’re going to Ad Astra, but immensely pleased. If beer is allowed to be on the menu that weekend, the first few frosties are definitely on me. Be well.

  25. Hugh

    So, any inquiries from Hollywood yet? 127 Hours just had a rock … imagine what Industrial Light & Magic could do with flesh-eating bacteria!

  26. KatG

    Am I wrong to think it looked less gross when it was like a stripped bass? I can’t imagine running on the poor thing. Have you not tortured it enough?

  27. Funkula

    I spent a while staring at the marzipan because I was convinced it was made of bacon. But I guess that would be over on John Scalzi’s site if it were.

  28. Branko Collin

    There may come a day when I figure out how to embed the damn video on the same page like everyone else does.

    I have succumbed to the evil empire and host my videos at Youtube. That is, I would if I had any videos to be hosted.

  29. idleprimate

    grafts look ugly as sin for a while, but in a couple of years fade to just homely, and eventually become like that shy kid that no one sees in a crowd.

    on the notion of staples. . .it shattered my illusions about medicine being any magical sophisticated process. the staples looked like carpet staples, they are applied with a gun, like any installer might use. and the site they volunteered the skin from looked like you had been impatient about peeling the label off of a beer bottle. serious.

    I can’t remember now when it happened, but the scarring is now nearly indiscernible. I was only 18 when I enjoyed my adventures on the burn ward romp though. kinda miss those innocent days of whiling the time flirting with nurses while completely snogged on morphine.

  30. Paula

    So, you’ll be at Ad Astra “…barring some other catastrophe…”
    I find myself wondering what kind of catastrophe it would take to keep you away. Then remembered advice from another Canadian SF writer — “Don’t make it up!” augh.
    You’ve got the award for Tough Guy. That’s for sure. Most guys have trouble cutting their own toenails.

  31. Brainbread

    Hopefully the swag will help with your recovery. I’m kind of hoping someone sent in one of those running prosthetics with it – just a *wink wink* *nudge nudge* at what you coulda been running with if you opted for the19th century amputation solution. I had it in my mind that that was the obvious solution to dangerous infection.

    Turns out my brother had heard about you through Reddit as “the guy who blogged about getting some sort of flesh eating disease”. I got him to start reading Blindsight after that. Maybe this whole mess will get you some new readers! A silver lining of sorts.

    P.S. I was horrified upon seeing the marzipan leg. I feel ill and full of anxiety whenever i scroll past it, still not quite sure why.

  32. Hljóðlegur


    O.o O.o

    Man, that is weird. And so cool.

    Thanks for sharing, truly.