Shamus Young has an interesting post up on his blog, something I think a lot of D&D players have probably considered at some point. Good role-playing really demands that you try to project what your character should be feeling when they encounter a variety of nasty situations, like the deaths of loved ones, catastrophic burns, a plethora of injuries including some very esoteric ones like disintegration.
So, the question is: would you have survived to your present age without the benefit of modern medicine. Weirdly enough, I think the answer in my case is yes.
We're ignoring the effects of things that you can't estimate, like the effectiveness of vaccines that let you give nasty diseases a miss, and only taking into account illnesses/accidents that you have actually had in your lifetime. In my case, the only life-threatening illness I've ever had was the pneumonia I contracted when I was still an infant. This, however, is survivable without medication, although it probably would have left me with permanently reduced lung function.
I have a righteously competent immune system and I recover from pretty much anything on my own. I didn't take care of my teeth when I was a kid and I've had one cavity filled because I thought it looked bad. I did get my wisdom teeth out a few years ago, but they weren't causing me any pain, I just figured it'd be better to get them out than to wait until they were.
As a side note, I read an interesting article that implies wisdom teeth may actually be beneficial if you're likely to lose many of your teeth before they come in: there's room in your jaw for them, then. That would work out for me, because I was told I would lose most of my top incisors if my jaw wasn't relocated by ortodontia.
The worst injury I've ever had was a teeny, tiny, invisible fracture in my right radius last year and the only result was that I had some restrictions on what I could do with that hand for few weeks. I had bronchitis in high school but I pretty much recovered on my own. That's it. Apparently I'm a freak.
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