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I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

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Poncho: You're hit. You're bleeding, man.
Blain: I ain't got time to bleed.
Poncho: Oh, okay...
Poncho fires several grenades into the air
Poncho: You got time to duck?

Quite often, when The Hero has been in some terrific struggle with life and death hanging in the balance, he'll get hurt and not even notice it. The pain of the wound never registers with the character any more than the fact that he's losing blood. It's only after everything has calmed down that he even becomes aware that he's injured as if the wound never truly existed until The Hero himself observes it.


If the hero is a true tough guy, he'll shrug the injury off as if it were nothing more than an inconvenience and drive on.

This is actually Truth in Television: adrenaline suppresses pain. This is a survival trait, as pain exists to warn of injuries but can be debilitating in a dangerous situation. It's common for a person to be unaware of their own injuries during a fight, only to succumb to them afterwards.

A trait common to both an Implacable Man and a Determinator. Can sometimes be caused by Feel No Pain. At its most extreme, this can lead to a Time-Delayed Death.

See also Major Injury Underreaction, Only a Flesh Wound, and I Can Still Fight!.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: During the harrowing Eclipse, Guts makes the final decision to sever his own arm that was caught in the jaws of a demon in order to save his lover Casca from Femto who is in the middle of raping her. We can easily say that Guts was so pissed off and so very determined to save Casca that the pain of hacking off his arm just wasn't registering to him. Lo, Guts doesn't even pass out from the blood loss until after Casca's rape is completed after his last attempt was cruelly quashed.
  • In a Christmas episode of Axis Powers Hetalia, America says this word-for-word after jumping through a window at England's house while dressed as Father Christmas - and subsequently getting a shard of glass stuck in his forehead.
  • Durarara!!: Way too many people do this.
    • Shizuo Heiwajima is inhumanly strong, durable and pain-resistant and is thus able to shrug off most injuries. During his character introduction, he's hit over the head with a baseball bat hard enough to break it, and despite bleeding all over the place, his reaction is to kick the crap out of everyone. Later, he's stabbed through the hand with a pen and he's more amazed that someone was able to do that than in pain. He also ends up kicking the crap out of the stabber. When he is shot several times, his first thought is that he slipped in the rain until he realized he was bleeding. Even then, Tom had to explain the dangers of lead-poisoning to him to make Shizuo get the bullets removed. In the conclusion, however after breaking his arm in Izaya's deathtrap, he still decided to come after the informant.
    • Masaomi attempts to shake off his injuries to stop a suicidal Mikado, however, due to already having broken his leg and Mikado shooting him, Masaomi is unable to get through the pain.
    • Anri is able to shake off Haruna's slashes with no trouble and then cut her to stop the Saika zombies.
    • Played straight with Izaya in the conclusion. Izaya is thrown off of scaffolding and hit by a metal beam into a building, causing internal bleeding. He is able to force himself to get out of the building, run down the street while dodging flying vending machines and do parkour across several cars to escape Shizuo. He then engages Shizuo in a fight, getting both his arms broken in the process and only succumbs after Vorona stabs him. He still lives, anyway.
    • After recently undergoing surgery, Mika is able to sneak out of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals and escape Namie.
    • Shinra, while still being heavily injured with at least two limbs badly broken as well as being wheel-chair bound for several days, is kidnapped and possessed by Kasane, yet still is able to break free of her mind control and then walk at several miles to find Celty and get Shizuo to throw him into the sky to slice off Celty's head.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Punisher MAX, Frank goes on a rampage after the graves of his family are desecrated, trying to force the city government to bury them so he can get his head straight and go after the guy who did it. After an assault on a gang house, he later notices that he was shot in the arm and thinks that he should probably get it patched up. We later find out that he hadn't even bothered to take the bullet out.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Sonic X fanfic Don't Keep Your Distance, which is otherwise largely pretty sanitized in content, protagonist Paint punches through her truck's windshield and crawls through to retrieve the keys to the trailer in order to rescue her friend, a reformed robot of Dr. Eggman's named Star, who is being kept inside. Only minutes later, when they are both (along with thousands of others in the city they're staying in) captured and taken aboard to his aircraft, does she realize she's bleeding all over.
  • In the Worm × Dishonored crossover fanfic A Change of Pace, Taylor ends up being shot in her fight with Oni Lee and doesn't even realize it until after the fight is over and she collapses.

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek doesn't notice there's an arrow on his butt until it's pointed out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Name comes from a mid-firefight conversation between Poncho and Blain in Predator:
    Poncho: You're hit. You're bleeding, man.
    Blain: I ain't got time to bleed.
    Pancho: [confused] Oh... okay.
    • Jesse Ventura then used this as the title of his first book about politics.
  • The Terminator: Kyle Reese takes a bullet as he and Sarah escape the police station during the Terminator's rampage, Kyle doesn't notice until Sarah points out he's bleeding, and even then he insists it's not that bad ("Looks like it went right through the meat.") Sarah gives him her first-ever field dressing.
  • In Young Sherlock Holmes, Holmes doesn't notice he has received a cut under his eye until his fencing lesson with Raithe is over.
  • Barbossa gets shot at the end Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and mocks Jack for wasting his shot on someone who can't die. A few seconds later, the curse gets lifted and the wound becomes fatal and starts bleeding profusely.
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World features Captain Jack Aubrey getting a full report on the injured and killed in a battle with a French warship. At the end of the Doctor's speech, the Captain begins to turn away only to have the Doctor say, "Let me have a look at that scalp." It's only then that Captain Aubrey puts his hand up to his brow and realizes he's been wounded.
  • In The Wolverine, unless the wound is fatal, most characters will shrug off injuries and fight on without any detriments to their skill. Although in Wolverine's case, once he has time to rest, his wounds will catch up to him.

  • Discworld:
    • Granny Weatherwax uses magic to suppress injuries gained in a fight until she has time to deal with them. Basically, she invokes this trope in the most literal way. Of course, with Granny what she does with magic is vastly outweighed by what she does by force of will; pain she handles by handling it. But if necessary, (i.e. in case of vampires in Carpe Jugulum), she can hold hot iron and put off being burned until she has time to have a burned hand. At that point, she's also laid out a burn treatment kit. Earlier in the book, she had scoffed at the idea of holding hot iron and not being burned; the distinction between separating cause and effect by an arbitrary span of time and rejecting the effect altogether is stressed.
    • She does it again in Maskerade when she does a Bare-Handed Blade Block to the astonishment of all present (everyone knows witches can't use magic on steel — it doesn't occur to them that they can use magic on flesh). It's not until she's home a few days later that she rolls out the salve and bandages and lets the wound happen. The scenario is probably a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer — after preparing the first aid gear, she remarks, "I reckon I've got time now."
    • Detritus of the Night Watch is injured at one point, which is no mean feat since he's made of stone. When his cracks begin oozing some strange liquid, he invokes the trope name by saying he "Ain't got time to ooze."
  • City of Thieves: The main character, Lev, doesn't notice losing half of a finger in a fight.
  • In The Last Full Measure, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's "Bloody Chamberlain" wound at Quaker Road is depicted: the bullet went around his ribcage, so despite being apparently shot through the chest he continues leading his troops into battle. (He actually seems more worried about the wound to his horse.)
  • Honor Harrington:
    • In Honor of the Queen, Captain Honor Harrington narrowly survives an attempted assassination attempt on Protector Benjamin that costs Honor an eye and most of the assassins their lives, and immediately after must come to the aid of the Grayson Space Navy, defending Grayson from a surprise Masadan/Havenite attack..
    • A few books later, in Flag in Exile, she survives having her pinnace shot out from under her, followed by a would-be assassin trying to shoot her dead as she escapes the wreckage of her ship, followed by a sword duel to the death with a political opponent, and only then does she learn of a Havenite fleet which has arrived in the system, leading her to take command of the Grayson fleet to fend the invaders off. Honor is due for some first-rate medical care, hot cocoa, and a platter of cookies when all is said and done.
  • Martín Fierro: At Song III of the First Book of this Narrative Poem, Martin Fierro describes the Mapuche and Ranquel Indians (Natives from Argentina) as men that when they spill his guts for a wound, they don't even worry, they will stuff them back in a moment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for Laughs in the episode "Alice Quits" of Workaholics, during an airsoft gun battle.
    Adam: [macho voice] I ain't got time to bleed.
    Ders: You're bleeding?
    Adam: [normal voice] No, because [macho voice] I ain't got time to bleed.
  • Benjamin Sisko does this in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Adversary".
  • Invoked in one episode of M*A*S*H, where a soldier insists to Hawkeye that while he is fine, his unconscious friend is the one who needs a doctor. The friend's wounds are minor, and it's only after Hawkeye tells the soldier his friend will be fine that we discover that the soldier who carried his friend into the hospital is almost mortally wounded himself and has been holding it together long enough to get his buddy to medical attention.
  • Played with on Community. During a high-stakes game of paintball, Jeff notices red on his clothes. At first, he thinks he's been hit, but then he realizes it's blood and exclaims "Wait, wait... it's blood. [laughs] I thought it was paint but I'm just bleeding. Talk about luck!"
  • On The West Wing: When President Bartlett is shot in the first season finale, he doesn't realize it until the guy in the back of the car with him notices he's bleeding. This was based on the real-life assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.
  • An interesting inversion of this comes in Battlestar Galactica. When a Number One gets fatally wounded at one point, he's too impatient to wait to bleed out, so he cuts open his own carotid artery with a spent shell casing in order to die quicker so he can download into a new body.
  • In the Blue Bloods episode "The Art of War", a key witness is shot in his hospital bed in the season 5 finale, with Linda Reagan in the room trying to protect him. She takes two in the abdomen, but she's so hopped-up on adrenaline she does a full round of CPR and doesn't even realize she was hit until after the witness has already flatlined; the doctor has to call the trauma team back into the room just for her.
  • Parodied in a Saturday Night Live digital skit, appropriately titled, "Time To Bleed", in which a Cowboy Cop is shot during a confrontation, then spends the remainder of the movie refusing to seek medical attention because he's determined to solve the case. He goes through all the standard cop show tropes like this, including bedding his gorgeous partner—after which he finally dies.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During his match with Rey Mysterio Jr. at WWE Over the Limit 2010, CM Punk collided with the ring barrier quite hard which busted him open fairly badly. As is the case with all bleeding in WWE since its switch to a PG rating, medics were quickly rushed out to conceal the blood before the match could continue. However, growing tired of waiting, Punk pushed the medics aside mid-check up and dropkicked Mysterio out of the ring in frustration.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 3: During the attack on the Citadel, if Javik's in the squad along with EDI, she'll note he received a concussion when the car they're in crashes. Javik just responds that since medi-gel isn't going to help, there's no point bothering him about it, and just powers through for the remainder of the mission.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Subverted in one of the unused lines for "Meet the Sandvich".
      Soldier: You cannot hurt me, I do not have time to bleed!
      Soldier: My schedule has just opened up! Aaaohhww, my God!
    • The Soldier's Equalizer (a melee weapon that boosts attack power as your health decreases) uses this trope as an achievement, it requires you to kill enemies with it while your health is very low.

    Web Comics 
  • In Penny and Aggie, when Gary attacks Rich without warning at a party, Rich's initial reaction is simply to shout "Ow!", punch him out, and wonder whether Gary was trying to give him a "purple nurple." He doesn't notice until Stan points it out, that he has a knife in his chest and is bleeding profusely. "Doesn't really hurt," he says, before passing out.
  • In Lucid Spring, Pacem gets shot and doesn't understand why Viktor, who shot her, is staring at her in fear as she walks around and talks to him.

    Western Animation 
  • From The Simpsons:
    Weasel #1: Nelson, you're bleeding!
    Nelson: Naw, happens all the time. Someone else's blood splatters on me and... Hey, wait a minute... You're right! [turns to Bart] You made me bleed my own blood!

    Real Life 
  • Can happen in Real Life. Sometimes you'll cut yourself but won't notice until you look at the wound directly. This especially happens when the circumstances make small cuts and other injuries commonplace.
    • Chefs, for example, often nick themselves while cutting food, or burn themselves slightly while cooking, and not only never seem to notice, but if other people point out that they are hurt, tend to take such things in stride because they are so used to it happening.
    • It's a combination of the injury being unexpected, and adrenaline keeping you from feeling the pain.
  • General Albert Sidney Johnston of the Confederacy was shot in the back of the knee at the Battle of Shiloh. Apparently he didn't notice that the bullet had nicked an artery that was bleeding profusely. No one else noticed until he nearly fell out of his saddle. His aides helped him off his horse and sat him down against a tree, where he promptly died.
  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was shot apparently through the chest at Quaker Road. Thanks to the contents of his pocket, the bullet took a truly bizarre route under the skin but over his ribcage, resulting in a very bloody but survivable wound. He continued leading his troops in the assault and got treatment after he was done. He came to be known as "Bloody Chamberlain" because this kind of thing happened to him several times, though not to such extremes in the other cases. He eventually died due to complications from his Civil War 1914 at the age of 85.
  • The Sherlock example in TV, above, is remarkably similar to what happened to Empress Elisabeth of Austria ("Sisi") in 1898; she was stabbed by an anarchist with an extremely fine, sharpened needle file and the flow of blood was slowed by her extremely tight corset.
  • This is also why first responders will insist on checking out all parties involved in an incident, be it a car accident, fire, assault, etc., even if someone insists that they're fine. They could have serious injuries that an adrenaline rush has kept them from noticing.
  • Similarly, the US Army teaches troops to perform "Blood Sweeps" when tending to wounded. Starting from the neck and working down, firmly press your hands against the body, grasping each limb, and dragging downwards. If there are any wounds concealed beneath their clothing or gear, this will bring attention to it, either by forcing any pooled blood out or allowing you to physically feel any broken bones. This has the added benefit of being useful on non-responsive patients who can't tell you where they are hurt.
  • Professional Wrestler Perry Saturn was once shot while beating up some guys who were raping a woman. He didn't realize he had been shot until after the fight was over.
  • Often inverted when you donate blood. Depending on how diligent the technician taking your blood is (and how long the line of blood donors behind you), they may insist that you don't get up for at least five minutes after you're done just because you "feel fine". You're actively encouraged to, in fact, give yourself enough time to bleed so that you don't faint immediately after leaving the blood donation centre.

Alternative Title(s): I Dont Have Time To Bleed, Not Noticing The Pain


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