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Hospitals in Colorado with specific local geography, and conditions that affect learning
tamtrible wrote in little_details
This is for my fungal zombies.
The setting is modern day Colorado.

Question 1:
I searched for "hospitals near the edge of town in Colorado", but this is kind of a local-knowledge question.

My zombie hive needs to infect some dying people. So, ideally, I'd like both a hospital and some kind of hospice, nursing home, or terminal-care facility, within about a day's walk of each other, with the following characteristics:

There is a place, easily within a mile of the facility, where 100 people could hide for at least a few days without being noticed. Some of these people look normal (and could act as lookouts for the rest), some look very evidently dead. They can act with perfect coordination to avoid watchmen or the like, but obviously some of them would attract notice if *anyone* saw them.

Said place is near enough to the edge of town that a bunch of zombies could reach it, at night, without attracting notice.

The facility itself is in a sufficiently busy/populated area that strangers showing up would not be noteworthy.

Anyone know of such a place? If not, can anyone tell me large towns/small cities/suburbs in Colorado where you would not be surprised if health facilities with those characteristics were built?


Question 2:
Searched for "mental conditions that impair learning", and "mental conditions that affect ability to learn". Mostly got learning disabilities, but I don't think those are quite the right shape for what I need. I looked at the wiki page for "cognitive disorder", but didn't find what I needed.

Is there any known condition, illness, or injury result that does not significantly impair memory, or initial information processing (eg amnesia, dyslexia), or the ability to use skills you have already acquired, or general intelligence, but *does* impair the ability to learn new skills? I don't need the condition itself for my story (so it doesn't matter how rare or unlikely it is), but I want to figure out the probable parameters of that kind of condition, for something I want for my zombies.

To explain the kind of thing I want: you know how little kids are sponges for language, but adults have difficulty learning language, and will almost never be able to learn a new language like a native? Ideally, I'd like something like that, but more general.

edit: for 1, the zombies need to be hiding from the present inhabitants of working cities/towns. Everything's going on more or less normally (a little bit of panic near known zombie sightings, but my zombie hive isn't near any of those sightings), so places like shopping centers would have their normal complement of employees, shoppers, etc.

Son of edit: I did a little Google Map'ing, anyone know how well the hospital in Vail would fit my requirements? Or the St. Anthony's something in Frisco?

Colorado Springs has a hospital with very nearby clinic that could just as well have been a hospice at the edge of town (Powers/Woodmen) where if they stay on the far side of the hospital, I could see it kinda doable. The only issue is that the land's pretty flat out there, but heading towards Falcon and Peyton, it's still pretty sparse despite the overall population growth. The street (Woodmen) is busy, but you really can't see much on the other side of the hospital.

As long as they can be within a mile of it, it'll work... but flat without a lot of trees or whatever doesn't sound optimal.

That would be one of the major hospitals, Penrose St. Francis' north branch. Actually, as of now the area is starting to build up a little bit and I think there's a small neighborhood popping up just north of the hospital(it's been a few weeks since I've been out there, though).

Working in the healthcare industry(as IT, I have little to no actual medical knowledge) in the Springs, I'd say you'd be hard-pressed to find anything here that would work as every major hospital/large healthcare facility is in a more or less heavily populated area. A possible candidate that is somewhat remote-ish would be a small branch hospital in Woodland Park, a small mountain town about 15-20 miles west of the Springs. While still populated the terrain is far more suited to hiding groups of people.

Sounds promising, thank you.

It doesn't necessarily need to be a *large* hospital, just... somewhere that would have people dying in it.

Cognitive development is a separate issue. The brain actual switches over its methodology for learning at around age 7 from "native" skills, like walking and talking, to "learned" skills, thus degrading the ability to learn language.

On memory, I've done a lot of digging into this and it's a rabbit hole. Expect to disappear. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterograde_amnesia.

Anterograde amnesia comes in different flavors. I have a character with episodic anterograde who cannot build or retain a memory of events, but he can learn skills without remembering how he learned him. You want a breakdown of semantic memory acquisition but no retrograde semantic memory loss. Have fun in the rabbit hole.

This goes into possible locations of brain damage for procedural/semantic anterograde, followed by several disorders related to procedural/semantic memory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procedural_memory#Anatomical_structures.

Thank you for the appropriate terminology, it will give me something to poke at.

Don't know if you've got Google Earth (and if not, why not???), but Durango, CO, has such a Hospital setup. The brand spanking-new hospital is set south of town, right off of Hwy 160, across from an industrially, county building-type area. The hospital itself is also at the base of some foothills covered in oak-brush and low pinon-type pine trees. Good for hiding in. Oh, and there's a mall just south of the hospital. Malls are always good for zombies, ya know.

Tree-covered foothills sound excellent.
And the mall will be useful as another possible infection point. Cue report of a mysterious stranger kissing people (the fungus is only transmitted by fluid-to-fluid contact)

Sky Ridge Medical Center is right outside Parker/Lone Tree Colorado with a decent amount of open land to the south of it. There are all sorts of medical things there to choose from- a 'full service' hospital, a surgical center, a children's hospital. Across the street is a rec center, and just down the road there is a shopping center with a large covered parking area and a large Target Super Center that could house your people, across the street from that are some apartment buildings and other things to hide in.

The hospital is off a main highway (the 25) and in a busy-ish area but to the south of the hospital is a decent amount of open empty land your zombies could wander up.

I know the area pretty well having went to highschool near there and working in the area. Let me know if you have any other questions about this particular location.

I need more like abandoned warehouses, forests, or sewers to hide in, not apartment buildings. Basically, I need places where you could hide 100 dead-looking people *right now* without them being discovered.

There's some decent canyons and hills around the area. I'd suggest checking out the street view of google map and see if they will work for what you need. Or I see no reason why you couldn't put some abandoned building wherever you decide to use, I doubt many readers are going to fact check the existence of an empty warehouse near a hospital.

Fair 'nuff. Thanks for the pointers. I can use Google Map, I just... need something more specific than "somewhere in Colorado" to poke at, it's a big state...

St. Anthony's North has a new medical pavilion on the northern edge of the Denver Metro area: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.956587,-104.9902519,18z. And Medical Center of the Rockies is at the south-west edge of Loveland https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4150779,-105.0090702,15z . Both are near shopping centers that should have buildings where people could hide. The one near Loveland has been there longer and has therefore had time for various clinics, doctors' offices, etc. to be built up around it. Skyridge, which someone else mention, is also a possibility: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.5276059,-104.8721675,16z

Shopping centers as a hiding place won't be too workable, I suspect, since people will be in them. I'll edit the main post to that general effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_%28patient%29

This is a famous patient who had anterograde amnesia after brain surgery to stop severe epilepsy. He could learn new skills through immense repetition, though he did not remember learning them. And since your zombies are all infected in a similar way, there's no reason why they couldn't all have the same brain damage.

My zombies... aren't live humans any more (they're fungi using their former host as a meat-suit, basically). So it's not so much "brain damage" as "different brains". I was just trying to figure out what my options are for "can't learn new skills well" without "can't remember events", so I have something to model their behavior after.

Just gotta say I love your premise.

Thanks! I hope I can make it be a story.

One thing you might want to specify is which half of Colorado you want this to happen in.

(Sorry if this is familiar to you, but some background--the Front Range/eastern half of Colorado is the urban side where you have Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs. Everything is fairly well connected with cities, suburbs, and interstates, and about 90% of Colorado's population lives in this corridor. The Western Slope/western half of Colorado is much less developed--it's mountainous, most driving is 2-lane roads over mountain passes, and towns are separated by 10-75 miles. Which half of the state your story takes place in is going to have a huge impact. I.e. are you going for urban survival or rugged woodsman survival?)

So what do you mean by the "edge of town?" The edge of a major metropolitan area like Denver? Or the edge of a small-to-medium sized town on the Western Slope?

Probably more on the mountain-y side. Our Zombies started out in a plane crash in a remote area, and have been traveling on foot since then. They likely won't want to get near the big cities until there's enough of them that they can splinter off and leave the main group somewhere safe.