September 12th, 2006

  • lisabel

Crippling Injuries to the Leg

I must admit that I have a very small understanding of anatomy and medical practice, and that reading highly technical documents confuses me easily - so I'm turning once again to the lovely people of this community for help. Having done some research into forms of torture in use during the 18th and early 19th century, I have not been able to hit on anything that really fits what I need for my story...

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  • it_gurl

Shaving Heads in the Early Middle Ages

I know that people have shaved their heads since at least Ancient Egyptian times. However, I can't for the life of me find out HOW they shaved their heads.

Would they have used scissors to close crop the hair and then a straight edge razor to shave what's left? A straight razor on a round head seems very... dangerous.

In Eastern Europe in the Early Middle Ages, how would you shave the head of a 5-6 year old child whose hair had never been cared for and is long and heavily matted and infested with lice?


Got my answer - and fast! Thanks all ^_^

cell phone service in China

An American student is studying abroad in China - probably Beijing - for a year. I'm assuming that if she wants a cell phone it would be most practical to purchase a year's worth of cell phone service there.

The pivotal moment of the story has her receiving a phone call from the U.S. while standing on the Great Wall. Ideally she'd be near Beijing - I chose Simitai on a whim - but anywhere on the wall would be fine.

So: is it possible to get cell phone reception on the Great Wall of China?

ETA: I think I've got my answer, thanks!
The Missal, Waterhouse

Historical Terms for Menstruation

I've googled and wikied (using combinations of the terms "menstruation", "synonym", "historical") and while I've gotten some interesting and amusing results, I haven't gotten what I really want.

How would a young woman around the turn of the 17th century (late 17th-early 18th) refer to her menstrual period? She's a young, unmarried, English woman living in the West Indies, an only child, well-bred and with an education appropriate for her class. Though she's well-bred, she's committed an, er, indiscretion and now she's counting months since her last period. She's not actually discussing this with someone else - this is internal monologue. Would a young (18-20) woman of this upbringing even be aware of signs of pregnancy to look for in herself?

And am I correct in thinking that any English woman from that time period would be expected to be a virgin until she married? (I know that reality has always differed from expectation - I just want to be sure I know what the expectation was.)

ETA: Thanks, everyone, for your responses. I believe I have what I was looking for - "my time" or "my courses" should be perfect, or nearly. Also, thanks for confirming what I thought was true about expectations back then - virginity was expected but certainly not always the case, and bearing a child "prematurely" after the wedding wasn't bad but bearing a child unwed was. Thanks again!

aftereffects of traumatic brain injury

Character, 15 years old, otherwise in good physical and mental health suffers a fall while in the mountains and a solid blow to the head. She is probably knocked unconscious for a few minutes and has a concussion. The other members of her party have herbs (different planet and flora, but chances are that it's just as ineffective as you'd think) and bandages as far as medical care goes.

She needs to be a hinderance long enough to slow them down significantly. However, she needs to be conscious (within a few hours) and capable of arguing her case (no aphasia), because the majority of the group is going to want to leave her behind.

What difficulties could this character develop that would act to hinder their ability to move through an uncharted mountain range? Dizziness and confusion are a given.

Lists of potential effects have included "sleepiness" and fatigue: could this character potentially begin sleeping during all available downtime? Would hiking become much harder? For how long?

Assuming this dizziness, how soon would it be realistic to say that the character could resume climbing near-vertical cliff walls? Would/could she become temporarily dizzy occasionally with potentially disasterous effects?

Can anterograde amnesia from trauma be temporary? "Temporary anterograde amnesia" into google comes up with things about alcohol and certain medications but not trauma. Can it be "mild", that is, not forgetting everything all the time but a significant amount nonetheless?

Feel free to throw out any suggestions for injuries (that aren't retrograde amnesia, for the love of dairy), but I'd really like to hear personal experiences or observations of someone with post-concussion effects.

Edit: The characters desperately want to get out of the mountains before it starts snowing and they run out of supplies. As long as they can believe that's possible, they'll keep the girl; if they know it's impossible to move fast enough, they'll ditch her.
John Locke

Shinto Question - Emergency Rituals?

I know that it usually takes a lot of training in order to become a Shinto priest. So this might seem like an unusual question (and it is).

What kind of rituals might take place if an emergency situation occured in which several men would need to serve as priests even though they'd had little to no training? Say, for example, a very small village that only has one priest for their shrine, and he is unexpectedly killed. Now they need some villagers to temporarily act as priests for a certain emergency situation. What kind of hasty, symbolic rituals might take place for this situation? Thanks!

More details: set between Heian and Edo periods. Very remote village in the mountains.