May 13th, 2008

"His turn to die a martyr was yet to com

Barbiturate overdose in young children

UK, Present day.

My victim is a 5-year-old boy who has mistaken capsules of Tuinal (secobarbital sodium and amobarbital sodium combined in equal proportions.) for sweets.

I understand from research so far that the initial effects of a fatal overdose on an adult would be similar to alcohol – disinhibition, slurred speech, disorientation, followed by weakness, shortness of breath, drowsiness, a slow heartbeat, and darting eye movements, then coma and death. Vomit Aspiration is also a possible outcome.

I want my five year old to survive without long-term damage, thanks to the prompt actions of a police officer who recognises the drug.

Everything I have read to date has focused on overdose in adults. All the first aid treatments suggested are (properly) designed to dissuade the amateur from doing more than clearing airways, putting the victim in the recovery position, and getting professional help.

What I need to know is:

What would be the near lethal dose for a relatively slight and active child of 5?

How would the onset and severity of symptoms differ from those of an adult?

What immediate actions could a police officer with appropriate training take to maximise the child’s chance of survival while waiting for transport to hospital?

What are the current UK police guidelines in this situation?

And finally – what do barbiturate salts taste like?

With thanks in advance for all and any help!

Canned beans in the 60s

My character is an Taiwanese immigrant living in a tiny Californian ex-mining town in the 60s with no Asian grocery stores available to her. She is attempting to make moon cakes for the Mid-Autumn festival with what she can find at the local grocery; however, since it's unlikely that she'll find adzuki beans or salty duck egg at the market, I'm going to have her make a tragicomic go at it with whatever canned beans were available at the time (sometime around 1967).

A few questions:

1.) Has anyone here ever tried to make moon cakes at home? How did it go? Google tells me that it is extremely hard to do at home and that one is better off going to a bakery, which doesn't help me much. Any detail would be much appreciated.

2.) What canned beans were commonly available in 1967?

Thank you so much in advance for your help!

ETA: You all have been amazing! I will keep a look-out for any help I can give on my areas of expertise.
pirate ewok

Homeless life resources

The setting is modern-day Austin, Texas. I have a character (possibly a few, but right now only one named) who is homeless for a reason other than substance abuse, mental illness, or poverty. (For what it's worth, it's an urban fantasy story and it's the easiest way for him, a Hispanic man in his mid-sixties with magical abilities, to stay under the radar of some Very Bad People.) I know very little about homelessness, homeless culture, etc.

I have previously googled "homelessness", "homeless culture", "Austin Texas homeless", and "homeless living" and was only able to find one or two guides, some legal resources, crimes committed against the homeless, and some religious and city outreach programs.

Does anyone have any links, experiences, or stories? Any book recommendations? Newspaper articles? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
flapjack joy

Liver/rib cage and saviour myths

I have two questions that are mostly unrelated.
Time isn't really relevant to my questions I don't think, nor is setting.

For this first question I've googled combinations of open rib cage, liver, rib cage and...that's all I could come up with. Image search was not a fun time. I got a partial answer to my question, but I'm still not quite happy.

Imagine you need to get at somebody's liver, you're not very bothered about how much damage you cause them really, but you'd rather not make unnecessary mess. Is it justifiable to open the rib cage to do it? (I'm considering doing it anyway. I just want to know if this would be perceived as unnecessarily cruel, or if it needed to be done to do the thing properly)

My second question has to do with myths. The myths I'm most familiar with are all greek and involve male heroes or gods and the ones I could conjure up via google were mostly unhelpful. I did find Sekhmet who I believe rid Egypt of evil (definitely correct me if I got the wrong end of the stick) and Isis who tricked Re into giving up his real name (again, correct me).

I'd rather not take anymore from Egypt unless it's necessary, I want a range. I will consider stories about men, but I'd rather they were women. I need stories where something of great importance is achieved/saved/prevented. In short where a great difference is made to humankind rather than just the lives of one or two people/gods.

Google-fu brought up mostly books to buy (I haven't the funds). I googled varying combinations and variations on "myth woman saved/changed greek"
There are sites with huge long lists of people but narrowing down the people who are actually genuinely useful would be much better. Besides, some sites change the stories slightly, making it hard for me to know what is the more accepted version of events.

Thanks in advance