April 5th, 2009

AIDS symptoms/life expectancy

(Sorry, mods, I accidentally hit the send button WAY too early)

I have a character who has been infected with HIV for quite some time without knowing it. He's only just found out now that the illness has hit the full-blown AIDS stage. This character is a friend to the main characters and doesn't have a very central role, so I'm very flexible as to details.

Firstly, I know that after the initial HIV symptoms present themselves there might be no symptoms years before the illness progresses to AIDS. How realistic is it that he would have ignored the initial symptoms, and not gotten tested until he's at the AIDS stage, and how long might he have been positive without knowing? I'm finding it's an average of about ten years, but is it likely that an otherwise fit and healthy man might still develop AIDS in a shorter timespan, say two or three years?

Secondly, once the illness hits the AIDS stage, and he begins getting infections, what is his life expectancy likely to be? Age-wise he's in his mid-40s and has always been quite fit and healthy. He's been feeling under the weather for a while, which he attributed to other factors, but now he's got something that's landed him in the hospital. I'm flexible about the kind of AIDS related illnesses he may have - pneumonia seems like the likeliest contender, so for ease I'll probably go with that. How does a person go from being diagnosed with pneumonia to finding out that he has AIDS? What kind of treatment would he receive? Would the pneumonia definitely kill him, or can it be treated? What other symptoms might be present?

I think basically I'm just unsure of how the illness manifests itself after it gets to the AIDS stage, and how long a person who has never received any treatment could be expected to live from that point on. Google is turning up some articles, of course, but they're too vague.

Oh yeah, and the setting is the USA, in the present day or just a little into the future, but obviously not long enough ahead for any major breakthroughs in HIV treatment!

Thanks for any help!

Japanese movies set on/about railways and railway stations.

Hi. I'm looking for the titles of movies about Japanese railways and stations. I'm not planning on watching them, so it doesn't matter if they're good movies or bad movies. It doesn't matter whether they're Japanese-made so long as they're set in Japan, and conversely, Japanese films set outside Japan won't do.

My story's set in the US in the early years of the 21st century, so I'd prefer films released no later than 2003 (which rules out Densha Otoko for one) but I could fudge that a little; any time before that is great, however far back in cinema history. Any genre or none is fine, but ideally I'd like sci-fi or horror. Animated films would do fine.

I've dug about on Google (not helpful; I tried several queries and almost all the hits I got were nonfiction - news clips or Youtube clips), and sifted through plot keywords ('train station' / 'railway' + 'Japanese') on IMDB. Here's what I have so far:

Hachiko monogatari
Manin densha (A Full-Up Train)


Does anyone out there know of any others? edit: I should stress that I mean films featuring real Japanese railways and stations, not fictional ones.

Tears for Fears?

Did women find the two guys from Tears for Fears attractive in the '80's?

And if so, what kind of attraction was it?  Was it one of those teenybopper type where girls post their pictures on their bedroom walls, or was it a more mature attraction by older teens or young adults?

I must know!  One of my characters spent her teenage years in the 80's and I must know whether these guys were considered a hot item.  :D

Thanks in advance!

Also:  Who were bands that weren't teenybopper crush-worthy, but still hot?  In the Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran genre. 
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Survival time with a punctured lung

I have a character who's in an abusive situation. He recieves several blows to the chest and stomach, one of which is severe enough to break a rib. The broken rib ends up up puncturing his lung.

Now my question is: how long can he go without first aid of any sort? Twenty minutes, an hour? He's in his early thirties and extremely fit, if that makes a difference.

Terms googled: punctured lung survival, punctured lung survival time, punctured lung first aid. Everything got me recovery times, but nothing approaching an answer to my question.

Thanks in advance!

*feels like a loser* Harry Potter help?

Not exactly google-able, sadly...

1. I need really, really, really cliché and bad nicknames that you've read for Harry Potter as a child. Because I intend to parody the crap out of them.
ETA: Like... When Sirius or Remus are portrayed as calling him Pup. Or other characters call him Lightning or Bolt, or maybe Green-Eyes.

2. Nicknames that would be used for a little boy... in Italian. Something a bit more original than 'bambino'... I'd just start throwing random stuff into online translators, but the massive gender-specific spelling in Italian makes me think that wouldn't be a good idea. They don't have to be specific to Harry Potter's characteristics, just general nicknames.
ETA: I actually decided what I'm going to use for this :) "Silly" as one... "Little monkey" as another. Thanks though!

3. Animagus-Harry. I'm about 10 years (in my story) from this happening, but I thought I'd just plan it out now. What have you found believeable as an animagus form for Harry? And what makes more sense to you in how he becomes one? Is it a spell, a potion, meditation? How long do you see it taking?
ETA: I think I might be going with a monkey. 'Cause I've never read anything where he is one. And thanks for the opinions and the help!

Thanks, I feel like an absolute dork right now :/

Princess as a Courtesy Title in Tudor England and French Army Doctors in the Napoleonic era

I've been trying to find out about both these things for quiet some time so thanks in advanced for the help.

What would have been the expected courtesy title and style for a hypothetical daughter of Elizabeth I of England, assuming she wasn't made Princess of Wales? Tudor England seems to have been the point where it transitions from 'Lady Name' and 'my Lady Princess' to 'Princess Name' and 'Your Highness' but I haven't been able to confirm this.

ETA: She's assumed legitimate. (In other words she's one of those 'secret babies' the Spanish Court were so fond of believing in.)

The second question - I'm looking for information about doctors in the French Army in the last days of the Old Regime, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era. I have a character I'd like to have been a surgeon's apprentice as a child in the French Army when they were helping out with the American Revolution and somehow go from there to formal medical training to being a full-fledged physician; most probably by saving the life of someone important who then became his patron. Would this be plausible and, given the breaking-down of class barriers over the next couple of decades, would it be possible for him to be held in high-respect by the beginning of the Napoleonic era?

General resources about what he would have been expected to know would also be awesome.

For the first I've already tried googling "Princess Courtesy Title History", "Princess Courtesy Title Elizabethan" and variations thereof and I've been reading contemporary writing about the various Tudor kings' daughters to see how people referred to them. For the second I've tried "French Medical History", "Napoleonic Medicine" and "Revolutionary France Army Medicine" and such-like. Got a lot about the history of the guillotine but not much else.

Blindness & white eyes

Setting: Miamia, FL, USA, present day, this universe
Research done: Wikipedia on Blindness; googled "white eyes blindness", "disease white eyes blindness", and variations thereof.

My main character (A) meets another character (B) in 1986. A then meets B again in 2008/9, by which time B has gone totally blind and has white, cloudy eyes. I need to figure out how B got blind. At this point, I'm open to any method -- injury, disease, exposure to something -- but the end-result has to be total or near-total blindness and white eyes. (The white eyes are a plot device further along in the storyline.)

From my research I've found that the white, cloudy eyes happens sometimes due to some sort of white coating over the eyes or really bad cateracts or something (all of which can be removed with surgery, but let's just assume that my character is too poor and doesn't really care to remove it).

Character B (who goes blind) is a female of indeterminate European origin (ex. if some ethnic group is more susceptible to some disease, she could suddenly become predominantly that). In 1986 she's 22 years old, so by 2008/9 she's 44/5. She's a bartender so a chemical spill at a lab would be a little far-fetched/take some work to make believable.

Is there a disease that would leave her with a white film over her eyes? I know that direct injury to the eye (ex. stabbing) could leave it cloudy, but I really need it white and cloudy. Or some sort of accident or injury that would have the same effect? It has to be permanent, so even if it's a white film of some sort that can be removed by surgery, that removal can't restore her sight.

If there really isn't anything that fits character B could always go with the "I don't want to talk about it" excuse, but I'd kind of like some sort of explanation that is reasonably believable.

Thanks in advance.