May 8th, 2009

Causes of chronic back pain and motorcycles

Normally I'd do a lot of research about this, but it really is a little detail to the particular story I am writing. This question has two parts!

One! I'd like an injury or disease that would cause chronic back pain and maybe make a formally active person not so active any more. I know herniated disks or sciatica can do that but I think those heal too quickly and completely. The guy with a bad back was pretty strong at time of injury and in his mid 30s.

Two! Given the injury in number one, I'd like the best kind of motorcycle for him to ride.

Thank you very much!

Superficial Gunshot Wound to the Head

Time: Modern, occurs in a hospital surrounded by doctors
Age: Fifty-ish
Weapon: Handgun of sorts?
Searched: Any combination of the words ‘gunshot’, ‘bullet’, ‘wound’, ‘head’, ‘ear’, 'cheek', ‘superficial’, ‘shallow’, and ‘non-lethal’. Mostly got sites about people were shot through the brain and lived.

I have a character who I need to pass out and bleed a lot from a gunshot wound, but without it being actually serious. I figured that a gunshot to head probably would be what I’m looking for. However, I have no idea what kind of damage getting nicked by a bullet would do to you. O.o Thus, my question:

Is it possible for a bullet to graze the cheek and nick off part of the ear? Would this cause unconsciousness (even if it is only briefly) and a scary amount of blood to pool around the victim’s head (from a bystander’s position)? If so, what kind of hospitalization would be needed for that kind of wound? Overnight care? Or could the character be released safely after a few hours (possibly AMA)?

Thanks for all your help!

Russian diminutives for "Irina"

I've been thinking of writing a story set in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, and I'm curious about the different diminutive forms of the name Irina.

Googled: Russian diminutive names irina ira

In my searches, I've found lists of names and nicknames, but nothing to indicate which name would be appropriate (or, even better, inappropriate) to use by people in certain kinds of relationships with her. This wonderful website lists the following nicknames for Irina: Ira, Irinka, Irinochka, Irisha, Irishka, Irinchik, Irunchik.

I'm guessing that Ira is the "standard" nickname, like Kate is for Katherine. My character is going to have a twin brother, so besides Ira...
  • which of those names would be appropriate for him to use as a child and (if different) as an adult?
  • What would be mildly condescending for him to use? (Say she's being unreasonable and he's trying to sweet-talk her into agreeing with him?)
  • What would be entirely inappropriate coming from him (better suited for a husband)?
  • Of the names above, would Irinchik/Irunchik be used by, say, her grandfather when she's a very young girl?
Also, I really like the name Irishka -- what connotations does that have, and who shouldn't use it?

Thank you in advance!

Coptic Pilgrimages To Jerusalem, Relationship between the Coptic church and the Latin church

Setting: Historical fantasy (based on the real world, but magic works and my Copts have cat ears and tails due to their ancestor's reverence for cats) set in the Early Middle Ages. The novel I'm currently prewriting will be set in Germany and Scandianvia. It follows the kidnapping of a young, half-Coptic squire by vikings, and his father's quest to get him back. At any rate, it's set in East Francia, essentially in the 800s. I just realized that Britain might make a better setting then Germany, because it was less organized and suffered more from Vikings.

Anyway, the backstory I dreamed up for my Coptic knight, to get him out of Egypt and into a fief in Germany was that he was a Coptic sheepherder who went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and met a Frankish prince there, and wound up saving his life from thieves. In gratitude, the prince knighted the shepherd, and when he became king, he gave the knight a fief and the title 'Count'. Anyway, I was wondering if:
a. Copts at that time made pilgrimages to Jerusalem?
and
b. If a typical Latin-rite layman or priest would regard a Copt as a heretic, and vice-versa. (I know about the unpleasantness in 451, but was it still a live, important issue?)

I've done extensive google and wikipedia searches, and found one google books result that seemed to indicate that the answer to my first question is 'yes', but I couldn't find it again, and I found nothing about relations between the Latin Rite Catholics and the Oriental Orthodox after the Moslem conquest of Egypt. I would guess that the answer is 'almost nothing' beyond the bare fact that they're fellow Christians, but I don't want to rely on just a guess. I know this is an obscure question, and if someone could just point me twords some good references, I'd appreciate it.

Edit: So Britain, not Frankonia, and the king meets the Copt in Egypt, not Jerusalem, when he saves the king from Moorish bandits. Britain should be easier to write, anyway, because I can use my undergraduate books (I was a history major), and I have a much wider range of dates in which to set my story, from the first raid on Lindisfarne (793) to the rise of Alfred the Great (878).

Medical facilities at Bagram Air Base around 2004-2005

I've whumped my character thoroughly, now I need help figuring out how to put him back together.

Long story short: my MC is a Delta Force operative who was tortured over several hours with drugs, most notably quinuclidlyl benzolate (QB) and mescaline. When he's rescued, he has trouble breathing and several lacerations all over his body, but no broken bones or other injuries. He needs to be on a ventilator for his breathing and to stabilize him until the drugs are out of his system (36-48 hours, or thereabouts.)

Would there be adequate medical facilities at Bagram Air Base to accomodate him? I know that there's currently a 50-bed hospital, but what about in 2004/2005? And assuming Bagram couldn't take him, where would he go? Rammstein Air Force Base, or is that AF only? Germany?

After he's well enough to be discharged from hospital, he's given a couple of weeks of convalescent leave. Could he leave directly from the hospital to the States, or would he have to go back to where his unit is currently based (Bagram) for processing and stuff before he can get a transport back?
The latter option would make things a lot easier on me, so I hope it's possible even if not common.

Googled: Bagram Air Base hospital in various combinations, but that only gets me current info and not the dates I need.


(crossposted to military_beta )

Dislocated Hip: Walk, Drive? (Injuries to order.)

Thank you to everyone who helped with my last request. I'm sorry to be back so fast!

Setting: San Diego, modern day.
Googled: "walk dislocated hip", "walking ability dislocated hip", "hip dislocation", "hip reduction", "closed hip reduction", etc. all with and without "acquired" and with and without "-congenital."

During a brawl, my protagonist is grabbed by the shoulder and thigh, spun and thrown bodily against a dumpster. The attacker lets go of her shoulder first, and then her leg. I would like this maneuver to dislocate her hip.

1. Googling tells me this injury occurs when the hip joint is subjected to "adduction, internal rotation, and some degree of flexion." So, knee slightly bent, moving from an outward position to an inward position (relative to the spine) and rotated inward (knee joint rotating inward.)

Did I interpret that right? My medicalese is weak, and I'm having trouble visualizing those three factors together.

2. Could someone with a dislocated hip walk a short distance (ten feet) with a cane? Could that person sit and drive with the other leg, or would the pain be debilitating?

Does this prognosis change if this is an open traumatic hip dislocation?

3. Googling indicates the joint can be popped into place using a procedure I won't have to describe --fortunately. If the displacement is a simple posterior displacement, is this correct, and how much pain relief will follow the procedure?

Personal experiences with acquired hip dislocation would be appreciated, too, if you feel like sharing a war story. Every detail helps.

Thank you!

Regarding Moons and Asteroid Rings

Setting/Genre: fantasy; Earth-like world
Research: I've been reading up on the moon, but I'm at a loss for a specific term to look up. I've dug through the archives here, of course.

I've been world-building, and I decided that the planet my story is set on does not have a moon; it does, though, have an asteroid ring. How would this affect environmental things like tides? I know that if our moon were closer, the tides would be stronger, but I'm not sure how to apply that fact to my fantasy world. (Can you tell I'm not a science person?) Would the asteroid belt be visible at night, reflecting sunlight like the moon? Would a group of asteroids be recognizable (to mark the passage of time, like a month)? Would the ring always be visible, or always be in the same spot in the sky?

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of relevant questions, but these are the only ones springing to mind at the moment. Thanks everyone!



EDITED TO ADD: Thanks for your input, everyone! I see I have a lot more research ahead of me.

Russian Translation: "General Winter"

The Russian Winter is sometimes nicknamed "General Winter" for its effect on invaders. Does anyone know the equivalent of this nickname in the Russian language? I would like to know both the Cyrillic and anglicized names, please. I wikied "Russian winter" and followed the See Also links. I found "rasputitsa", but that does not appear to be the same thing. I also found this which gives me "мороз красный нос". Is this correct? I wanted to double-check with a native speaker.
Thanks for your help!

Emergency tracheotomy

Setting: modern day Japan, a fictional suburb of Tokyo. My main character, KI, has on his hands a person with a blocked trachea. An ambulance has been called, but there's heavy traffic, and the lead up to the situation (a gas explosion in a cafe) has caused snarl ups in all the surrounding streets. KI is injured as well, but he's still capable of helping other people, is ignoring how hurt he is and is rather stubborn and resistant/used to physical pain.

Some of these questions I couldn't think of how to search for.

The rest under a cut for length and to protect the squeamishCollapse )

That's all I can think of for now.

Search terms: 'tracheotomy' 'Japan air ambulance'