June 19th, 2009

Drug to cause dizziness, inability to concentrate, and nausea

Hello!

I seem to have written myself into a corner, and now I need to find a drug to fit this situation. The character in my fanfic has a canon-documented ability to either stop her own heart, or at least slow it down enough to cause a heart monitor to flat-line. It's assumed that she does this through some form of meditation. She's been captured, and her captors are trying to prevent her from killing herself before they can get the information they need out of her (she's more than willing to do, as they plan on killing her anyway). They worry that she'll manage to stop her own heart and kill herself--something she's threatened when under torture in the past in canon. So... drugs.

The drug would have to (a) cause a complete inability to focus or concentrate, (b) cause memory problems while on the drug such as trouble remembering names or facts, (c) cause intense dizziness/vertigo and/or nausea and vomiting, (d) not be addictive, and (e) not be fatal in regular doses.

The people torturing her work for a top-level secret government agency, and their resources are basically limitless, so just about anything would work as long as it's not fatal.

If such a drug exists, what other side-effects would it cause? How long would it take to wear off, and what would the effect of the drug being given to her long term be? Could she feasibly build up a tolerance for the drug? How quickly would the drug take effect?

Any help you folks could offer would be greatly appreciated! :)


*Already Googled: drug-induced disorientation, disorienting drug, hallucinogenics, mind-control drugs, drug side-effect dizziness, drug side-effect concentration

Edit: Thanks, everyone! I think I found the perfect one using some of the links below. :) I appreciate your help!!! :D
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Albinism and Vision

Hokay. I'm writing a YA fantasy novel (alternate world sword-and-sorcery) with a character who has OCA type 1 albinism. Due to the setting, none of the characters knows the basic causes of his coloring or how they might relate to the vision issues he has. And that's what I'm trying to determine - exactly what vision issues he ought to have.

I've checked out the site of the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation, and the About.com and Wikipedia articles, and Googled various permutations of "albinism" and "albino." I've seen repeated mentions of nystagmus, and of light sensitivity (which I'd kind of assumed), but I also get the impression that albinism is associated with a wide variety of vision problems. And then today I asked my optometrist, and he responded that "pretty much all" people with albinism are legally blind, that most have nystagmus, and that all of those he treats are colorblind (including African-Americans, who have some pigmentation even with albinism). I was surprised to hear about the colorblindness, and asked whether this varied depending on what type of albinism or how severe it was. He said no.

(I know not all people with albinism are colorblind. There is an account on the NOAH website wherein an albinistic person tries to describe his vision, and it sounds mostly pretty good - probably better than mine! :P)

My character definitely has light sensitivity. He wears tinted spectacles and carries a parasol outdoors, as well as having a small amount of magic geared toward protecting him from sunlight. (Despite being sword-and-sorcery, my fantasy world is closer to Elizabethan or even early Stuart-era technology than being really medieval, and of course magic plays a role as well.) But what I'm wondering (finally, the question!): How likely is he to have other serious eye issues? I have no problem with giving him nystagmus if that's very common, and I don't mind making his spectacles partly corrective. Because of the influence of magic, to which this (wealthy) character would have access, the lenses could even potentially correct for colorblindness or other issues.

I don't want to write this character in a way that's cliched or, worse, uninformed. (He's not evil, so that's a start, right?) So I would certainly be grateful for any other advice on what to do or not do with him. Thank you all!

P.S. If my optometrist is way off, please don't rag on him too much. He's a nice guy who practices in a small town, and may have a limited sample. He means well.

Terminal Illness for seemingly healthy elderly man

Forgive me, I haven't got a clue as to how to research this one. I've done a few searches on "diseases of the elderly," but what I'm looking for is so esoteric that I'm not getting anywhere.

I need an illness/disease that can do several things, all highly unlikely I'm sure, which is why I'd be eternally grateful to anyone who can point me in the right direction.

The time is present day, the place is Washington, D.C.

My character is a man in his mid to late eighties (although the age can be fudged several years if necessary). I need to find some sort of long-term terminal illness to kill him, which shouldn't be too hard, except:

1. I need him to be able to work (as a mild-mannered detective) until nearly the time of his death, within a few days at least. He can be too elderly to move around much, but he should not seem incapacitated.

2. He must know he is dying, but be able to hide it relatively well for the week or so he appears in my story. He may have pains or coughs, but dismiss them as normal for a man his age.

3. While he can appear frail and elderly, and even exhibit mild and/or chronic symptoms of something, I need him to appear more-or-less healthy for someone his age to the untrained eye. That is, he must not seem like he's about to die soon to someone who is not a doctor.

3. However--and here's the most important part--to someone who is (an almost preternaturally good) doctor, I need him to be recognizably sick with something long-term. He is not the patient of this doctor and is not examined by him, but runs across him in the course of an investigation. In other words, I need some sort of long-term illness where Doctor A could observe in the course of a few days, say, my character's odd-sounding cough and slightly jaundiced eyes or stiff joints and stomach pain (or whatever the symptoms might be, those are just examples), and say something like, "Why didn't you tell the others you were dying from Disease X?" So he can't be completely asymptomatic, either.

So that's not too much to ask, is it? *crosses fingers*

Hospital procedures

Time: Early-Mid 90s
Place: New York City
Searched: surgery room contamination, ambulance procedures

I have a character who has been mortally wounded by a knife and left in an alley. His boyfriend finds him and calls for help, when the ambulance arrives would they let him come along for the ride automatically? What is the protocol there?

Additionally, once arriving at the hospital, would the victim be admitted to surgery immediately since the wounds are pretty clearly life threatening? If so, the boyfriend would be seperated from him almost immediately upon entering the hospital correct?

How would the hospital explain what happened? One of my betas said that my use of "... the stab wounds were deep..." isn't appropriate terminology but I have no idea how else they'd describe them. Penetrative wounds perhaps?

Finally, as far as protocol goes, I've been ignoring the fact that they're gay and the boyfriend is obviously panicking so it's obvious that they're together. If this would have any significant effect on interactions at the hospital that would be nice to know as well.

Many thanks, my google-fu is rather weak.