December 15th, 2009

late Georgian knowledge of the after effects of a fight

Does anyone know if late 18th century (circa 1795) English medicine had anything to say on what we currently think of as adrenaline? My character is sitting on the ground following a fist fight and he's shaking. My knowledge tells me he's shaking from the adrenaline rush and the abrupt end to the fight (they got caught by the steward of the estate) that left it with nowhere to go. The word 'adrenaline' wasn't coined until 1901, however, so I can't say it in those terms.

My usual resource for Georgian medicine (Google Book search with "return content published between" set to no later than 1815--fantastic resource for looking at period medical books BTW) is failing me because I can't think of what to search for.

This is a really small detail, but I think it would add to the texture of the story if I could address this in period authentic terms. Anyone have any ideas?

Audience member takes over leading role???

Does anyone remember the details of an occasion a few years ago where the leading (male?) singer in a prestigious opera performance was unable to go on and the management asked whether anyone in the audience knew the part and would be prepared to take over? IIRC someone came forward who was a student of opera and knew the role, albeit in a different language, and had to play the part in ordinary evening clothes, but they managed to put together a perfectly reasonable performance and the guy was told that he would definitely have a career to look forward to when he had finished his studies??? I suspect this happened in either Italy or New York where you could pretty well guarantee that you had an audience of the right sort of calibre!
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Flexibility of an embalmed corpse

I'm planning a story in a fantasy world with Victorian era steampunk technology levels, and one of the locations is a city-state ruled by necromancers. All the unkilled labour is done by zombies, and to increase their "lifespan" (and for hygiene issues), they're all embalmed before being animated. I've tried searching "embalming methods", "embalming side-effects", and "how flexible is an embalmed corpse", but can't find any information on whether an embalmed corpse would be able to move its joints and muscles. Can anyone help?

Memphis topography

This obviously isn't my real journal, but I need to protect my identity as this question pertains to my Yuletide fic. Hence, yuletidesock.

I need to know what the topography is like driving into Memphis, TN from the west (in 1987, if that matters). I'm really hoping there's a crest or ridge my characters could drive over and suddenly there's Memphis in the night all lit up--is this possible? Obviously there are probably suburbs and such but I'm hoping that the view, even from a bit far away, is one that will work.

Googled: Memphis topography, driving into Memphis, Memphis from west, and variations on these.

Epilepsy in children: book recs please?

One of the main characters in my sci-fi novel is a nine year old girl with a diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy. I'm gearing into heavy research mode, and I'm looking for reading material--books, especially, but also articles that might be available online. (What I wouldn't give to be back in college and have J-STOR at my fingertips--alas.) I'm having trouble tracking down stuff myself because . . . well, I was a humanities major. I just don't know where to start with science.

I've read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (on the recommendation from someone in my last post about this), and it was IMMENSELY helpful. But, now, I'm looking more for details of what epilepsy (specifically temporal lobe, but anything would be helpful) is like as a disease--treatment, prognosis, and day to day living.

I've been googling things like "temporal lobe epilepsy children", but most of what I'm getting is either general overviews (I think already I have a pretty good grasp of what TLE is in a very general sense) or abstracts of articles I can't access.

And, as long as I'm asking for book recommendations, I could also use more books about social work and foster care, specifically in response to medical conditions. (The family can't/won't seek medical care for the kid in the book, so the government gets involved. It's not set on Earth, but I figure finding out how other governments handle it would be helpful.) I probably can't beat The Spirit Catches You and You Fall down for sheer relevance, but more is always better.