May 31st, 2010


Living with a transfemoral amputation and prosthesis

Setting: future USA - Colorado, but not so future that the technology is completely unrecognizable.

My main character used to be a soldier, and lost his leg in an explosion; the amputation is about 4 inches above the knee. He had shrapnel wounds on both legs as well; the wounds were healed by magic, but only after a day of regular medical treatment. He has a prosthesis, which would be in the advanced range of modern prosthetic technology. He's had his prosthesis for about two years.

1. Would his stump or old wounds twinge or hurt during storms / bad weather / cold / etc? Would that make it uncomfortable to wear his prosthesis?

2. Can he exercise with his regular everyday prosthesis or would he need a specialized one? (He's a bit of a fitness nut so the exercise would be fairly strenuous.)

3. How would he get around while not wearing the prosthesis (getting up at night to go to the bathroom, etc)? Would he use crutches? If he didn't have those, would he hop? Crawl?

4. Would an ordinary bystander be able to tell he was wearing it? Would his gait be noticeably different, or would he "pass" fairly well?

5. It's his right leg, so would he be able to drive an unadapted car if necessary?

Research: various google searches on "amputation", "transfemoral amputation", "transfemoral prosthesis", looked at quite a few articles for new amputees and lots of stuff about rehab/physical therapy; almost all of the stuff I found was aimed at new amputees, but I couldn't find much stuff for living with the amputation after getting used to it.

Jobs in traditional one-man-and-a boy sailing crews

I was reading a post from last year on the smallest number of crew members a small sailing ship might have. (Link: and had an additional question for my story.

I found, thanks to the links, a number of accounts of such an arrangement, but none of them explained what the boy's specific responsibilities would be or, if the boy were being taught to sail, what would be the first types of things that boy would learn. (Here, Junior, steer this puppy!) What would be the part the experienced sailor or stronger adult would have to manage?

Also, is there a type of early Medieval sailing vessel that would fit this situation? My story takes place in Medieval times (which could include technologies from viking/saxon times but pre-Renaissance). I have some flexibility as this is a made-up world, but I do assume that I would be limited to an ocean-worthy sailing boat (likely, square-rigged) of limited size that could, in a pinch, be sailed alone, but would, preferably, have a senior and younger crew member. I was thinking a shallop would do, but my total lack of nautical knowledge makes me fear I'm being ridiculous. S.O.S., nautical history buffs!

Mesoamerican Rain Bird...?

When:  It doesn't really matter XD  Now but with some things from 1500's (more or less).  Er... it's a half-made world based on the Mesoamerican period and traditions but in part, in the 'now time'  (er...  I hope I made some sense here...).

Terms searched:  "Mesoamerican rain bird", "Rain bird", "Pájaro de lluvia" (this obtained a poem and a song, a page talking about raining animals and other strange objects, a book...), and read the wiki pages about the rain bird and american mythology and the Spanish version on "Dragon"  (Found a book, Spanish, by Yólotl González Torres, "Animales y Plantas en la Cosmovisión mesoamericana", reading it for more notes, but the question is faster =X  I hope...). 

The terms in English led me to a page of Hopi ceramic modeling the North American version of the Rain Bird, and pages depictiong  "Science Fiction Fantasy = Fantasy Creatures", Fantasy Kryptozoology (have the same list...), but for some reason I have found nothing in the existence of a Rain Bird version for Mesoamerica.

Now, my question is:

I already know that in Mesoamerica the Serpent was the symbol related to water, but I wonder if in Mesoamerica existed a bird version related to water and the rain, like in North American groups, or if it's just the serpent (Mixcóatl, Ehécatl, Kukulcán, Quetzalcóatl, etc.).

I want to make sure to use a correct animal for a thing I have in mind =P  For the moment, I've been using a Quetzal as a symbol, but this does not ring in my head nor in my searches =P  It's a small detail, because it's for a kind of seal that I want to have the figure of the animal related to rain, but I want to be sure on what to put.

And being here...  good books related to Mesoamerican cosmovision based on animal symbolism?  Until the moment, I have 3 books (again, in Spanish, by Mercedes de la Garza "El universo sagrado de la serpiente entre los mayas", by María del Carmen Valverde Valdés, "Balam : el jaguar a través de los tiempos y los espacios del universo maya", and finally, by Guilhem Olivier, "Tezcatlipoca : burlas y matamorfosis de un dios azteca")

Okay... not really sure how to tag this... 

Finals sure are tiring... *sigh*

In the end... I'm thinking about just changing it into a serpent...  But now I'm really curious to just change it without asking first XD