July 12th, 2010


Muteness and Hospital Procedures

 Setting: Boston, 1992-1996

These actually have to do with two different stories, but the setting is the same. 

I know muteness is used a lot as a made-to-order malady, but my novel actually circles around my main character being mute. It deals with her alienation, as well as the circumstances in which she had throat cancer as a child. (It was right after her father died, so family drama). 

I know that total larynx removal leads to a stoma for life, which I don't want. Is it possible that a partial-removal could cause enough damage to the second vocal chord to render her speech altered enough that she might choose not to speak, or be mute but with limited breathing problems? If not, then I think the trauma of the illness, surgery, and huge family upheaval might led her to become selectively mute, without realizing this was the case when she is older. 

I want to be as true to life as possible in a fantasy novel! (Most of the novel is set in our world). I googled throat cancer and mutism to get the specifics, but wanted to run my situation by you all.

Secondly, a minor point. One of my characters is involved in a car accident that leads to the amputation of her leg. She's twelve. If it's a fairly bad accident in a northern suburb of Boston would she go to a local hospital or a larger one like Massachusetts General in the city? If she'd go local, what are the chances that a middle-schooler from the suburbs would be part of a gymnastics team in the city? I'm thinking slim, but I kind of want her in the city.... Googled info about hospitals outside of Boston, but didn't know what else to search.

Early 1940s-era doctor bag, and unrelated premodern surgery question

search: ("doctor bag" OR "medical kit" OR "first aid kit") (1940 OR 1942 OR 1943 OR "world war 2" OR ww2) and a few modifications
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She needs to have a medical kit, but I'm not sure exactly what it would look like, or what would be in it. Ideally, it should have enough equipment and supplies to handle any emergency likely to occur, up to and including at least minor surgery. With handling of major/life threatening stuff prioritized over handling nuisance stuff, of course, and more geared towards trauma than illness. And she'd want as much in the way of essential supplies as she could reasonably be expected to carry around, since she may on occasion be out of the usual supply chain.
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Is there anything else she's likely to need or want?
edit: looks like, thanks to a link I was given, I'm fairly good on drugs, but is there anything else in terms of equipment/tools that a surgeon would want for doing field surgery if required, that's within the range of what she can reasonably carry?
Son of edit: and am I hypothetically putting this doctor's kit in the right packaging, do you think, or do I need something more military-looking?

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Types of Alcohol / Drinking Games

I'm writing a story that revolves around a drinking game, but it occurs to me how lacking I am in the field of all things alcohol-related. (I'm underage and I don't intend to drink until I'm able to). I've tried googling various terms, but I feel like I need information from people that actually engage in drinking.

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Coma after a car accident

I'm here to seek counsel about a character's backstory, because I don't know if my idea would be in any way possible or not. The setting is modern-day Japan.

The character was victim of a car accident three years ago. The accident was just between two cars, ideally, but caused a great deal of injuries. My problem is this: I need the character to enter a brief coma (as in weeks, or a month at most), or be unconscious for that amount of time. Is there any way this could have happened, with the character being completely healthy (apart from bad eyesight, hazy recollection of the period before and after the accident, a very fragile constitution... and a strong dislike of cars) three years later? I'm aware of pharmacological coma, but from what I read it's only used for neurosurgery, which I'd prefer to avoid.

I didn't know what to google, so help with search terms would be great too.
Thanks in advance!