September 8th, 2010

bed and gun

Cause for a heart arrhythmia.

Setting – United States, 2010.

Question- I need a good underlying cause for a heart arrhythmia in a 22 year old character. The character has a history of cocaine abuse and complications in pregnancy (pre-eclampsia/HELLP syndrome). The cause needs to be something that could of gone undetected until now, though the character hasn't had much medical attention before. She would have ignored many symptoms unless they seemed life threatening which would aid in the problem being undiagnosed.

Also if something would fit better then an Arrhythmia I'm open to other ideas.

Searches- I've researched different sorts of arrhythmias, the affects of cocaine on the vascular system, congenital heart defects, there are just so many different variations that I can't seem to organize my own thoughts and figured maybe someone else would have a good idea.
coffee and cookie

brain tumor phantom smells

Setting: modern day

Googling "brain tumor phantom smell" only game me general information and nothing about how it's experienced. Do they come and go, or are they constant? Is the onset sudden? How frequently and how regularly do they happen? How long do they last (hours? days? years? minutes? seconds?)? Is it possible for a phantom smell to be experienced in one particular place?

One scene I was thinking of is my character experiencing the phantom smell outside the bedroom, and just outside. The smell disappears when he goes to the bedroom, and reappears when he comes out. In another scene, he's doing something, maybe on his laptop, when he has the phantom smell experience again, but just for a few moments. In both instances, it came and went suddenly.
prisma awesomeness, doodle, characters

Father gaining sole custody of child/NICU wards

Setting: New York City, twelve years in the future.

I have a general idea of how this kind of thing works, my parents are foster parents, but in Texas, not New York, where laws are different. All things considered, especially since the story is twelve years in the future, laws are different/will be different, and there is room for some tweaking (laws change all the time, who knows where it would be twelve years in the future?).

Googled New York Custody Laws. Found out that they strictly view it in the best interest of the child, and neither mother or father have 'dibs'. Custody is determined by who is the primary caregiver/spends the most time with the child. I also found that the child has to have lived there for a minimum of six months or it goes by the state. Mental and physical well being is taken into consideration as well. I haven't been able to find anything on NICU wards that I'm looking for. I found out that standards for NICU wards vary state to state, but some standards include, aside from the medical requirements like preventing airborne infections, adequate hand washing stations, ect, having an area for the family to be able to store their things, and even sleep nearby if they wish, as well as having adequate privacy to meet with people like church clergymen. Search terms include NICU wards and for specifics that go into what is involved with a baby born somewhere between 28 and 31 weeks (I haven't decided on which yet, but I want it to be somewhere in the range of three months premature). The March of Dimes site has good information, but it's very general and limited to statistics on what the child is at risk for, what kind of health problems, what the baby will weigh, etc, but nothing on what happens AFTER the baby is born.

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Any help on this would be most appreciated.

Death Lore

Hello everyone!

Background: Not really important, but it's more or less modern day small town America. My main character is a mortician called Lyle.

What I'm Looking For: Myths/legends/folklore/fables/tall tales which contain a protagonist who somehow cheats Death or strikes a deal with Death for his own benefit, only to be bitten in the ass by his choice. I'd prefer American stories, but non-American is okay too. My problem to date hasn't necessarily been too few results so much as too many results, and of those, many are too short or don't involve a real deal per se.

Terms Searched: death folklore, death lore, death fables, USA death tall tales, etc.


Lost at Sea -- Floating in Salt Water

MY SITUATION: I've got two characters trapped in the bore of an abandoned oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. They have some minimal supplies, including wetsuits, and the rig itself provides them some shade and shelter, but there's no way for them to get out of the water--the sides of the bore are smooth and un-climb-able. They're going to be stuck there for many hours, if not a couple days. I'm assuming they've got food and drinking water for the duration, and possibly sunscreen/lotion of some kind. I'm trying to figure out the long-term effects of being in the water that long, particularly on their skin.

I GOOGLED: various combinations of the terms "lost at sea" "salt water/sea water," "boil/blister/burn," "skin damage," and "shipwreck"

I LEARNED: Most of what I found were recommending salt water for first aid or beauty reasons, or were about chemistry/physics. :-/ A couple sites pointed out that the salt water will dry out skin, which might lead to redness, chapping and cracking, but didn't offer a lot of details. I seem to remember seeing a documentary once about WW2 sailors lost at sea in the Pacific for days, and one of the survivors talked about how horribly raw his skin was, but I don't know if that was just from the sea water or a combination of salt and sunburn.

I'm just trying to figure out what their condition would be when help finally did arrive--I know they're going to be pretty exhausted and probably hypothermic, but just how bad will their skin be, especially hands and feet? What could they be doing to protect themselves while they're waiting for rescue?