April 13th, 2011

Romola - Sunshine

Causes for Temporary Blindness; Everyday Obstacles for the Blind

 Hi all! 

I'm working on a White Collar story (so, present day) where Neal Caffrey is injured in the line of work, and goes temporarily blind. I would really like to make the story about dealing with temporary blindness, and not the threat of permanent blindness...so, I'm hoping it's possible to come up with something that the doctors can (with fair certainty) diagnose as temporary.

I plan on the story taking place in the winter--and I was thinking the injury could involve Neal being shoved by a suspect who's trying to flee, and Neal could wind up slipping on some ice and cracking his head. Is there any plausible way this could cause temporary blindness? 

If that's not realistic, I'm open to other causes. I'm just trying to come up with something not too dramatic/life-threatening. I've tried researching via Googles, entering in phrases about "temporary blindness," and "cortical visual impairment" sounded like a possibility. But the more I tried to pin down definitions of what it is, exactly, the more confused I got. It seems to primarily be a problem for children, and doesn't always mean complete blindness--but it can be caused by injury, and happen to adults (and can be temporary)? Yeah, I could be way off base, there. I'm not very good at interpreting medical-ese jargon. *blushy*
Any ideas would be appreciated. I need as simple a solution as possible, but I really want to make it sound believable. 
Secondly, I'm wondering if anyone can give me any advice/ideas/suggestions about everyday obstacles blind people face. I've read about a lot of the annoying misconceptions (like the irony of people talking really loud, as if blindness makes it difficult to hear and understand--while, at the same time, assuming blind people automatically have some kind of superhuman hearing). But, for someone newly blind, what would be some of the biggest surprises and dilemmas to learn to work around? What might be some of the most infuriating (subtle, or overt) prejudiced mind-sets someone who's blind would encounter in the work place?  (For anyone who doesn't watch White Collar, Neal is an ex-con man who serves as a consultant for the FBI.) If you know someone who's blind, are there any particular situations of thoughtless social slighting they get from people that frustrate them? 
I'll admit, I have very little experience, here, and I really want to treat the subject with respect. I don't plan on Neal being helpless or incompetent, but I do want to explore the learning curve someone who's blind goes through, and the fears involved. 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the subject!
ETA: To clarify, by "temporary blindness" I mean several weeks, at least. Around a month would be optimal. Thanks for all the suggestions so far, too. I'm still struggling to pin down something plausible as a cause for the blindness, but I really appreciate all the thoughts.

Buckingham Palace floorplan?

I'm writing a steampunk Victorian era novel, and someone is murdered in a palace much like Buckingham. Is there a way that I can get a detailed floorplan of the palace? I have searched google for maps but have not been able to find much that is very detailed, I assume for security reasons. If you know of a good map, I would very much like to know where I could look at one online.

Is someone able to tell me enough about what the interior would be like in where the royal bedrooms are in reference to dining rooms, ball rooms, offices, drawing rooms, and the like? Which floor is the Queen's room on? Any info you have on the interior, including what it looks like, would be a great help.