Settings: (Location of car accidents) Norway 1970s + 1980s (current) Canada, "now"
Search terms used: broken leg permanent damage, shattered leg permanent damage, shattered tibia, comminuted tibia, broken arm nerve damage, fractured radius nerve damage, leg brace, leg orthosis, arm brace, arm orthosis, fume exposure immune damage, chemical exposure immune damage.
I know, that sounds extremely morbid all jumbled together like that! Anyway, my story revolves mainly around a man's break down & recovery involving PTSD, which he suffers as a result of a series of tragedies in his childhood and teen years.
In very short summary, he was in a car accident at age 8 which killed his family, abused by one of the foster children taken in by his adopted family, and in another car accident at age 18. I need him to have physical reminders of these events, and I need them to be the sort of thing his children (his 10 year old son in particular) would ask about. And for simplicity's sake, let's use his name:
1. Age 8 car accident. 1970s, Norway, family living in Elverum at the time if it makes a difference, though they were likely travelling between towns at the time. The accident involves a chemical transport truck like the ones that carry feul to gas stations. Tobias' mother and older brother (10ish) die at the scene, and his father dies in transport to the hospital. Tobias needs to survive this accident intact with no major injuries to body or brain, though concussion & temporary amnesia are likely, but needs to be immune-compromised in some way as a result of exposure to the fumes from whatever chemical was being transported. The immune suppression (I think that's what I'm going for) need not be permanent, but needs to last long enough to make adjusting to a new family that much more miserable. Question: What was in the chemical transport truck? I'm thinking hydraulic fluid or hydraulic oil. Maybe it was en route to the nearest air port or something. Is that realistic? In order to make his lack of injuries more believable, it's perfectly fine to assume that the rest of the family died of exposure instead of their injuries.
2. Age 18 car accident. 1980s, Oslo, Norway. The car is T-boned on the driver's side while leaving a parking lot, so they were hardly moving but the other car was going reasonably fast. I haven't decided if this is an idiot speeding in the parking lot and they were reversing out of a stall, or if they were trying to exit the parking lot onto the road. Suggestions on which scenerio is more believable would be appreciated. Tobias is in the back seat behind the driver, and the other passenger is in the front seat beside the driver. The driver is a 17 year old girl (Kate) and the other passenger is a n 18 year old boy (Søren - all adopted by the same family).
I'm not sure if that violates any sort of driving permit laws at the time, I know they're breaking the law, Tobias was supposed to be driving, but Kate wanted to practice, and naturally Tobias isn't comfortable with that sort of thing so Søren sat shotgun with Kate. Tobias is injured the worst out of the three of them. Kate suffers minor broken bones (and by that I mean everything heals well and quickly), and Søren sustains only superficial injuries. Tobias was closest to the impact (point in favour of the car reversing from a parking stall). His left (lower) leg is shattered, his left (upper) arm is badly broken and he is pretty cut up on the left side of his face from the window breaking, but doesn't suffer any brain or vision damage. Concussion/choma (short term) is likely, and can be used if it hampers treatment of the leg and arm. 1-2 years later I need him relying on crutches or a cane. "Now" (20-30 years later), I need the following permanent state of his limbs: drop foot, generally "weak" leg, restricted knee mobility, arm function restricted in some way. He needs to wear a brace on both, though he can hobble around without the leg brace, and have a limp even with the brace on. (These factors are the reason his son will be asking so many questions.) The knee may or may not have suffered nerve, tendon and/or soft tissue damage as a result of the above-mentioned abuse from a foster sibling. In earlier drafts of the story this particular nasty foster child attacks Tobias with a knife. I'm thinking the broken leg from the car accident involves a seriously comminuted tibia & fibia (I'm hoping for closed, but if that's unrealistic that's okay) that doesn't heal well. For the arm, I'm thinking humerous fracture that results in a radial nerve injury. Question: Are these injuries & long-term results realistic? Should the knee itself be injured this time, or is the damage a combination of lower-leg trauma and the previous injury (foster sibling)? What type of brace is he wearing on his leg? What, in terms of function, has been lost in his left arm? Thanks in advance!