November 9th, 2011

Acclimatization for the newly blind

This sure feels like a topic for which I ought to be able to find ample material, but as usual, my lack of Google mojo prevails. Hopefully one of you lovely people can help me refine my searches or point me toward some good resources.

I have a character (male, if it matters) in his late 30s, who has recently been blinded as the result of an illness (complete blindness, death of optic nerve). While he will have as much assistance as can be offered, the technology and medical resources available to him will be roughly analogous to what was available in 1930's Europe. In addition, his position requires him to recover (insomuch as this is possible) very quickly, so he will have to begin relearning how to get around and adapt to his blindness without much delay.

I don't necessarily need to know precisely how he'll be taught to orient himself, use a cane, or do any of the myriad tasks that the sighted take for granted, but a basic understanding would be extremely helpful as there will be instances where I need to show some of this happening. Any and all information in this area will be gratefully received, and please don't hesitate to inform me of other challenges he would face of which I may be unaware.

Additionally (and this is a harder question), how does one cope emotionally with such a drastic change in lifestyle? I know this is an extremely subjective question, but again, if anyone has insight to offer I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you all!!

Search topics include: newly blind, rehabilitation for the newly blind, acclimatization for the newly blind, learning to live with blindness. I have also posted a question (unanswered) on the AFB forum. Most of my search queries have come up with organizations who provide assistance for the blind, but with no explanation of the services they offer.

Rotten meat broth

This is a disgusting question, and search engines are failing me.

My character lives in the mid-1820s, alternate universe. She's an early microbiologist, experimenting in putrefaction with, amongst other things, meat broth.

What I want to know is:

a) If a flask of meat broth, previously heated to preservation point and then opened, were left open for a short amount of time (less than a day) in a house before being re-corked, how long would it take to get visibly nasty to the naked eye? 1820s house, so no refrigeration or similar. I'm assuming a good seal on the bottles.

b) Is it going to be just full of mould, or is it also going to be teeming with pathogens? Ideally I'd like bacteria that are going to give her food poisoning or something else vile if she's stupid enough to drink it after straining off the (visible) mould. Is this plausible? She doesn't know what they are anyway, so precisely which organism is fudgeable.

c) What's it going to smell and taste like, if she filters off the mould? I was brought up vegetarian, so I don't actually know what eg rotten meat smells like, let alone what it tastes like, and I'd honestly rather not find out first hand! :P

If anyone can help, that'd be brilliant! I've tried searching for all permutations of meat broth, rotten meat broth, rotten meat, smell, in all the combinations I could think of.

ETA: Yes, she is doing this deliberately - if it were just the food poisoning I wanted there are far better ways, indeed. She's developing a germ theory, has a point to prove, and has gone slightly off her rocker. :D