March 25th, 2014

[ANON POST] Chronic, Eventually Terminal Illness for Teenager

Setting: Present Day, Smalltown USA.

I'm currently looking for a chronic illness that a teenage character has been dealing with since childhood and has given her a lowered life expectancy (namely in her twenties, thirty at most). While there would be a lot of concessions to her health, she would still attend a normal high school and generally be able to maintain some independence (go for a walk with friends, learn how to drive), but I also want to avoid the appearance of a Soap Opera Illness where outside of the occasional hospital visit and sad sense of her diminished future, the character has no other complications. I've been leaning towards either something either heart or lung related, specifically one that requires a portable oxygen tank which would be manageable but require constant vigilance and provide an easy visual cue to her peers and the Main Character that this person is ill (also it's one of the few medical apparatuses I know anything about, outside of inhalers), but I haven't managed to hit on something that meets the aforementioned requirements, namely:

+ occurs in childhood
+ chronic and eventually terminal, at this time giving her a life expectancy between 5 and 12 years from the start of the story (currently aged 17)
+ could require a transplant
+ currently allows her some semblance of high school normality with concessions
+ heart or lung related, preferably involving to long-term oxygen therapy; heart would honestly work best within the story, but lungs are what I am most familiar with and google has at least told me that both use oxygen therapy as treatment so...

The closest I have come across is Cystic Fibrosis, but only because it's the only illness that meets those requirements that I can find information on relating to childhood and teenage experiences. The terms I have googled are "list of chronic illnesses/diseases", "list of terminal illnesses/diseases", "chronic terminal illness/disease", "illnesses/diseases that lead to lower life expectancy", "illnesses/diseases that cause death at a young age", "oxygen therapy", "illnesses/diseases/conditions that require lung transplant", and "illnesses/diseases/conditions that require heart transplant", not to mention a few others I can't recall at the moment. I read all the results on the first 3 or so pages of each search query. I also checked 'chronic illness', 'terminal illness', 'heart transplant', 'lung transplantation', 'congenital heart defect', and 'life expectancy', in Wikipedia, and 'congenital heart disease', 'congenital heart defect', 'heart transplant', and 'lung transplant' in WebMD. I also terribly reviewed the Make-a-Wish website for possibilities, which makes me the worst person ever. Any help and links to information, would be greatly appreciated!

Living in space

I'm writing a doctor who fic about a pilot traveling in space in a gunship as a minor character.  I'm stuck writing a scene about living quarters in the gunship.

I need the answers for two questions:

1. What are the general living conditions in space and what will happen after prolonged travel in space for more than three years?

2. How does someone take a bath or shower with or without water in space?

I did google this link that talks about using wet towels and foamless shampoos while wearing a cylindrical suit. But I wanted to know more information about having an actual shower in space.

European Christmas Decorations

I'm asking for a friend. She needs traditional Christmas decorations, in any European country, other than the ornaments in a Christmas tree. Ideally, something that is specific for just one country/culture, with a (somewhat) traceable history. (Or at least a timeline.)

(Example, in a description of a room this object would instantly place you on the map, and maybe give a clue to the date, even if very roughly.)

So far she has come up with "caganer" in Spain and "pajaki" in Poland. (If you have something to say about them, please do!)

Preferably, something that is still in use, but if you know of something your grandparents did that has since died out, that could be helpful too. If you know of a good resource (like a book, an article, or a web page), that could be helpful too. (She has access to many journals through the university library - if she only knew where to go look.)

Google searches tried: Christmas, + decorations, + traditions, + European, + Eastern-European, + Poland etc.

Similar key words in Wikipedia.

Some library searches, mostly getting arts and crafts hits