May 10th, 2014

Pretty Blue Tom

Rehabilitation after total glossectomy (complete removal of the tongue) and accompanying PTSD

Setting: modern day
Search Terms: "speech after loss of tongue" "rehabilitation after cutting out tongue" "rehabilitation after total glossectomy" "speech without tongue" "swallowing without tongue"

I'm in the idea phase of a story involving a major character whose tongue has been cut out. I managed to stumble across the proper medical term, so I now know that it is possible to pretty much completely regain speech, and to swallow at least functionally without a tongue. My question is how exactly that rehabilitation would take place. Beyond someone mentioning that her therapists had started her with swallowing water (that is apparently the hardest thing to swallow because it is very thin?), I haven't found anything that goes into detail. I don't need intimate knowledge or anything, just a sort of general understanding of how the mechanism would even happen. For example, would one have to tilt their head back and shake it to get anything solid back into the throat to swallow it, or is there some more elegant solution? I can't really find anything with that.

Beyond the purely physical, I am wondering what effect his psychological condition would have on his ability to speak. It seems from what I've been reading that a person's belief in whether or not they can speak without a tongue is largely the determining factor in whether they will in fact be able to speak or not. There were some very interesting accounts from Persia, where there apparently is/was a belief that cutting off the tip of the tongue will prevent people from speaking again, but cutting off the whole thing will leave speech intact.

Anyways, my character would have had his tongue removed forcibly while he was a prisoner of war, which I imagine would leave him with some pretty intense PTSD. Most of the modern stories I've read have been about people who voluntarily underwent the procedure to get rid of cancer, so they had plenty of time beforehand to reconcile themselves to what was going to happen, and had already decided that it was the best option. For my poor guy, this was a calculated act of violence intended to break him and his fellow prisoners. I'd imagine the mental conditions afterwards would be vastly different, especially as he remained in captivity for a few months after having his tongue removed. If personality matters at all, I would be happy to elaborate on his.

As a final consideration, modern patients getting total glossectomies will have tissue grafted from elsewhere during the surgery to fashion a sort of placeholder tongue. Obviously, that is out of the question for my character, and I wonder how much of a difference that would make to his recovery.

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment y'all can provide.

Fact checking Comanche mourning traditions

Setting: 1860-1870

Researched: Googled "Comanche death rites", "Comanche funeral rites", "Comanche traditional death rituals", re-read Herman Lehmann's first person narrative.

Situation/background: My (male) MC is a bounty hunter who brings in the dead body of a Comanche warrior with a bounty on his head. MC also happens to be a "white Indian" (who was adopted into a Comanche tribe at a young age and later rejoined white society; this is show canon for the character) and the bounty he brings in happens to be his adopted brother. Now I'd like for my MC to have shown his grief at killing his brother by cutting his arms/torso as was the custom among the Comanche people (from what I've been able to find, ritualistic cutting was a traditional sign of grief). However, except for a single reference in Wikipedia, it appears that this custom was only practiced by the dead man's female relatives, and was not practiced by the males of the tribe. I'm now suffering on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, I really don't want to incorrectly portray traditional customs, especially if having my MC cut himself in mourning would be taboo or somehow indicate that he considered himself female (especially since that would require researching transgender roles in Comanche society in the 1860s and that's a rabbit hole I'd prefer to not go down right now), but on the other hand until I tried to find a secondary support for Wikipedia's assertion I had planned on using this as a means of moving the story forward.

So I guess I have two questions:

1. Does anybody have a good primary source for Comanche funeral rites that would tell me one way or the other if only the women of the tribe would cut themselves as part of the mourning rites?

2. If my MC knows he's the only person who will know that this particular Comanche is dead (or knows that this particular warrior has no female relatives to mourn him), would it be acceptable for him to show his grief by ritualistic cutting (in addition to other mourning/funeral rites) even if that's something only the women do, or would he never even consider this course of action?
Action Hero

1745 Jacobite Rebellion

I found in the book by Daiches (below) that Bonnie Prince Charlie was related, through his mother, to Queen Marie Leczinska of France. I haven't been able to find out the exact relationship. Can anyone help?

Also, Gaelic speakers, and I have no idea how to search for this: Are boats referred to as “she” in Gaelic?

Research - Some trawling about on the net, including, which is less helpful than I'd hoped; ditto Wikipedia.
Books - Daiches: Charles Edward Stuart
Duffy: The '45
Louda and MacLachlan: Lines of Succession
Taute: Kings and Queens of Great Britain

Thank-you for any help!