June 13th, 2014

Alan Shore looking

multiple myeloma, bone marrow transplants, hospital procedure, and an insurance question

Setting: Massachusetts, within the last five years.

I'm working on a fic about a doctor who befriends a cancer patient. Since I'm neither a doctor, nor do I have any experience with cancer (and I don't live in America), I'd really appreciate some help to get my facts straight. Cutting for length:

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4. Would the isolation room necessarily have to be in the ICU?

5. The first time my doctor skims her chart, what's a thing she might take notice of / check out specifically? (something like, "Her XXX was way down, but at least her YY count remained steady.")

6. When my doctor checks up on the patient, what monitors would she check? What kind of tests might she order? What would she write down on the chart? Assuming the patient remains stable.

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8. My patient had no health insurance when she was diagnosed with cancer. Am I right in assuming that she would not have been able to find an insurance company who'd take her on after that diagnosis? Because I have the rich dad of the fiancee paying her bills.

Google foo: all the variations of bone marrow transplants, multiple myeloma and its symptoms, isolation rooms, hospital procedure, hospital protocol. There's plenty of medical information, but none of it easily individualized. I found some awesome things on hospital procedures, and a couple of entries here on the comm on what medication she'd receive, what's it like in an ICU, what's the atmosphere. I'm all set on isolation room procedure, too.

I'd be grateful for anything you can help me with. Every additional realistic detail will make this a much better fic.

Former samurai as doctor in Tokugawa or Meiji-era Japan

Googled: ronin doctor, samurai as doctor, intermixed with various qualifiers like "edo" and such. Didn't get much and have been unable to find where I first saw the idea.

Setting: Original fantasy world influenced by Tokugawa or Meiji-era Japan.

Scenario: Though it is an original fantasy world, I rather like the idea of some of it being based of real life probabilities. If I can't find anything I'll just make something up. But in the course of my research for this part of my book, I came across the idea that a few ronin in Edo-era Japan became wandering doctors. I've been unable to find this information again, and I've searched the internet and my copy of Dunn's Everyday Life in Traditional Japan to no avail. Has anyone else encountered this? My questions are these: where, if anywhere, would they have gotten medical training? Or was it simply an occupation they fell into and became sort of hedge-doctors without any real knowledge (except maybe that of sword wounds)? How were they looked upon by society at large? Doctors were outside the class system but as former samurai there must have been a mixture of disdain (he's a ronin) and respect perhaps? What was a doctor's income in this era? I've written my character as poor - essentially requiring a move to the next village to ply his trade where he is sometimes chased out by doctors already in residence. Would it be likely that if he so desired he could settle and pursue his vocation either as a doctor in general or maybe even as wealthy family's doctor-in-residence?