August 1st, 2015

Silver Fox

Diagnosis to order

You people were so great, I came back for more :)

Setting: our world sometime in future, technology is a bit more advanced but not unrecognizably so.

Character A is a man in his fifties, who used to be very athletic (army), but approximately ten years ago suffered a serious injury - a stab wound from a blade weapon, probably to his side or abdomen. He had also fractured his dominant wrist, which resulted in permanent stiffness. Spent a year or so in various hospitals, then retired from the army and went on to become a... let's say, for simplicity's sake, a politician. He doesn't smoke, doesn't drink much, and generally tries to keep in shape.

Character A gets poisoned. It doesn't matter how or with what at this point, if need be I'll invent some futuristic substance. What matters is that the poison either causes or convinsingly imitates an attack of some familiar disease.
I'm looking for what disease that might be. It needs to be something unsurprising, so it doesn't arouse too much suspicion right away. It would also be awesome – but not comepletely necessary – if it could be linked to Character A's old injuries.


  1. The poisoner does NOT intend to actually kill the victim. However, they're counting that the victim will receive advanced medical care within 15-20 minutes of the attack. So the disease needs to be something that is fairly unlikely to kill right away, but it's okay if it's likely to kill within the next couple of hours/days/weeks – they may have invented a reliable treatment for it in the future.

  2. The patient must be unable to coherently communicate with anyone for at least two days after the attack. I mean, anyone and by any means. Unconsciousness is best, failing that - high fever and total lack of making any sense. He has information he wants to share, which I as an author don't want him to share yet. If it helps, the poisoner did not necessarily plan for that – they just wanted to keep the guy from being too active and getting underfoot. Uncommunicativeness could result from unexpected complications or unforseen drug allergies (although unforseen drug allergies are kind of unlikely, seeing as he had spent so much time in hospitals just ten years earlier - they probably know what he is allergic to by now).

  3. Time limits. The patient collapsed approximately two hours after being administered the poison, so the disease needs to be something that develops fairly quickly. For these two hours, he was under a fair amount of psychological stress and may have taken a mild sedative. About an hour before collapsing, he was well enough to ditch his security and drive away. About twenty minutes before collapsing, he had some (unpoisoned) coffee and then proceeded to have a difficult conversation with a friend while walking down a street. The friend did not suspect any health issues until Character A actually started falling of his feet, but then, the friend has no medical expertise plus it was a very difficult conversation, so stuff like pallor and pained expression could have been attributed to emotions.

  4. The patient definitely needs to be talking, and, preferably, walking three weeks later.

Any ideas what it could be?
I've tried googling heart attacks (risk of instant death too high), acute cholecystitis (involves gallstones which probably won't develop in two hours), asthma (nice dramatic effect, but he'll start talking way too early), and pancreatitis (looks like it won't be sudden and incapacitating enough, plus I can't figure out if it can result from a ten-year-old injury).

UPDATE: Ok, so while the post was in pre-moderation, somebody suggested a solution, which I'd like to check for viability :)

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Am I overstretching the suspension of disbelief somewhere?