I'm writing a short-story, set in Oxford University during the 1910s (think Maurice and Brideshead Revisited and you're on the right track). The story centre on a student and his first year at Oxford, the ups and downs and all that jazz. Now, the crux of the matter is that a major plotline is the character's struggle against his disease. I've combed the community's tags, searched Wikipedia and used Google to a point of abuse, and I think I might have come up with something. The disease is one he got when he was a child and is still struggling with, but it's not supposed to be 100% fatal or utterly crippling. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (or Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which one am I to use?) seems to fit the bill, but I can't for my life find when the JRA was "discovered".
So, my questions are the following: Was JRA known in the very late 1800s/very early 1900s? What was the treatment for it in those days? If it wasn't known, what disease could I use instead? (A vague wave in the general direction would suffice here.)
Also: The character is, slowly but steadily, on the road to recovery; however, would he not be allowed to study at Oxford if he was ill?
I apologise if I've been ignorant here or have used inappropriate words (English is not my native language, and I'm still trying to figure out the difference between "illness" and "disease", among other things); I do hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings! Asking about diseases/illnesses/handicaps/ disorders is always tricky. I'm rather familiar with the various forms of autism and the ADHD/ADD disorders, but not so much with physical ones. I hope I haven't dropped a clanger here!
Thanks in advance!