Swan Tower (swan_tower) wrote in little_details,
Swan Tower
swan_tower
little_details

recommendations for a nineteenth-century disease?

Setting is secondary-world fantasy modeled on the nineteenth-century real world (there's no magic, and I'm not looking to invent a disease for the purpose). One of the characters in the book is an !English older, wealthy gentleman, and I need to give him some kind of chronic disease or condition.

My major criterion is that I need it to be something of the sort where a nineteenth-century doctor would prescribe a change of climate as his primary treatment. The patient was sent to "take the sea waters" on a warm island, but hated that and claimed it made him worse, so now he's taking a trip to a cold and mountainous region. Whether this is beneficial to him, detrimental, or completely ineffective depends on the disease or condition I choose; the story can accomodate any of the three.

The obvious choice is consumption/tuberculosis, since I know nineteenth-century doctors sent patients all over the place in the hopes of improving their health. (Mostly to places with dry air, like deserts, but mountains are also an option -- and really, it ain't hard to justify any climate within the bounds of nineteenth-century quackery.) I've already written a book with a consumptive character in it, though, and would like to not go back to that particular well just yet.

My second thought was malaria, since this character has traveled to tropical regions. It seems unlikely, though, that his doctor would have sent him to a warm island if he was suffering malarial relapses. And I may be giving a *different* character malaria later on in this series, so it might be good to save that. :-)

I'd love suggestions of other chronic conditions that were recognized in the nineteenth century. I've done a fair bit of research on the period, but the medical focus has usually been on acute diseases like cholera, measles, diphtheria, typhus, smallpox, etc, or else conditions of childhood malnutrition like rickets. Gout? Venereal disease of some sort? The guy isn't a womanizer, but it doesn't take a lot of sleeping around in that day and age to pick something up. Any details on how a given disease or condition was viewed in Victorian England, and what treatements were prescribed for it, would be appreciated.
Tags: 1800s (no decades given), ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: illnesses to order
Subscribe

  • 1930s era fighter pilots

    I'm so glad I discovered this community. I have maybe a broader question than can easily be answered here, but any finger points in the right…

  • Medical disqualification from combat pilot status

    When: early 1990s Where: real world Terms searched: "pilot status" + "medical disqualification" Query: I have a USAF pilot, flying F-15s starting…

  • Does this plane crash sequence work

    This is for my fungal zombies again. I've asked about most of this before, as well as having asked an aviation-crash expert I know, I'm just trying…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 21 comments

  • 1930s era fighter pilots

    I'm so glad I discovered this community. I have maybe a broader question than can easily be answered here, but any finger points in the right…

  • Medical disqualification from combat pilot status

    When: early 1990s Where: real world Terms searched: "pilot status" + "medical disqualification" Query: I have a USAF pilot, flying F-15s starting…

  • Does this plane crash sequence work

    This is for my fungal zombies again. I've asked about most of this before, as well as having asked an aviation-crash expert I know, I'm just trying…