Spinal Cord Injury caused/complicated by previous broken vertebra.

Resurrected my ancient Livejournal account to ask a question about spinal cord injuries...

This question concerns an adult male soldier who is basically human and resides in a setting very similar to modern day earth. Assume medical knowledge is roughly equivalent to present day, but a lot of technology and treatment is beyond this character's reach as he lives in a war zone in a country that regards its working class citizens as disposable. He is injured twice in the course of the war: the second injury leaves him permanently paraplegic. Is it possible for a previous injury to his spine to cause a weakness or instability that might make it more likely that his spinal cord would be severed following a second injury to his back? I have referred to Primary Surgery: volume 2, Trauma and the Red Cross publication "war surgery", and have googled "consequences of untreated sci", "untreated, unstable spinal fracture", "bone fragment sci", "projectile retained in sci". (The last two because I was running out of ideas).

It's currently integral to the plot for him to be injured twice, briefly hospitalised the first time and then permanently disabled the second time. I wanted the second injury to be connected to the first injury but I am beginning to wonder if it's actually possible. Do I just make him unlucky and give him two separate, unconnected injuries, or is what I want possible?

Canada - alcoholism / food poverty plausibility, and specific foods eaten

I'm writing a story about a girl whose father was a cop in Toronto until his alcoholism took over and caused him to lose his job. I'm trying to confirm that the setup as I've got it is plausible, and also figure out some details of what they would eat.

The story is set in the late 1990s (circa 1998), and the daughter is approximately 16 at this point. Her dad's been out of work for over a year, and the mother is not in the picture at all. It's just the two of them.

Is the following plausible?
- The father's found some way of getting enough money to get drunk as often as he can (pawned everything of value, at this point I'm not sure what he'd do for income as the daughter won't give him any money to drink with).
- The girl's hiding this from authorities as she doesn't want to be taken away from him (I presume that even at 16 she could be removed and sent to a group home of some kind if it's clear that she's not being taken care of).
- They've had to move to a low-income apartment, as he couldn't keep up with rent on the old place. The daughter's paying the rent at this point with what she earns from a part-time after-school job. (Does she need two jobs to make enough for this?)
- Whatever she has left from that goes to food for the two of them.

Which brings me to - what is she likely to be able to afford? Assuming that she does have kitchen tools and a kitchen to cook in, this is a girl who's going to find the cheapest food per serving. Searches I did ("cheapest foods in Canada" "cheapest foods to eat") turned up only prices from the USA but I did find this article - looks like things such as rice, dry beans, eggs, plain yogurt, frozen veggies, bananas? (Also, that's from 2013 - about 15 years after this story is set, so some of that may not be true, such as the kale. I don't think kale was a big thing in 1998 yet.) I can find a list of them but not any real sense of what she would actually be able to afford - for instance, is she barely getting enough to eat full meals, is she having to skip a meal here and there because she can't afford to eat it? Or does she have enough to eat comfortably, if a bit monotonous? (Do I have the freedom to choose from that range of possibilities, or would economic constraints make it tilt firmly one way or the other?)

My searches seem to indicate that she wouldn't be receiving any sort of free lunch at school so she'd have to pack something.

I searched for the cheapest grocery stores and came up with this list, though since I don't have her actual housing location sorted out, I'm not sure which she could get to... I'm planning on handwaving, though, and not specifying the store - the food she cooks and eats is going to come up in a few scenes, but they'll be set at her apartment so I don't have to specify which store or anything. It's mostly that I want to know how much I can have an observer pick up on her poverty struggles by the food she's eating/cooking, etc. Like, are they going to be noticing she's eating a lot of beans and rice, or only having fresh veggies once a week, or something like that, that the other person could notice?

Mostly I think I have ideas here, but I'm really guessing and going out on limbs about a lot of it, so would appreciate some eyes who know the landscape. I'm from the USA and while we ate almost exclusively homemade food to save on $$ while growing up, we always had enough money to not worry about having enough variety and healthy food to eat; I've also only been to Canada once or twice in my lifetime and don't think I was ever even in a grocery store there so I really have nothing to go on as far as personal experience.

I've searched "food poverty in Canada" (and got lots of statistics) and variations, among the other searches I mentioned above. Again, the trouble I'm having is mostly that it's not really possible to get a real sense for what's plausible without knowing what she'd be paying for rent, the prices of all the foods she's buying, what she'd be earning… all of which is far too complex and overwhelming for me to search for one little story. I'm thinking someone's personal experience would be far more helpful than trying to look up all those specific details and doing a bunch of number crunching (plus I probably would miss some important detail or something).

Any confirmation (or contradiction, if it needs it!) of my assumptions/setup would be welcomed. (Hopefully I tagged correctly.)

Hospital procedures & injury to order

Hello everyone,

I need help with two medical-related scenarios. The setting for both is California, 2018.


Character: 17-year-old male, recovering addict

Scenario: He's brought to the ER with a broken wrist resulting from a fight. It's not a bad fracture and doesn't require surgery. He lets the doctor/ER staff know immediately that he's a recovering addict.

Question: In regards to pain management, would they ask him to choose whether or not he wants any opioids? Or would they ask his parents once they get there? Or would they make the decision?

Search terms I tried: various combination of keywords such as "underage", "recovering addict", "pain management", "pain medication", "hospital", "broken bone". All I seem to find is more general information on addiction and pain meds. (Which was still useful, but doesn't answer my question.)


Character: 18-year-old male, athletic, no pre-exhisting conditions

Injury to order: I need him to get hurt while playing basketball. Ideally, the injury would keep him away from the basketball field for about 6-8 weeks but he would still be able to go to school. It needs to be bad enough that college scouts would get worried about re-injury and could possibly reconsider offering him an athletic scholarship, but not so bad as to be career-ending or to keep him from playing for longer than two months. I'm thinking a broken bone or a bad sprain. I know ankles and knees are quite vulnerable in basketball, but I'm worried about recovery time.

Thank you all in advance.

Need an injury that serious but not deadly for a trapped character

Setting: Urban (? It’s see in essentially our world) Fantasy —> there’s magically healing via potions but they’re not super effective I’m mostly using it as a way to avoid writing hospitals every time a character gets injured 

Relevant Character: Male, Late 20s in good shape.

The Plot Point: What I need to happen is that one of my main characters (henceforth known as MC) gets injured and then trapped in a small room (actually what’s basically a pocket dimension my characters have been using for storage) for a period of time. The injury is the reason he’s in the room (he went in their voluntarily to avoid slowing the group down) and him being trapped is my action point for the next segment of plot so the two factors are crucial but I’m flexible/trying to figure out the details.

Detailed questions:

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Collapsing the great hall of a medieval castle

Setting: A version of Medieval Europe with fantasy elements; the great hall of a castle under attack.

Search terms: building collapse disaster, medieval roof collapse, roof collapse warning signs, how to collapse a roof, goodrich castle reconstruction

Hi. I'm writing a story that is part time travel, part fantasy elements. Currently working on a scene where a castle has been attacked and taken by an invading force.
I've used the floor plans of Goodrich castle for a reference, and the entire fight takes place in the great hall - dimensions of about 20 m by 9 m, not certain what the ceiling height is.

My scene protagonist, a bowman turned blacksmith, is facing off against a fighter with superhuman strength and ability to shrug off wounds that should be mortal. Unable to take him out by conventional means, my protagonist intends to collapse the roof on them both.

I'm looking for a way to intentionally cause this roof collapse, in a way that can be set up beforehand in the space of a couple hours and triggered at a distance, by targeting or weakening the structural elements of the building. So far, most of what I've found have been examples of historic building collapse after an earthquake or poor building.

Is there a way to do this without involving gunpowder?
And can someone tell me what the stages of the roof collapse would look like from the inside?

Hope I get the tags working right. And the format. This is my first time posting here. Thanks everyone!

Help me name a city

I'm trying to figure out what to name a fictional city/micronation. The story is set about 150-200 years into the future and the city itself was founded a few decades from now. The exact location is not set in stone, but i'd like it to be somewhere in the Middle East.

The important part is how it came to be. Basically, a very rich guy (of Middle Eastern descent, but born and raised in Europe,although this is not super important to the story) bought the land and built the city there because he could. It more or less started out as this guy's monument to how awesome he is and I want the name to reflect that.

What I'm looking for is an Arabic (or possibly Persian, but I'd prefer Arabic) name with the connotations of beauty, strength, prosperity, a bright future, etc.
I'm not sure how to research this, besides looking at some online dictionaries.

Latin translation of "Dark World Order"

Yes, there's Google Translate, but all know that's only reliable for getting the general meaning across. I'd like this to be a little more precise.

Google suggests "Ordo Tenebris Mundi" or "Ordo Tenebras Mundi". However, as near as I can tell, "tenebris" and "tenebras" are both nouns and the adjectival form is "tenebrosus", yielding Ordo Tenebrosus Mundi. Sticking that into Google Translate, unfortunately, does not net me "Dark World Order" but "order a dark world", like it's an item on a menu.

On the off chance it's not instantly obvious, we're talking vampire fiction. Plenty of them are old enough to recall when Latin was a lingua franca, at least for the educated, so it's not like the name's been dreamt up by kids who found a Latin/English dictionary, who could be expected to bungle it.

Analyzing chemical content with a chemistry set

Is it possible for a normal person with some knowledge of chemistry to test the chemical composition of a small sample of liquid with a home chemistry set? If so, what kind of things would you normally see him doing to look all sciency/like he knows what he's doing?

When I searched, I found a little info explaining chemical composition, but nothing that explained it to this degree. And a ton of ads for companies that would analyze it for you. And expensive machines you could buy to do it. I would really like this to come off as very fly by the seat of your pants work that has to be done quickly.

The liquid will turn out to be embalming fluid, which means it will be a mixture of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, dye, water conditioner, and water, in general. Any idea what kind of things he would be seen doing to come to this conclusion?

Takes place in America, 2018

Search terms: how to analyze chemical composition at home, chemical composition testing machine, analytical chemistry (which has gotten me on the right track but there's still some help I need to know how he would come to the final conclusion), analysis chemical composition with chemistry set, chemical composition of embalming fluid

Bonding between victims in traumatic situations (captivity)

Bonding between victims in traumatic situations (captivity).

I’ve googled several variations of that (bonding between victims, bonding in traumatic situations, bonding on victims of catastrophes), and I’m guessing the problem is the wording I’m using, but I can’t find anything relevant to my question. All the results I get are about trauma bonding (which is another name for Stockholm syndrome, apparently). I’ve tried looking up bonding between soldiers, because I guessed that would get me something closer to what I was asking, but the results are too specific. I’ve tried looking up “bonding between POWs” but I get more results about trauma bonding.

The setting is modern day, US. Magic is a thing that exists, but it's very uncommon.
Character A runs away from Evil Guys, who had kidnapped him and were torturing him. Character A mets B, who is an MD (who doesn’t practise because she changed careers right after finishing med school) because she works in the place he runs to. For plot related reasons there’s no option to call another doctor to treat A, so B does. Their relationship is a not-actually-a-doctor/patient one. Evil Guys find A and kidnap him again, and kidnap B too because she's there, so why the hell not. They are kept together, A is tortured on a daily basis until they are rescued about a month after the second kidnapping. She’s forced to watch the torture on occasion, but not subjected to torture herself (not physical, at least). They bond (mostly because they are the other’s only source of non-hostile interpersonal contact/comfort and sharing a 100 square feet cell with only one cot). I’ve found a couple articles about how traumatic situations can make the victims bond ( apparently stress makes people friendlier with others on their same situation), but also a passage on a book written by someone who was on a concentration camp and how he resented other prisoners. A may resent B a bit, because while both of them are on a similar situation, she fares better because she’s not being tortured. I can handwave that a bit, though.

My problem comes with the rescue. I’ve researched a lot about torture, CPTSD, learned helplessness and whatnot, so I can guess how they are going to react to the “outside world”. My problem is what I’m not as sure about what happens to that bond: they try to avoid the other, because it’s just a reminder of what they went through? One of the symptoms of PTSD is avoidance of things that remember you the traumatic event. Or do they become even closer, because only the other understands what they went through, much like soldiers returning after serving together?

English is not my native language, so again I may not be using the right wording. And I sent this as an anon post, but since I can't find it on the community and the post on the sticky has dissapeared, I decided to post it myself.