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View Full Version : Death, Life and Legacy: a story of mine, requires assistance



ablurryfigure
04-04-2014, 09:07 PM
Story: Death, Life and Legacy

Premise: Mulligan, do over, the character dies, goes to Limbo and is judged unworthy for both Heaven and Hell.

I've been looking for an original sin.
One with a twist and a bit of a spin.
And since I've done all of the old ones.
Till they've all been done in.
Now I'm just looking -
For an original sin.
~Meatloaf

He comes up with an idea, not original mind you but it will solve the dead lock in his trial.

“Your Honor, it occurs to me that if I were to relive my life, or live a new life, I would be destined to make the same mistakes again and return to this Court. Moreover, because I have not warranted going to Heaven or to Hell, a new life without my memories would not resolve the present legal impasse.”

James William Smith is the main character, he is given to death, who would then oversee the essence transferal into a body not his own. He would wake up from whatever caused the ‘death’ of the body and would assume its role, for better or worse.

“You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you dance with the reaper,” James quoted as they moved into Death’s Sanctuary.

The Lord of Death sighed, “I hate that movie.”

I’ve got the basics and up to a point worked out, I worked with an editor but due to Real Life issues, he is no longer able to work with me. The character wakes up from a coma, I need to know what happens afterwards, and I mean the second he wakes up. He is in Portland in 1985 and in a long term care facility.

Any nurses, doctors, or even patients who have gone through this or dealt with this, your information would be invaluable. Please contact me, and let me know.

melindamusil
04-04-2014, 09:33 PM
I was in a coma many moons ago, but I don't understand what you are asking. Is he in a coma or a persistent vegetative state? What is the cause of his coma? What additional injuries does he have? Need much more information to understand your question.

ablurryfigure
04-04-2014, 10:55 PM
The MC wakes up in a body that was in a coma for nearly a year, the body went into a coma at the age of 14 and comes out at the age of 15 on his 15th birthday.

I'm not a hundred percent sure on exact details of the injuries, all I know is that he was hit by a bus

Cath
04-05-2014, 03:40 AM
So you want to understand what happens when he wakes in the long term care facility in 1985, correct? From whose perspective? Do you want to know what the doctors and nurses would be doing with regard to their patient outside the MC's sight and hearing?

ablurryfigure
04-05-2014, 01:12 PM
So you want to understand what happens when he wakes in the long term care facility in 1985, correct? From whose perspective? Do you want to know what the doctors and nurses would be doing with regard to their patient outside the MC's sight and hearing?

Thanks for the response Cath :) What I've received from you and melindamusil are more than what I've gotten in my blog.

To be completely honest with you I hadn't thought outside of my MC, I would like to do some scenes.

The nurses discussing his condition
The Doctors discussing his condition and the treatment he's going to need
The Doctor talking to his parents

I had only had the MC as a single child but decided I wanted to make it a large family similar to the Brady Bunch, minus the boys, three girls one boy, and no I won't be including any blond haired cousins *cough's shark coughs*

I then want to, when he's woken up a bit, do a scene with a psychiatrist, I already have a couple of pages worth written out, if anyone wants to read it.

ablurryfigure
04-05-2014, 01:13 PM
I wish I'd posted here sooner
*Scowls*

Cyia
04-05-2014, 02:24 PM
After a year in a coma, there would be some lingering health effects that have nothing to do with needing a psychiatrist. Even if someone's been exercising his arms and legs (and I'm not sure that was even standard treatment in the 80's, nor would it be viable if the injuries to his limbs from the accident were severe), you're looking at a serious lack of muscle tone that will mean loads of physical therapy.

Also, you've got an adult transferred into the body of a child whose life he knows nothing about. He won't know the names; he won't know the recent events, due to the time gap. He won't even be up on what's being taught in school, as the 80's curriculum was much different than modern schooling.

And what happened to the body's previous inhabitant? Is he still "in there" somewhere, still tucked away in a coma while the new guy gets to drive the body, or did he die and the new guy took the vacant slot? If the original owner died, then the doctors would have noticed. Depending on the parents' wishes, they could have been attempting any number of life-saving procedures, which would have their own medical after-effects.

In any case, your guy is probably going to be in pain when he wakes up.

ablurryfigure
04-05-2014, 03:13 PM
The soul was reaped, so essentially it is an empty shell. The body is basically brain dead, with machines keeping him alive, his current predicament is not good, until James takes over said body.

The body has the same name as the MC, James William Smith.
Death fixed any issues with the brain.

Therapy I'm aware of, I know it will take a long time for him to get back to full health. This is why I'm here asking questions, I need to know exact details of his time in the facility to help write it correctly.

James will have a photographic memory, he will not know who any of these people are and will have to learn it all. It will be viewed, as he gets the knowledge, as his memories coming back.

Cath
04-05-2014, 05:20 PM
We can only really help with the medical care/hospital environment stuff. Anything relating to the supernatural element of your story might get a better response in the science fiction/fantasy forum.

What would help immensely is if you could ask some specific questions. Right now it's a little vague exactly what you need.

ablurryfigure
04-05-2014, 05:30 PM
We can only really help with the medical care/hospital environment stuff. Anything relating to the supernatural element of your story might get a better response in the science fiction/fantasy forum.

What would help immensely is if you could ask some specific questions. Right now it's a little vague exactly what you need.

What would be his list of injuries, I imagine getting hit by a bus would no doubt hurt *wink wink* - What treatments would he undergo while in a coma.

When he wakes up, he is in a long term medical care facility in Portland. I've got what happens when he wakes up, but what treatments would he undergo.

I wanted to do a list of treatments he would have and a time line for it.

Day 1 - does
Day 2 - does
Day 3 - does

Hope that helps.

Christabelle
04-05-2014, 09:08 PM
What would be his list of injuries, I imagine getting hit by a bus would no doubt hurt *wink wink* - What treatments would he undergo while in a coma.

When he wakes up, he is in a long term medical care facility in Portland. I've got what happens when he wakes up, but what treatments would he undergo.

I wanted to do a list of treatments he would have and a time line for it.

Day 1 - does
Day 2 - does
Day 3 - does

Hope that helps.
You have a wide range of variables here. A person getting hit by a bus could have anything from a couple of cuts and bruises to massive catastrophic injuries. What do you want from your character?

As Cyai mentioned, anything putting him into a coma for a year will require a lot of therapy to recover muscle and strength, but do you want him to have a (mostly) complete recovery or lingering effects from injuries? We can't figure that part out for you as it has to do with what YOU want from your story.

Do you want a long, drawn out recovery or a relatively quick one ... I don't see any extremely short recovery plans for a one-year coma, but help us figure out what you're looking for.

ablurryfigure
04-05-2014, 09:14 PM
I want the recovery time to be in between and a (mostly) complete recovery would be nice. I don't want the hospital bit to be to drawn out.

Yeah I know a pain in the ass is my middle name.

Cyia
04-06-2014, 12:08 AM
You also need to decide if it's a coma or brain death; the two are vastly different.

With coma, the patient will still have some specific responses to outside stimuli. If he's truly brain dead, then his body's basically cut the power to everything, so that only the machines are keeping him alive. (There's actually a detailed explanation from a practicing doctor in the "Current Events" thread on Jahi McMath, here at AW. He goes through what tests are performed to prove brain death, at which point doctors try to prepare the family for the need to turn off the machines.)

At present, there's no medical recovery from brain death. A person recovering from brain death would be a literal miracle, so if your guy is waking up from "brain death" be prepared for the doctors to be way beyond stunned. This would be "write a paper, study the kid, and cross your fingers for a Nobel Prize" territory.

To put it into other terms:

With a coma, you're in someone's house, but they're asleep behind a locked door. The lights work, if you flip the switch, and you can still find food in the fridge.

With brain death, you're in an abandoned house with no electricity or plumbing. Flip the switches and nothing works, but you can get light from a flashlight, if you have one.

ablurryfigure
04-06-2014, 06:18 AM
So in terms for the story, how can I write this without someone wanting a Nobel prize?

melindamusil
04-06-2014, 06:25 AM
ABF, if I understand what you're getting at, I would strongly recommend you use your story's supernatural features to hand-wave these issues, or your lack of medical understanding will detract from the story. Admittedly, I am not a doctor, and any of the medical types on this board are welcome to correct me. My understanding comes from being in a coma and on life support for a couple of weeks, with some unassociated injuries, all as a result of a car accident.

First, it is pretty unlikely for a person to be in a coma for a year. Usually after about a month, they transition into a vegetative state. This differs from coma in terms of awareness. Even within a coma, there is a spectrum of awareness; it's not an either/or issue. It is not impossible for a person to be in a 1-year coma, but unlikely, and furthermore, the longer a person is in a coma, the less likely they are to wake up.

Cyia is right that, after he wakes up, he will need MASSIVE amounts of physical therapy. You're likely looking in the realm of several months, possibly years, and he may never regain all his physical abilities. Also, along the same lines, it is physically unlikely he'll be able to speak for several days. The vocal cords are a muscle, and since they haven't been used in so long, they'll be totally flaccid. Also, if he was on a ventilator, there would have been a tube between his vocal cords.

Furthermore, you need to think of the brain as a muscle also. Since he hasn't "exercised" it for so long, he is not going to wake up and be all there. He might eventually regain all his faculties, but that will take time, and the odds are against him.

Now, you said that your character is going into a body that is brain-dead. Unless you can explain this with your supernatural stuff, this would be a pretty big red flag to me. Read the thread on Jahi McMath; that has lots of information on brain death. But to sum it up- brain dead people don't go to long term care facilities. If he's been brain dead for more than a day or two, his body will be noticeably deteriorating. IRL, if he's been brain dead long enough for him to have been diagnosed as brain dead, he will not recover. As I said, you can explain all this using supernatural stuff. Trying to be overly medically accurate may only hurt you on this.

Christa is right that, as far as your bus crash, you need to decide on your injuries. There are just too many possibilities. You want the recovery time to be in between - in between what? After a 1-year coma, your recovery time will likely be a few weeks at minimum, but at maximum it could be a decade or longer.

Oh, and as far as what I (the patient) remembers about waking up: nothing. Comas (not vegetative states) tend to have this handy side effect of amnesia. I don't remember being in a coma. I don't remember waking up from a coma. I barely even remember being in the hospital. (VS or PVS patients are more likely to remember; it goes back to that awareness thing.)

melindamusil
04-06-2014, 06:55 AM
So in terms for the story, how can I write this without someone wanting a Nobel prize?

Well, again I am not a doctor, and I don't know your story. But here's my thoughts.

Say you have an individual who HAS been in a coma for a year. It's unlikely but not impossible, so we'll say that happened. I am not sure if a long term coma patient would go to long term care or stay in the hospital; that's an issue of how much care he requires, so I guess it could go either way. We'll say he is in a long term care facility. Since he's been in a coma for so long, his family should be aware that his chances of a complete recovery are slim.

In that facility, his vitals may be checked regularly, but not constantly - there's a limited number of nurses, you know. He may only be seen by the doctor around shift changes, once or twice a day. The soul is reaped and the body "dies". Could be due to any number of reasons; when you're in a coma, you are very unstable to begin with. He could have a stroke, an infection, an aneurism, any number of things. However, before the doctors come around and discover this, you do your little soul switcharoo.

If you can wait a few hours between the soul switching and the waking up, you can even have some kind of blip on one of the life support machines. The family or nurses discovers it. After checking the (seemingly just fine) body, they conclude that the machine is wearing out, or there's a bad connection somewhere, no big deal. Then a few hours later, he wakes up.

ETA: ABF, what is the purpose of his being in a coma for a year prior to this incident? Frankly I think it would work just as well, if not better, if he's only been in a coma for a couple of months or less.

ablurryfigure
04-06-2014, 07:18 AM
It can be done that way, it doesn't necessarily have to be a year per se.

melindamusil
04-06-2014, 07:31 AM
ABF, feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. If I understand it, your idea is intriguing.

Mariana
04-06-2014, 09:18 PM
Hi!!!

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Coma
http://neurology.about.com/od/NervousSystem/a/What-Is-Coma.htm

I'm a writer too and I have searched a lot about injuries and comas because I wanted my MC to be in a coma for a couple of months but after my deep search I realized that I couldn't write something like that. A patient who stays in coma more than a month it means that he has severe brain damage and those dysfunctions of the brain are the cause that they don't allow him to wake up. A person staying in a coma for a year - if he ever wakes up - he will need a lot of physical therapy (I mean more that a year or two) and a lot of other therapies in order to be fully recovered.

"Recovery is usually a slow process, with the person first gaining some awareness of what’s going on around them and eventually being able to respond. However, only a small percentage of people who wake from a persistent vegetative state after six months or more are able to live independently. In most cases, they are permanently brain damaged and disabled."

In my story, I didn't want my MC to spend so much time in therapies so I "kept" him in a 6 days coma and a 5 months therapy in a rehabilitation center. Why don't you do something like that? Choose for example a few weeks or a month for your MC's coma to seem more believable and realistic to your readers. Personally, before my research I though that a coma state is like the movies: someone wakes up after one or 10 years and immediately his life goes on, but it's not like that at all!! :(

ablurryfigure
04-07-2014, 11:46 AM
Yeah that's the issue I've come across Mariana

ablurryfigure
04-08-2014, 05:02 PM
So far, no assistance.
*Sighs*

Cath
04-08-2014, 07:35 PM
Actually, you've been pointed to several resources, and received an offer to help offline from Mirandashell.

We won't do the research work for you, you need to do that yourself. And, as I said up thread, if you could ask much more specific questions it would be easier to know what information you need.