PDA

View Full Version : medications needed



jclarkdawe
06-20-2018, 05:42 PM
Character is a very healthy 30-year-old male who is not a professional actor and needs to pass for someone who is in their eighties and not especially healthy. To accomplish this, I want to do three different things --

1. Gray, sweaty skin. Saggy would be a nice addition. Gun powder will do this with a bonus of making the character sick to the stomach. But if there is a pill that will accomplish this, that would be easier to do.
2. Stiff, awkward gait. Muscle and/or joint pain would accomplish this.
3. Change of voice. Older, rougher voice needs to happen. Something that numbs the larynx would seem likely to accomplish this. It's not a problem if the character is extremely hard to understand.

Obviously these would be side effects of medications, not why they are normally proscribed. Character is willing to take the pills, as many as he has to, though probably won't be told the full details of what's going to happen. I want to force the character's body into acting old without him having any options not to. Anything that makes him feel crappier is a bonus. Getting these medications should not be viewed as difficult, although over-the-counter is nice. Clothing will be baggy and out-of-style, hair will be cut and dyed.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Al X.
06-20-2018, 06:56 PM
Methamphetamines, though not OTC, can accomplish the above in a hurry. Regardless, any drug or medication induced aging is generally not reversible. Does your character really want to throw away his life?

MaeZe
06-20-2018, 07:30 PM
Meth will not do that, it takes a year to rot your teeth.

Personally, I think you are going too far jclark. Readers are not going to care about so many details.

The only thing that will numb your vocal cords (and I have no idea if that gives you a gravelly voice) is an anesthetic like Novocain that you spray topically into your throat. There is no pill that would do the things you are asking.

jclarkdawe
06-20-2018, 08:36 PM
I agree readers don't need to know the details, but if anyone ever asks, I want a plausible answer. I don't wave my hand for an effect, every effect has to have a factual basis and I don't have the factual basis yet.

Lidocaine sounds plausible. The side effect of not being able to eat presents an interesting complication. One of the reasons for wanted to know the exact drug is the complications they cause.

Meth ages you, but not quickly. Lots of drugs can cause you to feel like crap without long-term effects.

Jim Clark-Dawe

neandermagnon
06-20-2018, 09:08 PM
Theatrical make-up can make someone's skin look much older. There are probably videos on you tube showing how to do this, using stuff you'll fine lying around at home. You'd need something you can spread on your skin then pinch up to make it look wrinkly. I don't know if PVA glue or something mixed with PVA glue would work. That can make it look like your skin's peeling off. Check out you tube, anyway. They have all kinds of theatrical make-up stuff on there. There's no medicine that's going to make your face look saggy.

Stiff gait: do any powerlifting/heavy weight training workout, especially including barbell squats and deadlifts. Don't stretch out afterwards. 24-72 hours after this you will get delayed onset muscle soreness which makes you feel like you're about 80 years old and makes any kind of movement painful and awkward (stiffness goes with the soreness). There's this saying among people who work out with weights: "one simply does not sit on the toilet the day after leg day (https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-evy9NlLV-uk/VOsw5LRxZWI/AAAAAAAABy8/wN6KdLq4ASk/s640/blogger-image--1552950.jpg)" It does make you move like you're 80. I know this from personal experience. Rugby training and boot camp training can have a very similar effect, but to really move like you're in your 80s, anything that hits the legs hard like a powerlifting leg day workout to give you severe leg DOMS is best.

change of voice: go to an ice hockey game and yell loudly in support of your team for the entire game. The combination of the cold, dry air in the rink and yelling at the top of the lungs to make yourself heard over all that noise gives you laryngitis. This is also from personal experience.

I don't know of any medication that's going to make your voice croaky and make your joints and muscles stiff. IMO the above are all more plausible than taking a medicine for the desired effects.

MaeZe
06-20-2018, 09:11 PM
I agree readers don't need to know the details, but if anyone ever asks, I want a plausible answer. I don't wave my hand for an effect, every effect has to have a factual basis and I don't have the factual basis yet.

Lidocaine sounds plausible. The side effect of not being able to eat presents an interesting complication. One of the reasons for wanted to know the exact drug is the complications they cause.

Meth ages you, but not quickly. Lots of drugs can cause you to feel like crap without long-term effects.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Typical local anesthetics are short acting, he'd have to keep applying it. And lidocaine would be a bad choice because it affects the heart. We only use it in tiny amounts for a local anesthetic.

Can't you make your voice gravely without any device or drug? Actors do it all the time.

Siri Kirpal
06-20-2018, 09:41 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I know that vocal nodes can cause a gravelly voice, but you don't get those through medication.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

jclarkdawe
06-21-2018, 03:27 AM
Thank you all for your help. I think I've got a setup that works well now.

Character has to be able to fake out his boss, mainly to show him how easily it is to fool people. He's not an actor and has never done anything like this, so the protagonist needs to make him act that part without the character being able to break character. They'll be going to a dinner with character as an old man with protagonist as a young trophy wife.

Schedule is now to go to the gym early in the morning. Protagonist eggs him on, flirting with him and flashing him some glimpses to get him to go to extremes. Then a flight in coach from NYC to Montana (no seats available in first class, what a shame). Lunch will be Mexican and have some gun powder sprinkled on it. Afternoon will be spent driving around, checking out the situation. By evening, he should be a knotted up mess, sweating and gray, with an upset stomach.

Protagonist will provide placebo aspirin, and lozenges laced with lidocaine. Lidocaine is easily accessible and will cause numbing of the mouth and throat this way. Protagonist views a heart attack for the character as a bonus, so the risk factor
isn't an issue to her. Lozenges enable the protagonist to monitor the administration of the medication.

Net result is it will be convincing that his boss will not recognize him.

Good makeup is hard to do when there is close contact involved.

Jim Clark-Dawe

blacbird
06-21-2018, 03:36 AM
Disguise makeup and good acting will go a long way in accomplishing what you want. Unless you are going to invent some handwavinol kind of medication, I'd avoid going down that road.

caw

waylander
06-21-2018, 02:14 PM
I recall something I read in WWII book about soliders chewing cordite to make them pale and sweaty for a medical inspection.

Old Hack
06-21-2018, 04:29 PM
How about your character smoking a few cigarettes if he doesn't usually smoke? If I spend an evening in a smoky room I can barely talk the next day, and sound very husky.

Cath
06-21-2018, 05:09 PM
Meth will not do that, it takes a year to rot your teeth.

Personally, I think you are going too far jclark. Readers are not going to care about so many details.

The only thing that will numb your vocal cords (and I have no idea if that gives you a gravelly voice) is an anesthetic like Novocain that you spray topically into your throat. There is no pill that would do the things you are asking.

(underlining mine)

You know, I'm going to add a little section to the forum guidelines later today especially for you, MaeZe.

People don't post in here for critiques and it's not okay to comment on how much detail an OP is seeking or how much of that information they do or don't use in their work. You don't know the intention of the author. Don't assume.

ironmikezero
06-21-2018, 10:03 PM
Have your guy shave a bald pate (tonsure), leaving a fringe around his ears and base of the skull. Thin out the fringe with thinning shears, and bleach the remainder as close to grey/white as possible. Spray tan the bald pate and add a few age spots with stage make-up. Add some thick-lensed horn-rimmed glasses, keep the shoulders rolled forward in a perpetual slouch, and display a slight (barely noticeable) tremor whenever a hand is used. Losing one's train of thought, an occasional rasping cough, and asking a speaker to repeat what was just said help to sell the illusion. The protagonist (trophy wife) should be attired to draw most of the attention, and act accordingly to become the focal point, an irresistible distraction.

This usually works rather well in undercover operations.

P.K. Torrens
06-27-2018, 11:32 AM
Hey hey.
Dunno if you've already written this or not but lignocaine/lidocaine won't change the voice (it will make it numb, as MaeZe has pointed out).
The gym idea is brilliant (actual lol).

Taking a medication to make your voice gravelly is impossible (I am an otolaryngologist - head and neck surgeon). I really can't think of a way to induce a gravelly voice apart from shouting for a prolonged period of time the night before... but the length of effect is limited and recovery is quick. I agree with blacbird that it would be much easier to put that voice on. Just think Bale's Batman.

Vocal fold nodules can do it but inducing them in a short period of time is impossible.

I hope this helps. Happy to answer more q's if you wanna pm me.


Thank you all for your help. I think I've got a setup that works well now.

Character has to be able to fake out his boss, mainly to show him how easily it is to fool people. He's not an actor and has never done anything like this, so the protagonist needs to make him act that part without the character being able to break character. They'll be going to a dinner with character as an old man with protagonist as a young trophy wife.

Schedule is now to go to the gym early in the morning. Protagonist eggs him on, flirting with him and flashing him some glimpses to get him to go to extremes. Then a flight in coach from NYC to Montana (no seats available in first class, what a shame). Lunch will be Mexican and have some gun powder sprinkled on it. Afternoon will be spent driving around, checking out the situation. By evening, he should be a knotted up mess, sweating and gray, with an upset stomach.

Protagonist will provide placebo aspirin, and lozenges laced with lidocaine. Lidocaine is easily accessible and will cause numbing of the mouth and throat this way. Protagonist views a heart attack for the character as a bonus, so the risk factor
isn't an issue to her. Lozenges enable the protagonist to monitor the administration of the medication.

Net result is it will be convincing that his boss will not recognize him.

Good makeup is hard to do when there is close contact involved.

Jim Clark-Dawe

jclarkdawe
07-01-2018, 06:54 AM
This is actually a two-part con. Part one is the simple con that IronMike describes. It's actually not necessary for that part of the con that they appear, but the female protagonist wants to convince the guy how a con works. The interesting thing about a con is even if you know the con, it can still work. One of the best examples of this is 3 card Monte. It's been explained over and over again and yet it still works. Another example would be carnival games. We know they're scams, but we still figure we can beat the odds.

Anyway the guy knows about the first con. What he doesn't know is that she's going to show him how easy it is for a conman to control people. He's willing to help, but he's no actor and has no idea how to act like an old man. He's willing to let her dress him and cut his hair, but he can't shuffle and walk right, can't keep his voice controlled, and so she's got to force his body to do this without him having any control.

Cordite will cause him to look pale, sweaty, and a nice upset stomach. The exercise will get him moving right, in that nice old man fashion. That leaves his voice as a way for people to identify the guy.

Simplest approach is a big wad of gum. Smoking and shouting can do it to some people, but usually some throat lozenges will cause most of the problem to disappear. But they're going to be meeting the guy's boss, and I'm hoping to go a step above the obvious to muck up his voice.

Now I know novocaine can cause you to have trouble talking, slurring words and not speaking clearly. I don't know whether novocaine taken as a throat lozenge would cause problems. Lidocaine would seem to cause numbness for the tongue, lips, mouth, and throat. This would seem likely to cause someone to slur words and not speak clearly. Liquor can do it, but it's too obvious.

I don't care how I muck up his voice, but I've got to muck up his voice enough to make it hard to recognize for a few hours in a way that he won't know it's happening.

Jim Clark-Dawe

frimble3
07-01-2018, 11:13 AM
Re: the 'old man' walk. Try something lumpy in the bottoms of his shoes, small pebbles or lentils (if you don't want to risk them showing, inside the socks. Or, shoes a size smaller than he normally wears.

Lil
07-02-2018, 06:58 PM
A frequent side effect of inhaled steroids—the ones people take for asthma—is hoarseness.

One of the best ways to disguise yourself is to change the way you stand and move, though it's hard to remember for any length of time. Ill-fitting shoes help, or a lift in one to create a limp, and a pin or something sharp inside your clothes can be a good reminder. Or tape to bend the shoulders forward.

mrsmig
07-02-2018, 07:08 PM
Seconding that theatrical makeup is unconvincing up close. (Movies that ignore that truth, like Mrs. Doubtfire, Tootsie and The Associate, always make me roll my eyes.)

Actors often curl their toes when they walk to achieve a shambling, hesitant gait onstage, but frimble3 and Lil's ideas about the character wearing something beneath his clothing to alter his posture is worth pursuing.