Can I Help You?

Hello, bloggy friends!

So sorry about the absences lately. I’ve been spending every minute after work and on the weekends packing for my move next week, so I’ve been a little remiss.

Today is Tuesday (obviously) and I usually do Top Ten Tuesday, but I wasn’t really a fan of the topic, so I’m going to announce this instead:

After I move (or around that time), I plan on doing a series of posts about bodily injuries/disabilities and how a person would walk, talk, move, eat, sleep, complain, etc. while recovering from certain injuries.

I know this sounds gruesome, but when your characters get themselves into a jam and have, say, a broken leg, they don’t just hobble around on crutches.

And by the way, did you know there are about EIGHT different ways to walk with crutches? Hmm? Wouldn’t you like to know which side of the body a cane is SUPPOSED to be used? And what if the stitches or scar gets infected? What happens next? How does the character respond?

If you have any kind of medical/physical/movement problems in your stories – and let’s be real, nobody escapes a good story unscathed – wouldn’t you like to know the physiological responses behind them?

I won’t go into all the really boring in-depth detail of each injury, but having a good review of them would help you get into the mind of your character and what they’re feeling.

I’ll be covering a wide range of topics, including orthopedic injuries, strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, other neurological problems, development delays and childhood traumas, wounds, recovery after injury, etc.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if there is a specific injury or disease that you’d like explained in greater detail, and from a writer whose seen and treated it in person, then leave your request in the comments below.

I await your commands! What do you need? How can I help you?

I look forward to this series and your requests.

Happy writing!


“Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it.” 
― Jim BeaverLife’s That Way: A Memoir

“In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.” 
― Oliver Sacks


27 thoughts on “Can I Help You?

  1. Yes yes yes! You are the best! I could give you a very long list, but the one currently on my mind is injuries or diseases causing paralysis and/or aphasia. Also, recovery from and treatment of extremely high fever and extreme cold.

    I may come back and list more. You’re amazing!

    • Haha! Thanks! And feel free to write me a long list, if you’d like. I’ll try to include as many as possible, or I can blanket them under an umbrella if some of them are similar.
      I will be sure to include paralysis, aphasia, fevers, and cold. Thanks for the input!
      And I still haven’t forgotten about a guest post. I promise I’ll e-mail you soon after my move. I’m literally surrounded by a sea of boxes right now. 🙂

      • No problem. I figured you were plenty busy with work and moving, but I’m glad you’re still planning on it! 🙂 And thanks again for sharing your expertise. My characters shall soon be very professionally put through the wringer. 🙂

  2. Actors who hobble with canes, instead of using proper cane gait, drive me NUTS. That can spoil an otherwise decent movie, for me. (I haven’t watched TV for years, but when I did, it was even worse on the little screen.)

    • Yes, it drives me right up the wall! Ergh! Especially because it would take a simple phone call to a physical therapist, or at least someone who knows what they’re doing, to ensure correct use in a book or movie. Every physical therapist I know is driven nutty by this lack of attention to detail. I’m glad there are others out there who find this ridiculous.

  3. This sounds AWESOME! Of course every writer should thoroughly research these things themselves, but it’s such a brilliant idea and sometimes we find different things. Can I charge you with the progression of retinitis pigmentosa? c;

  4. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Award over at my blog. I’m not sure if you participate in blog awards or not, but I thought I would let you know anyway.

  5. I finally came up with an injury question to ask you! It’s a little gruesome, but here it goes:

    I’m writing a story (based on true events) where a character is shot in the upper part of the back through and through. How would a wound like that effect the person’s ability to speak? (Because the person I’m writing about did speak after he was shot). And would the blood run quickly or slowly out of the wound? Sorry to be so graphic, but hey, the story’s got to be told.

    • Don’t worry about gruesomeness at all! It’s nothing worse than anything I’ve either imagined or experienced.
      Could you give me a little more information with your question? Which side were they hit on? Or was it straight in the middle at the spine? And how high up were they hit? I’ll try and post a picture of the body or spine in an upcoming post for reference. Sorry to take so long to reply!

      • Don’t be sorry. 🙂

        I wasn’t able to figure out exactly where the person was hit, but I do know that the shooter intended to kill his victim in one shot (the shooter was an SS officer and the victim was a Jewish prisoner). I assumed that he would have aimed directly between the shoulder blades, but is that really the most effective spot?

      • Not necessarily. Hitting them directly between the shoulder blades would most likely hit the spine. That would make them paralyzed and probably lodge the bullet in the thoracic vertebrae.
        I would aim for a little left or right of the spine, but not at the shoulder blade itself. Hitting just left of the spine, if it went through the ribs, would puncture both the lungs and heart (depending on depth). It would also bleed profusely and cause difficulty breathing. It would significantly damage the postural muscles of the back and make the person crumple to the ground, unless adrenaline and shock keep them going.
        Hitting just right of the spine would hit the postural muscles, the right lung, and possibly the ascending aorta (the huge artery that pumps blood into the heart). There are also a host of nerves located in the upper back/lower neck area, so depending on the exact location of the hit, it could knock out some of the function of the arms.
        If I were the SS officer and knew a little about kill shots, I’d go for the left side, just right of the left shoulder blade. It would bleed quite a lot, even if it’s a clean through-and-through.
        Since your character lives, however, the bullet probably went too high and sliced through the trapezius and upper back muscles, possibly grazing the clavicle (collar bone) and the pecs. Depending on how close the wound is to the throat, the swelling from the injury would cause pressure to the vocal folds and talking may be uncomfortable. But if the trachea wasn’t hit, they’d still be able to talk without too much difficulty. Their speech patterns would only differ based on their degree of pain and how they express it. E.G. shallow breathing, bursts of breath, shorter replies, tense muscles, etc.
        It would still bleed a bit, and immediately, but not as much as if it hit more arteries. If the bullet is a through-and-through in the subclavian artery, they will bleed out in a matter of minutes.
        Sorry for the long reply, but I hope that gives you a bit of an idea. There is so much I could say about this injury, because it depends on the angle of the shot, the speed of the bullet, the speed of the person running away, their posture while they run, etc. If I haven’t given you enough info, continue to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. 🙂

  6. WOW! This one sounds really exciting! I have a main character who walks with a cane, so now I want to know what I might have overlooked. 😉 I hope your move goes (or went) well. (I hate moving!) 😀

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