Tags:
  1. Montag
    Offline

    Montag Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    بيرث

    Anaphalaxis-induced coma

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Montag, Oct 24, 2007.

    A character in one of my stories has a four year old daughter. I need her to go into a coma for a few months, prefferebly as a result of a bee or wasp sting, and the resulting anaphalactic shock.

    I was thinking, she gets stung, her throat swells up and she is asphyxiated and loses conciousness. The extended period of her not breathing would result in the brain going into a coma for a few months, while the main character and his wife argue, ect about why he wasn't there to help. Then after a while the girl wakes up and isn't brain-damaged or anything like that.

    Is this a plausible scenario, or should I use some other condition to put her in the coma? (or think of something else)
     
  2. Domoviye
    Offline

    Domoviye Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Proud Canadian. Currently teaching in Nanjing, Chi
    If she was oxygen starved she would probably suffer at least some brain damage in that situation.
    Another way you could do it is have her wander off in the middle of winter. Children have been literally frozen practically to death, then be in coma's as doctors keep them alive, and recover with no ill effect. They basically enter hibernation.
    Its' rare but almost none of these cases involve anything worse then some mild brain trauma.
     
  3. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Dom is right. A form of hyperthermia could, theoretcialy, induce hibernation (such being the basis for cryogenics). It slows down brain activity to the extent that the body can survive without sustainence (even, in some cases, oxygen) for a limited period, effectively inducing a coma. So I'd go with Dom here, and second his suggestion.
     
  4. Funny Bunny
    Offline

    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    6
    I think I read that a coma lasting more than a day or two usually meant a high chance of some permanent damage to the person. Although rare, people do come out of them (meaning long comas like that, not short ones). Usually you would not want her to perform immediately. After 4 months, she would have some muscle wasting and other problems that might take physical therapy.
    If they were arguing instead of calling for emergency medical aid, they might be charged with child abuse.

    My opinion...
    As a writer, I'd say that unless the coma is a large part of your plot (is it a story about a little girl who goes into a coma?) then it might be too strong for the other part of the plot. (In theatrical terms, it would "upstage" it, meaning the minor sub plot would be more interesting than the real main plot). I think real parents would simply fall into emotional paralysis, unable to do their job, worrying 24/7. Everything about that household would be about "the coma." I think some readers might pick up that you are using the coma simply to get rid of the little daughter for 4 months. Why can't you have her go visit grandparents or something? Of course, I don't know what the story is, or what genre is is in.
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Anaphylactic shock would likely involve brain damage if the patient went into a coma. as was mentioned. Hypothermia (not hyperthermia, that's too much heat) can cause brain swelling, and coma is often induced pharmacologically to prevent brain damage by controlling the swelling. But that kind of coma usually lasts days, not years.

    Long term coma from any cause always comes with a risk of brain damage, and also causes atrophy of muscles, shortening of ligaments, and other physiological changes that will require a lengthy physical rehabilitation.

    For research, you might look at some books by Robin Cook and Michael Crichton. Steven King's The Dead Zone goes into it as well, although I'd go more with a writer with a stronger medical background.

    Also, do some Internet research on coma, not neglecting the rehabilitation articles.
     
  6. Montag
    Offline

    Montag Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    بيرث
    Hmm, thanks guys, that helps alot, though I can't use the winter thing because it doesnt get cold enough...

    The part I've already written is that mc dreams of his daughter being stabbed by a giant black needle, and in reality she gets stung by a bee or wasp. However mc is away from home, working on a mine in the desert, and when he gets back he finds that his daughter is in hospital and is being looked after by the mother.

    I guess I don't need her to be in a coma, I just need her to stay in hospital for a long period. Maybe she could have had a tracheotomy after the allergic reaction to the bee sting, (I think they're pretty common) and is suffering from complications or something.

    Basically, I need her to be in hospital for so long that mc can't stay away from work and has to leave her and go back to the mine where he works. It's one of those stories that isn't quite psych-horror, or myserty or thriller, it's all about mc getting so stressed from arguing wih his wife and worrying about his kid, as well as sleep deprivation and constant nightmares that he suffers depersonalization and starts to go insane.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    She could have a bad reaction to the medication they used to treat her after she was stung. No coma, but fever, hallucinations, heart palpitations - things that would keep her in intensive care with limited visitors.
     
  8. Montag
    Offline

    Montag Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    بيرث
    Okay, thanks, I'll look up some stuff on that.
     
  9. Domoviye
    Offline

    Domoviye Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Proud Canadian. Currently teaching in Nanjing, Chi
    Or she could be in the hospital healing well, and get a super bug. Those are getting fairly common, and can last for a very long time. It also forces the patient into quarantine which is never fun.
     
  10. Funny Bunny
    Offline

    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    6
    Don't take this wrong, but I really would question whether a sick child and arguments/ sleep deprivation/stress would make someone go insane. To me, that is the normal state of adulthood, not to mention cancer and dying, loony parents. Is he hitting the bottle heavily or on heroin? Something that might actually cause a mental shift--- what about "mysterious mine fumes?"
     
  11. Montag
    Offline

    Montag Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    بيرث
    Basically, this happened to me, the depersonalisation I mean. What im writing is based on truth. Im not married or have kids tho.

    Working nightshift drives you crazy real quick. Sleep deprivation is a dangerous thing. This is what I wrote down about it:

     

Share This Page