1. Blade
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    Blade New Member

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    Help describing hospital/someone dying

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Blade, Jan 26, 2013.

    Evening, I'm currently thinking about writing a new story and I want to start the story off as a flashback, A flashback to where the main character who is a billionaire is entering the hospital room in which his mother is in, getting ready to die from cancer. I mainly want to capture the emotion and the coldness that he felt in his heart, that would be the only time in his life that he truly cried. His father abused him as a child and only see's him as competition when it comes to their company. So you see his mother is the only one who picked him up when he was down, the only one who truly cared about him.

    I honestly wouldn't know where to start without making it seem blah. Some examples would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    I've been working as a nurse for the last three years now, so I could help you with the description of the technical, hospital and physiolocical part. But when it comes to feelngs, I really don't know how I could help, sorry.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you have no idea about how to approach this crucial emotional moment, it may not be the best choice for you to write at this time.

    The best such stories are written by people who have gone through similar emotional crises. It gives the story the ring of truth.

    Your alternative is to speak with one or more people who have had a family member go through something like this. At length.
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing, was he already a billionaire when his mum was dying? Because rich people usually pay for the nurses, doctors and equipment so their family members can die at home.
    As far as feelings go, try to think about your favourite person in the whole wide world. Then think about watching them wither away in front of your eyes, and there's nothing you can do to help them get better. And think about how it would be to never see them again. That's one of the many emotions that goes through us when our loved ones are dying.
    I would also recommend that you also speak to someone who went through the experience of losing a loved one.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How would you feel if your mother died?

    That's probably how you'd describe the emotion, I think. And yeah, speak to some people who have lost a loved one.
     
  6. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I have a death scene in my book.

    I found the crux was a strange dichotomy for those involved, and I made that the focus of the chapter.

    Medical staff desperately tried to save the character. The character, however, was utilizing the experience as a stepping stone, and actually wanted to go.
     
  7. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I have experienced a lot of family members death's in my life so I understand this subject well. The son enters his mom's room he goes to her beside and he sees that she is close to death and he just starts crying a lot i mean full blown buckets of tear pour out of him, because he knows that they only parent who cared about him and loved is about to die and he also wants to die because living without his mother would be so terrible he does not want to live without her So after her death he takes his own life.
     
  8. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I had a stained relationship with my grandmother, she never really approved of me. And, while I thought that I would be sad when she died, I didn't think it would be that big of an event in my life.

    Well, we were all together at the hospital, and I said goodbye to her after she was taken off life support, I can't even begin to explain the feeling that came out of me. It was like all of a sudden I realized that she was going to die, and that was only a few minutes away, and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it.

    The overwhelming sadness that hits a person when they are confronted with death is something that you can't really understand unless you've experienced it. And it affects different people differently.

    To write this out properly, I think that you'd either have had to experience it, or speak with people who have. And I don't mean on an internet forum, you need to be able to see the emotion that they feel, and how that emotion lingers after possible years. Of course, if you go that route and try interviewing someone, be ethical about it and don't pry to hard, it's a delicate subject, but something that most people have experienced in some way at least once.
     
  9. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    There can also be a feeling of anger.
     
  10. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I was there when my grandfather passed. Somehow, it almost didn't seem real, similar to a waking dream. It was cold, so still, a breathing ghost. Time slows, every detail around you, clear and sharp as glass, but incomprehensible. Reality has yet to set in. It is a moment when the world wheels chaotically about and you suddenly realize, 'I'm still here...', but things will never be the same again. The enormity of the change hasn't registered. It's disorienting, a foundation stone falling into the sea. Terror and a sense of relief at war, knowing it's over, but the uncertainty of where to begin.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There can also be feeling that throw you for a loop. Relief, for one, if that person has been a burden, despite any bond of love, because they are now in the doctor's hands. And with that can come guilt, resentment, all kinds of feelings that you'd never anticipate without having beemn here. All sorts of feelings long buried can rise to the surface, and handling them can be as chaotic as the fact of the other person's pending death.

    It's hard enough to make sense of it all if you've experienced it, so it's a far harder task to convey it if i is entirely outsde your experience.

    It's the deeply emotional experiences like this that have led to the often misunderstood advice, "Write what you know." It's bad advice when taken too literally, but when it comes to the deepest emotional crises, it makes perfect sense.
     
  12. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    I think you should have to put a chapter before that, where will be several situations, where reader can appreciate this mother. If you want to rise an emotion, do it by gestures, not only by words, or you will find the situation stupid, instead of hearthbreaking.

    I suppose he walks there with flowers and bananas in the bag. Nervous about stuff, nurses are looking at him sadly, he gets nervous even more. Mother is smiling, not want to tell him rightaway, asking about his day, changing subjects. He loses his patience and BAM. Depends on the character if you want him to cry at front if his mother, I wouldn't do that. He might do it on the toilet, nurses knocking at him or something
     
  13. Blade
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    Blade New Member

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    I appreciate all of the comments and advice. You gave me a lot of ideas to work with. Hurray for this site :)
     
  14. seije
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    seije Member

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    as others have said, writing the emotions of the scene is up to you, but if you are looking for the negative things to go with the tone of the scene, maybe i can help.

    i had cancer when i was seven, and spent a lot of time in hospitals. hospital rooms always seem so barren and sterile. Blankets were usually scratchy and uncomfortable, but i was spared that discomfort due to the sheets- that's more for the people visiting, if they were to lean or sit on the bed. the TVs seem too small, especially when compared to the blank wall to which they are attached. I recall a yellowish tint to the rooms due to the lighting which gives off a false sense of warmth- the rooms are almost always incredibly cold. The beds are raised far too high to enter and exit comfortably for me as a child, and probably for someone old and frail as well.

    most of the other negatives i remember are more as my experience as a patient. saline going into your veins from an IV is cold, and unsettling. you are restricted from moving around much due to the IV tubes. I recall medicines giving me a nasty taste in my mouth that would linger. laying in bed for extended periods of time makes getting up feel awkward, and messes with your balance a bit. I don't know if you can use that information, but it's there if you want it. I was treated at a children's hospital, so not all of the information will be relevant or current.
     
  15. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the past 5 years there have been 3 occasions when I've been around hospitals a lot because my husband was in a near fatal car accident, my daughter nearly died of septicemia when her appendix and part of her intestine ruptured, and my father-in-law died of cancer. Each time, there was tremendous unreality about the event, and then, even stranger, the routines took over--the early breakfast tray, tidy up for the doctor's round, the lab tests that day, visiting hours for the rest of the family etc etc. I have to say that there were periods of boredom as well even in times of extreme stress and emotional turmoil.

    The medical staff were great, but it was still just a day's work for them and I was very conscious that in order to do their jobs well they had to maintain a professional distance, although at one point I went into intensive care and saw the consultant, a woman, plaiting my daughter's hair and talking softly to her about whether or not Obama had won--the TV in the nurses' station was tuned in constantly to the news. The steady bip bip of the machines feeding in various stuff through the IV lines is something I'll always remember. Also, all around you there are arrivals and departures like an airport, people dying or being declared out of danger, which also add to the unreal feeling of watching a play or something.

    I think being in hospital with my daughter was the most intense experience of my life, and I would never have guessed what it could be like until I experienced it, not could I bear to write about it in detail. Just remembering the hair plaiting scene got me crying again, actually.

    But Jazz has a point that people who can afford it can be treated mostly at home. My family aren't billionaires, but both my grandparents had private nursing and died at home in their beds. My FIL was very ill with lung cancer but he was often treated as an outpatient and died one night at home.
     
  16. BallerGamer
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    BallerGamer Active Member

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    I was there at the hospital when my best friend died. I was crying a lot but inside I honestly didn't feel anything. And by that I wasn't being hollow about it, it just didn't feel like she passed away even though physically she was right in front of me lifeless. I felt like it was all some big joke and she was going to move a finger, blink, and tell me that she was alright. I guess you could say that I was in denial.
     
  17. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can be so painful to watch a loved one suffer that it can come as a relief once they have gone - that feeling of relief can turn into guilt.

    You may also, being unable to ease their pain, experience feelings of utter uselessness
     
  18. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    My relationship with my biological father was damaged when he and my mother divorced. I was three years old. A series of moves, and life's circumstances (mom remarried, step-dad adopted us), put me first in West Texas 600 miles from him (and he rarely visited us, only twice that I can remember) and then to Asia, where we lived for four years. Upon returning to America, we settled in California, and that is how I went eleven years without seeing my father. At fifteen I took it upon myself to start rebuilding the bridge, and for the next few years visited Texas annually to see him. The last time I did so, I arrived in Dallas and called him from my grandma's house, to arrange for a pickup at our by-now usual meeting place. I walked the two miles there, and while I was waiting, it started pissing down rain, and my dad never showed up -- he blew me off. I walked home to Grandma's, through pouring rain, and when I got home I called him. His wife answered. He refused to talk to me. I was crushed; I had been rejected again, in my 19-year-old mind.

    Fast forward three years. I've signed a preliminary contract to enlist in the Air Force. About a week before my report date, I'm awoken on a Sunday morning by his wife, calling me in tears: he's in a coma due to a blood clot in his aorta and it's inoperable. The prognosis is grim, and Sandy wants me to fly out there. While I was kind to her, I was apathetic about him and his plight. I also didn't have much money and had my impending enlistment (scheduled to occur in Los Angeles, not Dallas) as another concern. We hung up, and at that point I was inclined to not go out to Texas.

    So I went to my mom's, and talked to her and her new (yes, #3) husband about this turn of events. Mom was obviously supportive of anything I wanted to do, including not going there at all, but her new husband, Bob, put it to me in terms of being the man's son and if nothing else helping his wife through the problem. I'm convinced. I call my recruiter, and he pulls some strings and arranges for my induction to occur in Dallas and not LA. Wrap up my business in SoCal, pack my things, and I go. Now, all these feelings from the last fifteen or sixteen years are welling up inside a young beating heart, sitting on an airplane winging east at five hundred miles per hour. And when Sandy picks me up at D/FW, we don't even stop at their home to drop off my luggage; we go straight to the hospital.

    Now, I'd never seen anyone dying before then. I'd never even been in an ICU. I wasn't very moved by seeing him there, though.

    When my estranged father lay on his deathbed in 1989, I felt an odd mixture of emotions: apathy, pity, anger at him, and a curiosity as to whether what I was feeling was normal or what I should be feeling -- I was 22 and new to death. I remember an irrational irritation at the various bleeps and blips of the machines that were keeping him alive -- somehow, the sound of the mechanical breather and the beeping of the monitors was offensive. Grief didn't occur to me. I still had too much anger at him for the years we didn't know each other, and I had no grief until his funeral three days later, when I bent over his casket and realized that no matter what we could never repair the years we'd lost. Never. And then, when I wept, it wasn't for missing him, but for us having missed the last chance to repair what life's circumstances had wrought.
     

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