1. KateInSpace
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    KateInSpace New Member

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    Long Term disease/illness

    Discussion in 'Research' started by KateInSpace, Nov 19, 2015.

    Hi, I'm working on a short story at the moment and I'm trying to develop the Grandfather of my main character. He's in his eighties and it's crucial to the plot that he have a long term illness. My initial thought was cancer, however I have no knowledge of how cancer works as no one in my family has cancer and there are so many different types that I fear my limited research has only confused me further.

    I was wondering if anyone knew of an illness or disease that would persist over an 11 year period. The grandfather is ill with this at the time that the main character begins to visit him and about 11 years later he dies from the illness. The tricky part is that the grandfather needs to remain mentally cognizant over the course of those 11 years.

    If I'm totally of base with an illness that lasts that long, are there any other long term illnesses (perhaps five or six years) that would behave like that?

    Thank you so much in advance. -Kate

    I'm new to the site and I hope it will be helpful for me. My brother who is my usual source for writing tips is about to the end of his patience with my questions and I think I might be on a list somewhere because of my google search history.
     
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are hadn't diseases and illnesses that function this way. I have a hard time believing you couldn't figure this out via Google, but I'll give some examples anyway.

    Parkinson's. My grandfather was diagnosed with it when he was in his fifties and lived very well for the next twenty years. Then he went downhill very suddenly and had to be hospitalized. Despite being literally on his death bed, he was still very aware of what was going on.

    MS. My cousin is in her twenties and just got diagnosed. Aside from some minor eye issues, she's fine. Another guy I knew had it, also had trouble walking and is going to be blind in a few years, but other than that, very able to function.
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    First up does it even need to be an illness? The father in law of one of my colleagues had a spinal injury that put him in a wheelchair and later in a home for about that long before he finally passed. In essence he just became more and more unfit as his life passed and started having bouts of pneumonia.

    If you're determined to go for an illness there are loads of slowly debilitating illnesses. MS and ME spring to mind. So do any number of heart conditions. Many people linger for years after a serious heart attack. Strokes can also leave people physically limited but mentally alert.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Chronic lymphocytic leukemia fits the bill quite nicely.
     
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  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Type 2 diabetes could fit. It doesn't affect mental function but once you're diagnosed (usually in middle age or later) it often becomes steadily worse and more and more complications arise - blindness, nerve damage leading to infections and even gangrene in the limbs, kidney disease, heart disease, etc. It'll be very easy for you to research because it's so prevalent.
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Arthritis.

    Will impair physical ability, and get worse as the pain of moving impacts upon the exercise that would help to defer the progress of the disease. You can have it be fairly specific to any area of the body. e.g., if you want him to still be able to play the guitar, have it affect his knees and thus his walking, or vice-versa. And it can be fairly early-onset; I knew a woman in her twenties.

    Although it probably wouldn't, ultimately, kill him. But then, what illness would? With arthritis, you'd just get older and die from something else. My father had arthritis, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's - and had suffered a stroke - and ultimately died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm that ruptured.

    For characterisation, it will be painful, so could make him short-tempered.

    Hydrotherapy might be used for palliative care, if you want to include something about the treatment that he's undergoing.
     
  7. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    How about something work related like asbestosis? It can progress very slowly, and could be drawn out as long as the grandfather isn't a smoker.
     
  8. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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  9. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    I'm sorry about the above. I don't know why it put all my comments in the quote bubble. I think I must've done something wrong.

    Here are my comments again:

    I agree with Tenderiser in that this is a potential idea. However, there are a few things you should know:

    Having close personal experience with Type 2 Diabetes, the complications mentioned above, often arise if the person doesn't take care of their health.
    If they neglect their medications, if they keep eating too much sugar (this includes healthy things like fruit juice, carbs - which your body converts to sugar, and some starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, carrots).

    I have seen people live normal lives if they take care of their diet, monitor their blood sugar and take their medication.

    But, if this is the route you'd like to take I've seen others try their best to take their medication, but still continue to eat sugary, or sugar producing foods. These people tend to eventually burn out their pancreas (which produces insulin), and that would lead to them having to take insulin shots.

    Once this is the case, then their health can deteriorate, because it is such a delicate balancing act of the right amount of insulin with their sugar level, and if they weren't dilligent with taking care of their health before, it will be hard for them at this point. But I wouldn't say that the deterioration happens quickly, probably a couple more years at least, depending on their age, before major problems start happening. They are also at a high risk of heart attacks and strokes, so that could be the killer in the end for your story, if this is the route to take.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You left one bracket off your closing quote "[/QUOTE" and when you do that the board software adds a closing quote at the end of the page.
     
  11. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    I would say MS is a definite contender. I have a family member with MS. She was diagnosed some time ago and has deteriorated over the years to the point where she needs a wheelchair when she goes out, but other than the physical aspects of the disease, she is still completely herself mentally. I believe the severity of MS can differ greatly from person to person, so its something you could play around with to suit your character's needs.
     
  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Alzheimer's? It's a long-term illness and very debilitating as it grows progressively worse and worse over time until you're pretty much bedridden.
     
  13. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Hm... yeah I wouldn't go with cancer. cancer has been done it's almost to the point of aids really. And 11 years is a little long to have cancer still be living and not had chemo or surgery. most of the time if the cancer isn't serious, it's not detected, and if it is and it isn't detected I'd say you'd get a couple years, depending on the area. chemo and surgery could extend lifespan or just shorten it to a couple years all the same.

    you don't want anything viral or infectious, I wouldn't believe. Viral because most of the time those are treated in short time infection because well, antibiotics sleep fluids, or you're fucked.

    Perhaps it would be easier to say he's been suffering from say chest compression headaches, loss of balance or memory. these are fairly common symptoms, at least I consider them common. I am no medical expert though or doctor so I would advise some proper research. the reason I say these symptoms is because he could be suffering for years and they're still trying to figure out what it is because they've run through so many options that keep coming up no. Something that I honestly think fits rather well would be something that runs in the family. a genetic disorder.
     
  14. Dannabis
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    Dannabis New Member

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    I work on an ambulance and see a LOT of chronically ill people. One thing you're guaranteed with most severe chronic illnesses - the loss of mobility. Most of them will take you off your legs as you get older and you'll be confined to a bed as you see your days out. You're also prone to water infections and sepsis, maybe even occasional seizures if your infections get bad enough.
     
  15. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulminary Disease) is another choice. It doesn't only affect smokers, but that would be more of an exception. Mental faculties can remain sharp, and the disease usually lasts over decades. There's a lot of information available on this.

    You have choices.
     

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