I’m back and I’m here to talk about the nuances of sickfic. Obviously there’s artistic license involved so I’m not gonna talk about disease processes but about those ever so important little background details.
1. LOVED ONES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE ROOM DURING TREATMENT. This mostly just goes for the critically ill but if your character is unconscious, or has undergone some sort of major trauma they will be told to go to the waiting room. Use that to explore some really intense angst. Trust me, it’s even more gut wrenching than watching the treatment.
2. In hospital rooms, the machines don’t constantly beep. The noisiest thing in the room would probably be a ventilator in the patient is intubated. The only time the machines are supposed to make noise is when the vitals go above or below the establish limits, or when an IV pump is done infusing a medication.
3. IV Access. I’ve read a few fics where one character is a physician and is treating a character at home. (Sherlock fic, I’m looking at you.) Sometimes these treatments involve giving medications via IV at regular intervals. No self-respecting medical professional is going to poke someone anew every few hours. They will place an IV to do this. Every time you access a vein you’re risking phlebitis, vein collapse, scarring and all that fun stuff.
Here’s a video demonstration of IV placement if you wanna see more about it. (Though wtf using lidocaine for a measly 20G?)
4. Seizures: they are much shorter than most people think. Generally around 20-30 seconds, some up to a minute. Any longer than that is somewhat unusual, though every person presents a bit differently. When you pass the two minute mark is when you worry because during the whole seizure is not receiving oxygen. Around 3-4 minutes is when brain death can begin if the appropriate care is not given. Do not put anything in their mouths, and be sure to pad the head and put them on their sides.
After a seizure, people don’t just magically come awake. The brain “reboots” from the bottom up and this period of becoming aware is called a postictal state. The first part of the brain to come back online is the “lizard brain” causing a fight or flight response. Some people are very violent when still waking up, most just want to get away. Generally the period is extreme confusion lasting 20 minutes or longer. (Again varies from person to person.)
Partial Seizure progressing into Tonic Clonic
(The shouting is not from pain it is air being forced from the lungs due to contraction of respiratory muscles.)
5. Pupillary reaction to drugs. This is a big thing for me. If your character is taking drugs know the physical signs!
Video of the details of the impact of drugs on pupil size. Very short
Miosis: Or pupil constriction. Seen in opioid use.
Mydriasis: pupil dilation. Seen in cocaine users, and any other stimulants such as meth. Also known as “blown” pupils. Blow out pupils are also a sign of severe head trauma.
In hospital rooms, the machines don’t constantly beep. The noisiest thing in the room would probably be a ventilator in the patient is intubated. The only time the machines are supposed to make noise is when the vitals go above or below the establish limits, or when an IV pump is done infusing a medication.
Again, if you think I got anything wrong, or have anything you want to add, please do!