Do you have anything about an asthmatic in the victorian era? Thanks for your help
The following information is from my own research. Please keep an eye out for follower responses in case I’ve misunderstood anything that needs to be corrected by those with a more in-depth knowledge about this topic.
In the Victorian era, a lot of conditions were misunderstood. Since medicine was pretty ‘trial and error’, sufferers of certain conditions were often given the strangest forms of ‘relief’.
Victorian London Publications is the best place to look up this kind of stuff. The sheer amount of resources on there is insane; I’ll put a link below…!
Plenty of air should be admitted to the room. If indigestible food has been taken, a stimulating emetic may be given, as half an ounce of mustard in hot water… [or] if an emetic is not judged necessary, a cup of strong coffee may be administered. A strong mustard plaster may be applied to the chest. Various substances, smoked or inhaled, have the power frequently of relieving the fit of asthma. Among the most homely of these is the smoke of burnt nitre paper, that is of brown paper dipped in a strong solution of salt - petry (nitrate of potash) and dried. The smoke of this burnt paper often relieves the asthmatic attack. So does a pipe of tobacco, especially in those no accustomed to take it. Medicated cigars too…
…All these failing, the asthmatic patient should try change of air. Nobody can tell him what air will suit him best, for the disease is so capricious, that sometimes it is benefited by an air that one would expect to be injurious. But the effect of change of air is often magical. As a general rule, the patient in taking a change of air should go to an atmosphere entirely different from that in which he is living.
You must think this is some kind of joke, right? Curing asthma by literally billowing smoke into the lungs of the patient, or just changing the air around them. True, polluted or smoggy air will not help an asthmatic’s condition, but nor will ‘magically’ transporting them to the countryside either. It will help, but it won’t rid them of the condition like this guide suggests (and what of those already in the countryside? By this rule, they should move to a grimy city for their change of air!).
Sometimes, peculiar drugs were administered to treat asthma too. The daughter of poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace (famous mathematician and computer programmer) was prescribed Laudanum. Laudanum was basically opium dissolved in alcohol, at a ratio of 10% opium to 90% alcohol. It was usually flavoured with saffron or cinnamon.
Just look at these posters and advertisements for more weirdness:
As you can probably imagine, life for an asthmatic in the Victorian era was either short-lived (in the event that the patient had a severe case), or a life of perpetual attacks and breathing difficulties. Remedies existed, but they were hardly beneficial.
I haven’t shared a Tyrael picture in quite some time, and I still have so many really good ones from my shoot with 7 of Diamonds Photo - John Berry! I really love the photos we took in front of the falls. The natural scenery just goes so well with the Archangel of Justice.
I’ve been working on the Monk’s weapons. Hopefully, I’ll have some nice progress pictures to show you in a day or two.
Hi! I was wondering if you had any tips on how to bring on a topic 'discreetly'? On of my character has fallen ill, and I'm wondering how I could mention it without making it too obvious too quickly.
It can be tricky to introduce a topic or new sublot without spilling all of the details from the get-go. Here, the key is to create a delay, but also steadily cultivate the plot seeds you’re sowing so that a well-developed and well-led-into idea is the result.
Especially when you’re trying to hint at a change in the condition of a character, whether that be an illness, a change of heart, attitude or alliance, a good way to phase it into the story is to focus on small behaviour changes that stand out from the character’s previous behaviours or attitudes.
For example, let’s play pretend:
We have two characters, Emily and Jo, who have known each other for a long while. They’ve always been able to tell each other everything; in fact, they see each other every Tuesday after work.
One day, at their usual meet-up point, Emily is late. Jo is concerned, but Emily brushes it off: ‘I just missed the bus, that’s all; with the snow and everything, ya know?’
Even then, it’s not like Emily to be late, but Jo shakes off their suspicions. People are late every once in a while, even someone as punctual as Emily!
The next Tuesday, Jo is at work when they get a text message from Emily, asking if they can skip their meet-up this week. This is a surprise to Jo - they’ve never, not once, missed a meet-up together, even when Jo found themselves a new partner, even when Emily’s brother’s funeral was the Monday before. They’ve always made a point of sticking to that meet-up day, and if nothing else, they’re a comfort to each other, a cushion of normalcy in a life of hectic schedules and complicated relationships.
Still, Jo tries not to dwell on it. There’s a first time for everything after all.
Another Tuesday arrives and this time the meet-up is on. See? Jo didn’t have much to worry about after all. Except when they see Emily… She look gaunt and pale and even though they’d usually share a milkshake, a packet of fries, half a burger each - anything - Emily is just not in the mood to eat today.
Jo asks, ‘Are you alright?’
‘Of course I’m alright, why wouldn’t I be?’
It’s not like Emily to keep secrets, but Jo feels like they’re pushing her buttons. Emily leaves the meet-up in a sour mood and Jo can’t help but feel like they’re doing something wrong…
You can probably see where I’m going with this. By this point, the reader knows something is wrong with Emily, not just emotionally, but physically. What they don’t know, however, is Emily’s exact problem. If she has an illness, what illness is it? When did it start to take hold? What will the ending result be?
It’s your job as the writer to keep the reader hooked in like that, to make them want to work for the answer to that specific question and then any others you’ve set up along the way.
What illness does my character have?
What are the symptoms of this illness?
What have they been doing outside of the knowledge of the other character(s)?
What impact does this character’s illness have on the story and on the other character(s)?
Why would the other character(s) not find out the whole truth right away? What other things are going on in the story that might act as a barrier?
One way or another, your main character is going to find out all of the details on behalf of your reader. All you have to decide is how and when they will make these discoveries
I have character who eventually is put into a coma from around a month. How would I do the healing process? How would they function after?
I’ve heard that the recovery outlook for those who have been in a coma for less than one month is generally positive. It’s once you get past that month stage that the prognosis can get a little bleak, and where severe brain damage and disability can occur. However, all coma cases are unique, so the best thing you can do is read a lot around the subject and try to get some case studies to get a sense of what your character’s recovery and experience could be like.
Whilst some people can wake from a coma and need very little recovery time, some people will be unable to do the things they used to do, and will require physiotherapy and/or psychotherapy as part of their rehabilitation process. The patient may recover, or they may require care for the rest of their lives. I think it will largely depend on what has caused their coma in the first place.
It’s unusual for someone to wake up from a coma instantly, like, one minute they’re asleep, the next they’re wide awake and alert. They might show signs of waking up gradually before they become fully awake, and it can happen where a coma patient grimaces, makes a noise or opens their eyes during the coma; they may not be aware of these behaviours or even have any control over them though.
Coma patients also may not wake up and be right back to the way they were before the coma. There can be a period of time - even for those who make a quick and full recovery - where they may not be able to perform simple tasks, such as focusing on the person in front of them. It can also take medical staff a while to understand the effects the coma will have on an individual; in the event of brain damage, it might take some time to understand exactly what effect the injury sustained will have on the patient in the long term.
I think for this you need to have a clear understanding of the injury your character suffers and how they end up in a coma because of that. Then you can start looking more in-depth into how people who have suffered the same injury have recovered after a coma, or generally how this injury has affected them in their everyday lives. That should give you some idea of how your character might recover and what kind of therapy they might need to go through in order to regain any lost functions or abilities.
I hope this helps. Please keep an eye out for follower responses in case anybody else has more information for you.