Can you explain the different type of paralysis. I have a character who is magical and has the paralysis where it's an on and off thing with their legs. I was wondering if it was possible for them to be able to drive or operate Machinery like a motorcycle or a car. What would be the limits to what they can do because I want them to pose as human as possible.
Hey there nonny. A lot of what I’m going to say is going to go out the window, because you specifically mentioned magic and you specifically mention temporary paralysis (”on again / off again”).
And this may be uncomfortable advice to get, but I’m going to ask you to read this answer all the way through, read it again, think about it, and read it a third time.
First, talking about your character “posing as human as possible” gives me some really uncomfortable feelings about the way you may be planning to represent disability. This may be a function of the character limits in the ask box, or English may not be your first language, but the words you used implied that your character is disabled and thus not human. BAD. (Your character may be an elf or piskie or merwolf, I don’t know, but if your character is human, take a good hard look at how you’re looking at them.)
Next: Yes, paralyzed people can drive, as long as they have some function in their arms. In fact, I worked for a quadriplegic man as his home health aide (search for Tom if you want the whole story). He could brush his teeth and comb his hair if you velcroed the implement to his hand, but he operated a car safely and effectively. Hand levers operated the brake and gas, and a control knob for the steering wheel, worked for him just fine.
I don’t know about motorcycles, but I would assume that if he’s wheelchair-dependent, getting into and out of a motorcycle would be problematic.
Now, on to the “on again off again” paralysis. This does exist, but not following trauma. Periodic paralysis is caused by a group of genetic disorders which change the way the body’s muscles process ions. (Muscle movement are triggered by nerves, which rely on ion changes to send electrical signals; changes in the ion channels changes or prevents electrical signals from processing). Most of them are triggered by something: heat, cold, high-carb meals. Some will have problems with high potassium (with glucose being the treatment), others will have problems with high sugar (with potassium being the treatment).
This group of diseases is always genetic and always inherited.
I’ll be honest: this isn’t my area of expertise. For a better understanding of the way these diseases work, I suggest you do some homework on the clinical presentation of periodic paralyses. (There’s a very good resource here; may require a free account.)
Take care, good luck, and make sure that you take the lives of paralyzed people into account.
xoxo, Aunt Scripty