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Medical Need Help For A Novel - Terminal Illness For Young Man

  1. Mar 1, 2010 #1
    Sorry if this sounds mad but I have been searching for a while and I am stumped. I am not very well versed in medical knowledge.

    I am writing a book in which the main character is terminally ill in hospital. I just can't pick an illness and need some help. I just need some examples/possibilities that I can then research. It is not the main point of the book but it can't be swerved.

    The man is in his early thirties. He needs to be spending the rest of his days in hospital (whether they keep him there for care or tests/treatment it doesn't mater, but they are sure he won't make it) but can still be somewhat active, walking, talking etc. It also needs to be progressively worse and debilitating towards the end.

    Cancer won't really work either. Does anyone have any suggestions? I apologise again for the weird post.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 1, 2010 #2


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    How quickly does he need to die?
  4. Mar 1, 2010 #3
    Ideally, about a year. But that can go from 6 months to 2 years, would just need a little re-write.
  5. Mar 1, 2010 #4


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    Why won't cancer work?

    I'd suggest checking out the House episodes if you want something exotic. They go through lots of potential terminal diseases before saving the patient at the end of each hour. There's probably an online web page somewhere that has info on House episodes.
  6. Mar 1, 2010 #5
    Not really going to work if he has to go into chemotherapy, it might do but it could make things awkward. The less round-the-clock treatment needed, and the more time he can spend on his lonesome, the better. Plus I need him smoking to find an excuse to leave the building.

    Never seen House - heard of it certainly - will have a look into it. Cheers
  7. Mar 1, 2010 #6


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    My former brother in law was recently diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and given 2 years to live. Smoking would certainly make things worse. I guess you could throw in some other problems to keep him in the hospital until he dies.
  8. Mar 1, 2010 #7
    Thanks for that, I am sorry if I brought up any bad memories/thoughts with that post.

    I'll keep that one in mind. It does say commonly in over 50s, but not always the case I guess and the symptoms will fit in with what I want. Aside from the smoking of course.
  9. Mar 1, 2010 #8
    I guess that's a tough one, no patient (here at least) is going to spend months in the hospital. It's simply too expensive. Beds are urgently needed for other patients.

    However if somebody needs constant medicare for a prolonged period, they'd probaly send him to a nursing home.

    You could try maybe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cystic_fibrosis
  10. Mar 1, 2010 #9


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    Lou Gherig's disease or ALS
    right age group
    or other 100% mortality neuro conditions like Huntington's?
  11. Mar 1, 2010 #10
    Yeah, they wouldn't keep them long here either. I'm in the UK and the book is set in the UK, the NHS are packed to the rafters with patients.

    I might have to consider Cancer (that sounds like a very weird thing to say). They do keep cancer patients in long term don't they? I had an elderly relative who was terminal with lung cancer but she spent her final days at home in bed, although I think that was her choice...
  12. Mar 1, 2010 #11
    They normally move long term cancer patients to a hospice or home to die. Its just to costly to keep them in the hospital.

    I vote for Lou Gherig's disease.
  13. Mar 1, 2010 #12
    ALS does seem like a good one. It did take him two years to go from diagnosis to death I suppose. Would rather have one that made him violently ill (more dramatic), with sickness, spitting blood, mucus from both ends etc,. Messy but fits in. The disease is not the main focus but he is the main character.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to help by the way:-) Really appreciate it.
  14. Mar 1, 2010 #13


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    Some kind of parasite? Alien creatures burrowing under your skin are always fun.
  15. Mar 1, 2010 #14


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    Maybe AIDS?
  16. Mar 1, 2010 #15
    That had crossed my mind, he is written up as a former drug addict and Morphine/Heroin user, so it wouldn't he hard to write that one in. Not a commonly quick killer though, can be elsewhere where they don't have the resources apparently...might have to do some more reading to see if it can kill that quickly. There is sure to be complications.

    There is also a drug/treatment called PEP, the side effects of which would tie in very well with the way I want this guy to go.
  17. Mar 1, 2010 #16
    This guy had barely left the house, so probably won't work without a big rewrite.

    Thanks again for the help guys:-) Have yet to look into the TV program House as suggested, just popping on here whilst I take breaks, should be able to check through later when I have time.

    Anyone watch it? remember any of the disease by any chance?
  18. Mar 1, 2010 #17


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    End stage ALS can die of aspiration pneumonia, they spit up mucous, sometimes blood if it becomes and empyema and erodes into a blood vessel, the antibiotics can cause clostridium difficille colitis ( known complication of antibiotic therapy) in which case they have horrible dysentery, and if they develop megacolon from c diff colitis it is a miserable ending ( usually needs surgical resection...)
  19. Mar 1, 2010 #18
    Thanks for that:-)

    Certainly bumps that one up. Sounds like a pretty horrible way to go, nasty to think of but just what I need.
  20. Mar 4, 2010 #19
    ALS or Huntington Disease are the way to go.
  21. Mar 4, 2010 #20
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