Donate Life Organ and Tissue Donation Blog (sm)
This, other than being very interesting for research, just made me realise something I should have realised soooooooo long ago;
If I'm trying to get an audience to care a little bit about how my characters have to spend a substantial amount of time focussing on the ridiculous practicalities of dialysis, how they can't miss even a little bit of treatment because of the grave ramifications of lack of treatment, I can't just lead into that with how bad total kidney failure is - I have to include a character who just dies! Not really developed, just really body-shape changingly sick, and then just dies.
Of kidney failure I mean. Not of being set on fire, not shot, not run down by an angry mob, just the organs going kaput on their own. I know this sounds probably a tiny bit abstract, but other than abstract a little bit obvious. But really, it had not occurred to me that I couldn't just frame what the death would be like in conversations, charts, photos, I HAVE to show it to fully and efficiently make plausible the lengths to which the characters will go to keep focussing on it.
This is a clear cut example of someone being so close to what they're writing that they don't see the most important thing right in front of them. To me, how bad a kidney failure death would be is ingrained in my mind, because when I was put in hospital I was ten days from being dead, and I remember very clearly how bad I felt. It wasn't just easy for me to gauge incrementally how much worse I would be two days from then, five days, then the tenth day. The swift progress of feeling a bit ill to feeling like what I was (being, basically, poisoned by my own body) was incrementally obvious to me over the month before, so I had a pretty good sense that the last ten days must be pretty horrifying.
But an audience doesn't know any of that. No conversation could ever make you really picture what that's like. You have to show it. Obviously, showing it doesn't make anyone know what it's like either, but seeing something horrible is the closest thing we get to feeling like we know it's horrible, and being really glad we aren't feeling that. Seeing and hearing the infamous lil bit in 127 Hours is most definitely nothing like actually going through it but it's the best we got.
I better start finding out from the hospital quite what the worst death from kidney failure can be, and the combination of organ problems that come from it...