ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the October 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] mama_kestrel, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] redsixwing, [personal profile] capri0mni, and [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah. It also fills the "shapeshifter" square in my 10-1-15 card for the Halloween / Samhain Bingo fest, the "against all odds" square in my 10-1-15 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest, the "dispossed" square in my 10-2-10 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest, and the "bites" square in my 6-16-15 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette

WARNING: This poem contains disturbing imagery. Highlight to read the more detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features graphic descriptions of chronic illnesses and a violent werewolf attack. Hilla's entire top track of self-talk is body-monitoring with a focus on pain levels; Randie is pretty despondent about being a werewolf and biting someone. There's also sort-of-kidnapping, some really messy interpersonal dynamics, and a lot of angst. But becoming a werewolf actually improves Hilla's health by getting rid of her multiple sclerosis, and she's really happy about that, so it ends on a bright note. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"Wolfsboon"


Hilla was walking in the park,
or more accurately limping in the park,
when dusk began to thicken the shadows.

The streetlights blinked on, and
through the trees the moon made
a slightly yellower glint.

It had been a not-too-bad day,
with pain no worse than a toothache,
so Hilla had taken her cane and walked
to the corner park just because she could
and she refused to let her life be constrained
any further than absolutely necessary.

Then she had felt the stabbing, draining ache
as if something was sucking the marrow
out of her bones, and she realized that
her multiple sclerosis was flaring up.

Hilla had dropped her phone when
her right side went tingly-stabby on her,
and didn't dare bend down to pick it up
or she'd never get upright again, so she
couldn't summon help until she reached
the intersection where the park had
a push-button to call a cab.

I can make it that far, she thought.
I have survived worse than this.

Her pain had jumped from
its usual four to a six, and she
could still make forward progress
with anything less than an eight.

Tomorrow her health aide would come,
and they could talk about making
the necessary appointments.

That was when Hilla heard
the snap of twigs and the growls
coming up the trail behind her.

Well, there was no point in
trying to limp any faster.

Hilla turned around and lifted her cane.

A large furry body struck her in the chest,
knocking her flat. She swatted it with her cane.
The movement whacked her head against
the ground. Seven, she thought,
keeping track of the pain.

Jaws snapped at her face, and Hilla
used her half-numb right arm to keep
the teeth away from her throat.

Eight, she thought. Apparently
the nerves hadn't quite given up the ghost.

Whatever it was ripped at her forearm,
muscles shredding in the long muzzle.
Bones snapped. Nine.

Hilla saw the moon and the streetlights
as pale smears overhead. The beast
began dragging her somewhere, using
her broken arm as a handle.

She recognized the splintery darkness
that closed around her. Oh, hello ten,
fancy meeting you again. Buh-bye now
.

Hilla woke to the half-light of
very early morning, and realized
that she was no longer in the park
but lying on somebody's bed.

"I'm sorry I bit you," the somebody said.
"The basement door broke and I escaped."

Since Hilla had not expected
to wake up at all, this information
took a minute to process.

"Bit me," she echoed.
Vague memories stirred.

"I bit you and now you've got it too."
A young woman leaned over her,
face lined with worry and pain
that made her look older than
her probably-college-age.
"I am so, so sorry."

"Got what, rabies?" Hilla asked.
That would really suck.

"No, lycanthropy," came the reply.

"That's just a story," said Hilla.
"Werewolves aren't real."

"I'm real. I'm Randie,"
said the other girl, pushing
her shaggy dark hair back
behind her ears. "I've had
lycanthropy for over a year."

"Hilla. I've had multiple sclerosis
for over twenty years," she said.

"Well, now you don't," Randie said.

Yeah, right, Hilla thought, but
didn't want to say that out loud.
"So what happens now?"

"After I got bitten, I was sick
for most of the month -- I can
barely remember it -- and then
the first transformation was
the worst pain ever," said Randie.
"The later ones aren't quite as bad,
but still really bad, and I'm not
good for much afterwards."

That reminded Hilla to check
her pain level. She moved her toes,
her legs -- surprisingly the right side
actually responded -- and then her
hands and arms. Wait, what?

Hilla stared at the wad of white bandages
covering the stump of her right arm.

"Don't worry. It'll grow back after
the first time you shift," Randie said,
rocking a little from side to side.

"Oh. Okay." Hilla filed that pain under ignore.
It was around a five, which was enough
to interfere with everyday activities, and if
she'd been at home she would've sat still and
let her health aide take care of everything.
"Do you have any painkillers?"

"Drugs don't work on us," Randie said.

Well, that sucks, Hilla thought.
She should probably freak out over
being attacked and losing an arm and
all the rest, but she didn't have the energy.

She blinked, and when she opened her eyes,
it was dark and Randie was asleep on
the queen-sized bed beside her.

Hilla hauled herself up and fumbled around
until she found the bathroom, used it,
and limped back to bed.

The month passed in a haze,
with minutes of clear awareness
surrounded by hours or days of fog.

She tried to make notes to keep track
of what happened, like she did when
the pain got so bad she couldn't focus;
but it wasn't pain this time, it was confusion
and exhaustion and her whole body out of whack.

At least Hilla remembered some of the things
to do for digestive issues, which she hadn't had
before this but other people in her support group
had dealt with. If you were smart, you learned
at least the basics of coping with all the crap that
MS could throw at you, because you never knew
when your symptoms might change on you.

At least there was plenty to eat;
werewolves needed extra calories.

Randie took care of her, more or less --
certainly Hilla had met health aides who
were not as attentive -- and explained that
there was no going back to her old life.

On the last day of the month, Hilla
found herself awake and restless
while Randie paced back and forth
around the locked basement, its door
repaired and reinforced after the escape.

Cramps rippled through Hilla in
waves of sharp and dull pain,
but no more than a four, really.
As long as she didn't give in
to the temptation to move,
she was okay, and she had
plenty of practice not moving.

It was more alarming when Randie
flopped to the floor and started screaming.

Hilla moved then, all right, hauling herself
to the other woman to make sure that
Randie was able to breathe.

"Talk to me, tell me what you're feeling,"
Hilla urged. "How bad is the pain? Where is it?
If you can figure out what's wrong, then
maybe we can make it better."

Randie just wailed and thrashed.

Trying to talk with normal people
about pain is so pointless,
Hilla thought.
They get the experience, but they
have no framework for it.


By then her own misery was ramping up,
unfamiliar aches and popping joints plus
familiar prickling tingles racing over her skin
and making all the hairs stand up.

Then Hilla noticed that the hairs weren't
just standing up, they were growing.

The tingling started to feel like she was
getting attacked by hedgehogs, and
the sensation in her joints was bizarre --
even her jaw ached strangely.

The pain abruptly jumped to eight,
and then her body tore itself apart,
skin and muscle peeling away from bone.

The next time Hilla woke,
she was naked on the floor
of the basement, and she felt ...
surprisingly okay.

Her head was clear now,
though she had only muzzy memories
of spending the night as a wolf.

Her body ached, but only
with that after-exercise soreness
that she had almost forgotten.

From where she lay,
she could see both hands
stretched in front of her.

Hi, fingers, she thought happily.
Welcome back. I sure missed you!

The happiness fizzed all through her,
making her believe for the first time
that maybe all the things Randie
had said were true after all.

Her right arm had grown back,
so that meant the multiple sclerosis
wasn't eating her brain anymore.

It was something Hilla had accepted
so long ago that letting go of it now left her
dizzy with relief, disoriented from
the sudden change of pace.

Against all odds,
she had found a way
to escape her fate,
or at least exchange it
for another that was
altogether preferable.

I guess miracles do happen,
Hilla thought, smiling.

A soft whimper made her
turn her head to find Randie
curled in a miserable ball.

"Hey, good morning," said Hilla.
"Let's try this again. How bad is
your pain and what does it feel like?
It is more stabby or achy?"

"Like I got hit by a truck," Randie moaned.

They both looked at the door.
It was still locked.

"I'm sorry you're not feeling well,"
Hilla said. "I'm basically fine."

"Don't you feel anything?" said Randie.

Hilla wiggled her fingers, then her toes,
carefully stretched her arms and legs,
observing everything through the body-check.
"Yeah, this is about a three, not even worth
taking over-the-counter pills. I'm good."

"You are so full of shit."

"I haven't felt this good in years,"
Hilla said quietly. "Not since
the last three or four flare-ups."

She sat up in slow motion, giving her body
time to adjust, but she didn't even feel dizzy.
Just tired, kind of stiff and sore, functional
as long as she didn't rush too much.

Today is a good day, Hilla thought,
breathing deeply to oxygenate her brain.

She patted over Randie's body
to make sure there were no injuries.
"Okay, you're not hurt," Hilla said.
"Let's get upstairs now."

Hilla got them both on their feet,
unlocked the door, and rambled
up the stairs. They only had to rest
once, although Randie whimpered
the whole way, even in the bathroom.

Hilla poured the other werewolf into bed.
"Here, put a pillow under your knees
to take the strain off your legs. Cover up
because heat is soothing," she said, helping
Randie get situated. "Now close your eyes
and take some deep breaths. Imagine
the pain flowing down your body
and out through your feet."

"What are you doing?" Randie asked.

"Teaching you to cope with chronic pain,"
Hilla said. "It's a skill set. You'll get the hang of it
with some practice. I've just been doing it so long
that it's second nature for me by now. Lie there
and work on your breathing while I get breakfast."

Hilla couldn't remember much about Randie's place,
but it wasn't hard to find the kitchen, and there
was cream-of-wheat in a cabinet that was
easy to fix for the two of them.

Nice place, she mused, looking around
at the cozy kitchen with its sunflower wallpaper.

"Eat as much as you can," said Hilla.
"Stop and rest if you get queasy."

"Do you know other werewolves?"
Randie said. "It seems like you know
more about this than I do."

"No, just a lot of people whose bodies
misbehave most of the time," Hilla said.
"Though I have to admit, I'm having a hard time
convincing myself to wait until next month
to call all my friends, so I'll have more idea
what a normal cycle is like before I tell them."

Randie stared at her. "What?"

"Because it seems like I'm jumping the gun,
but my arm grew back and the rest of me
feels way better, so if someone else waited
a whole month to tell me, I'd be pretty pissed,"
Hilla went on. "Like that time Lucille got into
a special trial and didn't mention it until the drug
came on the market, only it turned out that
half a dozen other people would've qualified
for compassionate use earlier than that, and it
was two weeks before anyone spoke to her again."

"Tell your friends ... so you can what,
curse them too?" Randie said.
"You can't just do that! It's wrong."

"Of course not," Hilla said. "I'll explain
the pros and cons and let them decide.
Bet you Lucille won't go for it, she's a cat person,
but some of the others would jump on this."

"It's still a curse," Randie argued.

Normal people are so weird.
"You're entitled to your opinion,"
Hilla said. "To me, this is a blessing."

She realized, though, that Randie
was one of the dispossessed, and
didn't enjoy the kind of support network
that Hilla did. That changed things.

Hilla stretched, slowly and carefully,
trying to see if the kinks would work out,
and noticed gradual improvement.

As Hilla moved, she could see
the cobwebs in the bedroom corners
and the dirty clothes thrown over
the backs of the chairs.

She stood up, and didn't feel worse,
so she picked up the breakfast tray.
Success! Hilla thought.

"Where are you going?"
Randie asked.

"To do some housework," Hilla said.
"No offense, but this place is a mess.
I'll check back in on you every few minutes,
but I'm having a good day and I
really don't want to waste it."

Randie groaned and sank further
into the pile of pillows and comforters.

Hilla strolled out of the room,
tray in hand, trying to remember
all the lines to "Whistle While You Work."

* * *

Notes:

Hilla has pale skin, dark blue eyes, and short white-blonde hair.

Randie has tinted skin, brown eyes, and long shaggy black hair.

* * *

Chronic disease is any condition which negatively impacts a person's life for a long time, variously described as three months or a year. It tends to cause personality changes and lifestyle changes. Coping can be difficult, especially if alleged support services do not recognize the true nature of disability from chronic illness. A home health aide and other coping methods can greatly improve quality of life.

Multiple sclerosis is a severe degenerative disease that attacks the nervous system and thus impacts other body parts.
Signs and symptoms may differ greatly from person to person and over the course of the disease depending on the location of affected nerve fibers. (Hilla's typical symptoms are italicized.) They may include:
Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the legs and trunk
• Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
• Prolonged double vision
Tingling or pain in parts of your body
• Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
• Slurred speech
• Fatigue
• Dizziness

• Problems with bowel and bladder function

Hilla has relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The most common disease course, it produces sharply defined attacks of sinking neurologic function. These flare-ups are followed by remissions in which the symptoms get better for a while. About 85% percent of people with MS have this version at first, but it can worsen to permanent damage. Hilla's version is the kind that never quite regains full function after a flare-up, so the overall trend is worse over time.

Pain scales help describe the subjective and objective impact of discomfort. This comparative pain scale covers both, with the incredibly useful feature of defining 10 not as "worst pain ever" (subjective feeling) but "about to pass out" (objective event).  The Mankoski scale includes practical features but also levels of pain medications.  This one gives terrific illustration of how pain feels.

Werewolves and other shapeshifters have been described around the world. Werewolves may have different forms, traits, and origins according to mythology. There are pros and cons to becoming a werewolf, and that perception can vary when compared to the person's previous health. This type of lycanthropy colonizes the body and thus replaces the original immune and repair systems, which is why it cures most diseases and the person can't get sick again. Werewolf depictions also appear in fanfic.

Many portrayals include painful transformation and body horror. These experiences may be totally different for someone who was healthy before being bitten, compared to someone who already had a chronic illness.

Pain management options include a variety of drugs and other solutions. This chart shows some different interventions for treating pain. Tips for living with chronic pain include imagery for control.

MS can often be improved or worsened with diet. Swank and OMS are diets that helps some people. Here are some recipes.

Observing pain in another person requires identifying and interpreting their signals, especially if they are nonverbal or just not good at description. Almost everyone feels pain, but not everyone is as sensitive to it. Hilla is not only inured but also has excellent coping skills, so for her being a werewolf just isn't that bad. Her pain scale is shifted about two places downward; she can keep going at a considerably higher amount of pain than most people could handle. Randie is hypersensitized and lacks the knowledge buffer, so she feels worse.

Hangovers are typically associated with alcohol but can happen with other stressors. They come in different types. There are simple and detailed scales for measuring them. A hangover makes a good description for post-transformation malaise. This is often described as debilitating for werewolves. But for Hilla, it's considerably less unpleasant and limiting than her previous level -- she's feeling better on a bad werewolf day than she did on a good MS day.

"Whistle While Your Work" is a song from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You can listen to it online.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-16 10:05 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
...You forgot to cover up your warnings/spoilers...

Re: O_O

Date: 2015-10-16 11:15 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
No prob. I did say how much I liked this, in PM? 'Cause I do.

Still sick

Date: 2015-10-16 10:38 pm (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
Right now, I would roll dice on whether I would prefer a werewolf bite, or werewolf cuddles. Guess my husband will have to roll for initiative. :-/

(I'm missing a festival tomorrow that I have looked forward to again since last year!) :-(

Re: Still sick

Date: 2015-10-17 04:18 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
That sucks. Sympathies.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-17 03:07 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Like this a lot. I expect that many of my friends with chronic pain would jump at the chance.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-11-20 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I know if it were an option, yeah, I'd totally take the Bite. Especially if it helps with neurological and joint issues. Really, if you're a werewolf as Randie and Hilla are... okay, manageable pain the next day especially if you're already used to managing it, sluggishness, but the uptick in strength, flexibility and senses (when my hearing and eyesight are going? yes PLEASE.) and downtick in pain the rest of the lunar month? I get wicked migraines that are debilitating, I'd be willing to trade 13 nights a year to the wolf to not have to deal with that the rest of the time. Can your wolves ever shift on non-full moon nights? What about teeth? Would the shift heal damage like cavities or false teeth? What about weak or malformed or pinned/plated bones, weak organs? What about scarring and tattoos? Cancer? How do female werewolves deal with fertility? Would someone who'd had a masectomy or hysterectomy have those organs grow back? What would this mean for someone who was Trans and had surgery?

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-17 04:27 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
This is an outstanding compare-and-contrast showing the difference one's starting point can make in the perception of a life change. I found myself cheering for Hilla; although I'm nowhere near bad enough off yet to welcome lycanthropy as an alternative, if someone were to offer me Bujold's still-at-the-testing-stage treatment that takes 20 years off your physical age, I'd jump at the chance.

I'm a little surprised that there's nothing approaching a werewolf support community. Are there just not that many of them and they're too widely scattered? In any event, I hope that Hilla's experience and contacts can ease Randie's situation.

Hilla's picture looks younger than I'd have expected her to be. AIUI, MS doesn't usually strike much before the early 20s; so if she's had it for 20 years, that would put her at fortyish, but the picture looks more like late 20s to early 30s.

I will probably be prompting for more of these two along the line.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
Oooh! This poem is just so great in so many ways! :D I hope to see more of these characters and this setting and Hilla's friends. How will Hilla explain herself to people like her health aide? Same explanation as she's planning on giving to her friends? Or...?

Ooh, is she out of work? Will she be seeking work now, if that's the case? Or if she's not out of work, will she have to make any changes? Presumably she has more energy, which is great for productivity-- but also, she's now a werewolf who can't use drugs; do the new disabilities limit her in any relevant ways? Or is it all positive? What will she say to the sort of grudgingly-on-Thanksgiving acquaintances (you know, your cousin's brother-in-law, your uncle's stepchild, those sorts of people) who have only a vague idea of her health issues as it is? Will she seek out strangers with MS to offer them this option? How will she convince them to hear her out? Will she offer this option to people with other disabilities? (I imagine a lot of people would want to take it to cure SCI, ME, CFS... plenty of things beyond MS suck worse for most people than lycanthropy.)

What about the people who don't want to make that trade? People who have similar conditions but different priorities-- will they face people trying to guilt them? "Look, here's a cure, you should take it, how dare you choose to be so inconvenient for other people to deal with when there's a cure right there that you're refusing! Who cares if lycanthropy would make you miserable? Your disease is making me have to go out of my way to accommodate you and clearly that's more important!" Ooh, what happens if people decide that you shouldn't get benefits if you don't accept lycanthropy? What about conditions that are less painful than lycanthropy, but that require care from other people who find it less pleasant than caring for someone with lycanthropy-- that will be a fertile source of pressure and coercion.

I just. THIS STORY. It's awesome. :) Thank you for writing this.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-19 10:41 am (UTC)
thnidu: This user wastes far too much time editing Wikipedia. (closeup of Munch's "Scream") (time)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I love the title.

• "Whistle While Your Work" is a song
-> You

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-17 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] westrider.livejournal.com
Dude. I would take lycanthropy or vampirism or whatever over my chronic illnesses in a heartbeat :D

Thank you!

Date: 2015-10-17 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm thrilled that this poem resonates so strongly with my friends who have chronic illnesses. I really wanted to explore how it affects someone's development and approach to challenges.

Creative Jam opens after midnight with a theme of "disabilities and abilities" if you'd like to see more of this.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-17 01:39 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Well, that's a new angle to the werewolf thing! And I think if it were me, being a wolf once a month isn't the worst side-effect ever.

Yay!

Date: 2015-10-17 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Well, that's a new angle to the werewolf thing! <<

That's what I was aiming for. I'd seen all these renditions of how horrid it was, and how sexy it was, and "this is better than maintenance meds" was a whole different metaphor.

>> And I think if it were me, being a wolf once a month isn't the worst side-effect ever. <<

Yep. For Hilla a key advantage is that the drawbacks are predictable because she'll crash the same day or two every lunar month, not at random. She can plan around it. I know lots of people with chronic diseases for whom the unpredictability is a primary handicap.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-10-17 01:55 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Being able to predict when you're going to have a bad day [or three] and coping with it involves building a solid basement door..

oh hell yeah, sign me up for that! Beats not knowing when the depression and the 'all-over, full-body toothache from hell' will jump out and bite, or which joint is going to decide to fail and send broken glass daggers shooting up your spine, or waiting to see if anything more permanent than a tendon is going to snap and cripple you. [like a vertebrae disc]

Besides, wolves are cool.

Although, if it was me, I'd want to try to reverse engineer it first and aim for were-cat... [or if conservation of mass is a problem, were-leopard]
Edited Date: 2015-10-17 01:57 am (UTC)

RE: Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-10-17 03:16 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (tux)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Were-owl if it's not!

And oh HELLYEAH in that situation i would totally take the bite.

Re: Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-10-17 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
As I mentioned elsewhere, the physicality of the transformation suggests that conservation of mass applies in this instance.

Creative Jam goes live after midnight with a theme of "disabilities and abilities" if you want more of this.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-10-17 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Being able to predict when you're going to have a bad day [or three] and coping with it involves building a solid basement door..

oh hell yeah, sign me up for that! <<

I have to admit, I'd be tempted.

>> Beats not knowing when the depression and the 'all-over, full-body toothache from hell' will jump out and bite, or which joint is going to decide to fail and send broken glass daggers shooting up your spine, or waiting to see if anything more permanent than a tendon is going to snap and cripple you. [like a vertebrae disc] <<

:( Yeah. Those suck.

>> Besides, wolves are cool. <<

Agreed, it would be a delightful match for me.

>> Although, if it was me, I'd want to try to reverse engineer it first and aim for were-cat... [or if conservation of mass is a problem, were-leopard]<<

As the transformation is profoundly physical in this case, I strongly suspect that conservation of mass applies.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-10-17 11:46 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Hmm, conservation of mass implies at least some basis in physical laws. I.e a partly-biological basis for lycanthropy. Which would make reverse-engineering it actually easier. [ok, it'd make Mendal spin in his grave, but still..] And yeah, the pain thing wouldn't be problem for me either, you live with it long enough and your levels get re-calibrated like you said.

I know this isn't explicitly set in the polychrome heroics universe, but it could be... and I'm kind of thinking it would be fun to continue. By the sound of it, Hilla is about to acquire a pack.

Oooh.

Date: 2015-10-17 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] book-worm5.livejournal.com
Intriguing indeed! This is not a skill-set we usually see applied to werewolves, but it makes a lot of sense. It'd be lovely to see how Hilda feels if her pain drops to a 1, or even 0 over the next day or two.

Not sure what my own choice would be on this...I consider myself basically healthy, and CP (for me at least) doesn't come with pain, just occasional awkwardness. If this version of lycanthropy does bone-out rebuilding and would leave a more typical muscle and command/response structure, I just might. If there was a way to keep my own mind (or a sensible wolf mind) rather than attack/destroy/bite during changed periods, definitely.

Re: Oooh.

Date: 2015-10-17 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Intriguing indeed! This is not a skill-set we usually see applied to werewolves, but it makes a lot of sense. <<

Yay! That's what I'm aiming for.

>> It'd be lovely to see how Hilda feels if her pain drops to a 1, or even 0 over the next day or two. <<

It will. She'll probably be down to 1 or .5 the next day, and fine after that. Randie takes longer to recover. Hilla will pretty soon be where she'll lose a maximum of 3 days a month, if she decides to pamper herself through the penumbra instead of grabbing all the time she can get.

And the Creative Jam is open for "Abilities & Disabilities" if you want to prompt for more of this.

>> Not sure what my own choice would be on this...I consider myself basically healthy, and CP (for me at least) doesn't come with pain, just occasional awkwardness. <<

I think it will be hardest for people like that to make a decision. The drawbacks of lycanthropy are very real, so you have to think about how much time/comfort you're losing.

>> If this version of lycanthropy does bone-out rebuilding and would leave a more typical muscle and command/response structure, I just might. <<

It does. It replaces the whole immune system and regenerates any damage, hence the MS going away and the amputated limb growing back.

>> If there was a way to keep my own mind (or a sensible wolf mind) rather than attack/destroy/bite during changed periods, definitely. <<

I suspect that the feral mindset is based on lack of training/practice. Certainly the memory fog is something that lessens over time. That implies that the experience of lycanthropy changes as people get used to it. Hilla has lots of practice working with her own body/mind. She can probably figure out exercises to start working on awareness or retention. But it will take a lot of work to build that kind of control.

And that's not the first thing she'll fixate on. Hilla's an expert in pain control. The first thing she'll think of is, hmm, those were really rhythmic cramps, I want to learn Lamaze because it's designed to cope with that kind of pain. Wasn't something she needed in the past, but she knows all sorts of stuff that she can go get if her needs change.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-17 10:35 am (UTC)
gingicat: (just me - ginger)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
It's an intriguing idea, but I'd want to meld it with my friend Vicka's werewolves and have memory of and a modicum of control over the change. I'd much rather my relatively-minor aches and pains than risking injuring my kids. MS or cerebral palsy or...

And I wouldn't want it to cure my ADHD or bipolar disorder, brain fog and all -- what would such a cure even look like? And it definitely wouldn't help with my daughter's intermittent explosive disorder -- sounds like it would exacerbate it, especially since she has such severe anxiety over the possibility of hurting us anyway. Watching her gain awareness of what's happening over the last few years (kindergarten, first grade, now second grade) has made my heart ache.
Edited Date: 2015-10-17 10:37 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-17 11:53 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
It sounds like it's a somatic cell rebuild type of lycanthropy, does a reset on disease and viral-based genetic damage, but wouldn't do anything about inherited genetic problems. So, bipolar it would leave alone, ADHD would be an interesting test case as I don't think it's known whether or not that's genetic.

Come to think of it... that's probably means I'm screwed. EDS is genetic dammit.

Yes...

Date: 2015-10-17 02:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> It sounds like it's a somatic cell rebuild type of lycanthropy, does a reset on disease and viral-based genetic damage,<<

Yes, it does rebuild a lot of things.

>> but wouldn't do anything about inherited genetic problems. So, bipolar it would leave alone, ADHD would be an interesting test case as I don't think it's known whether or not that's genetic. <<

I suspect that it varies. There may be some genetic things it doesn't touch, but I would bet that it could edit to repair anything there's a viable copy for. That probably takes out all the single-copy-dominant stuff by overwriting with the correct recessive copy. Which raises the question of whether the healthy wolf version would edit over anything that doesn't have a clean human copy. *ponder* That would logically account for the variation in "how much wolf" someone displays.

>> Come to think of it... that's probably means I'm screwed. EDS is genetic dammit. <<

Single-copy or double?

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-10-17 07:03 pm (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Good point, it could work like a retovirus and rewrite any damaged genes with wolf-varient. After all, most mammalian life shares roughly 90% of the common conserved genes. So, damaged human genes could be corrected using wolf genes..which could also explain some of the 'wolf' presentation even when it's not 'that time of the month'.

As far as anyone knows, EDS is the result of at least three different gene clusters of variable numbers of genes each, with incomplete dominance and one a multiple-recessive... so that'd be a roll of the dice. That said, an EDS were-wolf would at least have an easier time during the actual shift.. loose elastic cartilage and wonky joints makes it somewhat easier I'd imagine. Certainly, it couldn't hurt worse.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2015-10-17 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Good point, it could work like a retovirus and rewrite any damaged genes with wolf-varient. <<

I think it does work like that. It goes in and writes the lupine template over the primate base. The primate form typically remains dominant throughout most of the month, but the lupine material is there if it's needed.

>> After all, most mammalian life shares roughly 90% of the common conserved genes. So, damaged human genes could be corrected using wolf genes..which could also explain some of the 'wolf' presentation even when it's not 'that time of the month'. <<

That sounds right. Humans and dogs share about 84% so wolves are probably similar. We might therefore suspect that things all mammals have (muscles, bones, nerves, etc.) would be more easily patched in this manner than things humans have but wolves don't (opposable thumbs, some of the most sophisticated brain functions).

>> As far as anyone knows, EDS is the result of at least three different gene clusters of variable numbers of genes each, with incomplete dominance and one a multiple-recessive... so that'd be a roll of the dice. <<

Diseases which are caused by multiple factors may have incomplete or variable results.

>> That said, an EDS were-wolf would at least have an easier time during the actual shift.. loose elastic cartilage and wonky joints makes it somewhat easier I'd imagine. Certainly, it couldn't hurt worse. <<

That's an interesting perspective, looking for what human traits would make the werewolf experience less awful. It might not erase all the disadvantages of either aspect, but like one copy of a gene protects against malaria while two copies cause sickle-cell anemia, the benefits justify the cost. *ponder* Since the process seems to involve splicing things for better results, you might get something a little different than either the human disease or regular lycanthropy: a werewolf who could change faster and easier with less pain. And I'd bet that useful DNA becomes part of the werewolf template, thus getting passed along to that individual's offspring. Different strains with subtly different abilities.

Thoughts

Date: 2015-10-17 02:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> It's an intriguing idea, but I'd want to meld it with my friend Vicka's werewolves and have memory of and a modicum of control over the change. <<

Certainly the memory retention improves. That suggests control may be malleable as well. Randie just has neither the training nor depth of experience to work it out yet -- although she didn't kill, which argues in favor of some moral carryover. She does have a lot more memory of her wolftime now than Hilla starts out with.

>> I'd much rather my relatively-minor aches and pains than risking injuring my kids. MS or cerebral palsy or... <<

That seems to be an emerging theme: when lycanthropy constitutes stepping up into a lifeboat from a sinking ship, and when it does not.

>> And I wouldn't want it to cure my ADHD or bipolar disorder, brain fog and all -- what would such a cure even look like? <<

I'm not sure what if any affect it would have on those. A purely mental issue might not be affected, or might be affected very differently than physical ones. There's also the factor that crossing wolf and human brings a whole different species mindset into play. For instance, "check boundary, check boundary, SQUIRREL!" is a perfectly normal lupine experience. That might very well create a buffer to make the condition less problematic than it is in a primate. Bipolar might reorient to peak-and-crash around the lunar cycle with some wider times of moderation when not pulled strongly into highs or lows, and again it's a situation where someone might find the regularity helpful. Some folks already swing with the moon, and they're more likely to learn how to cope because of that predictability.

>> And it definitely wouldn't help with my daughter's intermittent explosive disorder -- sounds like it would exacerbate it, especially since she has such severe anxiety over the possibility of hurting us anyway. <<

I suspect you're right about that one. No one solution cures everything; that's pretty much a standard rule across all my writing.

>>Watching her gain awareness of what's happening over the last few years (kindergarten, first grade, now second grade) has made my heart ache.<<

:( Executive function is a wretched place to have impairment. Without the ability to make mindful decisions, you're pretty well fucked.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-10-18 11:58 pm (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com

Did anyone else get the bad pun in the title? ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-19 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
Found this because of the fishbowl (first I've been able to not forget in ages, yay!) and man, that actual pain scale is USEFUL to me now! (Since 'worst pain ever,' draws on my intense imagination; I figure if I can TALK, then it's not the worst pain ever.) I'm keeping those for my future reference. It's actually kinda helpful for me to be able to say, "Yeah, no, my food poisoning on Sunday night hit an eight." (Turns out nausea can be as bad as pain for me, or worse.)

Also man, I so would not want the bite. My body still mostly works, it's just my BRAIN that's messed up, and lycanthropy would just make that worse! D:

--Rogan
Edited Date: 2016-01-19 07:47 pm (UTC)

Thoughts

Date: 2016-01-19 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Found this because of the fishbowl (first I've been able to not forget in ages, yay!) <<

Woohoo!

>> and man, that actual pain scale is USEFUL to me now! (Since 'worst pain ever,' draws on my intense imagination; I figure if I can TALK, then it's not the worst pain ever.) I'm keeping those for my future reference. <<

Yeah, I was thrilled to have a definition for 10 that would be of practical use. Farmemory makes it really hard to scale things otherwise. Because hey, few things are worse than being slowly burned alive. "I am about to lose consciousness from the pain" is a terrific benchmark, and so are the lesser ones about how much it interferes with one's ability to think or do things.

>> It's actually kinda helpful for me to be able to say, "Yeah, no, my food poisoning on Sunday night hit an eight." (Turns out nausea can be as bad as pain for me, or worse.) <<

Totally useful for that too: 10 can be marked as "about to vomit" or "unable to move due to total disorientation."

>> Also man, I so would not want the bite. My body still mostly works, it's just my BRAIN that's messed up, and lycanthropy would just make that worse! D: <<

There are things this version of lycanthropy can fix and things it cannot or would even make worse. Feel free to prompt for the latter. Trans is another trouble spot -- the hormonal swings, body horror, and reversal of any surgeries would be baaaaad.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-01-19 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
Yeah, I found the "think and do things" bit really helpful. Because no, I'm not a tank, my migraines just really don't go much higher than a three or four. Even top surgery post-pain I don't remember getting much higher than a six--same as the fairly common place gut pain I get. Food poisoning like Sunday will cause me to lose my fucking mind and blather nonsense; pain, I've been able to handle.

YUP. I paid a good ten grand to tailor this goddamn vessel, damned if I am losing all that work because some furrball fucking bites me.

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