This book includes essays, journal entries, letters, poetry, short stories, and excerpts from novels by everyone from Mary McCarthy to Edith Wharton, Gore Vidal to Susan Sontag. They give a great sense of place.
Keep it on the page!
- Top 15 Great Alcoholic Writers
- Drinking Habits of Famous Authors
- Top 10 Drunk American Writers
- 99 Writers who Were Alcoholics, Drunks, Addicted To Booze, Etc.
- 25 Great Writers Who Battled Drug Addiction and Alcoholism
- All The Drunk Dudes: The Parodic Manliness Of The Alcoholic Writer
- ‘Every hour a glass of wine’—the female writers who drank
- What drives writers to drink?
Alcohol for Writers: The Facts
- In general, bigger people, more muscular people, and males get drunk slower than smaller people, less-muscular people, and females.
- Even controlling for height and weight, women absorb alcohol faster and metabolize it slower than men. In other words, they get drunk faster and stay drunk longer.
- In general, the health-related problems for women drinkers come on faster and are more devastating than for men.
- People get drunk faster on an empty stomach than after a full meal. I’ve read that ancient Romans drank olive oil to coat the stomach before their binges, because that slows-down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
- People who drink regularly and heavily have a greater capacity (tolerance) than those who drink less.
- People are more likely to blackout from fast drinking than from slow drinking of the same amount of alcohol.
- A standard drink is defined as 1.5 oz.shot of liquor, 5 oz. of wine, or 12 oz. of beer. Most wine coolers are the equivalent of one standard drink. FYI, heavy drinking = anything more than two drinks per day for men or 1 drink per day for women.
- Having 2-3 drinks can cause a loss of motor control 12 to 18 hours after drinking. Name your accidental injury—falls, drownings, automobile accidents, etc.—and the incidence goes up with alcohol consumption. Name your intentional injuries—shooting, stabbing, physical violence, rape—it’s more likely to happen with alcohol.
- There’s a reason athletes don’t drink before big events. Two to three drinks can deplete aerobic capacity and decrease endurance up to 48 hours after consumption.
- Alcohol impairs both learning new information and recalling previously learned information.
- Alcohol is a depressant for the central nervous system. People initially get “high” because the first thing to get depressed is inhibitions, creating a willingness to party and live dangerously. But beyond the buzz is the risk of seriously depressing metabolic functioning. A pulse rate below 40 or a breathing rate slower than 8-10 per minute is a medical emergency!
- The website brad21.org is a great resource for writers! B.R.A.D. stands for Be Responsible About Drinking. It’s a series of bullet facts, well-footnoted for further reading.
Other Things Writers Should Know
-Vodka sodas are for people who want to lose weight—or want people to think so—but not enough to quit drinking.-Jager bombs and vodka Red Bull are for basic bros.-Blue Moon is for craft beer posers.-Real craft beer drinkers are actually pretty cool.-Annoying people act like they invented picklebacks. (Apparently a shot of whisky followed by a shot of pickle juice—really.)-Buttery Chardonnays are for soccer moms.-Only rookies drink Appletinis.-Bud Light is for sporting events and day drinking, not Saturday night.-Martinis are a classic, classy drink.-Shots should be taken with a beer or a celebration. (Otherwise they’re for alcoholics.)
Takeaway for Writers
If your plot involves any sort of violent crime, whether you’re a mystery/crime writer or not, you should know forensic nursing. In broad terms, forensic nursing is where the healthcare system and the legal system intersect.
Forensic Nurses’ Role
Survivors of violent crimes typically come through the ER, where their medical needs are taken care of—setting broken bones, stitching wounds, etc. Ideally, the patient spends as little time as possible in the controlled chaos and tension of the ER; the goal is no more than 45 minutes.
Then they are escorted to a quiet, comfortable room furnished much like a small living room, but with drinks and snacks as well as TV. Anyone accompanying the patient would typically wait here during the examination. The area is secured, and only people the patient chooses to bring are allowed into the room. These people might be family or, perhaps, a trained volunteer from an organization such as Hanover Safe Place, which supports survivors through what is inevitably a traumatic time at the hospital.
The patient then meets with a forensic nurse. The forensic nurse’s role is to record the details of the crime and collect physical evidence. This process typically takes 3 to 4 hours.
Forensic Nurses’ Work
Background information comes first, including general medical history as well as questions about any injuries, surgeries, diagnostic procedures, or medical treatments that might affect the physical finding. But then come pages of more detailed and focused questions. For example, in cases of sexual assault, not only question about the assault itself and perpetrator(s) but also about the date, time, type, partner’s race, and relationship of last consensual intercourse; and since the assault, whether the patient bathed or showered, douched, brushed teeth, defecated, urinated, vomited, wiped or washed affected area, changed clothes, or had consensual intercourse.
For strangulation cases, they ask how the patient was strangled—one-handed, two-handed, knee, forearm, ligature—how long it lasted, and whether there was more than one incident.
A danger assessment is conducted as well, focusing on whether the violence is escalating in severity or frequency, whether weapons (especially guns) are available and/or used, drug or alcohol use, presence of children, and control of the survivor’s daily activities and social interactions.
The Physical Exam
Although the verbal data are crucial, the physical exam is central to forensic nursing. Samples of blood, urine, hair, and swabs of orifices are taken. Specialized equipment is available. Photographs are taken. Hair is combed, nails cleaned and clipped. The patient stands on a plastic sheet to remove clothing, to catch any random debris.
Chain of custody must be carefully controlled and documented.
Children have special treatment as well. They are given a toy that they can keep. They’re also given tablets and pencils or markers to draw pictures that can help in understanding the assault. Sometimes an outline of a person is presented for the child to mark where he or she was touched or hurt.
Improving Forensic Nursing and the Patient’s Experience
Improvements and refinements are always in progress. Once upon a time, a survivor might be asked to detail the crime by a dozen different people. Now recounting the crime waits for the forensic nurse, diminishing the impact of reliving it.
When a patient’s clothes are taken in evidence, they are given generic going-home clothes. These are grey sweatpants, t-shirt, and—until recently—the granny panties pictured above, one size for all. A college student survivor said that having to wear those granny panties made her feel violated all over again.
She organized her sorority sisters to provide hundreds of pairs of new panties in varied colors, styles, and sizes. All of the clothing provided to survivors is donated. Should you or your group want to donate new clothes, new toys, child pillowcases, gas cards, food cards—or money!—here’s your contact. And, by the way, she gives talks about the program.
History of Forensic Nursing
Forensic nursing is a relatively new medical specialty. In 1992, 72 registered nurses—mostly sexual assault nurse examiners—came together to form the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Since 1993, Bon Secours Forensic Nursing in Richmond has served survivors of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and domestic violence. Now a team of 10 full-time nurses work with 26 agencies to serve survivors of any type of violent crime.
Bon Secours is atypical. There are over 300 hospitals in Virginia, and many of them have no full-time forensic nurses. Therefore, patients from all over central Virginia can end up at Bon Secours. They assist more than 2,200 patients per year.
Additional Facts For Writers
- Forensic nurses have from one to three certifications beyond the RN degree, which are essential for presenting expert testimony.
- Approximately 9% of patients are male.
- Patients are 50/50 adults and children.
- In descending order, the busiest days for forensic nurses are Monday, Friday, Wednesday, and Sunday.
- Rush hour starts at 11:00 a.m.; the slowest times are 2:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.
- Most forensic nurses are recruited from ER nurses, but they need to be “softened up” on the job, not to rush.
- Patients can choose 1) medical treatment only, 2) anonymous evidence collection, or 3) identified evidence collection.
- Evidence that must be refrigerated cannot be anonymous; other evidence can be made identifiable later.
- Although immediate evidence collection is best, kits can be collected up to 5 days after the fact.
- All patient info is secured in the Forensic Nursing Department; it isn’t part of general medical data bank.
- Part-time, floating forensic nurses tend to burn out after a couple of years.
- Perhaps surprisingly, most long-term forensic nurses are married to police officers, firefighters, or EMTs.
Bon Secours is a premier forensic nursing program. For the sake of your story line, you might create more conflict in the story if the characters botch the process. A screw-up could taint evidence or miss it. Insensitive treatment could leave the survivor among the walking wounded.
Support Forensic Nursing
Last but not least, put this worthwhile event on your calendar!
Benefiting Bon Secours Forensic Nursing
Sunday, October 30, 2016
2:00-5:30 p.m. at Hilton Richmond
Hotel & Spa
Celebrating First Women
TO ALL THE READERS OUT THERE
FOR THE WRITERS OUT THERE
If your genre includes historical fiction. . .
If you are obsessed with money. . .
If your genre is magical realism. . .
Genetic mosaics are not so rare, formed by fusing two gametes in utero or a placenta shared between fraternal twins or by the mother’s cells crossing the placental barrier and continuing in her child. Imagine that a woman had children with all of her genetics, so the cell lines were thoroughly mixed.
Whatever your genre, books of little-known information are great sources of ideas.
Takeaway for writers