This is for a fellow writer. Her character is a male in his early 60’s. At the age of 50 he and a bunch of other people were stranded for 30 days at sea, and he was the leader-ish type who made a bunch of sacrifices so that other crew & passengers (notably a 6 year old kid) could survive. She wants some painful long-lasting health problem, preferably with consistent joint pain as a symptom, to strike him now.
I’ve suggested gout (theorizing that maybe excess stress on the kidneys due to dehydration contributes), recurrent malaria, and myalgic encephalomyelitis. What other options are there?
Not trivial at all is acute sunburn and chapped skin for the exposed skin compounded with festering sores on the not exposed areas due to constantly being immersed in saltwater. The skin may not ever recover from this. Go into your kitchen, scrub your skin raw with a brillo pad, then pour salt water on it–repeat for 66 days.
I think that’s the tale she mentioned partially getting the inspiration from. Strange that I didn’t think of that one myself- an acquaintance of mine voluntoured in El Salvador a few years back and sunburned her lips so bad that to this very day a lot of dentists can’t or won’t treat her.
Though one big thing is that she insists on a ten-year delay between them being rescued and whatever condition affecting him. I’d presume the sunburn would affect him continuously. Qadgop- would the kidney damage possibly have such a delay, or would that be continuous too?
I’ve just got word that they were too far out to sea for mosquitoes, so recurring malaria is out. As of right now she’s kept kidney damage, joint damage (her character was beaten before they were all set adrift, and then did a bunch of pulling and rowing and such) and myalgic encephalomyelitis on the table. I think the only reason she turned down the sunburn suggestion when I mentioned it to her was to avoid being too similar to Adrift.
Read Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth Circles the World about a man in his sixties circumnavigating the globe in a singlehanded sailing vessel.
Naturally, Chichester was much better off for survival and comfort than a bunch of castaways, but it’s kind of alarming to read what he went through just from the inevitable bumps and bruises of handling a small craft in varying sea and storm conditions.
Your friend’s protagonist could end up with various persistent or recurring tendon/ligament/bone spur/whatever issues just from being battered and beat by his vessel and its contents. There are lots of heavy and/or sharp things in a boat, and nothing that’s not fastened down stays put in rough weather, including the crew and the passengers.