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rjmix

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I live in Los Angeles, CA and am currently writing a feature film screenplay. Although I'm a first time writer (if you Googled me you won't find any credits), this is the real thing. I, and a good contact, will be pitching this script this summer and are trying to make this as realistic and professional as possible. And if it comes out on paper as good as it looks in my head, it's going to be a great movie. My main character suffers from ALS and I've been conducting research and reading this forum to try to gather as much information as possible. I really feel that if I'm able to make this character come alive, he will shed a new light and awareness on the fight against ALS. However, there is at least one question I can't seem to find an answer to:

Is there any situation during the course of ALS that would warrant a patient getting immediate medications or treatment to prevent death? Like with a strong allergy, someone would need an epi-pen shot or with diabetes, they would need insulin. From what I gather, ALS is a slow degenerative disease and I can't find anything immediate that might take place. The reason I ask is I've got one dynamic scene in mind and if I could link that with my character's ALS, it would be extremely compelling. If a patient came down with pneumonia or a cold and that, coupled with the weakness of breath associated with ALS, made it so hard to breath that he needed an inhaler or oxygen to stay alive, would that be plausible? Thank you so much for your help and I truly hope that my film will have a huge impact on the awareness of this disease.
 

hopingforcure

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With AlS the need would be more artifical ventalation, which would be even more traumatic. I am so gratefulf or what your doing. Please continue with you effort. Ask away.
 

ZenArcher

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Pneumonia.

As bulbar symptoms worsen quite often pALS will develop aspiration pneumonia. This may or may not result in the patient going on a vent dependent on how strong their breathing is. It would however result in a hospital stay with an immediate need for antibiotics.

If you want to research ALS and get it right I can put you in touch with some of the pALS in your area. No amount of reading can truly show what ALS is or how it affects the people involved.
 

rjmix

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Thank you for your thoughts. I should've put this disclaimer up beforehand, I apologize. This is just to protect myself before anyone else reads this:

*Any replies, ideas or suggestions posted on this thread are strictly voluntary. In the event that anything written on this thread is used in a film by the writer, no compensation should be expected.*

Again, my apologies to hopingforacure and ZenArcher for not posting this sooner. I'll definitely be back with more thoughts and questions. Thank you for your interest.
 

Al

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So rjmix. You want to pick our brain but don't want to pay. The silly thing about your screenplay is that by the time it's finished, half of us will be dead. By the time the movie was ever done, the rest of us will probably be dead. And by the way, I don't think a person here would ever expect or want a cent, as long as you raised awareness for ALS. I for one think you need to do a lot more reading here before you start writing. It might save you a lot of rewrites.

AL.
 

BethU

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rjmix, that's a good try, but I don't think you can speak for the forum owners by posting such a "notice." I'm not sure what copyright laws apply to the content on this or other forums, but the rights to what other people post certainly don't belong to you.

Also ... everything on this forum (and most other places on the Web) is voluntary. Kind of a baffling statement.

The basic rule of copyright is that you cannot copyright an idea. But if you start copying material word for word and the person you're lifting it from objects and wants to make a fuss, they probably can. Especially if your screenplay hits it big. :)

But meanwhile, we're all cheering you on to help raise awareness of ALS
 

rjmix

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Yes, I see this forum as a place to converse and help each other out and I expect most people to feel the same way. However, in the rare case that someone posts a golden thought and I use part of that idea in a screenplay and the movie gets made and becomes very successful, I don't want that person to feel like I've "stolen" from them. I know that ideas are worth protecting (after all, that's what I'm trying to sell) so I just wanted to make sure we are all on the same page. It's not meant to be a governing rule on the thread or anything. I'd love it if I was able to compensate individuals or donate to ALS foundations, but I can't guarantee anything. But enough boring, legal junk...

ZenArcher - you mentioned a person going on antibiotics for aspiration pneumonia. If the person did not get these antibiotics within a certain period of time, how likely would the chances of this person surviving be? And what might the time frame be to get these medications? I'm assuming the antibiotics are to fight pneumonia and any infections and do not have an effect on the ALS, correct?

What about the use of an inhaler at any point? Like asthma, if the patient exerted himself too much would an inhaler be helpful or needed?
 

Danijela

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"What about the use of an inhaler at any point? Like asthma, if the patient exerted himself too much would an inhaler be helpful or needed? "


Please go and do some research, and considering that you have been given an opportunity to meet some PALS, you should take it up. Your questions may be answered.
 

rjmix

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This post is a part of my research. Please don't make me feel stupid for not knowing the answers to a few questions. That's what this forum is about, to educate and connect with people about ALS. I've already contacted ZenArcher about meeting some PALS in my area and am looking forward to his reply. In the meantime, I only have one or two very specific questions that someone else may simply have the answer to. I am very appreciative to those who have been very helpful thus far.
 

joelc

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As a courtesy you should ask a person if it is alright to use their information. This forum is to help and share information between people who are dealing with ALS. It is not a site for people to come and pirate information for personal gain. As far as inhalers go, you don't yet have a grasp on what ALS is. There is no problem with lungs, it affects the diaphragm muscles so there is no way to get air into the lungs.

I am not keen on you snooping around and taking information.

If I truly believed you were doing this to raise awareness I would feel different.
 

rjmix

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Ok, this thread seems to be spiraling out of control. I'm just trying to better understand ALS, that's all. I'm not asking about people's personal lives, experiences or for their ideas, just general information about the disease. Albuterol, the medication used in inhalers, is used to treat bronchospasms. It relaxes the muscles in the airway to increase air flow to the lungs. Since muscle spasms are also associated with ALS, I think that was a fair question.

I'm a little frustrated with responses I've been getting because they have gone from very friendly and helpful conversations to almost personal attacks. I can ask these questions to a doctor and get the same answers but I was hoping that if I asked these to real PALS with real feelings, I would get more of a heartfelt response and genuine interest. I'm not trying to use anybody, just get a real-world education. I do not blame anyone if they are hesitant about talking to "an outsider" but please don't assume that I am up to no good.
 

Al

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The problem some have with your thread is that it appears as you have done no research on your own. This site is full of answers if you spend the time to look. If you had any knowledge about ALS you'd know that we don't want to take anything to relax muscles involved with breathing. That'll kill you usually. If we get pneumonia, left untreated, you die. We usually have weakened breathing muscles so can't cough well. We choke on food and fluids and get aspiration pneumonia. Off to the ER we go and have a better chance of not coming home than the average patient. So that's why we get testy when people can't be bothered to take the time to read and learn. ALS isn't easy, so why should anybody make it easy for you.

AL.
 

joelc

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rjmix, if you are indeed sincere about learning about ALS I will gladly talk to you in detail. Just let me know.
 

thelma313

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rjmix, I think your best bet would be to meet with people who have ALS in person that way they can be fully aware of what their contribution to your film would be. This forum does not seem like the right venue for your questions, it is really meant as a support group for people who are living through the real life traumas that this disease can incur. As a film editor, I understand your desire to tap into real experiences so that your story resonates truth and garners the sort of attention that only a compellingly real story can. Try to understand though, that a forum meant as a support group is not an appropriate venue for your questions about how people can suddenly die or be hospitalized because of ALS.

I have learned through experience, people who are approached by filmmakers or television crews should be given the option to make an informed decision whether they want to contribute to the project or not. We have no idea what your film is about, whether it's a drama, comedy, horror whatever. No one has read a synopsis or knows how or where this film will be broadcast. Don't be offended by people just wanting to know what they are getting into. The people here are living with and facing this disease head on, either personally or through a loved one, and this forum is a safe haven for us, a place we come to share and get advice about something no one should have to face. It would be best for you to ask a neurologist who is less personally involved than we are about the worst things that can happen to us or our loved ones.

I highly recommend you see some films that have already been made about ALS so you can get a base. Francis McDormand plays a person with ALS in North Country or better yet there are documentaries like So Much So Fast which is very personal and informative. Good luck!
 

rjmix

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I thank each one of you for your honesty. I welcome the chance to meet someone with ALS and would indeed prefer that to a forum setting. I still have not heard from ZenArcher but I want to thank joelc for his generous offer. Hopefully he received my email about trying to take him up on that. If anyone else knows of someone in the Los Angeles area who would be interested in talking with me, I'd love to get in contact with them and send them any information about myself or my project.

I understand the sensitivity of a support community and certainly did not mean to offend anyone or get anyone involved who is not interested in what I'm doing. I have done a lot of reading on this forum, and other sources, before registering but could not find the answer to one very specific question. As Al said, ALS is not easy so since I have not had any exposure to it before researching, I figured asking a question on here was worth a shot. Thanks again for all the helpful replies and I look forward to talking with whomever may be interested.
 
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