6
$\begingroup$

I'm writing something in which the main character has become a vampire, or vampire-like entity, due to the influence of a Lovecraftian horror.

What are some things they, as a conscious person, may or may not experience due to a lack of a heartbeat that aren't immediately obvious and that aren't generally considered in fiction?

Some things I've already thought of are that, sweating, crying, blushing, sexual arousal, adrenaline rushes, and rash/irritation redness wouldn't be possible or noticeable. Also, apparent bruising would occur in the legs if the vampire stood or sat for long periods of time since the blood would settle due to gravity without the usual pressure. I'm also interested in how this might affect a person, psychologically. Assuming their personality was intact at the moment of transformation, how might the halting of lesser-known chemical processes (e.g. I know less dopamine means depression and impaired learning) affect this person mentally?

Basically, the horror's influence helps animate the character's body through a mixture of spacetime manipulation and psychokinesis in just enough ways for them to be a thinking, intelligent predator capable of harvesting blood through the desire to consume it. They also appear largely human and don't exhibit obvious signs of generalized hypoxia, like cyanosis. Though, their skin is a little paler than before and they're a bit cold to the touch. The character is still capable of logical thinking and, consequently, emotions, but I imagine their emotions and some thought-influenced bodily processes might be dulled or unbalanced due to the consequences of a nonexistent heartbeat. Thanks in advance, I hope you guys have some really obscure and interesting biology facts to lay down.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding.SE! When you have a moment, please take our tour and visit our help center to learn more about us. This is a good question and we're delighted, but please note for the future that Stack Exchange is a one-specific-question/one-best-answer service. There are several questions (at least physical and psychological impacts) in the post. Cheers! and enjoy the ride. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jul 17 '18 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ What the body temperature would be like? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jul 17 '18 at 7:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Have you read The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross? It is a treatment of this kind of idea, and a very good read, it may or may not be of use to you to read it. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 17 '18 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ Are you looking for things an individual might experience that leads them to believe they are conscious, or things which another person might use? The tests doctors use to determine if someone is truly brain-dead might be useful, but none of them can be applied from within. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 17 '18 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'm assuming the person is fully conscious, I'm just wondering what it would feel like to inhabit a body that doesn't have a heartbeat and how that might affect someone on a psychological level. $\endgroup$ – DoctorJerk Jul 18 '18 at 13:18
2
$\begingroup$

It's a really complex question, I'll try to elaborate some thoughts disregarding a lot of biological stuff and coating them with a lot of fantasy dust.

Firstly, let's establish that no endocrine signaling would occur, as there's no "bloodway" for it to flow. Meaning that no long distance hormones should work on said scenario. That leaves us to paracrine and neurocrine signalling.

Paracrine

Paracrine signalling occurs on cell to cell level. For example, when there's an cut in the skin, the injured cells signal nearby tissue to start hemostasis and some degree of cellular repairing. For a full repair of damaged tissue, the body needs reinforcements from afar, which wouldn't happen. An interesting part of that is the cytokines, inflammatory molecules that are also released locally that can increase pain and inflammatory reactions. So, with some suspension of disbelief, any injury your character suffers wouldn't fully heal, there would just be an inflammatory tissue formed and never ending pain to a already tormented being.

Neurocrine

And how can it feel pain? Well, neurocrine signalling is also a cell to cell communication, but it's specific to neurons and their synapses. Pain would be preserved.

As for emotions, there are endocrine hormones and pathways responsible for regulating it, but let's not go that far into it as it would ruin any possibility for an interesting character. Let's say feelings are produced only at the brain and it's not affect by the lack of blood flow. Given that, body reactions to emotion would still be compromised. He would be afraid, he can recognize logically that he is afraid but he wouldn't feel afraid. Kind hard to explain, but you get the rough idea and there's lot of room for expansion on the topic.

There's a immediate response in the brain when you're eating to signal that you will be full after you're finished. Still, hormones produced by the stomach and intestine are not going to show the brain that your character is satisfied and fed. This could be the cause of his never ending hunger and blood lust, also another way to torment him as I'm sure that Lovecraftian being is up to no good. That brief moment of feeding is the only glimpse of relief he feels, just to be set back to a starving condition minutes after.

Other random cool stuff

-As there's no way to wash down the CO2 and lactic acid from the muscles, he would feel cramps and pain any time he get more worked up and active. He would need long times of rest to let those substances diffuse through his body (maybe the hibernating in a coffin stuff that conventional vampires like to do could be explained by that).

-Insufficient heart flow on the living causes lower limbs edema, accumulation of liquids on lunger that could result on bubble like secretion coming from his mouth from time to time. There could be a similar condition on your character. I think that may be too grotesque, but who knows what you might like?

-Due to constant hypoxia on the brain, there would be times he gets confused, does irrational things or gets inexplicably violent. As the times goes he forgets a lot of people he knew, places he went and the concept of who he is due to micro ischemia of certain parts of the brain.

That's what I can think now, but you should research more on these topics if you will:

-Neurocrine, endocrine, paracrine and autocrine hormone signaling pathways.

-Cardiac Insufficiency/Cardiac failure.

-Effects of mild hypoxia and hypoglycemia on the brain.

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

One doesn't normally notice the sound of their own heartbeat but it's always there, until it isn't, that would be really disturbing. There would be similar but different effects with bloodflow through the eye ceasing and the cessation of one's pulse as felt throughout the body, these are things we're usually not conscious of but would almost certainly notice in their absence.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, I hadn't considered the sound aspect, but I have heard of that quiet room that makes these things noticeable. How are the eyes affected, exactly? Anything besides not seeing floaters or those little stress-induced firefly things? Do you have any other information about what one might notice in the rest of their body without the heartbeat? $\endgroup$ – DoctorJerk Jul 17 '18 at 13:46
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @DoctorJerk There are blood vessels in the eye that are actually between the soft lens and the retina, we don't notice the blood flowing through these capillaries, to spite how well lit it is, because the processing pathways in the occipital lobe ignore it. If the blood was gone there would be a strange effect because the view through the space that now doesn't have blood will be different to what those pathways expect. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 17 '18 at 13:57
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @DoctorJerk Your body throbs every time blood goes through your veins, you don't feel it on a conscious level, unless you concentrate on a particular part of your body because you're conditioned to it always being there, but if it stopped happening you'd notice very quickly that something was missing. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 17 '18 at 14:01
3
$\begingroup$

To the best of my knowledge, this person would experience a painful and obvious swelling of their feet as the blood would be pulled down by gravity. Without a method of circulating the blood, there really isn't any other place all that fluid could go. If blood is no longer a requirement for this individual to live, it might be a good idea for them to simply release this pressure by getting rid of the useless blood altogether.

If they wish to keep that blood, I'm guessing for sentimental reasons, investing in some compression socks/pants would be another solution. Otherwise there feet would change color and they would go up two shoe sizes.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Human vision works on differences in the visual field from moment to moment. If your eyes are tracking something exactly, it will fade out of vision fast. (It's actually still possible to see stark contrasts very vaguely, but no color vision will survive.) Biological processes like breathing and heartbeat help move the eyes enough under most conditions. Remove those, and the world can just vanish from vision if our vampire relaxes in a supported position.

In my limited experience, the lack of vision isn't immediately obvious, but moving the eyes to restore vision can be a little surprising.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Reaally steady pulse. No need for deodorant. When cut, your blood won't make a jet in the air, only leaks. Without good flow, your body may be hot in some places and cold in other. The heat isn't redistributed.

Insects will pursue you ralentlessly as a cadaver in ripe state for flys laying some eggs.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.