It's all material.


That’s always been my mantra as a writer… even last week when I took a horrible fall while running down the stairs. After cracking my back across the edge of a step and smacking my head on the tile floor, I lay at the bottom seeing stars and trying to catch my breath. But I couldn’t do more than sniff without a knife stab of pain. I ended up in the ER with an eager young doctor gleefully rubbing his hands. X-ray showed a broken rib and partially collapsed lung and he could insert a chest tube to help. “Right here. I can do it bedside.” Cut me open? in the ER? no sanitized OR or scrub nurses? Cue the freak-out.

Nothing like a hiccupping blubbering woman to make handsome Dr. Kildare run away. He decided to wait for the CT scan results and the pulmonary surgeon, who recommended oxygen therapy, no tube. Whew. I was admitted to the Cardiac Step Down unit, which offers great attention and skill, but check-ins every 3 hours. All. Night. Long.

Gather material. My Toradol-fuzzed brain struggled to remember detail. The eerie hush of the floor at night, the sinister glow of the nurses station. What about the kind nurse who sat with me at 2 a.m. and explained lung anatomy – was she hiding from someone? The brusque ER nurse who couldn’t care less where she stuck the IV needle – was she trying to make the handsome doctor look bad? The cops running in and out of the ER – was that patient handcuffed? There was opportunity for mayhem everywhere. No wonder there are so many medical thrillers written.

I’m not going to change genres, but to occupy my mind I tried to infuse medical malfeasance into the book I’m working on. Maybe there’s a cover-up at autopsy. A purposeful ‘mistake’ in the meds. A crazed assassin posing as a nurse…the possibilities are endless.