Tag Archives: medical

The saga of today

I took today off for my annual exam. This is because sometimes there is blood involved and I did not want to go back to the office under those circumstances.

On my first appointment I saw one doctor, then he kicked me to the curb. After that I saw Dr. Rowe. I liked Dr. Rowe, because he talked to me in plain English and took time to answer my questions.

After three years, Dr. Rowe has kicked me to the curb. I hate how modern medicine does this.

The new guy dropped the idea that he’s been at The Tumor Institute for about six months. To be honest, he looked like he’d been licensed about six months. He also let me know Dr. Rowe is still with the practice, but works across the street in a different office now. Why the hell wasn’t I given the option of going across the street and having my appointment with Dr. Rowe?

My PSA is great now, thanks to the medication. When I asked the new kid about it, he wanted to explain some kind of long division and how to compare the number to the general population. He also wanted to stick to the number. I told him, “I don’t need to know all that, and don’t know what the number means. How about you tell me if it’s normal or not?” Apparently it’s normal. (Trying to talk over my head is not going to work. I’m not the one who nods demurely, then shuts up.)

When it came time for the exam, I told him Dr. Rowe said we’d only be doing that every other year. He seemed kind of sad, and told me I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. This kid looked like someone who wanted to stick his finger up my butt, so I declined.

My hope now is this kid will move on before I have to go back next year. Otherwise, I may spiral into cancelling my appointment and not going back at all.

I’m looking at it as good news this time. My blood test was great, even my blood pressure was great. It’s like when our heroes survive the ordeal portion of our stories. After the ordeal, the hero gets a reward.

Old What’s Her Face is off today, and she wanted to go to Old Chicago for lunch. This reward is an Odell’s Brewing Big Cookie A La Mode. It’s a special brew that OC got in and promoted to come sample. It’s a very good beer, but does not taste anything like a cookie or ice cream.

Some beers actually live up to their names, like banana bread beer that actually tastes like banana bread. I won’t complain though, because it was very good.

I go back to work for the rest of the week. Old What’s Her Face has to work nights this weekend, something she’s never done before. (People shouldn’t have these disruptive schedules after a certain age and years on the job.) My holiday weekend will be spent walking on eggshells while she tries to sleep.

Fortunately, my keyboard is pretty quiet, and I might wrangle some writing time.

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Of course you can have more Macabre Macaroni

Lisa BurtonHi gang, welcome back for another helping of Macabre Macaroni. This week we’re trying to garner a bit of sympathy for the monster.

Maybe the determination of a monster is just your point of view. Some of us are different, and that freaks people out. It isn’t what appears on the outside as much as the inside.

I’m not saying there aren’t monsters out there, but you might have to dig under the surface to identify them. Maybe it isn’t about the way you look as much as how you think or act.

Today’s story is called Monster Spotting. How many can you find?

Monster Spotting

Cori Vincent fought back the shadows and fog. Her entire body hurt. Not the sharp biting pain of something recent, but the throbbing ache of something long term. Before she blacked back out she overheard a few words.

“Day two-hundred forty-three. Stem cells and neural dust have accelerated healing, nervous system repairs are remarkable. We have not been able to stimulate the nerves that will bring her out of the coma.

“Ms. Vincent has taught us much, and there is more to learn. Ultimately, we will have to terminate the experiment if she does not regain consciousness–”

Cori fought to hear more. This time she was able to open her eyes. It was dark in her room, and only a faint glow told her she succeeded. A thin layer of gauze covered her eyes, and she pawed at it.

She pulled the gauze away and breathed deeper. The glow came from under the door. Her left eye told her more than the right. She rubbed the right, but complete vision eluded her. The window revealed only the night outside.

Her legs felt leaden as she swung them off the bed and forced herself upright. Even this simple act caused her to gasp for air. She breathed deeply, but didn’t feel as though her lungs were processing the precious oxygen.

The voice said two-hundred forty-three days. That’s eight months. How many days had it been since she heard the voice?

She reached the door by using the bed to get to her feet, then falling forward until she could lean against the wall. Her hands fumbled at the light switch, so she used the back of her wrist to swipe it on.

The room was spartan at best. A bed, a sink in some cabinetry, and nothing else; not even a call-button for the nurse. At least the door knob was one of the handle type and not round. She used the back of her hand once more to open it. Hello! Is anyone here? Nurse? “Naawwwrrrrss!”

She recoiled at the guttural noise. That isn’t my voice. What happened to my words? Her throat immediately ached, and she coughed up phlegm. She stumbled to the sink and spit.

The building was closed. What kind of hospital closes? She stumbled into the hallway and moved toward the front of the building. A surgical suite sat off to the left, and a private office to the right. She appeared to be the only patient here; the only person here.

The office had a desk, a computer, and a chair. She needed the chair. A newspaper article pinned to a board beside the desk caught her attention. She had to close her right eye completely to focus on the letters.

The headline read, “Automobile Accident Claims Couple.” Her head reeled. Eric was driving. She was trying to keep the girls from fighting. The girls!

She pawed at the article and tore it from the board. She froze in her actions. These aren’t my hands?

Her hands were huge masculine paws, with black skin. Possibly from an industrial worker or a carpenter of some kind, judging by the calluses.

The office had a private bathroom. Cori stumbled inside and found the mirror. She was a man now. Not just any man, a gigantic black man. Surgical scars completely circled her head above the eyes and ears. Her head was balding, and her right eye permanently squinted. Palsy claimed the right side of her face, and her lip and cheek sagged. Someone had dressed her in ill-fitting grey flannel pajamas. She spun to lean against the wall, and lifted the article to her good eye. She and her husband died, and the children were given to child protective services. My babies! “Baaaaabbbaa!”

The article said she and Eric were buried together in Shady Grove. Could Eric still be somewhere in the same condition as her? It didn’t matter. Someone else had her babies. She stumbled to the front door and forced it open. Glass shattered and an alarm went off as she stumbled into the night.

A street sign at the corner indicated she was only a couple of blocks from the courthouse. Child Protective Services would know where her girls were.

She tripped on the curb when she crossed against the light and stumbled into someone’s yard, taking out three feet of picket fence along the way. They’d left their sprinkler on, and thirst overwhelmed her. She pulled the sprinkler head off and drank. Water dribbled from the damaged right side of her mouth, but she didn’t care. She tried to avoid ruining any more of the fence when she left, but knocked another section down. At least it didn’t break, and they could stand it back up.

Her small-town courthouse was closed for the night. She battered the door open and went inside. Child Protective Services was simple enough to figure out. A sequence of locked file cabinets in alphabetical order. She found the drawer where V might be, tossed the wet and rumpled newspaper article from her hand, and ripped the cabinet apart like someone peeling an orange.

The girls went to two different foster families. How could they? They just lost their parents, now they have to endure losing each other. She screamed into the night, but it sounded more like an animalistic roar.

This was a small town. Her small town. She was alive, somehow, and these were still her children. They would figure out something.

She plodded along Cedar Avenue with the faint flashing of police lights behind her. They responded to the alarm at whatever facility she escaped from.

She lurched down the street until she came to the first house shortly after sunrise. A simple craftsman style, with a yard-full of toys. A purple tricycle, some multi-colored plastic construction blocks, and a small plastic slide.

The door opened and she slid behind a tree. Emily looked beautiful in her summer dress, if a bit sad. “Driveway only honey. No tricycle on the sidewalk or street. Remember?”

“Yes, Mommie.”

Mommie? I’m her mommie. It’s me honey. Everything is going to be just fine. “Hhhhoonn Maaaaam.”

Emily screamed.

The door opened.

A woman came out, scooped Emily up, and ran back inside. The woman peeked out a window, and held a cell phone to her ear.

Cori glanced left and right, then faded into the shadows of a nearby alley. This woman cared. Emily was safe for the time being. The police, or her attorney could sort it all out later. She needed to see her other daughter. Dawn was older, and might have deeper understanding of her parent’s death. She needed to know Dawn was alright too.

Cori trudged her way across town. She stopped frequently for rest and water, hiding occasionally as police cruisers combed through the neighborhoods. She cut through an industrial area and the police presence faded.

A chain-link fence prevented her from leaving the industrial park. She tried to tear through it, but it just pulled loose from the poles. She rampaged at being tangled, but managed to crawl over the wiring and out the other side. After crossing a dry irrigation ditch, she wound up in the right neighborhood.

The doublewide sat back from the street. It was at least twenty years old and in need of serious repairs. Tall trees cast deep shade across the yard. A yard cluttered by old appliances and plastic garbage bags.

She flailed at a swarm of flies as she lumbered toward the sound of voices in back.

“I told you to clean up that dog kennel! What do I have to do to get it through your thick head?”

Cori quickened her pace.

A man in his late twenties backhanded Dawn and sent her sprawling to the ground. Her second hand jeans looked like they had never been washed, and someone had cut all of her beautiful hair until she looked like a boy.

“Your mother’s going to be pissed when she gets off shift.”

“She isn’t my mother!”

The man kicked her with his boot.

Cori charged in, but it was more of a rolling act of desperation. Don’t touch her, you bastard! “Bassssttaaa!”

The man looked up and his eyes went white.

Cori swung both arms at him by turning her chest and popping her hips. They didn’t work very well, but made heavy clubs. She knocked the man to the ground and moved forward.

Dawn screamed.

Someone’s voice caught Cori’s attention. “…that’s right officer. The Lawrence place again. Send someone quick. It looks like one of his drug deals went bad. I’m going to film it…”

The man got up, made a kick at Dawn. “Get in the house.”

Cori grabbed him around the neck. Her hands only moderately functioned, so she used the crook of her elbow. She stomped the man’s foot and jerked upward.

The man’s neck broke with a sickening sound.

She flung him across the yard like one of the bags of garbage. He hit an old washing machine and knocked it over. It’s alright now, honey. Mommie’s here. “Mmaaaaam.”

She lumbered to the door as the police car skidded to a stop with lights flashing. Two officers bailed out, and drew their pistols.

Cori gestured toward the officers with her arms outstretched. Thank God you’re here officers. This man was beating my daughter. “Daaaaghhhhrrr!”

“Turn around. On your knees. Lace your fingers together on top of your head.”

You don’t understand officers. My daughter needs your help. She could be injured. “Jurrrrddd!” Cori took a step toward the policemen.

The younger officer opened fire.

Cori stumbled forward.

The older officer joined his partner, and they poured rounds into Cori’s chest.

The bullets hurt, but not like she expected. Much of her body was without feeling. She felt the impact more than anything, but any remaining strength left her and her legs buckled.

The officers stood and approached with guns pointed at her. Cori lay still.

Before she lost consciousness forever, she over heard the neighbor. “I told you the Lawrences were awful people. Look what they brought to our neighborhood. They should never have been given a child either.”

“Go back inside, ma’am. It may not be safe yet. I don’t think the girl will be staying here any longer.”

***

Lisa again, Craig tells me I’ve been a bit remis on these posts. I need to point out that if you enjoy micro-fiction, Craig has plenty of it available. They are bundled together with some short stories into two Experimental Notebooks. There is a third collection called The Enhanced League and the stories there tell an overarching story. Many of the micros in Enhanced League are in the form of second person point of view “anthems.” You know how Craig likes to experiment. You can pick up any one of them for 99¢, just click on the covers.

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. BoyackThe Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack IIThe Enhanced League

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Order up! Macabre Macaroni

Lisa BurtonLisa Burton here with another serving of Macabre Macaroni. I try to avoid the dark side of technology, being a robot myself. Even I have to admit it can be misused.

Technology is wonderful, but it should be used with caution. This week, Craig takes kind of an extreme approach to some future advancements in the medical field… or are they already here?

***

Monitors

Mrs. Levine sat beside the hospital bed and held her husband’s hand. It had been three days this time, and only a few lucid moments passed between them.

She held on to something through her faith, but another part of her explored the value of their home, what might be left of their finances, and even the possibility of going back to work. One day per week at the library was all she’d found, so far.

They both knew one or the other would go first. After fifty-seven years of marriage, it was inevitable.

The doctor came into the room and placed a hand on her shoulder. “How’s he doing today?”

“About the same. He’s been pretty quiet.”

“Why don’t I have Nurse Silvio take you to the cafeteria for a nice cup of coffee? I want to check his vitals, and get someone to change the bedding today.”

“You’re too good to me doctor. You need to get some rest too.”

“I’ll be fine, don’t you worry. I have an intern helping today. She can do the heavy lifting.”

The doctor walked her to the nurse’s station and handed her off to Nurse Silvio before returning to his patient.

***

He waited for the intern, then closed the door. “Take some notes, Parkins. The Accounting Office needs this data.” He lifted the face off the patient monitor. The false data kept reporting even as he set the cover aside.

The real monitor revealed different data. “Looks like he has about two-hundred thousand, eight-hundred heartbeats left,” he said.

Parkins asked, “What’s that put it at, Tuesday morning?”

“Seems about right. I’ll be in surgery that day. The old woman is all yours.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“It’s part of the job. You’ll have to get used to it.”

“Isn’t there anything else we can do for him?”

“Look at this number. His bank account will run out just about the time his heart fails.”

“The third graph shows his insurance is still strong.”

“Doesn’t matter. If he can’t pay his deductible, the hospital gets stung for that part. Accounting keeps this hospital in the black and I, for one, want it to stay that way. Our new monitors are really helping. They allow us to do everything possible while the patient can afford it. This bed needs to go to someone who can pay.”

“I don’t know, I mean it isn’t like Accounting has to talk to the grieving widow.”

“The accountants are in charge, no doubt. I think they may be a bit more generous in the wage department this year. The new monitors are allowing us to detect all kinds of surgical options. Just the other day, insurance authorized the removal of a gall bladder for a patient who’d had a motorcycle accident. Insurance paid full price for the surgery even though we already had her open to treat internal bleeding.”

“That’s a blessing, I suppose. My parents bought me a Camaro before I headed for college. That was nine years ago, and I’m still driving it. The passenger window is held up by duct tape now.”

“Tell you what, I’ll let you notify the mortuary. They pay a nice referral fee and you can keep it. It won’t replace your car, but it might let you fix the window.”

“I really appreciate it.”

“If the widow gives you a hard time, hook her up to a monitor. Maybe she has something insurance will cover in full.”

“Hope so, we already know she doesn’t have anything for the deductible.”

“You’re going to make a fine doctor one day, Parkins.”

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White Bear, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio, I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today has a very important job. In America we would say he’s a stuffed animal, in other places they would refer to him as a plush toy. “Welcome to the show, White Bear.”

“Hi, Lisa. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks so much for choosing me to be your first stuffed animal interview!”

“Pleasure to have you. You’re best friends with someone named Angel. How did you two come to meet?”

“As far as I know, before meeting Angel, I always lived in a doctor’s office at Shriner’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. I spent most of my time at the computer doing research or hanging out on a bookshelf. Lots of kids came in and out of that office, but they never paid any attention to me. One day, a little girl named Angel came to meet my doctor. She needed a special procedure to release the chord in her spine so that she would be able to walk. Angel was so little and only said a few words, but as soon as I saw her, I had the feeling she was going to change my life. While the doctor was talking with her mom, Angel looked right at me and winked! I winked right back and she started giggling. The doctor must have realized that we were meant to be together because that very day I left the hospital to live with Angel in my forever home.”

“Sounds to me like you guys really hit it off.”

“We sure did, Lisa, from the very beginning. I started hanging out with her during dialysis and was even allowed to stay with her during procedures, tests and surgeries. Actually, we did practically everything together. Oh, there was this one time we were supposed to be cleaning her room and we started having a pillow fight. That’s when I fell of the bed and landed on the corner of the dresser. I ended up with a cut on my arm and lost quite a bit of stuffing. Angel’s mom had to re-stuff my arm and sew me back up. Angel stayed with me the whole time. I still have a bandage sewn on my arm and it reminds me every day to be a bit more careful. But you know, no one can control every situation they end up in.”

“So you and Angel must spend quite a bit of time in the hospital.”

“That is true. Since I have known her she has had two more back surgeries, one reconstructive surgery and so many procedures that it is hard to remember. Once she was activated on the kidney transplant list we knew that life was going to change. We made lots of plans like going swimming, eating chocolate, and going to Disney World. You can’t imagine the lists we made. Then when we least expected, they got the call. A kidney was found for Angel. We hurried to the hospital to get Angel settled in and prepared for surgery. I was with her all the way to the operating room. That’s when the trouble started. When they transferred Angel to the OR, I was left on the bed in the hallway. By the time I realized what was happening, I was rolled up in the blankets and tossed down the laundry chute.”

“The laundry room must have been terrifying.”

“Actually, tumbling down the chute was kind of fun. Even landing in a big laundry bag wasn’t so bad. It was when I realized that I was being taken outside to a laundry truck, that I started getting nervous. No one knew where I was and I had to find a way to get back to Angel before she woke from surgery.”

“How did you get out?”

“Well, spinning around in a giant washing machine with soap bubbles splashing in my face made it hard for me to see what was happening. At one point, I was tossed towards the front of the machine, right against the glass window. As I was spinning upside down I saw a man with a big smile standing right in front of me…”

“White Bear, I really hope you can get back to Angel before she wakes up. I’m honored to have you on my show, and I want to challenge our listeners today to donate new plush toys to a local children’s hospital. They can work in children’s wards, on ambulances, and many other places.

“You can read more about White Bear in White Bear’s Big Adventure, by Marie Cheine, and I’ll add all the details to the website. Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today, Marie and White Bear will appreciate it, and they’ll do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

***

Blurb:
White Bear knows his way around hospitals. He lived in one for a long tine before going home with his best friend Angel.
But one day, White Bear got tangled up in a pile of hospital sheets and ended up where he never expected to be. Will he find his way back to the Pediatric ICU before his best friend wakes up?

Marie was born in the Bronx, New York, but was raised in Queens and on Long Island. When she was three her mother took her to the Queens Library at Bellerose for Library School. There she sat quietly with all the other young kids and listened to the librarian read stories aloud. That and the bedtime stories her parents to her every night until she was old enough to read herself, began her life-long love of storytelling and writing.

Fast forward Tampa, Florida where she has been the patient coordinator for the Tampa Bay Adult Congenital Heart Clinic for almost 25 years. During this time, she graduated from Thomas Edison College where she majored in English and later earned a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Literature and Writing) from Western New Mexico University. In between, she got married, had a son, adopted numerous cats and two dogs and became a grandmother.

Meanwhile, her niece was born with a rare set of birth defects causing malformations in many body systems known as VATER or VACTERYL Association. This included a condition requiring a colostomy immediately after birth, one completely non-functioning kidney and one that soon required dialysis and eventual kidney transplant, a tethered spine and scoliosis requiring five surgeries and a heart condition called Wolfe Parkinson White.

Following a particularly long admission when her niece was hospitalized for almost an entire year, Marie formulated the idea of creating a series of books dedicated to children with serious and life-threatening illnesses. White Bear’s Big Adventure is the first in the series.

You can purchase White Bear’s Big Adventure at this link.

You can follow Marie at the following locations:

www.mariecheine.com

www.whitebearsworld.com

www.marushkasplace.com

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Visit the City of Hope and Ruin, on Lisa Burton Radio

 

Don't touch that dial! You've found Lisa Burton Radio, the show where characters come alive. My guest today is Briony, and she's a healer from the land of Aelduende. She has a problem, in that she wants her family to move away from a war torn border.

I'm your host Lisa the robot girl. Today's show is sponsored by the CITY OF HOPE AND RUIN, by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson. Be sure to check out this wonderful book, and help me keep the lights on around here.

“Welcome to the show Briony.”

“Hello? I can hear you, but not see you. Are you a spirit?”

“I'm an Artificial Intelligence, here to interview you about being a healer. It must be hard, being a non-magical healer in a world that has magic. What can you tell us about that? Do you have to compete with magical healers?”

“Sure, my partner Kishan is a magical healer. He’s great, don’t get me wrong, but everyone seems to think he does all the work. I can spend several minutes binding up a broken bone, and all he does is wave his hands and declare that nothing else is broken, and you’d think it was the most spectacular thing ever performed, the way some people act.

“I think that’s why he thinks he knows everything. Which can be annoying, let me tell you, because it takes forever to get something into his head if he disagrees with you. For example, we have refugees coming from the border every day, telling stories about the atrocities of the Scarred. But he swears we’re safe here and thinks I’m overreacting to try and get my family away. I can’t understand it. He knows the stories from the War as well as I do.”

“I understand, but this war happened five-hundred years ago. My country fought a couple of wars with people who are now our best friends, and that was only two-hundred years ago. What keeps the contention so high?”

“Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? We never recovered from the last war. We may have driven the Scarred off eventually, but the Old Ones left us with Fractures—plants and animals that look normal to lure you in—and they made the Scarred what they are today. Something worse, something…less human. They went back to their own country, and sealed off contact with the rest of the world. Who knows what they’ve been doing in that time? Nothing good, if the stories from the border are to be believed. And I’ve treated the wounds on those people. I believe.”

“These Fractures Sound like bad news. How can somebody make cute animals into something evil? No wonder you want to move away. Where would you move?”

“I think it would be safest to go to the capital, Cynestel. The army and the Academy are there, and if they can’t protect us, well. If it was just me and Kishan, maybe I’d try staying. But it’s my brother and his family. Four children, no mother. The thought of something happening to them—but Jael’s stubborn. That probably runs in the family. He says we’ve got to stay where we are. So I think—I think if I can show him that it’d be better for us to move, he’d finally do it. He’s like Kishan, doesn’t take the Scarred seriously…or at least, that’s what he says. His eyes say something different.

“So I’m trying to get into the Academy. They teach magic. It’s hard to get into, but I think if I can get accepted, somehow, it’ll be enough to get Jael to move the family. Nothing’s been working, though.”

“That sounds rough. What will you do if that doesn’t work?”

“I’m…I’m not sure. There’s…well. The Old Ones disappeared during the War. Abandoned us, really. They were supposed to save us from the Scarred, not make them worse. But they had a lot of knowledge we don’t have any more. I suppose, maybe, that if I never find any magic, then maybe I’d be able to find something left over from them, something that would help. But still—would they have abandoned us if they could deal with the Scarred? And that was so long ago. No. I need magic. It’s really the only way. I have to make it work. Though I’m down to—wait. Did you say you were a spirit?”

“Um, yes, I am a spirit. If you can communicate with spirits, you must have some magical ability. Make sure you tell them that on the application. Thanks for visiting with us today, and good luck moving to the capital.”

***

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Kit: It is a little known fact that Kit was raised in the wild by a marauding gang of octopuses. It wasn't until she was 25 that she was discovered by a traveling National Geographic scientist and brought back to civilization. This is sometimes apparent in the way that she attempts to escape through tubes when startled.

Her transition to normalcy has been slow, but scientists predict that she will have mastered basics such as fork use sometime in the next year. More complex skills, such as proper grocery store etiquette, may be forever outside her reach.

Kit can be found cavorting about the web at her blog or website, on Pinterest, and even occasionally on Twitter.

Siri: Siri Paulson writes all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, Gothic, historical paranormal, and YA with spaceships. She is also the chief editor at Turtleduck Press. Siri grew up in Alberta, Canada, but now lives in an old house in Toronto. By day, she edits non-fiction for the government. Her other current passion is contra dance, a social/folk dance done to live Celtic and roots music. Her favourite places in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a little valley in Norway.

Siri's short fiction and the anthologies she has edited can be found on Turtleduck Press. She blogs and tweets.

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