James Patterson’s Writing Contest

I’m taking James Patterson’s On-Line Writing Class right now. He has a writing contest whose deadline is today. I submitted my entry yesterday.

I like how the contest ends, and in less than a few weeks he will announce a winner. Here is the dateline for that:

  • April 5, 201610 semifinalists announced
  • April 12, 20163 Finalists selected to write outlines
  • May 9, 2016Finalist outlines submissions close 11:59pm PST
  • May 24, 2016Winner announced

Even if I don’t win, and I have no idea how many people take his course or how many of them entered the contest, so I don’t know the odds of winning, but I do know I thought of a new story to write and that in itself is valuable.


My Little Dog Came Home

I was still feeling so badly on Sunday that I called my son in Charlotte and he came on Monday morning to take me to get my dog. I could not fasten my seat belt so he fastened it for me. I was furious at myself for being so helpless.

Shortly after we got home, I called the animal shelter that had impounded the attacking Pitbull to be sure it had been vaccinated for Rabies. It had not. After a phone call to my vet, my son and I went back to the vet’s to get my dog a booster Rabies shot. Although my dog was up to date on her Rabies shot, the vet said a booster was in order. It was sheer hell riding back to the vet. My dog was in my lap, but wanting to stand up and every time she moved, my finger hurt terribly. I was so glad to get back home for the second time.

My son drove back to his place that evening after helping with some things around the house.

Tuesday I took my pain meds. My litle dog had many stitches, but she seemed to feel far better than I did.

Wednesday morning I had an orthopedic doctor appointment. He unwrapped my hand, and said I had a severe injury that would be stiff and painful the rest of my life. He didn’t plan to do surgery, but would be keeping my finger in a splint for several weeks.


Can’t Is Not Usually In My Vocabulary

This morning my oldest son awakened me with a phone call to check how I was doing. I was ok, but in pain. I had 3 1/2 hours before I could call the vet about picking up my little, injured dog. I spent them on the computer and back and forth on the bed as my hurt finger began to hurt more and more. Finally at 9:00, an hour before I’d been told to call, I phoned the vet’s office. My dog is doing well and I could pick her up at 11:00 am. It was Saturday – the busiest day of the week for my vet. I almost cried, but didn’t argue. I will argue with doctors, but I had no idea why he wanted me to wait two more hours, but I thought he must have a good reason.

The time dragged by, and finally at 9:30 the pain was so enormous that I took a half of a pain pill. The prescription reads 2 every four hours as needed. I hadn’t had one since 4:00 am when I had taken half of one. I could stand the pain no more. I’d tried not to take them because I had to drive to pick up my dog. Also I have an enormous fear of becoming addicted to pain pills, and I try not to take them any more than I have to.

By 11:00 am, when it was time to go get Blackie, I realized the pain was so great that I could not drive. I called my oldest son, who lives in another town, but close by. He had worked all night and must have been sleeping because his phone went straight to voice mail. I left him a message asking him to call when he got it. I then called my vet’s office. My dog was ready to be picked up, and yes, she was active. I imagined her hitting my sore, broken, recently dislocated finger. It hurt so bad already that I was struggling not to cry. My youngest son, who is staying with me right now, had said he could ride with me and try to hold her in his lap, but we both knew how exhuberant she was in a car. His feet, which were injured in the Pit Bull attack, were in great pain and he would not be able to go in the vet’s with me. “Mom,” he’d told me, “you are in no shape to try to take care of that dog. Maybe you should wait a day or two to get her.” So with a heavy heart, I called the vet’s and explained the situation. The receptionist said she’d never heard me sound like this, and she went to talk to the vet. He sent word by her that he would board my dog for the rest of the week-end and I could pick her up Monday. So I left her there.

When my oldest son called later, I told him what had happened and how bad I felt about it. He reminded me about how the doctor told me just last week, when I’d been in the hospital that I should “get ahead of the pain” . . . not let it get so great before I asked for pain meds. So I began to take the pain pills more as directed, but still half a pill at the time. My hand ached and throbbed in pain all day. Tonight I let the cat come in my room. She happily stretched out on Blackie’s bed and at 11:00 pm, I went to bed for the night. I awakened at 1:30 with the cat in my face, but for the first time free of pain in my finger. It was wonderful not to hurt.I let the cat out of my bedroom and got up for a minute. The pain began to return. I took half of a pain pill, but now an hour later, had to take the other half. I hope the pain eases back up and I’ll go back to bed.

I’ve typed this using just one hand. I realize I was truly not able to go get my dog today, but hopefully I will be on Monday. At least I see there will be an end to this pain. If it’s quit hurting once, it can quit hurting again. I’ll get my little dog on Monday. I can only hope and pray she’s not upset, and that the time will go quickly between now and then for her.

ER Again

Cannot write about last week’s six day hospital stay because I ended up back at the ER today after Pit Bull attacked my 15 year old small dog and I tried to save her. I’m now hunting and pecking keys while a broken, dislocated finger throbs on my currently useless hand. My dog needed surgery and is at vet’s still. My finger was adjusted, but still has broken bone in it. ER nurse says one more visit and I will qualify for frequent flyer miles. Now I have to add Orthopedic doctor to doctors I have to see next week.

Monday into Tuesday

I tried very hard on Monday to ignore any physical symptoms. By Tuesday morning I realized I had to do something about the pain. I’d gone and filled the pain meds and nausea meds and took some of them Monday, but I didn’t see how I could continue on once they ran out. I called my oldest son to take me to the ER.

He lives in another town that is close, but felt very far away as I waited for him to arrive. The ER waiting room that had been empty on Sunday night, was packed when we got there. The two most noticeable occupants were two screaming children and a man who kept throwing up. If I wasn’t sick before I got there, I would be before I left. After a two hour wait, I told my son to take me home. I’d come back later when it wasn’t so crowded. I was already angry with my regular doctor. When I’d called her that morning, she was so busy that she couldn’t see me until Thursday. Huh???? I was SICK. I told her nurse about the Sunday night ER visit and she said to go back to the ER. She said that was all the doctor would do, if I did get in to see her – send me to the ER. This was a far cry from my regular doctor in Plymouth, NC, who stayed late when I had appendicitis. She waited for the ER test results, after calling ahead and putting me at the head of the line in the ER . . . and then she set up the surgery with the surgeon. As soon as I arrived at the hospital where the appendectomy was to be, I was greeted right away by a wheelchair bearing employee who whisked me quickly upstairs. Not to be so today. Today I joined the throngs of those who use the ER as a doctor’s office and watched the slow, slow procession of people going back to see the doctors.

I finally got fed up enough to call my son who lives in Charlotte. I told him I was trapped at the ER with his older brother and I wanted HIM to come get me and TAKE ME HOME. His response was to hang up and call his older brother who said I was giving him a hard time, but I had to see the doctor, no matter how long it took.

Finally after we’d been there a little over three hours, I was taken in the back. I found out why it took so long, because once I got back there, I occupied the room for almost five hours. They ran tests. They drew blood. They inserted an IV and gave me nausea and pain meds through the IV. They asked many questions and wrote on many forms. My son sat stoically staring into space. He had worked the night before and had two hours sleep before he came to drive me to the ER. It was a rough day for him as well.

Finally just after 5:00 pm, the doctor came in and said they were transferring me to a hospital in another town. It was in the opposite direction from my son’s town and that announcement brought me to tears. I told them NO. I didn’t want to go! Why??? They said not only did I have gallstones, but I had a stone blocking a duct and it could be better handled at the other hospital. So instead of facing one surgery, I was facing two.

They insisted that I go in an ambulance, although my son could have driven me. He offered to follow the ambulance and I told him to go home. He’d planned to work again that night and he needed to go back to his place and try to get a little sleep.

Shortly after he left, two nice looking young men walked in with a gurney and put me on it. Then I was wheeled down the hall and outside to the waiting ambulance. I asked if I could drive, just to lighten the mood, and they said not this time.

I watched the cars that trailed behind us and wondered if the people driving those cars wondered if I was dead or dying? I’d asked for the lights and sirens (might as well get my money’s worth), but the driver said he couldn’t do that. So I rode in mostly silence for eighteen miles to another town and another hospital.

I’d had an ultrasound done of my gallbladder on Sunday night and they said they would use that one. When I got to my hospital room, I was told that the first procedure, called an  ERCP would be done the next morning, with a gallbladder removal surgery following the next day.

What Life Throws At You

I just got out of the hospital yesterday after a six day stay. I had no idea that I was that sick until painful symptoms forced me to go to the ER on a Sunday night.

While I was in the hospital, one of my biggest annoyances was failure to work on my James Patterson’s Writing Course that I’d waited months to be able to afford and had just begun to take. I have no laptop, but perhaps it’s time to get one?

I want to chronicle the illness and the hospital stay while it is fresh in my mind. Suffice it to say that on Sunday night, February 28, I had terrible stomach/chest pains that would not end. I finally gave in and a little after midnight I drove myself to the ER. They determined that it was a gallbladder episode and asked if this had ever happened before? Yes, it had. It had been going on for at least three months, but always before the pain would subside and I’d let it go. I don’t like seeing doctors. I’ve been hurt as often, or more often, by them than helped. Many don’t listen and some seem to know less about my conditions than I know. I stay away from doctors as much as I can. I could not avoid them that night. However, although the doctor recommended immediate surgery, she said I was ok to come home and think about it. I left the hospital at 4:00 am with a prescription for pain meds and one for nausea meds. I thought I’d be fine. I was wrong.