Apropos of nothing

For all you medical types out there, can you tell me why you need the words “intubate” and “extubate”? How much harder is it to say “Remove the tube”?

Julianna and I left the Pediatric ICU yesterday. In the last nine days I have learned a lot of new terms. Sats. Leads. PEEP. Pressure control. Room air. Correlating. Nobody should know as much about their child’s respiratory rates, heart rates, oxygen saturation and chest X rays as I have learned.

On the plus side, however, I now can write about hospital stays with some authority. I know that’s going to come in handy.

It really stinks in here. Stinks, I mean, like sewage. I thought it was diapers at first. But no, it’s not. I think we have a plumbing problem in the building.

I’ve spent this time doing what may be the last edits on my novel, The Beggars’ Queen. (It’s up to my editor.) My husband rolls his eyes when I tell him I’m “done,” because he knows better by now. This novel began as a pretty silly fantasy written in high school. I always called it a “story,” and I was very self-conscious about it. I still am, truth be told. But over the years it has grown into a very involved, complex plot with many subplots. And now that someone else has deemed it worthy of reading, I’m growing more confident.

I started a new book a couple of months ago, and after 5 chapters I ground unceremoniously to a halt. It took a couple of weeks before I realized why. I hit a scene involving a character I don’t like. With The Beggars’ Queen, I finally learned to understand all my characters—even the villains—and that allowed me to enjoy writing about them as well as my protagonists. With this new work, I don’t know the secondary characters yet.

Since I no longer have the luxury of spending 15 years writing a book, I have to do some character study before I get back to writing. But then, I’m a little preoccupied at present.


All of the leads on all of my daughter’s monitors—heart, respiration and oxygen saturation—have ceased to function in the last hour. An hour, mind you. And the nurse hasn’t come in yet. Now I would like to know…why do we bother having the blasted cords hanging off her if the staff doesn’t care when they stop functioning?