Morning Medical Stuff and More Writing Lessons From TV

CT Scan

Started my morning early with a 7:15 am CT Scan. This time it was for my shoulder. As I’ve said before, my pinky and ring fingers on my right hand have been difficult to use for some time. They are numb and tingle at all times and sometimes next to impossible to use. Fortunately, it has not affected my typing.

After going through a neurologist, two neurosurgeons and physical therapy, it was never determined what the cause is and since I’ve adapted I should just get on with my life.

Now, I have the same thing going on with my left hand. The one difference is it started with horribly intense pain in my palm in the middle of the night. These are common signs of carpel tunnel syndrome. The numbness and tingling now are going on with both hands, but the sharp pains have disappeared. My primary care physician, who I normally adore, is sending me through all kinds of routes to find out what is going on. This morning started with the CT Scan in my shoulder. Next month I’ll be going back to my neurologist. I know exactly what will happen. He will laugh when I walk in the door, ask why I’m there, and will then tell me we’ve been through all this and they can’t find a neurological disorder. He may run some tests since it’s on a different hand, but I doubt he’ll find anything.

I’ll also be visiting my neurosurgeon next month to have an MRI. It’s my annual check up to ensure my small brain tumor has not grown big enough to begin pressing on nerves. He normally wouldn’t want to be involved in this whole hand thing again, but I could be wrong since I’ll be seeing him anyway.

Now I have two more authorization forms to deal with. The first one is…well…I have no idea. My doctor’s handwriting is so bad, I know no idea what it’s for or who it’s for. I have no idea who I’m supposed to see. Today I’ll make a third call to her office to find out just what this piece of paper is.

Then, I have an approval form from my insurance. With this one she referred me to a nephrologist. Having no idea what a nephrologist does, I looked it up. It’s a physician who specializes in kidney disease. Kidney disease!!! All my blood tests look great and at no point did my doctor and I discuss my kidneys. I don’t know what the hell this is about.

She and I did discuss her wanting me to see a neuropsychiatrist rather than a regular psychiatrist. The two sound similar so is this an error on what type of specialist I’m supposed to go see? I have no idea, but it’s the only thing I can figure out. If she’s concerned about my kidneys, I’m certain she would have told me. Again, I’m waiting for her office to call me back about this.


As I was writing about this, I received a call back from the doctor’s office. The authorization for the nephrologist (kidney guy) was an error and I should disregard. They had no idea what the handwritten form is that I can’t read. I just emailed a copy to them to figure out what it is.

In the end, having gone through all of this with my right hand, I don’t expect to learn much regarding my left hand and possibly sent back to physical therapy which of was no use. (sigh)

More Writing Learned from The Walking Dead

Sorry to sound like I kicking a dead horse here, but my thoughts here are not so much about the show as they are about learning writing skills.

I’ve mentioned before that the show has established that a living person can spread zombie guts over their body to prevent their scent. Doing this prevents the zombies from smelling the living and they will walk right on pass them.

Then I said there’s this new group of people who wear dead skin on their faces and shuffle their feet so they can safely walk among the zombies. Never mind that it’s been established that blood and guts are required to hide the human’s scent, apparently these skin masks are magical and not only make the person look like a zombie, but the zombies don’t smell that they are not truly dead.

Then I mentioned there was a guy who was walking with the dead skin faced people, but didn’t have a mask on his face, nor did he cover his body with blood and guts. The skin faced people and this totally unprotected guy were walking with the zombies and the guy talked non-stop. Apparently, the zombies didn’t smell him, nor did they hear him. For him, he apparently is impervious of detection by the zombies. The reality is we know this is not true because he’s been attacked several times during the show.

Now to last nights episode. Two weeks ago there was a young woman in a cave when there was a cave in. The group she was with assumed she was crushed by rocks or was helpless and likely eaten by the zombies. They were sad for her, but moved on. Lo and behold, last night we learned she wasn’t dead. How do we know this? Because she showed up to the good guys camp by mixing herself in the middle of a herd of zombies. Once again we had inconsistency. She was not wearing dead skin on her face, nor was she covered in zombie blood. She was right there in the middle of them, walking along as if it was normal. i don’t know, maybe the zombies weren’t hungry that day.

Up until now I’ve been writing about the continuity issues with the show lately, and what I have learned not to do. Let me be clear. I still think this show is outstanding, and am chalking up these glaring errors due to the show having been on for ten years now. They better set things straight soon, or I won’t be so forgiving.

Oh, one last negative, before I get to the positive. A group of our heroes were tricked by the bad guys into going into a cave and falling to a lower level. They were standing on rocks above a zombie hoard, but had no way to get out. Of course, they find a way via long tunnels. Unlike in real life, these tunnels were spacious, open to just the right size for a person to walk through, and had perfectly smooth dirty floor to walk on rather than an unlevel rocky surface. Of course, they also come across a box of dynamite, likely left by some ancient mine. This threw me off almost as much as the blood and guts issue. Why? Because it is a tired cliché that’s been done a million times. Yes, of course, there are massive caves big enough for people to walk around and that have multiple small openings that can be sought to get out, BUT these are rare. These are the type of caves that become tourist traps. In movies and television they seem to exist on every block.

Now, I’ll definitely get to the positive. The thing I love most about the show. NO ONE IS SAFE. There have been many major characters that have been killed either by the zombies or a group of living bad guys who are part of a different clan. These are characters so beloved by the fans, that you can’t imagine they’ll ever be killed off. This occurs on television all the time. The lead character gets into some kind of crisis or dangerous situation and the audience is supposed to fear for the person’s life. It’s ridiculous. If you watched MacGyver every week, you knew he wasn’t going to die.

Many writers promise their readers that no matter what trauma occurs, there will be a happy ending. This drives me crazy and you will never hear it from me. In my two, almost three, novels the protagonist has a beloved sister, a love interest, and other interesting characters in his life. For the sake of suspense, I can’t guarantee any of them are safe. Who knows, the boyfriend may be shot in an alley, the sister may get run over, who knows what? The only thing I can guarantee is the protagonist will survive. His life may not be better in the end, but he will be alive. My story is told in first person narrative, and it would be wrong to mislead the reader by having the primary character talking from his grave.

There’s a great Paul Newman film from the 80s named The Verdict. ***Spoiler Alert*** Newman’s character is a down on his luck, drunken, ambulance chaser. His life is a complete disaster. For reasons I won’t get into, he ends up with a big case. The reasons are believable. The odds are against him and his clients. The movie ends with him not only receiving a large settlement they were asking for, but the jury believes they deserve more than that and the client is awarded more.

Happy ending, right? Yes, the client is happy and earns lots of money. Newman proves he is a capable attorney and certainly will receive a large sum of the money…great! But is it truly a happy ending? Despite winning the case, Newman is still a drunken, sad, lonely man. THAT’S what I love in a good story! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m glad it’s a sad ending (or at least not a happy one) I’m glad there were no guarantees. Keep me in suspense. Don’t spoon feed me false story arcs, when I know I’m assured a happy ending.

If you want a happy ending, then you should read romance. Some of my colleagues may disagree with me, but I don’t think a crime novel should ever guaranteed one. That’s the beauty of them. An exception may be some of the wonderful comedy crime novels out there, but even then I think no one should be safe.

I could go on more about great things about The Walking Dead, such as the awesome characters, perfect casting, great acting, and normally well written storylines. These are all things I garner from the show. I’ll save them for a later date. I think you’ve heard enough about zombies for now.


Before I let you go, I have to bring up Texas. I don’t bring up politics much, other than my hate for Trump, but I find this interesting. For years, Texas has been a deep red republican state. As more people have migrated to the state, it has become more blue…not a blue state yet, but not as red as it used to be. The polls, which one would expect a far lead for Trump, is actually showing Trump and Biden are neck and neck.

One thing polls show are affecting this election is Trump’s poor handling of the pandemic. This is especially true with the elderly. Up until now, Texas has mostly listened to the Trump administration and not the scientists. They have done little to curb the rate of infections.

Something big happened this week. The rate of infections in Texas has skyrocketed. In fact, cases in El Paso have increased 160%. The hospitals are bursting at the seams and the city has imposed mandatory curfews and stay at home orders for the next two weeks. I’m wondering how this will affect Trump in the state. One would expect there to be a huge drop for him in the polling. I doubt it’s going to have much of an effect. I think the candidates will remain neck and neck and the polls will end with a very tight count.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t wish covid on anyone, but since it is occurring, I can’t help but be curious as to how this will play out.

And with that to ponder, I shall leave you gentle reader. I will be speaking as part of the sermon at my church this Sunday and I have to prepare. There are two Sundays with a focus on mental health and several of us have been asked to speak on the subject. I’m scheduled for both weeks. I’ll post the YouTube vidoes afterwards in case you’re interested.

Off to do some writing. Have a great afternoon!

2 comments on Morning Medical Stuff and More Writing Lessons From TV

  1. The joys of American health care system! Testing, testing, and more testing……a kidney doctor! Such madness.

    1. Tell me about it. Btw, I found out what the form is that I couldn’t understand the writing. It was an interoffice memo about my case and the steps they want to take. I wasn’t supposed to get that copy which is why it made no sense to me. (sigh)

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