Sunday, June 29, 2008


Given that my main character, Kim Donovan, has a thing for Twinkies (as does the author), you’d think I’d know that The Twinkie Cookbook exists. My GOD! What a revelation. How is it possible that I’ve been living under a rock for so long? And, more importantly, how is it possible this isn’t a NY Times bestseller?

Because of this book, I’ve discovered a whole new reason to get out of bed in the morning, and that’s to force myself into that strange, frightening realm called The Kitchen.

To say The Kitchen hates me is an understatement. I earned its contempt many years ago. I’ve burnt its pans, glopped gooey crap on its floors, triggered fire alarms to squeal as smoke poured out of its ovens. It’s a mutual derision society based on my inability to respect hallowed ground and its inability to allow me to cook anything worth eating. As a result, my mantra to my family has always been: If you want it, I’ll make it. If you want it to taste good, wait for Dad. My family went so far as to buy me an apron (an APRON, for goddsakes!) that has a picture of a dog with a hot water bottle on its head and a thermometer in its mouth and says, “Please clean your plate, my dog doesn’t like my leftovers.” The ingrates.

Until now. It took a wonderful, smart-ass fictional character and a novel to bring me back into The Kitchen. I put on my best asbestos Donna Karan and flame retardant Manolo Blahnik shoes and girded my loins (do chicks gird their loins or their ovaries?). I scraped the cobwebs away from the entryway and turned on the light.

The Beast awakened.

The oven recoiled, and the stove inverted. The refrigerator visibly locked its doors, and the pantry sealed itself shut. “No, wait, guys,” I said, stepping gingerly over the crested seal that marked my previously forbidden territory, “lookie what I have.” I held up The Twinkie Cookbook and allowed a nervous smile to cross my face. “I think I can do this.”

“We must speak among ourselves, you disrespectful scum,” The Kitchen growled.

I sweated it out while they conferred. After five minutes, the gang let me in with the warning: “Do not turn on any burners.” Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I separated.
I mixed.
I spooned.
I spread.
And I refrigerated.
I chilled.

The following day, they allowed me entry to check on my masterpiece. There, in a lovely crystal bowl, in honor of the 4th of July, sat my creation taken from The Twinkie Cookbook The Patriotic Twinkie Pie. The oven ooo’d. The stove ahhh’d. The refrigerator burst with pride for having a hand in this lovely culinary attempt.

“And there’s more,” I said, waving my cookbook. “Just think, I can do this again!”

“Yes, yes,” they all agreed. “But think about doing Thanksgiving dinner, and we’ll set your hair on fire.”

I thought of my character and wondered if she would appreciate bastardizing the purity of Twinkies just so I could reenter a room I haven’t seen in years. Damn you, Kim. This is all your fault.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New pain study

Doctors at Georgetown University Medical Center are researching the link between general anesthesia and post surgical pain. Their research indicates that anesthesia drugs sensitize nerves that sense pain and cause inflammation, creating more pain post surgically. Wow.

This is why Reiki is so effective on pre- and post surgical patients. Data have shown that Reiki works to balance the drugs being ingested. I’ve seen a number of Reiki masters work at the feet of patients in the hospital post surgically in order to help the patient metabolize the affects of anesthesia (tooties and feetsies are the hot point for metabolism). Doctors have reported that these patients often come out of anesthesia much more easily and experience less pain and swelling.

That such a benign and gentle practice can make such huge inroads to how a patient recovers makes for fascinating research and, quite frankly, puts the jam in my jelly doughnut. I’m thrilled that the fact-finding continues. I’d love for these docs at Georgetown to take a step further and toss in a few Reiki masters to see how patients react.

Hmm…I do adore Washington

Monday, June 23, 2008

Having spent such a wonderful birthday with my beautiful family, I decided that I must be one of the luckiest sops alive. I have a great job, I love what I write, and I live life to the fullest. So when I saw this ditty below, I decided to adopt it as my mantra…

Live your life in such a way that
when your feet hit the floor in the
morning, Satan shudders and says...

"Oh shit...she's awake!

*thanks Jean

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Candle overload

I don't expect to be terribly useful on Monday. It’s my birthday, I’m an old broad and can be as big a slacker as I want! In fact, Tuesday could be a bit iffy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What would Kim do?

I have this dialog inside my head that begins running whenever I see something that makes me blurt out, “Holy shit.” The dialog is always the same – “What would Kim do?” or “What would Kim think?” Kim is one of the main characters in my novel – Kim Donovan – and she lives inside my noodle to the point where my family wonders if committing me wouldn’t be a good idea. It’s fair to say that she’s my alter ego, with the exception that she’s younger (bitch), braver, can handle blood and guts, and can eat a box of Twinkies without worrying about wearing them on her hips.

She’s gotten me through a lot of tough times. There was the time when my first book appearance had my intestinal tract playing tiddlywinks with fear, but she was right beside me, whispering in my ear. “Lynn, get a freaking grip. You wrote a brilliant story and made Erik and me look like gods – though I wished you’d let me rip his clothes off. What’s not to love? You have a great speech put together, so get your ass out there and make us proud.”

She was also my godsend during one of the toughest experiences of my writing career – being on a panel of docs who were speaking to a roomful of other docs about integrative medicine. One doc saved all his vitriol for me. I blanched. Jesus, what would Kim do? I thought about for a nanosecond before I told the guy to mind his manners, after all, was he raised in a barn with a herd of pigs? I then let him know that he could show me the same respect as I’d shown him and the rest of the audience. The bastard was escorted out. High fives to Kim.

So, this morning, the dialog started running again after seeing an article in my paper about a strapless panty. WTF? How can panties stay up unless there’s a waistband of some sort? The picture didn’t do it justice (it is a family newspaper), so I went to the website. Double WTF? At first, second, and third blush, it looks uncomfortable as hell. Is that Velcro sticking to the ahh, umm, uhh..? I still haven’t figured out the mathematical algorithm for how the backside stays in place. Glue? Ouch. And what happens if you sweat? Aye, I don't even want to think about it. Evelyn, get me my smelling salts.

Needless to say, my brain is on overload – especially when I have to consider that the designer has raked in $90,000 since April. That’s far north of my royalty checks to date.

So, Kim, you’re a fairly salty character whose filter between your brain and mouth is somewhat nonexistent. Think I ought to have you wear a pair of these in my next book? It’d give surgery a whole new feeling, wouldn’t it?

Kim: “Damn, girl, forget about surgery. Rewrite me! I’m going into the undie business."

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I’ve hit a dry spell of late on this blog, and it bugs me because this is the place where I come to be just me. I’m not someone’s teacher, editor, or publisher; I’m simply a writer who loves writing about docs and what goes on under the white curtain where patients have no jurisdiction.

I think my dry spell comes from being overcommitted. My literary heart now serves two masters. One, of course, is my beloved Donovan series. Kim and Erik will always be The Grand Twinkie in my writing pantry. After a published novel and three more outlined in the series, they are real. I only wish they did windows and cooked – two things I hate the most.

My other master is a writer’s guide about the publishing industry – The Writer’s Essential Tacklebox – what every writer needs to know to succeed. Yeah, yeah, I realize the bookshelves are already filled with the “Oo, oo, buy me, I know more!” but honestly, no one has written a book like this. It’s a ground-buster. So much so, that I have a veddy hoo ha agent who’d like to rep it. The original plan was to pub it with our company, and we still may. But if this wonderfully sardonic agent can get me a serious advance – you know, the kind that we can’t afford to pay – then I’m just as slutty as the next writer and, for a price, I can be bought.

I have the outline for the Tacklebox and am excited about jumping in and getting it finished. In fact, it’s pretty time sensitive at this point – as in, CEO/hubby sez, “Honey buns, get that damn book finished so we can get it on the market.” Yes, dear.

Thing is, I miss Kim and Erik. I dumped them in the middle of the Amazon rainforest with all sorts of oddball characters (including a very inquisitive shaman). Kim faces some serious challenges that threaten her surgical career, and, oddly enough, it’s Erik that comes to the rescue, dragging his feet the entire way. I love these two knuckleheads, and it’s hard to put them in my Save file.

Add to this, my daily chores of being editorial director to one and all, and I have finger freeze – meaning that nothing gets written. I have a stack of reading that’s also growing more time sensitive by the minute. Prioritizing has become a matter of who screams the loudest. Hardly an effective management tool.

I’ve decided I need some clones. One would be my manuscript reader for the biz. The other would write rejection letters. Another would work on Kim and Erik while still another would tackle the Tacklebox. I realize the damage and devastation having too many Lynns would engender, and that’s probably why God thinks cloning is a rotten idea.

I wonder if God would mind giving me just one extra Lynn. Forget business; she’d be the one out shopping for impractical shoes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Healthcare - who's watching the border?

This came from a good friend of mine:

I worked in dialysis from 1980 - 1986 and 2004 - 2007. In both situations I took care of many patients, some whose kidneys failed in Mexico. The social workers there told them to come to the United States for hemodialysis. Only 15% of renal failure patients are put on hemodialysis in Mexico; the rest are put on a type called peritoneal dialysis (PD). PD is actually better for the patient in addition to being much cheaper. But it requires a tube protruding from the abdomen that most people don't want, and Mexico can't afford to cover hemodialysis costs for their citizens. So they send the patients to our country.

Once here, they go to the ER and are put on dialysis. Sometimes they deny having any previous problems, for fear of deportation, so the physicians have to do more tests to determine the cause of the renal failure. It is a free ticket to all our services. The US taxpayers foot the bill for all their treatments, medications and hospitalizations. As an employee caring for them, I was expected to provide education in their language with an interpreter. This presented many challenges, made worse by the fact that many had a third grade education. I wish more people knew the burden our country's ESRD (end stage renal disease) policy places on taxpayers.

Here are some fairly current numbers:

80% Of ESRD patients rely on Medicare for their primary health insurance
$20 Billion Total annual cost of the Medicare ESRD program
$67,000+ Medicare spending on dialysis per-patient per-year
$98,000 Cost of a kidney transplant per patient in the first year

These figures do not include hospitalizations, which this population requires frequently. Annual costs easily exceed $100,000 per year for one patient.


To highlight my friend’s comments, be sure to watch this video. It’s truly alarming, especially in light of the fact that neither one of our presidential candidates have plans to do anything about illegal immigration. And this affects our health care costs.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Lighten up, Francis*

I wince when docs denigrate integrative modalities that are meant to be used in conjunction with medicine, but I understand it. I’m ambivalent about the vocal alternative community because my views don’t necessarily mirror theirs, and I prefer docs not lump all of us into one group. But what choice do they have? Docs and nurses are people of science, and they want proof that some of the crazy things we do actually make scientific sense. For instance, I can't put Reiki under a microscope and prove its efficacy. But I do see the huge difference in the amount of pain meds patients use post surgery. When I do Reiki on a patient who's freaking out before surgery actually doze off without meds, I don't have to get all agro at doubting docs. I know it works, and I'm good with that.

But what really gets my cheese whiz in a lather is when alternative practitioners accuse docs of being evil harbingers of ego and money, and that alternative medicine is the only path to true health, or worse, advocate the bellicose rantings of nutters like Kevin Trudeau and his irresponsible book, Natural Cures “they” don’t want you to know about. Trudeau is a wheezebag, and anyone who advocates abandoning medicine in favor of cinnamon or coffee enemas is walking far south of sanity. If I had cancer, you can bet your biodegradable Birkenstocks I'll get radiation, chemo, and whatever else my doc recommends. But I'll also round that out with Reiki, vitamins, guided imagery, and diet.

I've never been a believer that we turn our backs on medicine, and proposing just that is what rightly drives docs up the wall. To suggest that the medical community is arrogant and irrelevant while trying to knock on their front door to gain entry is tantamount to idiocy. Is it right to bite the hand of the very group we’re trying to influence? We're coming into a very traditional territory that's based on science, so we're not gonna have the welcome mat tossed out at us. We're often seen as being the invaders from Mars, and we have to prove ourselves.

So to those who feel "gorilla" tactics (as in chest beating, foot stomping) and insults are an effective method to bridging the gulf between integrative/alternative methods and traditional Western medicine, lighten up. You’re making us look like idiots.

*Great line from Stripes a la Sgt. Hulka