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Friday, November 30, 2012

Soon to come - Turbulence and Restoration

Now it is done. It is complete...

And tell me. How does that make you feel?

Well, this whole journey has been a real experience - a real piece of me. So, let me begin at the beginning. It was at a medical conference, one where we went to get our requisite hours of CME (continuing medical education). We came from around the region, and descended on the city to go to lectures by experts in the various fields of medicine. And about the only thing I remember of the lectures was the dimming of the lights, and the phrase, "if I can have the first slide." But, for some reason, at this particular conference, my lunchtime conversation with my new-found colleagues was indelibly burned in my memory. What we had to say revolved around the state of medicine as it was portrayed in the lay media. And to a person, our gripe was the same - that in none of the TV shows or the printed material out there did the "authors" get it anywhere near right. It seemed to us that our own lives and experiences stood in contrast to how we as medical people were being portrayed in what was presented to the public.

Next, we got to talking about what it was that made a doctor. It was not, in my own mind, the technology, not the rigorous scientific training, nor even the back-breaking hours of study. It was (and still is) my belief that there is something innate in some of us which makes the study of medicine, and the practice of medicine a formal need, and that no amount of money, or lack of money can replace or repay that which is in us, probably from birth.

On the short trip back home, I pondered these things, and then I had an idea. It was an idea for a novel, a general "outline" of which rapidly formed in my brain. It would be a novel in which the protagonist would be one of us. A real, living, breathing person to whom we could, as medical people, truly relate. He or she would be out there in the trenches, fighting disease and death. And then, in contrast, there was the story of a physician in an age long past, who was fighting for and against these same things. Then, somehow, I would bring these stories together...

By the time I got home, I had the concept of my novel firmly in place, and I started writing, mainly late in the night, when no one would be bothering me. It took me the better part of a year to write what became the first book. Then, with what I have come to regard as my own magnificent naivete, I sent my manuscript to a number of publishers, none of whom even acknowledged receipt of my manuscript. And so, I became somewhat discouraged, and my attention wandered. I did write a few more chapters, which eventually became the start of my second book. Then things really spun out of control, as I went through a divorce, got remarried, moved out of state, then moved again, eventually landing in Oklahoma. All this time, my old manuscript stayed with me, as it gathered dust in my office.

Things were now, at least in my life, a bit more calm and even, and then I made the fatal mistake to casually mention to some of the people in my office that I had written at least the beginning of a novel.
As I recall, this was at the time that I also inquired about what a blog was. Well, let me tell you that things have never been the same since. As I discovered what a blog was, Michelle Ogle began transcribing my manuscript onto a word-compatible format, and I began my blog, posting a  chapter per week, and The Book of Drachma was reborn. First came Laminar Flow, The Book of Drachma, Book One. Then came Coaptation, The Book of Drachma, Book Two. By this time, my novel was now running on its own energy, and the third book, Turbulence and Restoration was soon written. And now, with a completed trilogy, I had some success finding a publisher.

So much had changed in the world of publishing, which I was to discover as I began the process of working with a professional publisher to put out my printed manuscript into the world out there. But also, so much of the world of medicine had also changed. But my major discoveries about how the media still very inaccurately portray medicine and those whose lives are devoted to it are still very valid.

So, now, what of these books? Do they still tell the truth about medicine and medical people? Well, the books are fiction, but I do believe that beneath the veneer of fantasy you can still see what I have to say about what makes a real doctor or nurse, even through these troubled times.

And, yes, The Book of Drachma is now complete with the third book (Turbulence and Restoration) now being printed. I'm hoping that it will be available for Christmas.

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