On CTV’s 6 o’clock News Tonight: Stockholm Syndrome and The Emergency Doctor’s Guide to a Pain-Free Back

Update: watch the clip with Joe’s intro and commentary here!

Joel Haslam, the host-producer of CTV’s Regional Contact, e-mailed me:

Hi Melissa,

Here’s your “heads up.” Your story is airing this coming Monday April 4 on the 6pm and 11:30pm news.  It will also be posted online with a link to your contact info and website.  You may see a “promo” for your story airing over the weekend.  Take care and thanks again.


IMG_0141Huzzah! Handspring time!

I’m working at GMH today, so please let me know if you get to see me on the news, seeing patients, or writing with my dog Roxy. Thank you so much to Joel, Jeff, and CTV for this wonderful opportunity.

The Emergency Doctor’s Guide to a Pain-Free Back will be available on April 21st in paperback and e-book formats.

You can pre-order the e-book at a special price of $5.99 (normal price $9.99). It’s winding its way to the e-shelves of Amazon, Kobo, and Nook, and other e-tailers as we speak.

The trade paperback will be $13.99 U.S./$18.99 Canadian.

I may be able to post the Regional Contact video here, if I get permission.

Thanks! Running off to the ER now! With extreme thanks to Joel, Jeff, and CTV news.

Another update: click on the back pain cover below to go to its book page, which will be updated as the retailers begin to stock it. So far, only Amazon and Kobo have the e-book in preorder for $5.99 (price will rise to $9.99 after its debut April 21st). But if you don’t feel like clicking on the pretty picture, click here for Kobo / Amazon.ca / Amazon.comAmazon UK/International Amazon. Thanks!

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Regional Contact with Stockholm Syndrome

IMG_0151What’s this CTV News van doing in my driveway? IMG_0148

And doesn’t that gentleman in black look familiar?

Hang on, my attack Rottweiler, Roxy, will make sure everything is safe.

Wait a minute, we’re not only safe, we’re on REGIONAL CONTACT WITH JOEL HASLAM.

That’s right. Joel and his cameraman, Jeff Dorm, drove all the way to Glengarry to film me at home looking writer-ly and at the Glengarry Memorial hospital looking doctor-ly.

In case you’re wondering, Joel is just as nice in person as he is on camera, asking thoughtful questions and listening to the answers. He even had me read excerpts from my Hope Sze books, Code Blues and Stockholm Syndrome, as well as talk about my upcoming book, The Emergency Doctor’s Guide to a Pain-Free Back. No wonder he’s been running the show for 27 years. He and Jeff are both dog people, so they weren’t scared of Roxy at all, and she lay down and stayed quiet for the interview…at least until Ontario Hydro came to the door and she went ballistic.


Behind the scenes: I thought it was cool that they have a camera drawer in the back of the van, and that they have a screen like in a police car so that if they ever stop suddenly, equipment won’t arc toward the front of the van.

I’ll let you know when they broadcast my episode.

And if you’d like to be on Regional Contact yourself, you can contact Joel on his website. He’s the producer as well as the host. Tip: he looks for a visual element as well as a story.

Good luck!

IMG_0155 IMG_0154As for me and my off-camera life, I’ve turned in my back pain book to my editor and completed 70% of my shifts for the month, so I’m happy and eating too much ice cream. I’ve got a few days off before I hit CHEO and Cornwall at the end of the month, so I’m appending the new Notorious D.O.C. cover for y’all to enjoy.

On the weekend, my daughter woke me up and said, “It’s the first day of spring, Mommy.” Happy spring, everybody!

Code Blues EBOOK cover 2015 derringer kris storybundleNotorious POD SHOE front 5x8 brighter 2016-300TerminallyJUTOH ebook cover 2014

Click to buy.
Dr. Back cover blue 72b line

Gorgeous Health Care Heroes

My favourite part about my trip home was that a man, stunned to hear my children’s ages, asked me how old I was, and said, “You look nineteen. You’re f— gorgeous.”

Heroes and Family 1The next day, I got this e-mail:

Hello Dr Yuan-Innes, Dr Baitz, Dr Isserlin, Cynthia, Sam and Andrew!

You are a Healthcare Hero!

The Healthcare Heroes program at CCH has officially launched! 

The Healthcare Heroes program enables PATIENTS to recognize staff and physicians at CCH who were involved in their care by making a donation to CCH Foundation in their honour. Once a nomination is received, each Healthcare Hero will then be presented with a special pin to acknowledge their efforts in delivering “exceptional care, always.”

Our very first patient who has donated to the Foundation in your honor will be here on Thursday March 3rd, at 13:30.

ER Phys and Nurses (1)

I was totally confused. I had to read it again to figure out that the first patient to donate to the hospital foundation was honouring me, Cynthia, and Sam in the ER and Dr. Baitz, Dr. Isserlin, and Andrew in the ICU.

I always like working with RN’s Sam and Cynthia. Smart, efficient, yet warm-hearted. Cynthia’s kids go to the same elementary school as mine. I lent her all our Buffy DVD’s, and she told me that after my miscarriage, she prayed for me. Sam never seems to give up, even in the face of terrible cases, yet she doesn’t seem to judge in any situation (Sam: You’ll have to see this patient who was held for serial troponins. Me, afterward: That patient has the flu and should never have been held for serial trops in the first place. Sam: Yup).

Dr. Baitz recently celebrated his 80th birthday, yet still works constantly both in Cornwall and at the Glengarry Memorial Hospitals.

I’ve only met Dr. Isserlin once, but I was really happy that a surgeon-intensivist had joined our hospital.

I know RN Andrew from the Christmas party. Good dancer and obviously a commendable nurse.

So I’m in excellent company.

Click to buy.

I wanted to post compliments on my Facebook wall, but didn’t want to seem like I was bragging. As my protagonist, Hope Sze, put it in Stockholm Syndrome, “I’ve seen other girls use their looks to get ahead. It’s never been an issue for me. Not because I’m so heinous-looking, I think, but because it’s only in the past few years that Asian beauty has gone mainstream, that I’ve outgrown the ‘Flat nose! Four eyes!’ comments, and because I’m really focused on school, not beauty pageants.”

Then I heard a story on CBC Radio’s program, Unreserved. Artist Elizabeth Doxtater described the “story of a corn husk doll who came to life to help take care of children while their parents worked in the fields. As she moved from village to village, people raved so much about her beauty that when she caught sight of her reflection in a pond, she became spellbound and forgot to do anything else except admire herself. So the gods removed her face.

Doxtater said that this was strong medicine—she prefers the term medicine to punishment—as a reminder that you have to do your duty.

Obviously, this story reminded me of Narcissus, except the corn husk doll didn’t die. She lived on, but without a face.

IMG_7075IMG_7082This tied everything together for me. The fact that the corn husk doll has to adapt to a new life, one that is changed and scarred, absolutely resonates. That’s what medicine is all about. We may save your life, but often your life will never be the same.

As for gorgeousness, people may or may not admire my looks, but for me, true beauty is not only about facial features, but about intelligence and kindness and working toward a higher purpose, all of which I see every day in the emergency room.

Congratulations to our glorious past, present, and future heroes.

Little Miss Late and the Poisoned Pen

After I made it on my LAX flight with ten minutes to spare, I promised myself I’d never be that late again. Guess what? I beat my own record.


Recent weather: beautiful but icy. Lots of viruses and falls in the emergency department. Our dog, Roxy, presses on.

Perfect storm: United wouldn’t let me check it online, I waited for the airport shuttle for 20 minutes, the gate woman told me to run and I ended up dropping my passport and doubling back for it, the usual security lineup, the mother of all lineups for US customs, my passport expires in April and it turned out I couldn’t use the US customs machine…

Two lucky breaks: someone turned in my passport, and I made friends with the nice man behind me in line, who let me back in with my passport and again in the US customs inchworm.

I figured it was too late, but once freed from the queues, I dashed to the gate. People scattered out of the way, alerted by my thundering footsteps and the wheels of my carry-on. One guy yelled, “Go, go, go!”

When I finally pulled up at gate 84, I said the United agent, “I guess it’s too late.”

“Yeah,” he said, but he radioed the crew and asked, and…I’m on my way to Phoenix. For Left Coast Crime 2016.


Our kids read. We have indoctrinated them well.

IMG_0063My kids were sadder than usual to see me leave, probably exacerbated by the fact that I worked a week as a hospitalist, then did four ER shifts in six days. Max moped and asked repeatedly if he could come with me and miss school, so I made sure to go sledding with him yesterday afternoon (the only time I’ve ever seen a Crazy Carpet actually work well: on ice). Anastasia seemed impervious, but nearly cried yesterday morning until I asked her to help me pick out a dress for the banquet. She and I did our nails together, and I told both of ’em to try and convince their dad to let them go to Wisconsin for Writers’ Police Academy in August.


Stockholm Syndrome, face out at the Poisoned Pen and surrounded by take-no-prisoners writers!


Jewish Noir, we love you! With Travis Richardson, Kenneth Wishnia and Michael J. Cooper.






I’ve got hope that I’m doing something right. Anastasia told her dad, “When I grow up, I want to be a writer like Mommy. I want to be a doctor like Mommy. I want to be a mommy like Mommy.” She paused. “I’m already a talker like Mommy.” I laughed and laughed when they told me. That’s my girl. Update: I wrote this blog post on the plane. Now I’ve met writers and readers, dined with publishers, tried to hike in the desert, and hung out at one of the world’s coolest bookstores, the Poisoned Pen. More to come.


This gentleman was on his way to work at the airport. He’s lived in Phoenix for 20 years and has never been downtown. He also has excellent facial hair.



Secret stories from my Ontario Morning/Ottawa Morning interviews, 50% off sale, plus 3 Quick Tips to get *you* on CBC Radio

First of all, thanks to everyone who listened to my Stockholm Syndrome interview with CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning on January 27th. You can listen to the replay here:

Ottawa Morning has scheduled my interview for today, February 2nd, at 7:45 a.m. Depends on the news, though, so stay tuned. Literally.

IMG_7004 IMG_7007

Now I’m going to geek out about the coolness. I did my interview with Ontario Morning in studio 39, a small, tech-less booth in the hallway. Karine did a sound check for me before the technician in Toronto, Mike, added the audio to my earphones. At 8:20, Wei Chen asked me cool questions, including if I would ever quit medicine. Then Karine led me through the newsroom to the Ottawa Morning studio. I was agog at the 360 degrees of television.

Ottawa Morning was just finishing up its live program. I sat in a comfy chair in the hallway, listening to host Robyn Bresnahan read out people’s Tweets on Lebreton Flats while I surreptitiously took pictures of all the goings-on.

Robyn Bresnahan came out to shake my hand, but she’s so friendly that I felt like hugging her, so we did. She’s good friends with Christina Peeters, my hair stylist, which is only one degree of separation. Robyn admired my boots, and I told her we were boot twins because she had nice black ones.


Full outfit. I know you can hardly see the knee-high red boots, but they’re beautiful and made in Canada!

(When I came home, my daughter, Anastasia, was very excited. “Did you wear your red boots?” She’d wanted me to wear them for Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV.)

IMG_7017 Robyn led me into the studio with a round table, chairs, and multiple microphones, while the technician stayed behind glass in the next room. I’d never been in such a big recording studio before, with one side all windows. Just beautiful.

Robyn asked interesting and perceptive questions. She’s a very expressive interviewer, widening her eyes and nodding encouragement as you speak.

Here’s the interview!

After we turned off the mike, because we’d just talked about the hostage-taking in Stockholm Syndrome, she mentioned that the BBC takes reporters for hostile situation training. During that week, she was riding in a van when a bunch of ex-special forces guys pulled the ten of them over at gunpoint and threw them in a building with a tin roof. They were braced for a fake kidnapping, but it was still scary.

A lippy Greek reporter kept posturing and telling the “kidnappers” where to go. Robyn was worried because he kept drawing attention to their end of the hut.

They shot him. With blanks, but it still meant they dragged him out.

Meanwhile, Robyn’s strategy was to tell them she was pregnant. “I know your culture respects family.” She ended up as one of the five hypothetical survivors.

IMG_7019In real life, while she was working with the BBC, Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza. Every day, on the news, the BBC would announce, “Just so you know, it’s been 100 days since he’s been gone…” They weren’t optimistic about his fate, but it turned out that his kidnappers actually let him listen to BBC’s World Service, and them remembering him was one of the only things keeping him going.

After 114 days, the kidnappers released him, and Robyn said she learned a lesson. You never know what’s going to happen. You can read Alan’s own account of his ordeal here.

Are you a writer/artist/entrepreneur who wants to be on Ottawa Morning?

Here’s the inside scoop. Robyn said it’s a tough sell. They’re more a news show. However, it is possible if you…

  1. Have an interesting personal story
  2. Send a short pitch. She emphasized the short part because she gets 200 e-mails a day.
  3. My addendum: pitch to the producers. Producers seem to schedule the guests. Robyn is the host and will interview you, but you need send your concise pitch to the producers.
Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Good luck! And thanks to anyone who picks up Stockholm Syndrome. If you grab it at Kobo here, all my titles are 50 percent off, until midnight only, using the code JAN1650. Hooray!


CBC Radio double shot: Ontario Morning tomorrow, Ottawa Morning Thursday

Do I love CBC Radio? YES, I DO.


Triple docs: Dr. Paul Irwin, Dr. Melissa Yi and Dr. Diane Poilly. More pics at http://melissayuaninnes.com/launch-party/

Wei Chen will interview me for Ontario Morning tomorrow at 08:20. Tune in at 95.5 FM in Cornwall, or listen online. Wei interviewed me for Terminally Ill last year, so I’m very excited to tell her about Stockholm Syndrome.
NUMBER ONE IN ESPIONAGE!!!!!!!! highlighted small

Can’t make it tomorrow? Tune in on Thursday for my interview with Robyn Bresnahan on Ottawa Morning. Glengarrians may also know Robyn through her work with Child Haven and through her husband, who grew up in Alexandria.

P.S. I’m trying my hand at being a hospitalist next month. I’ll be taking care of patients on the ward as well as in the ER at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital.

Happy dance!!!!!!!

Reckless Homicide: Five Tales of Death and Deception

Reckless homicide cover 800Indian Time
“I have an annoying request,” said one of my readers, through Facebook.

This man buys my books and tells me he loves them. He is never annoying. So of course I wanted to know what this request was. I’m not naming him in case he wants to keep his privacy.

He wanted to buy “Om,” my Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine yoga murder story, in paperback so he could share it easily with his non-ereader friends.

Hot diggity dog! Ask and ye shall receive.

Now five of my mystery stories are available in a new collection called Reckless Homicide: Five Tales of Death and Deception. It includes the following five stories (Indian Time, Blood Diamonds, The War of the Janitors, Om, and Because) in one single e-book or paperback. Yay! My hard drive broke, and I’m working on primitive browsers, so click here to buy in the format of your choice: http://melissayuaninnes.com/books/reckless-homicide-five-tales-of-death-and-deception/.

Click to buy with Amazon UK link.
Click to buy with Amazon Canada link.

Thanks. You’re awesome!

blood diamonds cover 2015-800Om cover EBOOK

War of the Janitors cover-800

because fuller

—Kris Nelscott, Edgar Award finalist, on ‘Because’

“When I read the end, chills ran down my spine.”
—Sarah Cortez, editor of Indian Country Noir, on ‘Indian Time’

“Sharply etched, emotionally haunting.”
–Kenneth Wishnia, Edgar and Anthony Award finalist, on ‘Blood Diamonds.’

Stockholm Syndrome Hits Daytime Ottawa

It’s my first author media coverage in Ottawa! And only my second time on TV! (Scroll to bottom for the interview.)

Jamie, Roula, Stockholm Syndrome & me on Daytime Ottawa

Jamie, Roula, Stockholm Syndrome & me on Daytime Ottawa

Jamie Rae-Gomes and Roula Thomas were the perfect hosts, setting me at ease and asking fun questions. I was thrilled to show off Stockholm Syndrome to a new audience.

I chatted with everyone in the Green Room–such an interesting show. First I talked to Dominick Hussey, who describes himself as practitioner of osteopathic and functional medicine, a little about my thriller, a little about his training and the Holistic Wellness Centre, and I asked his views about back pain for my upcoming book, The Emergency Doctor’s Guide to a Pain-Free Back.

I talked to people who worked at Rogers TV as well. Katerina and Parisa miked me up (tip: hard to hook a microphone on the back of a soft fabric dress, but they did it!).

Shane, Susan, Stockholm & sassy scribe (gotta love alliteration)

Shane, Susan, Stockholm & sassy scribe (gotta love alliteration)

Did you know that the Royal Ottawa has a video contest for youth? After my interview, I met ROH’s Shane and the grade 11 student who’s won the French contest for the past three years! Her name is Rebecca. She and her dad are both cool. And the prizes are $1000 for first place, $500 for second. If you’re 12-21 years old and you think you can make a 30-second video before Feb. 21st, why not try? English contest here, French contest here.

And if you’re an artist, they’ve got a $1000-350-150 butterfly contest as well (they take the winners’ rights, though, so it’s up to you to decide).

I met the very elegant Susan of sO Interiors. Susan’s husband Steve is an engineer, and–I had to break this to both Max and Anastasia, my little Minecraft addicts–he’s worked with Minecraft on their mobile servers. Yep, I’m in the big time now.

The full episode is available exclusively to Rogers subscribers herehttp://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=237&rid=4&gid=244175 but they’ve kindly uploaded my clip!

Behind the scenes: hair & makeup area. My husband told me this picture looked weird. I'm posting it anyway.

Behind the scenes: hair & makeup area. My husband told me this picture looked weird. I’m posting it anyway.

Cameraman & me

Cameraman & me

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Buy Local: The Review and the Fassifern General Store

It’s hard to explain how much I love the Review and Louise Sproule.

  1. Both of them offer smart, fine writing. They’re well-respected and grounded in the community.
  2. Louise and Jean Sarrazin have recorded the audiobook of The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World, which we hope to release in the new year.
  3. Louise and I are plotting how to take over the world.

I’m looking forward to my new subscription. Plus, I may start writing for the Review in 2016!
Review staff reading Melissa Yuan-Innes (8)

And…this guy already got over 60 likes on my Facebook timeline. Yup, it’s Graham from the Fassifern General Store.


Graham, Jimmy, & the man who didn’t want Vaseline



I didn’t know if Graham’d carry some of my other books. He said, “We can do whatever you like.”
















I suggested we could take a selfie. Graham said, “I’ll get Jimmy to take the picture. If people come in, sell them something.”

I hovered uneasily behind the counter.

On cue, the gentleman on the right (I think maybe his name is Stephen) came in for some coffee. He balked at taking pictures or having his picture taken, until Graham said, “Come on, Campbell.”

“I just want some coffee. I don’t need that Vaseline there, though.”

I protested, “That’s my Vaseline. I’m buying locally for Christmas. Don’t you think that’s a good thing?”

“Depends what you’re using it for.”

I told Graham afterward, “You know, in a bigger store, no one would tease you about buying Vaseline.”

He beamed. “That’s right. Nothing like buying from an independent!”

Totally true. Nothing like it.

Bonus content

Vankleek FM interview with me. The Review printed an interview and an excerpt of Stockholm Syndrome.
Stockholm Review Article w- excerpt_016

Or download as a pdf: Stockholm Review Article w: excerpt_016

Buy Local: R&L’s Book Nook

I’m sold out of Stockholm Syndrome for the moment (yeah! Fist punch! Running man dance move! Wish I’d had another one for Melissa B), so now it’s time to turn the spotlight on our hard-working local stores. ‘Cause I, for one, basically haven’t done my shopping yet.youth-570881_640

Kobo director Mark Leslie Lefebvre first suggested I reach out to my local bookstores when Terminally Ill (Hope Sze #3) got traction. I felt shy, since I used to be a shy kid until I trained myself to be more extroverted. But I took a deep breath and called R&L’s Book Nook, the only bookstore in Alexandria.


Even though this photo is blurry, it has the most genuine smiles, because the photo-taker said, “Say ‘sex’!” I replied, “Are you French?” She lowered the camera to say, “Yes.” “I knew it! French people talk about sex all the time.” French Canadians, anyway. Not sure about France-French.

Roena and Loretta, the R&L who own the store, were lovely. Someone had already asked for Terminally Ill based on my CBC Ontario Morning interview, so they took the Hope Sze series, as well as all my other books. They hosted the my Books and Bodies event in September 2014 (belly dancing pic with Joseline Beaulieu below), and made a huge window display with a dancing skeleton in my scrubs in honour of the event (Terminally Ill=skeleton, Student Body=dancing). I can’t find the pics right now, but trust me, it was spectacular and an author’s dream come true.

They make their own gingerbread and sell crafts, used books and new books, including books by local authors like Jennifer Debruin.


They make gingerbread, too. Houses, cookies, and lollipops. So all you non-readers but eaters, start salivating now.

#supportlocalbusinesses 10592670_735822413137606_5759031422990646708_n copy


Books & bodies with Joseline Beaulieu, Sept 2014

So get thee to R&L Book Nook! You can park at Gaetan’s Chip Stand and fill your mind and body with literature, gingerbread, and French fries!







As an aside: an hour ago, Pat Larkin bought my fifth-last trade paperback of Stockholm Syndrome. In fact, he bought the entire set for his daughter, Amy, a vet student in Calgary.

IMG_9307 Pat really went the extra mile here. He couldn’t get the Hope books in Williamstown, so he contacted me through my website. Then we played telephone tag until Amy flew back to Calgary. But Pat still drove to my house today, theoretically on his way to Cornwall (which is the other way), bought the entire series, and then inspected my electrical wiring and generator to give me tips on how to get my house wired up properly in case of another ice storm. (Summary: I will probably set up an automatic generator in the New Year. Our generator is too small, and we need a transfer switch.)

It doesn’t get any better than that.

But if you go to R&L’s Book Nook, you can make up your own story. Hey, I was there twice yesterday.

As the French Canadians also say, Gogogogogogogo!

R&L’s Book Nook in Alexandria58 Alexandria Main/Alexandria, ON/K0C 1A0/(613)525-9940


And I’m embedding the Cogeco interview because I wasn’t able to post it until late yesterday:

Stockholm Syndrome. On TV.

Yeah baby! I’m on TV Cogeco’s Local Matters.

Brenda St. Louis & Melissa Yi, post TV Cogeco interview

Interviewer Brenda St. Louis and I, both wearing cut-out sleeves. What are the chances we’d be fashion twins?

It’ll air today at 9:30 a.m. (ahem), 17:30 & 1800 before it gets bumped for the year in review. Edit: I got the YouTube link, with thanks to Gabriel Riviere-Reid: https://youtu.be/D22X6OVNN-Y

Super thanks to Phil Legroulx for taping it and Melissa Branchaud for watching it!

TV Cogeco Stockholm highlighted

Just in case any TV Cogeco cool people click on by, here’s the Kobo promo code again, with help using the code here:
Stockholm Kobo coupon 72 dpi

With thanks to Dr. Raji Menon for introducing me to Brenda and therefore to Cogeco.

Being a bestseller is *sick*

The good news: Stockholm Syndrome hit the bestseller list on Kobo less than two weeks after its debut.

NUMBER ONE IN ESPIONAGE!!!!!!!! highlighted & craziness

The bad news: I was willing to grind myself to powder to get there.

Most people hit the brakes before they get to either point. They’re smarter than me.

Me? TL; DR: I got the flu, then pneumonia, then side effects from medications that landed me in the ER as a patient for two nights with palpitations while raving on dexamethasone. My colleagues were worried about me. And I’m still heading back to the hospital for another work-up today.

Meanwhile, I was still trying to do it all. So far this year, I hit Utah, Oregon, New York (twice), Los Angeles, Boston, Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal. Drive to Boston solo with my kids? Sure. Make a two-layer homemade birthday cake for my daughter’s fifth birthday party? Of course. Stay at an acting class in Montreal despite getting assaulted with the flu? No problem.

Yeah, baby!

Us wrapped in Rush Couture

Max in Kingston

Max in Kingston

<–I bought this dress when I was pregnant with Anastasia, and now she can get inside it with me because it has peek-a-book cutouts on the sides. It’s from Rush Couture. This dress is popular on Facebook.
It looked weird on me when I was pregnant. Here it looks normal. 😉
BTW, at one of my Stockholm Syndrome book launches, one woman told me I had love handles. “Or maybe it’s your shirt.” As an author, I tell you, NEVER say mean things to a writer at a book launch.
Natalie Goldberg always brings someone who tells her she’s beautiful. Doesn’t matter if she messed up. Tell her she rocked it hard. As a fashionista and a physician, I present this dress as evidence that I did not detect love handles. If I had love handles, I would not choose to wear a peek-a-boo dress. QED.

I was doing it “all.” Except I ended up so sick, I couldn’t work the ER any more. I had to ask for help. And one of my colleagues started lecturing me how much I was burdening the group, and I’d better not take more than a week off.

I started yelling at that doctor. Which made him worry about my mental health. Which is a whole other worm-can.

In truth, I am not the best doctor right now. Not only on December 7-8th, when I was high on dexamethasone and short of breath with palpitations of up to 200 (my husband was upset that I couldn’t figure out how to dial the phone. In my defence, it was a new phone, and I was more interested in getting my clothes together for my scheduled appearance on Rogers TV the next morning). That night, the doctor kept telling me I shouldn’t go on TV. I was like, “I’m supposed to be on TV! That’s why I took the dex at night, to heal my vocal cords enough to sing! I’ll take the train if you really want, but geez. I also have a recording for CBC’s White Coat Black Art scheduled for the afternoon.” I was all set, even though I couldn’t find the Imovane they’d just given me to sleep, but RN Rebecca stopped me. She said, “You look pale. And sick.”

Suddenly, I was shocked into cancelling. I can’t be ugly on TV. That would be bad. It was like, if you want to get young women to quit smoking, you can try and reason with them about how it’s expensive, and selling out to the man, and giving you lung cancer and emphysema, but the real money is in telling them they’ll get wrinkles. No way!

I knew I needed to sleep. My husband was mad at me for getting up in the middle of the night and working. I knew, logically, I’d never get better that way. And yet I couldn’t stop.

I tried to work with the flu until I was seeing double and forgetting to order chest X-rays, and the other doctor sent me home. Then I made myself pick up my Stockholm Syndrome books and ended up dehydrated and nearly delirious when they detained me at the border for 1.5 hours (hint: if the government sends you the wrong business number, you’re screwed. If the border guards are chasing after illegal cigarettes and the remaining guard has no clue what to do with you, you’re screwed). Even yesterday, when my friends and colleagues are like, “Are you much better now?”, I’d have to say that not only did it seem like my pneumonia came back with a vengeance after we stopped all antibiotics for a few days, but I’m not completely compos mentis–at the children’s Christmas party, I answered a page from the neurologist and forgot my purse on a bench in the hallway. RN Annie was too tactful to say anything, but I knew she’d noticed I wasn’t right.

The good news is, I managed to get to Ottawa to record an interview with Fresh Air’s Mary Ito, and it was pretty cool. You can listen to it herehttps://soundcloud.com/cbc-fresh-air/final-melissa-yuan-innes-6287325-2015-12-12t04-21-11000. They’ll keep it up for two weeks.

CBC Fresh Air main w- soundcloud Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.21.58 AMI was able to put a good game face on for the 3 h drive and the recording, although I did lose my parking pass immediately.

I was taking selfies in the booth. Scared the heck out of the next group coming in to record.

I was taking selfies in the booth. Scared the heck out of the next group coming in to record.











I hadn’t checked Kobo recently–too nervous that I sucked, especially since they hadn’t mentioned the free code during the interview–but I nerved up and did it.

And guess what I saw?

#8 IN MYSTERY! highlighted

#8 in mystery overall. Not just #4 in thrillers. All of mystery and suspense, people. Maybe you’ve heard of Tom Clancy or Lisa Jackson? Or James Patterson?

But, greedy Gus that I am, I wondered how I was doing overall. I was euphoric when Mark Leslie Lefebvre told me Terminally Ill (Hope Sze #3) had broken Kobos’ Top 50 after my interview with Wei Chen on CBC’s Ontario Morning. Terminally Ill ended up hitting as high as #27 for all of Kobo’s books. Not segmented by genre. Every. Single. Book. On. Kobo.

Could Stockholm Syndrome repeat the magic? Even if Fresh Air hadn’t given out the time-limited magic Kobo code of STOCKHOLM100 during the interview, only on Facebook and Twitter?

#12 overall BIGGER cropped

NUMBER TWELVE, PEOPLE. That’s better than Terminally Ill.

I was freaking out, didn’t sleep (again), high-fiving Max.

OMG. Look at it. Fifteen Dogs just won the Giller Prize. Mary Ito interviewed Andre Alexis, too. NFW.

Should I not tell you about the bad stuff? Probably. But for those of you who already know my protagonist, Dr. Hope Sze, we’re pathologically honest. I could pretend to be perfect, but I’m no good at lying. So here you go.

In other words, it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. And I’m my own worst enemy. But mostly the best, because my husband, my friends, and my colleagues are rallying around me. And because I feel like telling near-strangers, I love you.

Because I do. Because we’re alive. Including me, despite myself.

Take care of yourselves. I care about you.



“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.”

Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness

“A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.”

Ian McEwan, Atonement

“The loner who looks fabulous is one of the most vulnerable loners of all.”

Anneli Rufus, Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto

“The need for change bulldozed a road down the centre of my mind.” —Maya Angelou

“I can paint a barn with someone else’s blood. I just can’t stand to see my own.” ―Colonel Henry Blake, a surgeon on M*A*S*H Episode Guide Team, M*A*S*H EPISODE GUIDE: Details All 251 Episodes with Plot Summaries. Searchable. Companion to DVDs Blu Ray and Box Set.

“Some people should not be allowed to see beyond your surface. Seeing your vulnerability is a privilege, not meant for everyone.” Yasmin Mogahed

“Being an open and vulnerable doesn’t mean you are weak..” Jayesh Varma

“A heart that can break is better than no heart at all.” Marty Rubin

“There is more hope in honest brokenness than in the pretense of false wholeness.”

Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick

People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.

People that go through serious illness – you can either go one way or the other. You can either become despondent about it all. Or it kind of rejuvenates you, makes you focus on what’s important.~Jack Layton