Stockholm Syndrome, Chapter 3

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“I can get you Casey Assim,” I said, since at this point, I would have promised both my grandmothers. Not that I’d actually deliver them to this madwoman. But I’d lie up and down Main Street if it would buy me a few seconds. All was fair in love and at gunpoint.

“They just brought her in,” said the killer. “She’s in labour. It’s her due date. I know it’s her.”

Faulty logic, but my shoulders jerked as my hindbrain calculated, That’s a man’s voice. This is a man, not a woman. A man dressed in a burqa.

He was crazier than I thought.

I was deader than I thought.

“Okay,” I said.

“Get me to her room, or I’ll kill you, too.”

He wasn’t that much taller than me. Maybe five foot eight, but stocky, like a wrestler, with wide shoulders and firmly planted feet. And did I mention that gun?

“No problem,” I said, an expression my dad hates. He says, There’s always a problem. Why would you say there’s no problem? He had a point, especially when I was nose to nose (okay, back of head to nose) with Mr. Death.

Dad. I’m sorry. I love you.

I felt Mr. Death jerk his head toward the doorway. He knew that was the main entrance to the case room. He knew how to get there, but he wanted me to lead him, like a little Dr. Gandhi, while he kept the gun trained on my temple, the thinnest area of my skull.

He wanted me to play hostage.

Part of me thought, No. Run.

If only I’d run in the first place, when my subconscious brain must have recognized that the way he moved and the breadth of his shoulders didn’t jibe with a pregnant woman.

Now it was too late to run. The emergency department and hospital front desk had security guards. Obstetrics had nothing.

I must have glanced or somehow turned left, toward the elevator, because the bastard cocked his gun, and I felt as well as heard the hammer shift.

I don’t know guns, but I’ve seen enough TV shows to figure out what’s fatal.

I froze in place like an Arctic hare dropped in downtown Tokyo.

stockholm-runners-373099I’ve actually listened to a podcast about what to do when an active shooter enters a hospital. Running is your best option.

But running with a bullet in your brain? Not possible.

Without taking my eyes off the gun, I took a step toward the doorway. Toward triage.

“That’s it, bitch,” Bastard whispered.

I gestured at Stan’s unmoving body, which lay five feet away from us, blocking the doorway. I could smell Stan’s blood.

I have a strong stomach, but I had to hold my breath and not-think, not-think, not-think if was going to survive even the next few minutes.

Bastard didn’t answer, except to keep his gun pressed against my cranium.

I walked.

I walked with Bastard’s body cemented against my back. Have you ever had an unwanted guy grind behind you on the dance floor? Like that, times a billion.

I had to glance down as I/we stepped over Stan’s body, carefully picking my way to avoid his sprawled arms and the ever-widening pool of blood.

Stan’s yarmulke clung to his curly hair a centimetre above the bullet hole. I scanned the green felt for dots of blood and possibly brains. Then my eyes slid south. Was it possible that I glimpsed the pale, folded surface of cerebral cortex under the pool of blood dripping from the entry site?

stockholm-blood spatter file000666127574No. Probably my imagination. I clung to the fact that his religious symbol remained intact. Maybe he and I would, too. I sent a brief prayer toward Stan and any available deity: Please.

People have survived gunshot wounds to the head. I’ve never seen it, but I remembered a neurosurgery resident explaining to me, in detail, how a high-velocity bullet could hit a non-critical area of the brain and come out the other side, necessitating surgery, ICU, and a lot of rehab, but not a one-way ticket upstairs/downstairs.

The bullet had hit Stan in the occiput, so bye-bye occipital lobe. But I thought it was higher up than brainstem, which would have spelled instant death. So it was possible, if not probable, that he might pull through. But the longer he lay on the ground, the lower his chances of any meaningful recovery.

At least by drawing the gunman away from Stan, I was allowing the emergency crew to make its way toward him.

On the other hand, it meant I was drawing the gunman toward a bunch of defenseless pregnant women.

I might have yelled for them to run, but the fire alarm was doing all the screaming for me. The sound invaded my head, made it hard to think anything except Shut up.

My body walked anyway, with the diaphragm of my stethoscope banging a drum beat against my chest. I held my hands up in the air, both to calm down the gunman and so that anyone looking at me would immediately compute that something was wrong. Flee. Now.

The case room hallway looked deserted.

It didn’t feel empty, though.

First door on the right. Triage. I imagined all those exhausted pregnant women and men, plus the triage nurse, holding their breath and barring the door. I walked a little faster, hoping that Bastard wouldn’t pause and knock on that door.

He didn’t.

Now we’d reached the nursing station on our left. The long, white counter hung with tinsel, which the elderly ward clerk usually sat behind, answering the phone with her crystal-studded acrylic nails, and which I stood in front of to write my charts or answer my pages: empty.

Behind the counter, the communal wooden table and small alcove, where the nurses sat to chart and to watch the fetal monitors mounted to the wall, under Christmas balls dangling from the ceiling: empty.

Everyone had taken off. Or was at least out of sight, for the moment.

Bastard exhaled.

I tensed. He could easily yell, “Bring me Casey, or I’ll kill this chink!”

And then, if no one answered, he’d shoot me out of spite.

The alarm screeched on. Overhead, the hospital operator intoned, “Code Black, Fourth Floor. Code Noir, quatrième étage.”

Bastard’s left hand relaxed on my shoulder while he held the gun to my right temple.

Was he letting down his guard? I could try to break away from him now.

But which way should I run? Back toward the elevators and Stan? He’d shoot me before I got ten paces.

Around the hallway’s U-shape to the OR and then the ward rooms? Much, much farther. And at least fifty feet of hallway, where I could get shot.

Under the desk, so I could hole up like a mouse before he executed me?

So many bad choices, so little time.

The only thing I didn’t consider was running for a case room or triage. He’d whack me, then take potshots at anyone and everyone else in the room.

But he didn’t want me. He wanted Casey Assim.

The fastest way to figure out her location was by circling behind the desk to view the whiteboard linked to the desktop computer, which faced away from the hallway to protect it from prying eyes. That information would lead him right to her room.

So many women are killed by their partners and ex-partners. Should I aid and abet a murderer, plus get caught in the crossfire?

Um, no.

“Where is she?” Bastard said. He was still so close that I could feel the shift of his head as he glanced up and down the hallway.

Hiding from you, you maniac.

The fire alarm cut off suddenly, leaving my ears ringing.

That, too, was strange. Usually, the alarm goes on forever, and everyone has to close the exam room doors until the Second Coming, or at least until the operator says, “Code Red, all clear. Code Rouge maintenant terminé.

Were the police on the way?

“I don’t see Casey,” I said, which was true. I couldn’t see any living soul. Maybe if I acted useless enough, he’d leave me alone.

Or shoot me. This was turning into a Choose Your Own Adventure where 90 percent of the endings left me unconscious and bleeding. I was not a fan.

“Go get her,” he said.

How could I delay him?

Light bulb moment. I pointed to the beige phone sitting on the counter, its receiver slightly blackened and greasy from numerous hands. Less than ten minutes ago, I’d been answering Stan’s page on that phone.

That phone could be my lifeline to make contact with the outside world, if he let me.

My cell phone buzzed twice in my pocket. I couldn’t answer Tucker or Ryan or anyone else right now, but I wished them safe and far, far away. Tucker was just one floor above me, tending to his internal medicine patients at this exact moment. Strange to think of the fifth floor as a world away, and that I might never see him again.

“What if I called locating and asked if Casey’s registered?” I asked. “They might be able to give me a room number.”

I didn’t have to give him the room number. Well, maybe he’d rip the phone away from me and threaten the operator to get it. But first, I might be able to speak to someone who could call the cavalry, if they hadn’t already. And the more I delayed, the higher the chances that the police could storm in here.

Bastard shook his head. “I already tried that.”

Right. And he’d created enough of a ruckus that the clerk had asked for Casey in Manouchka’s room. They never do that. My first tip-off that something was awry.

“I’m a doctor,” I said. “They might give me more information, especially since I’m calling from within the hospital.”

Bastard snorted and glanced up and down the corridor. “I know she’s in here some place. I should just bust down the doors and shoot everyone.”

My heart thumped in my throat, but I tried to speak calmly. “You might hurt Casey by mistake.”

He stopped to think about that. I could tell from the stillness in his body, even though I was facing away from him and he was still covered in a burqa.

He took a step back from me. My heart leaped, but he just repositioned the gun from my head to my T-spine, between my shoulder blades.

Still. He was giving me some space. That had to be a good sign. Also, my mother would be proud how straight I was now standing, trying to edge a few millimetres away from certain death.

“If she’s registered, we can just go to the right room. That’s all we need. Right?” Now I was promising him Casey’s head on a platter again. I could hardly speak, my mouth was so dry.

I could hear Bastard’s glower through his voice. “I don’t want you calling the police.”

“You can do the dialing. You can even hold the phone, if you want.” The more non-gun things he used to clutter up his hands, the better.

Then I thought I heard a sound. Was it from Manouchka and June’s room?

I tried to glance over my left shoulder, at their closed door opposite the nursing station, but the muzzle boring a hole in my spine reminded me not to move.

Nothing to see, anyway. June had probably hurled the door shut at the first sound of gunfire. With any luck, she’d barricaded it.

The gunman noticed my head twitch, but instead of blowing me away, he said, “Is she in there?”

“What? No. Not the woman you’re looking for. It’s someone else.” I stared straight ahead at the wall above the nurse’s table, petrified that even a quick look could sentence someone else to death.

“You’re lying.”

“I’m not. That’s the one patient I saw before you. Her name’s not Casey.”

“Casey. Casey Assim. That’s who I want.” He grabbed my left arm and jerked me sideways, walking me the few crucial steps so I was now facing the first case room door. Obviously, all he heard was Casey’s name and nothing else. He was like a missile locked on detonate. “Get her out of there. Or get me in. I don’t care. She’s gonna have my baby.” He placed the gun at the back of my head now, which made me think of Stan.

Stan. Dead Stan.

Don’t think that way. He might still make it. Come on.

At close range, I finally recognized that insistent stink emanating from Bastard’s pores as marijuana. Lovely.

I forced myself to speak in a low, well-enunciated voice. “She’s not there. Let me call the operator. I’ll find you Casey.”

He pushed the gun a little harder against my occiput. “Open. That. Door.”

I stared at the edging etched into the white wood of the first case room door. If he shot me, could the bullet drive right through the wood and hit Manouchka or June too?

My hand dipped toward the metal door handle, but a sound caught my ear.

Not just any sound. A whistle.

On our right, echoing off the empty hospital corridor walls.

Someone whistling in the midst of blood and terror. It was as startling as if a bluebird had launched itself above our heads in this hospital hall of horror, singing a tale of joyful spring in mid-November.

I knew that whistle. My nails cut into my palms to stop myself from yelling. My breath rasped in my throat, and I know this sounds strange, but my nipples hardened.

I even recognized the song, “What a Day for a Daydream.”

It was the stupidest, most inappropriate song for this scenario, and that would have told me the whistler’s identity even if I’d been blindfolded and gagged.

It was one man I didn’t want trapped with me.

I wanted to scream, Run, Tucker.

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Stockholm Syndrome, Chapter 2

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I screamed. It happened so fast. I’d never seen anyone use a gun, except my dad fooling around with a BB gun in our back yard, and now Stan dropped to his knees before he caught himself on his hands, gurgling.

Behind him, the blonde woman and her husband ducked into triage and slammed the door behind them. Suddenly, only me, Stan and the gunwoman stood in the hallway.

“Call 911!” I yelled in the general direction of the nursing station, ignoring the gunwoman. The triage nurse had probably seen or heard enough to call for help, but it never hurt to sound the alarm.

Meanwhile, I’d focus on the A, B, C’s of resuscitation. Especially the airway and breathing. My eyes fixed on the bloody hole in Stan’s back, just below the point of his left scapula. Probably too far from the midline to cut his spinal cord, but right in “the box” where shrapnel could pierce a heart or lung or both, depending on the trajectory.

Stan dropped on to his stomach, still breathing, so his heart probably hadn’t been hit. I have zero experience with gunshot wounds, but they say that after a heart attack, if you have myocardial rupture, and the heart bursts open, the person dies in a few beats. He’d already made it past that.

I fell on my knees beside Stan, who was barely sucking air into his lungs. Did he have a pneumothorax? The hole in his chest could still kill him within minutes.

My first instinct was to turn him on his back, because that’s how patients always roll into the emerg on a stretcher, face up. Also, the exit wound in front of his chest would gape more than the relatively neat hole in back.

I stopped and grabbed the stethoscope hung around the back of my neck. Even with Stan face-down, I could listen to his breath sounds.

“Don’t touch him,” said the burqa woman.

I looked up.

She trained her gun on my face.

My hands stilled, slowly relinquishing the navy rubber tube of my stethoscope. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten her, but I had a higher calling here. I lifted both palms in the air. “Look. I’m a doctor. He’s a doctor.”

“I need Casey Assim,” the woman said. Her voice had descended into growl territory.

It took me a second to process that. Casey. That was the name the ward clerk had buzzed us about in Manouchka’s room. So Casey Assim must be a patient, a new one who hadn’t made it on the whiteboard yet. The one Stan had been on his way to deliver?

Stan tried to cough. He choked instead. The breath rattled in his lungs before he boosted himself on to his hands and started crawling on his hands and knees toward the open doorway. Toward the case room. Or the closed triage door. Or the nursing station. Any way you sliced it, civilization.

He knew where to go. His brain was still clicking. He had the strength to crawl. Should I try and distract the burqa woman? Maybe try and wrestle the gun away from her?

But that was an insane Hollywood move. And also, I couldn’t help noticing that Stan was deserting me while this woman held us at gunpoint.

I could distract her for the few crucial seconds while Stan got away, but I wouldn’t jump her.

I heard a nurse scream from further down the hallway. She tried to stifle it, which made it sound even worse.

From my view, at least thirty feet away, I could tell that they’d sealed all four case room doors, but the nursing station was an open desk area. The counter might protect you a little, but not the open table.

Maybe the staff would run toward the OR and back out the other side of the U, toward the ward. But could the patients run that fast?

The overhead paging system blared, “Code Black, Fourth Floor. Code Noir, quatrième étage.”

Then someone pulled the fire alarm. The high-pitched bell made my ears cringe.

“Is Casey the person you’re looking for?” I asked, raising my voice above the alarm. My arms quivered in the air. “I—”

The burqa woman looked down at Stan crawling and shot him in the back of the head.

The sound of the bullet echoed through the hallway.

His body flopped on the floor.

Blood coursed from the back of his skull.

I couldn’t make a sound.

I’d met murderers before. But they’d never killed anyone in front of me.

This was like an execution. And what had Stan done? He hadn’t broken patient confidentiality. He’d done the “right thing.” Now he was probably dead.

I didn’t want to die.

I really didn’t want to die.

I gazed down the case room hall, now empty of obvious human habitat, although I knew the triage room must be packed like Sonic dance club on the night of a full moon, and at least three out of four women labouring in the case room hadn’t made a break for freedom.

It was just me and the burqa murderer now.

The fire alarm shrieked overhead, a piercing scream that made my jaw ache and my arms tremble.

This couldn’t be happening.

Oh, yes, it could. I’d survived enough tight situations to know that real life could surpass any nightmare.

They call me the detective doctor. But it’s one thing to try and figure out any wrongdoing after the fact. It’s quite another to have someone a) pull out a gun, and b) shoot your senior resident in front of you.

“How may I help you?” I said, trying to sound civil, like this was normal. Like I wasn’t about to get whumped. I thought of my main man, Ryan. My first runner-up, Tucker, who made my toes curl. My little brother, Kevin. My parents. My grandmothers.

I love you. I’m sorry I never told you enough.

The burqa woman detoured to grab me from behind, her body a solid presence behind mine while she drilled the muzzle of the gun against my right temple. The muzzle was still cool after shooting Stan.

She’s right-handed, I noticed with the back part of my brain. Maybe it would make a difference, maybe it wouldn’t. But my shocked brain insisted on memorizing facts like this and noticing that she smelled like beer, tangy sweat, and something unpleasantly familiar.

“Get me Casey Assim,” she said. “Now.”

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Stockholm Syndrome: Chapter 1

Two doctors. One killer. One woman in labour.

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A killer infiltrates the obstetrics ward of a Montreal hospital just before Christmas, taking one pregnant woman and one resident doctor hostage at gunpoint.
Dr. Hope Sze struggles to deliver her patient’s baby with blood on the floor and death in the air.

And when Dr. Tucker tries to rescue their tiny crew, only to end up hostage material alongside them, Hope’s heart just might break, even before the kidnapper drills a bullet through her skull.

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Chapter 1

Birth smells.

I’m not saying it stinks—well, to some people, it does. I remember the classmate who finished our med school OB/gyn rotation without ever delivering an infant. He delivered half of the head, and then the look on his face was so horrid that the obstetrician delivered the rest of the baby.

I’ve got a stronger stomach than that classmate, but when I stepped into the delivery room at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, it only smelled like sweat and a little blood. The odours would grow more intense once the amniotic fluid broke and the afterbirth emerged, but for now, I didn’t hold my breath.

My eyes adjusted to the darkness. The nurse had turned the lights off, except for a small fluorescent lamp beside the bed. The baby’s heartbeat chugged along on the fetal monitor. Whump, whump, whump at 162 beats per minute.

Most of obstetrics is nice and normal. Even our C-sections tend toward planned events instead of crash OR’s. They screen out congenital abnormalities at our small, Canadian community centre.

“This is the only happy area of the hospital!” an obstetrician told me on my first day. “Everybody’s smiling!”

The black woman labouring in the bed wasn’t smiling. She was sweating. Which made sense. “That’s why they call it labour,” the nurse often says, while the woman recovers from the latest contraction. That’s normal, too.

So I was pretty surprised when my obstetrics rotation transformed into a bone-chilling bloodbath.

IMG_4074But that evening of November fourteenth, I didn’t suspect anything except the fact that I might not get to eat the lentil casserole I’d stashed in the residents’ lounge for supper. I smiled at my newest patient, Ms. Beauzile. The nurse had cranked the back of the bed up so that the patient was half-sitting, squinting at me from her pillows, with her legs bent at the hips and knees, and her thighs spread over a foot apart. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the indignity, should I ever get the chance to procreate. Especially if I had to labour solo, like this lady.

According to the electronic whiteboard posted in the nursing station, Ms. Beauzile was 28 years old, or only a year older than me. This was her first baby, and she was at six centimetres, or sixty percent en route to pushing out this passenger. She also had a low-grade fever of 38.1 Celsius, but the med student had noted that they weren’t giving her antibiotics, because she had a runny nose and they figured it was a cold. Good call.

“Madame Beauzile, I’m Dr. Hope Sze. I’m the resident doctor on call for obstetrics.” I glanced at the top right hand corner to find the stamp with her first name. It was one I’d never heard before, and sounded Russian to me: Manouchka.

Now was not the time to inquire about how she got such an unusual name. Not when she clutched the white plastic bed rails, dragging herself forward with both arms, heaving herself to 90 degrees, and started to huff.

The nurse grabbed her hand. “Yes, Manouchka! That’s it!”

I took a step forward and said, “Yes! Keep going!” I felt silly, since I was crashing their two-person party and didn’t really know how to encourage her.

But after half a minute, the patient sighed and settled back down in the bed. The dim, yellow light reflected the sweat on her deep brown forehead. The baby’s heart rate, which had only slowed down to 139, climbed back up again. The mini-contraction was over.

“Next time,” said the nurse, studiously ignoring me. OB nurses generally hate medical students and residents. You have to prove yourself. They’d rather you left them alone while they coach the patient through labour and handle, well, just about everything else.

This Asian nurse was shorter than me, which always gets me excited, since I’m only five foot two and a quarter. (The quarter makes people laugh, but it adds up to 158 centimetres instead of 157, and I’ve got to treasure every millimetre.) Her hair was a short bob, not unlike the cut I’d sported over the summer, until I decided to grow my hair down to my shoulders. Like me, she wore glasses. When I’m on call, I’m all about the glasses. Not only do they dry out my eyes less than contact lenses, but they’re also a built-in eye shield from bodily fluids.

However, the nurse was probably twenty years older than me, wearing fashionista-frightening purple scrubs covered in owls, and scowled like she’d rather push my face into a newly-delivered placenta than shake my hand. Too bad. Sometimes, I’ll meet another Asian and we’ll nod at each other in recognition, but not this time.

The speaker built into the wall at the head of the bed crackled with static. “Do you have a visitor in there?”

The nurse pressed the red button mounted on the wall. “No, it’s just the resident.” She had a way of biting off her words that sounded maybe Filipina.

“The junior obstetrics resident, Dr. Sze,” I called out. I tell people to pronounce it like the letter C.

The nurse snorted. Her flowery name tag, clipped to her already-blinding purple scrub top, said JUNE, but she seemed more like a porcupine, to me.

The intercom crackled, and the unit secretary’s voice quavered, “We’ve got a woman here saying that her friend is in one of the case rooms. Casey? Maybe she’s with Dr. Beeman?”

“I can’t help you,” said June, letting go of the red button and turning back to Manouchka.

My pager beep-beep-beeped.

IMG_4066I had a feeling it was Dr. John Tucker, so I grinned even before I turned the pager so that its little plastic face could tell me who called. I shouldn’t have been smiling. I should’ve been keeping my distance from him, since I’d officially contacted the University of Ottawa about transferring so that I could finally move back to my hometown and back to Ryan Wu, my past and present boyfriend, ideally before the end of 2012. And I usually yell at Tucker for paging me when I’m on call, when I’m already pulled in ten million directions. But he was also on call, albeit one floor up, and I could use a friend plus or minus benefits.

It wasn’t Tucker.

It was 3361. My senior resident, Stan Biedelman.

I’d have to answer it back at the nursing station, since the phone in the room belonged to the patient, and I didn’t want to use up my iPhone battery or my personal minutes. St. Joe’s was too cheap to give every resident a hospital phone. “Excuse me, Ms. Beauzile,” I said. “I’ll be back.”

She turned her cheek away from me, her face puffy with pregnancy. Her hair tufted against the pillow.

I hadn’t even had a chance to check her cervix. I don’t always, because the fewer hands travelling up the va-jay-jay to contaminate the amniotic fluid, the better.

Luckily, the delivery rooms, or case rooms, are lined up one after the other, on the right side if you’re heading down the hall, and mine was directly opposite the nursing station on the left. So it was less than ten strides to the nearest beige phone sitting on the counter. I punched the four-digit extension in and introduced myself.

“There’s a consult in emerg,” said Stan, who’s only a year ahead of me in the family medicine program. “Vag bleed at ten weeks.”

That was slightly unusual. Nearly all our emergency consults are for vaginal bleeding at five to seven weeks, from women who may be miscarrying. Ten weeks is a bit late.

“It’s Dr. Callendar on, so you know what that means,” said Stan.

I did. It meant that he hadn’t done a vaginal exam. Theoretically, the emergency staff should do a complete physical exam, but if they’re lazy like Dr. C, they’ll slog it off on the specialty service. Tonight, that meant me. The rash on my ankles started to itch under the cuff of my socks. I started playing with the tinsel on the desk so that I wouldn’t scratch myself or say something I’d regret.

“Page me when you’re done, and we can talk to her together.”

“Thanks,” I said. Still holding on to the phone receiver, I walked around the counter to eyeball the whiteboard mounted above the clerk’s head. They keep it inside the nursing station for patient privacy. We only had three patients, including Ms. Beauzile. If I was going to deliver any babies before supper, she was my best bet. I grabbed the mouse, right-clicked her name, and added my name beside Ms. Beauzile’s, so Stan or the medical student shouldn’t try to swoop down and steal her.

I’d only delivered two infants as a medical student—not so many more than my queasy med school friend—but I had to liberate at least fifty this month, because St. Joseph’s has an unofficial quota. For every month on OB, you’re supposed to check off at least fifty newborns. If it’s a less fertile month, tough. Elbow the medical students out of the way and try and get the other resident to take over the wards while you run to the case room a minimum of fifty times.

So far, I’d delivered two babies in my first two days. Not bad, but I’d have to step it up if I was going to make quota before December tenth. I remembered something else to tell Stan. “Oh, by the way, the clerk said someone was looking for you. I assume it was you, anyway. Dr. Beeman?” Sounded kind of like Biedelman. I’m used to people massacring my last name.

“If they need me, they know where to find me.”

“Three-three-six-one?” I said, citing his current extension.

“Yeah. You got my cell phone, too, but don’t give it out to strange men.”

“Strange women okay?”

“Yeah. Just don’t tell my wife.”

We both laughed, and I hung up, forgetting to tell him not to steal my delivery. Oh, well. He was probably too busy eating Cheetos while I slogged away, but it didn’t bother me. Much. The junior always does all the work. Or, as Jade, a second-year resident, pointed out after a particularly terrible emerg shift, “Shit rolls downhill.”

IMG_7732The ER is kind of the mosh pit on the ground level where every man, woman, and child in Montreal ends up before we sort them out, and also where I want to work when I grow up. First, I had to get out of the labour and delivery area. I’m not sure why we call it the case room, because it’s basically a series of four rooms along the hallway, across from the nursing station. Up to four women can labour at once. If you continue past the case rooms to the end of the hall and turn left, along the bottom of a U shape, you’ll come out at the OR for emergency C-sections.

Instead, I forged a straight line in the opposite direction, toward the elevators. I passed a pregnant woman in a black burqa shuffling in the same direction. We often see women who wear head scarves—actually, I’m the one who gets them, because they invariably ask for a female doctor, and I often smile when I spot the trendy clothes underneath—so maybe this one would be my second delivery of the night. She was moving a little oddly, though. Not quite waddling, but kind of stiff-legged, although it was hard to tell because the fabric covered her from head to toe. The hem swept the floor, and the material hung over her hands, with only a letter slot opening for the eyes.

I turned sideways to pass the two couples waiting for triage. The women’s glazed eyes flickered past me. They were already tired, even before going into labour and actively pushing. Neither of them wore that eager, first-time relish. These women and men probably already had a kid or three at home, and wanted to get this over with so that they could start a new routine.

Triage is a doleful spot at the top of the corridor, because patients are waiting for one nurse to decide if they’re far enough along in labour to warrant being assigned to one of those four rooms, or if they’re going to get told to walk around and come back later. We also do non-stress tests here, or NST’s. Sounds horrible, but it just means a pregnant woman is strapped up to a monitor and we check the fetal heart rate for twenty minutes, to make sure it’s okay.

Usually, I’d sweep straight down to the emerg, the better to catch more deliveries. Instead, I glanced over my left shoulder. My potential new patient wore the most extreme sort of burqa, with a type of fabric grille over the eye opening. I couldn’t make out her expression, which freaked me out a little. Still, she was pointed toward triage, which was probably the right place for her, although it was hard to tell under all that cloth.

One lucky couple entered the triage room, leaving just the other couple in the hallway. Instead of queuing behind them, the burqa woman slowly passed them, following in my footsteps.

My eyes followed the burqa lady. My gut was trying to tell me something, although I couldn’t exactly tell what.

I had to finish the emerg consult before Manouchka delivered her baby. I should have shot right downstairs, but that nagging feeling made me wheel back toward the burqa woman, and I found myself saying, “May I help you?”

The figure in black turned toward me without speaking.

The same uneasy vibe made my scalp tingle and my voice rise. I said, “Were you asking for Dr. Biedelman? He’s a male physician. If you want a female physician, I can help you. I’m the junior resident on obstetrics and gynecology.”

The woman in black looked me up and down, still silent.

I was trying to peer through the grille of the veil. I figured I had to be able to look in so that she could see out, yet all I could make out was a bit of pale forehead and some deep brown eyes. The eyebrows seemed a bit bushy to me, which could’ve been a cultural thing. Or she didn’t have time to groom her eyebrows while she was in labour.

IMG_7730The triage nurse called out from her room, “It’s okay, I already paged Dr. Biedelman for another case.”

“Okay,” I said. I didn’t know why I was trying to save Stan more work. I was already doing the emerg consult for him.

I spun on my heel, toward the wider hallway in front of the elevators. I narrowly avoided running into a pregnant woman with bright blonde hair, a well-cut navy coat, and enough bling on her hands to blind an army. She clung to her husband’s arm. He was wearing a good-looking suit and surveyed the queue in front of him, his forehead already pleated with exasperation. They looked like money. You don’t see that often at St. Joe’s. Not that we don’t have middle class, but a lot of people are immigrants adjusting to a new country, not the Kennedys slumming it.

A set of elevator doors binged open to my right, and Stan stepped through the candy cane-stickered doors, coming toward me. He’s a big guy, probably six feet tall, made a few millimetres taller by a yarmulke. I’m not good at gauging heights. For me, most adults fall into the category of “tall” and “taller.” Anyway, Stan’s hilarious. I prize anyone who can make me laugh when I’m on call.

I started to wave at him. He said, “If I don’t answer my page, it’s because I’ve got a woman in labour.”

“Who?” I said. “The one at six centimetres, I’ve got my name down on her.”

“Mine just came in. She’s full term and fully dilated.”

“I want her!” I said.

He smirked. “Not a chance. The nurse called me about her directly. She’s gonna push. And you’ve got the emerg consult.”

I clenched my hands into fists. He glanced down at them with a little smile, so I forced my hands to relax as I asked, “Stan, how many women have you delivered so far?”

“Let me see.” He pulled out his phone and pretended to check. “Oh. Eleven.”

“I’ve only got two. Let me have her, and then I’ll go right down to do the emerg consult. Please.”

“Forget it. I’ve got to get to fifty.”

“But you’re already over 20 percent of the way there! And we’re on day three. Come on, Stan.”

He waved. “Hey, enjoy Dr. Callendar. I did, when I was the junior. Now it’s my turn.”

Right. His turn to cherry-pick the women in labour. I steamed.

“Your turn will come. You said you had your name down on the six-centimetre one. All in good time.”

With my luck, Manouchka Beauzile would deliver while I was in the emerg, at the exact moment when Stan miraculously stepped into the room. Then I could end up with zero deliveries during my night on call. I took a step toward him. “Stan.”

He waved me away. “See you later, Hope. Look, the elevator’s already open for you. Just ride it on down.”

As if on cue, the usually molasses-slow elevator doors slipped closed. Stan chortled.

I wanted to hit him. He was so smug. And anyway, I usually took the stairs, at least at the beginning of the night, while I still had some juice. The stairs were around the corner, closer to the ward rooms where moms cuddled with their newborns and a few women lay on bed rest, trying not to give birth to premature twins. I started toward the stairs, but the burqa woman said, in a muffled voice, “Excuse me.”

She stood before the single doorway to the case room, blocking Stan’s way in toward triage and the labour rooms.

Stan hesitated. “Yes?” He gazed over her head, down the hall, clearly already ticking off number twelve in his mind.

She didn’t have an accent, exactly, but she pitched her voice low. “What is the name of your patient?”

That was an odd thing to ask.

“Sorry, I can’t disclose any patient names,” said Stan, glancing at the triage line-up behind her.

“It’s important,” said the woman, crossing her arms over her shoulders, like she was cold and giving herself a hug.

“Just ask at the desk, if you’re a friend or family,” said Stan, starting to brush past her. I could already hear the triage nurse’s voice, raised in irritation at the blonde couple trying to cut ahead in line.

“Tell me,” said the burqa woman, louder now, with a strange note to her voice. The fabric billowed around her arms and chest.

“No can do,” said Stan, head down and bustling toward the case room and his next delivery.

The burqa woman pulled a big, black gun out of the folds in her robe and shot him in the back.

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Read Chapter 2.

I have seen the future at CUCOH–and finished NaNoWriMo!

I have seen the future. Bright, hard-working, friendly, and a lot of fun.

The first time I applied to Queen’s for my undergrad degree, they took a bunch of us on tour, and some students yelled, “Sub-frosh! Sub-frosh!” at us. (I laughed. Queen’s is famous for its school spirit.) The second time, I was applying for medical school,

The third time, coordinator David Wiercigroch invited me to speak at the 10th Anniversary of the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare (CUCOH).

Creative Doctor description cut-out

I wish CUCOH had been around when I was applying to med school. It’s for anyone interested in health care, including nurses, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and future health care policy analysts (hi, Emily), but it’s pretty amazing to get a weekend crash course in anatomy, touching and asking questions about cadavers as well as extensive specimens in the enormous anatomy museum. I also would’ve liked to check out the casting workshop and the first aid mass casualty simulation.

Airway Management Trainers - rotated

I love when people send me pictures like this. It makes me feel cool.

Meanwhile, I taught the intubation workshop. After a quick overview of the seven P’s, customized by me, they learned how to bag, how to insert oral airways, how to intubate a dummy, and a few got to use alternate devices (the straight blade, the bougie, and the laryngeal mask airway—with thanks to the Glengarry Memorial Hospital and Dr. Bob Reddoch for adding to the equipment. Bob personally dropped off the LMA’s at my house before I drove to Kingston). We could only take 16 people for each of two sessions, and later I heard that at least 20 extra people lined up each time, asking if there were any extra spots. The lucky few who made it all successfully bagged and intubated. One of the guys, walking out, said, “That was awesome.” Slides here if Slideshare doesn’t work on your device.

But would anyone show up to my seminar, The Creative Doctor? I’d agreed to switch to the 4 p.m. slot to accommodate another speaker, but the end of the day, when everyone’s tired…uh oh.

Just a handful of people showed up at first (thanks, Sarah, Alice, Airiss, Sissi & Brandon!), but once the other sessions let out, the theatre filled up, and a few people even ended up standing or sitting in aisles.

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After Tiffany kindly introduced me, I said, “Well, anyone who knows me knows that I’m crazy” and brought out the fortuneteller/cootie catcher I’d made for my seminar at the Brantford Public Library (slides here). Game on!

I worked through four different sets of slides, each touching on a different aspect of creativity, such as a different approach to emergency medicine:

creativity in my writing;

how other health care practitioners have sought to balance their interests, including doctors (William Carlos Williams & CJ Lyons; my friends Mike Ko, Michael Sanatani, Karen Chien and Jennifer Wong), nurses (such as NYT bestsellers Jeanne Ray and Elizabeth Berg), and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. Slide link here.

I ended with the pros and cons of leading a double life in health sciences and the arts, because it ain’t all roses, but the roses you do get smell pretty sweet. Slide here:

I left 15 minutes for questions, and I was impressed at the range: everything from the practical (“How do you do this with two kids?”; “Give me an example of a creative reaction to a stressful situation”; “What’s a locum?”; “Why did you make your name lower case on some of your books?”) to “Do you sleep?”

At the end, I gave away prizes: CODE BLUES to Sereen, THE MOST UNFEELING DOCTOR IN THE WORLD to Nadia, and Kyo got the “mystery prize”: my original med school stethoscope, which I’d recently replaced. Unfortunately, the book to sign up for the draw hadn’t made its way around the room properly, and I ended up having to e-mail two prizewinners after the fact. One didn’t get the message until she was already on the road. Oops.

Then I answered a few questions and posed for a few selfies. ’Cause autographs are old school, although I did sign Grace’s newly-made cast!

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This is the worst pic of me, so I made it small even though everyone else looks good. Note to self: chin down!

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She sings opera!

 

I dragged my eight-year-old son, Max, to the banquet. He was a hit, freely answering questions from the keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Lin, e.g. “What is this?” “A zebra!” (Correct.) “How might this patient have died?” “Someone put a rope around his neck and choked him to death.” (Not how the case panned out, but the most off the charts answer. Aww.)

One of the delegates even knew what NaNoWriMo was. BTW, I did pass the 50,000 word mark Sunday morning, before I did the anatomy workshop. I also took my kids to the indoor water park on both days, in between teaching the next generation how to save lives while preserving their own.

The best part about any conference is rubbing shoulders with people who energize you. And here I was, surrounded by smart, dedicated, happy future health practitioners while my family relaxed at the water park at the Ambassador’s Hotel. Yay! Thank you so much to David and the rest of the CUCOH team for inviting me.

As Lincoln Steffens said, “I have seen the future, and it works.”

P.S. Trying to finalize the slides before I send the message out. Thanks for all the sign-ups to my list. I apologize in advance if your e-mail bounces, because sometimes it’s not clear if it’s a 1 or an l, for example (Queen’s–what’s up with those crazy alphanumeric addresses?). You can blame my eyes if you want. 🙂 But seriously, thanks for coming out, thanks for signing up, and thanks for the feedback! I’ll add the wave video later.

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They had a photo booth at the dinner. Anastasia is enjoying the mask, the boa, and a Captain America shield.

New Medical Noir: Broken Bones

I wanted to do something different.

I’ve written medical essays just for random fun (The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World). I’ve written about medicine and women and sex (Fifty Shades of Gray’s Anatomy). I’ve written about surgery (The Unfeeling Wannabe Surgeon) and medical school (The Unfeeling Doctor, Unplugged). I’ve written about medicine and Buddhism (Buddhish: The Unfeeling Doctor’s Freefall into Buddhism, Grief and Grace), my own struggle with infertility during my father’s cancer diagnosis and treatment (The Unfeeling Doctor Betwixt Birthing Babies: Poems About Love, Loss, and More Love), and travelling to Africa (The Knowledgeable LionPoems and Prose by the Unfeeling Doctor in Africa). Now what?

It came to me while I was editing out the swearing. Patients swear a lot in the emergency room. I swear under severe pressure, like when they’re dying on me. And it occurred to me that I didn’t want to bleep out the curses for this book.

brOKEN bones with subtitle short

I wanted to write about the underside of the ER. No more cute, no more hee hee, no more family-friendly rating. Well, I still have my family, and I always try to laugh. (“I like that doctor. She smiles!” announced one patient.) But more gritty and realistic this time. More blood and barf. Medical noir, to coin a term.

So Broken Bones is about breaking bones. And bleeding brains. And broken people, really. Maybe including myself. I still think it’s sort of funny, but often, I laugh and no one else does.

Caveat emptor.
brOKEN bones with subtitle short
E-book and print available. Audio coming soon!unplugged cover tintin-200
This is the most downer essay in the book. The rest are about medicine and, er, the naughty bits.

unfeeling surgeon doll BROWN EYES

 

betwixt cover black-200lion africa cover big 72 res daishoP.S. I’m back from my secret deal! I got to hang out with beautiful people and try zip lining 14 stories high at the CNE. I will spill every bean on September 5th. Pinky swear.

My new favourite medical show

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People used to ask me, “Is ER realistic?” and I’d say, “Kind of.” I only watched it a little, but they cut out the boring bits (“Two hundred! Three hundred! Three sixty!” when resuscitating a patient in VFib who didn’t come back right away, and I was like, “Where’s the CPR? What about the drugs?”) They added human interest elements, like educating kids about sex in the middle of the ER, that just don’t happen for me.

I did like Grey’s Anatomy, but the medical part never convinced me. Once I rewound three times to look at a CT and complain to my husband, “I don’t think it shows a bleed!”

I liked Nurse Jackie the best, but obviously, she was over the top. That whole flushing a patient’s ear down the toilet thing should have tipped you off.

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But Emergency Room: Life+Death at VGH is the real deal.

It should be. It’s a documentary. But this one captures the stories, from multiple angles: the patients, the doctors, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, the social workers. Patients die. (On dramas, so many patients survive miraculously just in time to close out the show, and I kind of roll my eyes.) People and staff aren’t always gorgeous, although I have to say that Vancouver seems to be filled with beautiful people. Crap happens: multiple trauma patients. Multiple bariatric patients. But they also cover less dramatic stories, like a cut hand and a girl with a connective tissue disorder.

On a medical geek level, I really like that the patients give a bit of history, and then the diagnosis flashes on the screen. For me, I can mentally compare my diagnosis with theirs, like a medical game show. I see a knife in the chest and think, “That’s a surgical case,” or I think, “Why would you airlift those fingers?” and give myself a checkmark when they agree with me. And when they show X-rays, the humerus really is broken. It’s not just something the prop people whipped up and might have gotten wrong.

It’s also a great peek into another emerg. I work in two community hospitals, not Level I trauma centres, and even when I did, the Montreal General Hospital was more like car crashes and that sort of thing. VGH regularly handles stab wounds (no gun shot wounds so far, though), ski accidents, and “ped strucks,” pedestrians struck by cars. (Made me realize how much people drive around here, instead of walking, although, to be fair, it’s snowing again.)

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I, too, was amazed by the intensity of their cases. My friend Cara used to say to our friend Anna, who now works at VGH, “Anna, I feel like you’re in university and I’m in kindergarten.” But I was also envious of their personnel and organization. Excellence all the way. “Activate the trauma team.” I am the trauma team. I mean, me and the nurses, the ERA’s until 10 and RT until midnight, but we don’t have dedicated specialties in-house in the middle of the night. We are it. My smaller hospital has only one doctor and one nurse in the ER for the night shift. So if you’re wondering why you have to wait, that’s why.

VGH actually has a protocol for a lock down during violent cases, which sounds like a good idea. And all they have to do is say, “We’re on lock down.”

Emergency Room: Life+Death at VGH also captures the little things beautifully: a shrug, a raised eyebrow, a resuscitation room empty except for a few gloves littering the floor. The jokes (“I had a woman who vomited into her hands and then ate it.” “Hey, why waste it?”) Their philosophies (“I think of the emergency department as a living organism.” One doctor said that working with patients was sacred).

As a writer, too, I love seeing how the show draws you in, spins a story out, and makes you care.

When my kids grow up a bit, I might try and renew my privileges at a tertiary care centre. In the meantime, I’ve got to watch four more episodes of Emergency Room: Life+Death at VGH.

Terminally Ill Robots. Squee!

I spent yesterday at the Ottawa CEMO High-Fidelity Resuscitation Skills day, which meant that I spent the morning doing mock codes with mannequins that groan and blink and try to die on you (“Those aren’t mannequins. Those are robots!” said my mother, when I described them) and the afternoon carving airways into pig cricothyroid membranes and the like. It cost me $900, but was the best CME I can remember.

Photo copyright jagged-eye. http://jagged-eye.deviantart.com/art/Laure-Robot-1a-210064518

A healthy robot named Laure. Photo copyright jagged-eye. http://bit.ly/Nd1nJO

Then I crashed at my brother’s family home, stuffing myself on delicious Indian food from Indian Punjabi Clay Oven.

In the meantime, Jodi White sent me a Kobo link that looked like this:

Me, attempting world domination.

Me, attempting world domination.

OMG. Squee!

Just a reminder that everyone who buys a print book of Terminally Ill will receive a free Kobo e-book. Contact me for details. Thanks!

Terminally Ill

Terminally Ill

$17.99$3.99
Authors: ,
Series: Hope Sze medical mystery, Book 3
Genres: Hope Sze, Medical mystery, Mystery
Tags: Hope Sze, medical mystery
Publisher: Olo Books
ASIN: B00I5RVPFO
ISBN: 9781927341254

An escape artist plunges into the icy waters of Montreal’s St. Lawrence River, chained and nailed into a coffin—and never breaks free.
After they dredge him from the waves, Dr. Hope Sze resuscitates him, saving his life. When he regains consciousness, but not his memory of the event, he hires Hope to deduce who sabotaged his act. Even as she probes the case, and the strange world of magic and illusion, she must confront her own fears of death on the palliative care ward—and tackle the two toothsome men who can’t wait for her to choose between them.

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About the Book

Available in trade paperback on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk, internationally, and at your friendly neighbourhood bookstore.

“Entertaining and insightful.”Publishers Weekly

Also available directly from Windtree Press and Gumroad.

“Narrating in a sprightly style while sharing some of the nitty-gritty of a resident’s job, Hope Sze is an utterly likeable character.”–Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

TOP 50 EBOOK ON KOBO

Top 50 on Kobo

Top 50 on Kobo March 25, 2014

Listen to CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning podcast of Dr. Melissa Yi’s interview with Wei Chen.

Watch Youtube video with audio excerpts

If you have trouble redeeming a free Kobo code, try this link, then contact Kobo: help@kobo.com

or click http://kobo.frontlinesvc.com/app/ask_NA to call, chat or email the Kobo reps.

Full Publishers Weekly review:

Montreal physician Hope Sze is looking for simple entertainment when she attends escape artist Elvis Serratore’s show, but when Elvis nearly dies in mid-act, Hope’s medical skills are available to save his life. She is less enthusiastic about his plea for her to use her detective skills to find out who tried to kill him by sabotaging his equipment.

The subject of unwanted fame as a sleuth, Hope struggles with a too-complex love life, is faced with an ominous death at the hospital at which she works and becomes concerned about a young patient whose requests have deeply disturbing implications. She soon learns that if she does not seek out mysteries, the mysteries will seek her.

The most recent installment in a series comprised thus far of three novels and a radio play, this novel demonstrates familiarity with the conventions of mysteries without being constrained by them and with the realities of Canada’s medical world. Although the tone is light, the author is not afraid to introduce darker themes. The three intertwining mysteries and Hope herself provide a narrative by turns entertaining and insightful.

Full Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine review (link will expire):

Publicity-seeking magician Elvis Serratore, in tribute to Houdini’s visit to Montreal nearly ninety years earlier, allows himself to be chained inside a coffin and dropped into the St. Lawrence River. When the escape fails, Montreal medical resident Hope Sze is able to resuscitate him. Against physicians’ recommendations, the magician prepares for an encore, but wants Dr. Sze, with her reputation for solving crimes, to find out if someone wants him dead. Narrating in a sprightly style while sharing some of the nitty-gritty of a resident’s job, Hope Sze is an utterly likeable character.

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Top 5 in all categories on Kobo on March 25, 2014

 

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Standard Freeholder, March 24

Seaway Valley News

Seaway Valley News, March 7

The Seeker, Feb. 27

The Seeker, Feb. 27

 

Hey! I beat out dozens of gardeners on Google News!

Hey! I beat out dozens of gardeners on Google News!

Book Club Resources
Look Inside
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Terminally Ill Tomorrow

Terminally Ill gets its world premiere tomorrow. And I’ll be…working in the ER with my posse. You think we’ll get any Elvis impersonators drowning while chained and nailed into a coffin?

Does that sound too bizarre? Actually, it’s based on real life. Here’s a clip of Dean Gunnarson, the man who inspired the book:

Yup, Sook-Yin Lee’s CBC Radio interview with Dean on DNTO really got my motor running.

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You won’t catch me chaining myself to a roller coaster track, but as the great Harry Houdini said, “Nobody wants to see a man die, but everyone wants to be there when it happens.”

You will catch me at the book launch Saturday, March 22nd, at 10:30 a.m. at the Alexandria Public Library and at 2 p.m. at the Cornwall Public Library. All paper copies will be only $15. Cornwall will also host a book draw, so you could win a copy of Terminally Ill absolutely free. And if you have any publishing questions, you can ask Kobo operations manager Jodi White, who will be travelling all the way from Toronto to attend.

Pre-order the e-book now for just $5.99 at Kobo and Smashwords. The trade paperback retails for $17.99 U.S. ($19.99 Canadian), and you can order it at your local bookstore. Plus, through our partnership with Kobo, if you buy a print copy, contact me for a coupon for a free e-book.

melissayi_terminallyill_eBook_final daisho

PROLOGUE

 

His breath whistled inside the coffin.

He heard the crowd cheering, although the plywood walls surrounding him dampened their yells. He could hear and feel the rumble of the crane lifting him and the coffin into the air.

He started to undo the chains on his wrists. Usually, those were the easiest.

He slid his wrists inward to gain a little slack, then twisted them to pop his wrists free.

The chains tightened on his wrists instead.

Meanwhile, the crane lowered his coffin into the St. Lawrence River.

Water splashed, and then he could hear the abnormal silence of the water surrounding the coffin.

He bent his wrists again.

The chains tightened once more.

Step two. He reached for the lock pick pinned on his left sleeve to jimmy the padlock on the chains. He always placed the pick on the inside cuff, where it would blend into his costume and he’d be able to reach for it blindly.

The pick was missing.

He reached for the pin secured to his right shirt sleeve, groping the fabric of his wetsuit to make sure he would not mistake the metal lock pick for a seam.

Nothing.

His heart hammered faster than usual, and his hard, hot breath seemed to fill the coffin. The wood underneath his body felt cold and damp, like water was already seeping inside.

He refused to panic. He could escape the chains. He always had and always would. They had built fail-safes into his act, including a fake chain with a middle cuff that made it easier to undo.

Using his fingertips, he skimmed blindly along the chain on his chest, only to realize that someone had removed the trick middle link.

He was handcuffed, chained, and nailed inside a coffin. In a river.

With no escape.

On Hallowe’en.

 

The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World Nominated for Top 50 Must-Read Books for Nurses in 2012

I belatedly checked my Olo Books e-mail and found this:
 
Hello Melissa,
 
I work for lvntorn.net , a site focused on being a resource for current and prospective nurses. Through our own exhaustive research and for the benefit of our readers, we’re developing a list of acclaimed and notable books for nurses and nursing students entitled Top 50 Must-Read Books for Nurses in 2012.
 
We are pleased to inform you that we have nominated The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World for inclusion on our list!
 
Should your book be included on the final list, we’ll provide you with a badge for you to display on your website.
 
Once the list is published, we’ll be reaching out to nursing students and professionals, to ensure maximum recognition for the books and authors included. If you have anyone else in mind that you’d wish to nominate for inclusion, please let us know. We’re still in the information-gathering phase.
 
Thank You,
Erin
 
 
How’s that for amazing?
By the way, “Unfeeling Doctor” is now available in paperback:
http://www.amazon.com/Unfeeling-Doctor-World-Emergency-Volume/dp/1475122322/
 
Thanks, world!