Saturday, February 02, 2008

Just Call Me Nurse Lyon

I’m labeling this post a "reader question," but technically it isn’t.

I really was asked this question once, but the person who posed it wasn’t one of my readers. For that matter, at the time, she didn’t even know that I write.

But it was a moment that reaffirmed exactly what kind of nutcase I am.

We were new to our neighborhood, and as part of my new church assignment, I was gathered with several other ladies in a living room for a meeting. As we chatted, one was asked how her mother was doing and whether she was still in the hospital.

Apparently her mother was going to be there for a while longer, and the daughter explained soberly what was wrong and why it would be a few weeks yet before her mother’s discharge—if she lived.

Based on the description of her mother’s situation—which included no medical jargon whatsoever—I said something like, "Oh, no. If she’s got peritonitis, no wonder you’re so worried. That’s serious."

I didn’t realize I had said anything odd until she narrowed her eyes at me, then asked the burning question:

"How do you know what peritonitis is? Are you a nurse?"

Um . . . no . . .

Considering my phobia of needles and my aversion for studying chemistry and several other subjects medical professionals must dig into, the idea of my being a nurse is pretty laughable.

And yet.

How do I know about that? I thought.

The answer came pretty quickly: I’m a writer.

In other words, I read, own, and highlight all kinds of off-the-wall books for research. Like this one, which taught me, among other things, about perforated bowels and the dangerous infection that can result . . . peritonitis.

Ya know, it’s a little too easy to forget that normal people just don’t spend time reading up on bizarre topics that have no value except for the off-chance they might used in a book . . .

6 comments: said...

hi annette,
you could also use your knowledge to win games, like trivial pursuit.

you rock. keep being awesome, kathleen xoxo

Amber said...

I do that too! I have all sorts of random useless knowledge in my head- a lot of it's medical stuff since I used to absorb that sort of stuff when I was going to be a doctor. Glad I"m not the only one.

Kimberly said...

My medical knowledge all comes from TV shows...still...I've had several correct diagnosis' thus far. =P

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, I so hear you on this one. The other day I was reading in 2 Chronicles, and I thought, "Rock Rimmon! What a fabulous place name. I must use that in a book." And I'm sure I will, at some point.

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

I know what you mean! Writers are, in so many ways, different than the "general" public, and yet we spend our hearts trying to communicate with the "general" public. What a challenge. Yet, why do we love it?

Brillig said...

Hahahaha. That's awesome.

I guess I'd better start loading up on reading about crazy topics for book potential...

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