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.
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 . . .
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