“TIME IN THE TUBE”: Making My Time in the MRI Machine Count

10-2-18

Hiawassee, GA

After a skirmish with a runaway duffle bag knocked me on my butt, last year, I should have called a ‘time-out’ to get x-rayed at Care Now. But, after Jeff helped me up from the carpeted bedroom floor and I remained upright until time for bed, I expected the problem would eventually go away.

But it hasn’t. Not by a long shot.

Since the past two or three months, our favorite activities — browsing arts and crafts festivals and trade shows and shopping in grocery-store aisles (with Wal-Mart being the worst) and simply talking to folks while standing on hard surfaces or on uneven ground have become excruciating and even embarrassing. For the harder I tried to walk upright, the more I felt like “Mrs. Wiggins”, the stiletto-wearing, gum-chewing, empty-headed blonde secretary to “Mr. Tudball” (played by Tim Conway) on The Carol Burnett Show.

Before long, because of lack of exercise, I began packing on more weight onto my 5’0″ frame.

Not to worry, I reassured Self. Synthroid’s got this one. Synthroid, a synthetic form of thyroid I started on in 1996 once I began recovering from successful brain-tumor surgery.  Besides regulating my thyroid gland, it helped me maintain a healthy weight. Thyroid-deficient since I was two years old, I expected to take it for the rest of my life until two successive blood tests showed I now had too much thyroid in my system.

The next day, the doctor called with the news: that x-rays showed three compression fractures in the lumbar (or lower) region of my back, as well as arthritis in my hips. She faxed over orders for an MRI and a bone density scan at Chatuge Regional Hospital in Hiawassee.

Three fractures? Wow! No wonder I’ve been hurting!

Yesterday, as the young man arranged me on the table and propped me here and there, I remembered four tips offered by friends who had undergone recent MRIs:

*  Use the bathroom first.

* Request a face towel to cover your eyes.

* Ask for earphones to blot out the noise.

  • Try to catch a nap.

Remembering my last MRI, a forty-minute procedure, during which I lay, arms crossed over my chest, as if rehearsing for eternal rest, I planned out the best way to spend time in the “tube”.

After “Rick” (not his real name) situated me properly but comfortably, I asked for the face towel and the earphones. He nodded.

“Sure! What kind of music would you like?”

“Boot-Scootin’ Boogie”, a Brooks and Dunn country hit, was on the tip of my tongue before I considered how that song always made me forget how sore my hips already were and that I’d have the whole thing to take over again if I partied too hardy in that high-tech contraption. Besides, I had weightier matters on my mind such as “What happens if this turns up something serious? Something requiring major surgery, months of downtime, and major life changes?”

“Soft and instrumental,”!I answered. “You know — ‘Easy-Napping’ music.”

So with earphones in place, cloth over eyes, and arms crossed over my chest, into the tube I slid to have a little talk with Jesus, take a nap, or both.

Only fifteen minutes later, the machine stopped its banging and unfurled me from its cavity where Rick was waiting with a wheelchair. Stepping away, he allowed “Laura” (again, not her real name, either) to take charge.

In the bone-density scan room, where “Laura” asked me some questions before she positioned me on the table.  As with the ‘dreaded’ MRI, we were through in record time.

As she walked with me to the waiting room and Jeff, I asked her when I could expect to receive the results.

“Probably in a couple of days.”

So far, I haven’t heard a word. I’m hoping that’s good. During my time in the tube, I prayed that, if the problem required surgery, that it would at least be on out-patient basis and that I would soon be “in, out, and on with Life”, as per the old Chili’s Bar and Grill advertising slogan.

My next step in this health-care journey? A thrilling ride to Gainesville, fifty-some miles away from Hiawassee, on Thursday, October 11, where I expect to meet with a highly-recommended endocrinologist about my “wascally thyroid” and find out the answers to my questions:

  • What measures can I take to lose weight and get back into shape while my back heals?
  • How can I cope with fatigue?
  • What’s really behind the 180-degree change?

When Bette Davis actress of stage and screen from the 1930s to the 1960s and author of The Lonely Life, said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies,” she wasn’t just a-whistlin’ “Dixie”.  At some point, our “bods” — like our cars — threaten to shut down if we fail to  care for them in the way they deserve in order to stay on the road of Life.

Whatever gender you are, what are some all-important health-care examinations would encourage friends or family members to be sure to check off their lists, and why?

I can hardly wait to see what you recommend!

********

SAME ‘MAN’, DIFFERENT PLAN, Part 26a:”Creating A Nightmare”

September 2, 2018

Four years ago, during 2014 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I dashed off a 50,000-word draft of MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT, a thriller bearing no resemblance to Abba’s classic. The ‘man’ in my story lurks behind profiles of unsuspecting users on the  ‘Man After Midnight’ dating site. Once he arranges a date with a woman, he meets her for drinks which he spikes. At 12:01 a.m., he leaves her body gutted of all female parts before dropping his calling ‘card’ a crude drawing of a clock with its short hand on twelve and the long hand, to one minute after. But, something occurred to me once I read what I had written: that true death involves so much more than just the body.

Now, I am making human trafficking the subject of my story. Already a global pandemic, trafficking degrades women and girls in body,  mind and soul. In fact, actual death might come as a relief.

Despite our expectations, traffickers aren’t always easy to identify, especially if they begin by telling a vulnerable female what she is desperate to hear: that she is beautiful and desirable. Once he reels her in with his honeyed words, he convinces her that he is her very best friend, her only confidante. Only he and he alone truly cares more about her than even her boyfriend, friends, or even parents. He rushes her to the next step: to move in with him or even marry him. He tunes in to her deepest desire and, then, promises to deliver it….or so she believes.

Want to attend college? Send money to family? Dream of modeling, singing, dancing, or acting? Well, you certainly have the figure, voice, legs, or talent for it. Whatever your heart desires, it’s yours.

But his smoldering eyes and gleaming smile mask a deadly secret about. ‘Mr. Wonderful’: that he is a trafficker. When she least expects, that charm, passion, and effortless wit disappear. He spikes her beer, wine, or high-dollar coffee with Rohypnol and tosses her into a van with other terrified women.

Any female, no matter her age, can become a victim before she suspects what is about to happen.

For example, in Man After Midnight, Destiny — my protagonist’s rebellious but virginal teen — goes missing on Halloween night in 2012.

The premise goes like this: When the mother of a teenager learns that her daughter is being auctioned to the highest bidder by 12:01 a.m. on the ‘Dark ‘Net’, she must find the auction and purchase her from ‘The Man’ no later than midnight or become his newest victim, herself.

Thank God, I have never been trafficked. Since I haven’t, I must rely on research. Books, documentaries, and personal experiences of those whose bodies, minds, and souls bear its scars. For the past month, I’ve binge-watched docudramas  and read survivors’ stories. Today’s post, Part 26a, is about my findings.

Meanwhile, as I watched and read true accounts from Theresa Flores, Aubrey Alles, and Jody Paar, I gleaned the following information about ‘the ‘trafficked’:

  • that they can be any age, even children 
  • that they can be of any ethnicity and come from any background
  • that even their families risk being killed

“Ah,” you say. “But that only happens in other countries,”

Whoa. Not so fast. Statistics from 2017 show that, in the United States, alone, human trafficking is a pandemic that now spans the globe.

Today’s traffickers don’t always look ‘sleazy’ . They can be co-workers or supervisors, professors or students, doctors, attorneys, or clergy. Some are  ‘gamers’ posing as teens while they look for latchkey children. Others  ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ their prey on the social media.

Coming up in Part 26b of my blog post, SAME MAN, DIFFERENT PLAN”, Jody Paar will recount her own nightmare in our ‘once-safe‘ United States of America.

**********************

LIVING THE DREAM, Part 11: “You’re On the Air!”

2-12-18

Comfort, Texas

Back in August 2017, I was at Hill Country Distillers  on my first-ever book-signing gig when I met Steve Owen and his wife, Shawn, in the bar area. Before the night was over, he walked away with six of my personally-signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.

Now, February 12, upon the airing of his interview with me, he is, indeed, giving away the six, personally-signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS are being offered as prizes. During the podcast, he explains how to snag a copy of my book.

Steve Owen is the creator and moderator of the Fascination Street podcast, found on Twitter. A few days after my first signing, he met with me at our RV park clubhouse and interviewed me for the podcast to be aired later. True to his word, on the night we met, he is giving away six signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS

Well, today is “later”! And my interview airs today! Enjoy and listen closely because Steve Owen will tell you how to win a copy of my book. I’ll give you a hint: @fascinationstpod.com and #kimterry.

Soon I hope your name is among the six winners. If it is, I will give you a shout-out on Facebook and other social media sites. Until then, stay tuned. If you have not already listened to the podcast, it will be available on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google + and even my authorkimterry.wordpress.com blog post.

Conversation Settings

****

LIVING THE DREAM, Part 5: The “Star” Treatment

September 1, 2017

Comfort, Texas

Since my debut novel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS has been out on Amazon, My life has been a whirlwind! In fact, I’m still pinching myself, expecting to find out it has all been just a sweet  dream. Besides for some ordering the book from Amazon, many others  have ordered signed copies directly from my husband and me. There have also been book-signing gigs at various spots in our area with even more to come. Within a month, I have put up “Author  Kim Terry” pages on Amazon,Goodreads,Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and even WordPress.And that’s only the beginning! The Official Launch of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMStakes place on Facebook on November 14. On that date, the e-book version that people have pre-ordered will show up on their Kindles and hard copies of the book will also be available. I’m thankful for my sweet, long-suffering husband, Jeff Schwarz, for scheduling my appearances and handling the business end that I’m sure I would  mess up. And I owe another shout-out to my publisher, Michael D. Butler of Beyond Publishing, for helping me make my lifelong dream come true and blasting out publicity nationwide over social media.

With all of this newfound “celebrity” treatment, I feel as though I should be donning dark glasses and dodging the paparazzi. In fact, every time I’m standing in the impulse aisle as I wait for the cashier to ring our groceries, I pay extra attention to National Enquirer, looking for sensational smut that even I didn’t know about myself. I have to admit, being a published author has changed the way I present myself. I even put on a bra and my flip-flops before gracing Wal-Mart.

It’s funny how experiencing “fame” draws attention from people I was sure didn’t know I existed. Let’s face it — people are fascinated with those who have done something to draw attention to themselves. Think of it — why else is People magazine so popular?

Along with my tippy-taste of “star” treatment, I’ve also received  questions that most folks  don’t ask of people they don’t know. The two questions that require me to exercise the most tact are bulleted below:

  • Are you married? 
  • How old are you?

While some of these people turn out to be spammers, others are honestly curious.

Whoa, but I’ve saved the best for last: the “love letters” I have received on Messenger.  One thought he was on an online dating site. Another wrote three separate, lengthy proclamations of passionate love but never called me by my name.

“At least he’s persistent,” said Jeff, who chuckled about it, after I blocked all three of them.

For you who are seasoned authors, what is the most curious, funny, or embarrassing question you have ever received from  readers”? Do tell!

Comments and reviews are the life source for authors. Did you enjoy this post? Please, let me know!

Stay tuned to authorkimterry.wordpress.com for more adventures.

LIVING THE DREAM, Part 4: Is This Really Me?

Tuesday, August 15

Comfort, Texas

The magic day — the day my first shipment of books to arrive — dawned at last! I woke up early, flipped on the coffeemaker, and began listening for the UPS truck.  Around noon, I heard a rumble of a truck and the crunch of its tires on our rocky road.  I looked through an opening in our living room blinds and glimpsed something brown. Seconds later, I heard a rap on our door. It was the driver carrying the last of three boxes that he had stacked beside the door.

My heart beat like a drummer in a 1960’s rock band — snares and all — as I picked up the top box and tried scooting it inside the door.

“Hey, babe, come on in. Let me do that,” Jeff said, as I went inside and flopped into my recliner.

After Jeff toted the heavy boxes up the steps of our fifth-wheeler,  my breath caught as he picked up the first box and sliced it open with his pocket knife. Inside the box, beneath a layer of bubble wrap, lay copies of my debut novel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS. I picked up the book on top and feasted my eyes on its cover: black silhouettes of two women and a baby centered on a glossy, green cover. I fanned its 232 pages.

My book. The “baby” I delivered at the end of an eight-year pregnancy. As any other new mother would do, I wept out of joy, relief, and  disbelief. It has seemed like a wonderful dream.

Since January 2009, when I flew out to Port Aransas, Texas, to reunite with Cousin BeeGee and attend the Laughing Gull Writing Workshop in Port Aransas, I have been working on one draft after another of BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS, the book from which FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS originated.

Now, these beautiful green books  bearing my name — Kim Terry — were here at last. As an adoring ‘first-book mommy’, I could hold them in my hands. Feel their pages between my fingers. Smell the ink. Kiss them, even. Okay, that last visual is weird, but you get the point.

Right away, I remembered the books I promised to my sons, so I autographed them on the Dedication page, and Jeff packaged each book in a padded envelope  for Tam, Terry and Colin (Terry’s best friend since college who has been like a third son to me) and a fourth copy for a high-school friend.  Having already booked four signing gigs, we were glad to receive them in time. The first two signings on August 18 and 20 at Hill Country Distillers, in Comfort; Saturday, August 19 event at Hill Country Cellars Winery in Bandera, and Wednesday, August 23 event at the RV Park USA clubhouse, immediately after our bingo game.

In preparation for the launch, my publisher and his team have broadcast information about me, my book, and my events on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nationwide.

And, speaking of Amazon, I have set up my page on Author Central. You can access it by clicking on the ‘page’ link, above. It contains links to my book, blogs, events, photos, and videos.

Now, since my book is on Amazon in two formats: the large-print soft-cover (available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers) and the e-book (available on the official launch day of November 7) At this time, the e-book is available for pre-order.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the book-signing events at the Distillery, once I learned to mingle with the crowd instead of stationing myself behind the signing table the whole time. On that first night, we sold thirteen books. When we returned, we sold one more, as I received a check from a friend of mine for the book she requested.

Over the weekend, as I was mixing with the people at the Distillery when I met Steve and Shawn Owen. As I shared author anecdotes with them, Steve requested an interview with me at a quiet place in the next few days,  so we reserved the clubhouse here at our RV park. The interview, to be available on iTunes, will be aired in January 2018. The first five listeners to respond will win autographed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.

This “star” treatment has been both thrilling and humbling. It took only one phone call to one person to start the ball rolling. In June 2017, I took the first step in my journey to becoming an author.

Loyal readers, I look forward to your comments. Did you enjoy this post? Let me know by leaving your comments at the end of this post.

***************