Tuesday, May 14, 2013


We writers often spend more time in imaginary worlds than the real one. Often this is a good thing since the real world can be a drag. However, it is not something to be neglected. I learned this the hard way.

Since I was frantically preparing for college finals, working on a deadline for book 2, finishing the rough draft of Book 3, and promoting book 1, I decided to put off a toothache until after my exams.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

The Saturday before last I woke up in agony with my face swollen. Terrified, I drove straight to the Urgent Care clinic. They gave me a shot in the ass, some antibiotics & pain meds, and sent me on my way. "Whew," I thought, "That was scary. I better get that tooth taken care of on Monday. The swelling should go down soon."

The swelling didn't go down. It got worse. I went to the ER. You get really fast service when you look like this:

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.
They put me on IV antibiotics and morphine and gave me, surprise, more antibiotics. I also had to go back the next night for more.

"You can't have any alcohol for 10 days with this medicine," they told me.

Do you have any idea how hard that is for a writer? 

I laid on the couch that night, strung out on morphine and imagining bacteria eating my brain and eyeball.

Sunday I was so swollen my eye was shut and my cheek almost touched my ear. My own son was scared of me. Once he got over the shock he said, "You're still beautiful, mommy."

I would have cried if I wasn't so sick and weak.

The antibiotics made me dizzy and queasy. The swelling started to go down on Monday but the Dr. was still freaked out and ordered a cat-scan and another IV treatment. By then it was at last established that I wasn't going to die. 

I went through finals week floating confused over my body too sick to eat or think straight. The antibiotics made me too nauseated to eat or take pain medication. The cure was almost as bad as the sickness. One of the main side effects was confusion. I stuttered myself blue trying to say the right word for things.

I was enraged and in agony. I wanted my body back.

When the swelling was gone I got to a dentist. Of course it was a front tooth that was the culprit and it will have to be pulled. 

If I hadn't put off the toothache and taken better care of myself, the tooth may have been saved and I wouldn't face looking like an extra from DELIVERANCE. I would have gotten more writing done. I and my friends and family wouldn't have faced the terror of my possible death.

After all that I am so happy to be alive. I would not wish the suffering I endured on my worst enemy.

So please, writers... and everyone else, take care of yourselves!!! 



  1. Where is there an urgent care center in NYC?
    urgent care brooklyn

  2. Wow! What a scary ordeal you went through. You are not like everyone else who says to themselves that they will take care of whatever issue is bothering them later - that's human nature, unfortunately. Despite your words of wisdom, most people will continue to put things off. I will try to remember your ordeal the next time I have a toothache, though.

    Pearlie Kreidler @ U.S. HealthWorks Seattle (Northgate)