With this post I’m sharing an another fact I learned by writing fiction. This one is from book three in my Aimee Machado Mystery series featuring a health sciences librarian. The mystery in BREACH OF ETHICS centers around a famous ten-year-old piano prodigy. The young girl falls ill from being restricted to a faulty vegan diet. This leads Aimee to wonder if an ongoing battle for the girl’s custody led to murder. Here’s what I learned by researching story details involving vegan diets for children.
BOOK THREE QUESTION:
Can young children fall ill or even die as a result of a faulty vegan diet?
A young child restricted to a faulty vegan diet by well-meaning parents who are not sufficiently informed is at risk of failure to thrive and may not grow at a normal rate. Leafy greens are not enough. The child may develop a broad range of health problems due deficiencies in amino acids, calcium, vitamin D, and B12.
Unfortunately for vegan families, B12 is readily available in meat and animal-based foods, but not in a plant-based diet. With malnourishment, there is risk of rickets and even more dire consequences. Lack of B12 can cause brain damage and even heart failure, so vegans must acquire this essential vitamin through fortified foods or supplements.
Although vegan diets are in many respects very healthy, they are more likely to cause nutrition problems for children than for adults. Any family contemplating a vegan lifestyle for young children would be well-advised to consult a qualified nutritionist before beginning.
For information on vegan diets and B12, visit The Vegan Society at: https://tinyurl.com/ya9k3qay
Visit www.sharonstgeorge.com again soon for more facts I’ve learned by writing fiction.
Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries are published by Camel Press (an imprint of Epicenter Press) and are available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from your local bookstore in trade paperback and as ebooks. http://camelpress.com
Continuing with the topic from my previous post, I’m sharing more of the facts I’ve learned by writing fiction, and in particular, researching the Aimee Machado Mysteries, featuring a health sciences librarian.
Librarians are trained researchers. If they’re curious, they look things up. Here are facts I came across while my protagonist searched for the solution to the mystery in CHECKED OUT, the second book in the Aimee Machado Mystery series.
How many people in the U.S. get Lyme disease within a given year?
FACT: The Center for Disease Control estimates 300,000 cases per year.
Most infections occur in three principal areas:
- Northeast and mid-Atlantic, from northeastern Virginia to Maine
- North central states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- West Coast, particularly northern California
The areas listed are based on where people live, not necessarily where they became infected. Cases diagnosed and reported from an area where Lyme disease is not expected are almost always travel-related.
A national survey found that nearly 20 percent of people surveyed where Lyme disease is common were unaware that it was a risk. Half the people interviewed in another study did nothing to protect themselves against tick bites during warm weather.
For more complete information on Lyme disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html
Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
BOOK TWO – QUESTION TWO:
How much can a champion cutting horse earn in one year?
FACT: A three-year-old cutting horse taking first place at a National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) event can win as much as $250,000. By competing in several events during a given year, the same horse can earn as much as a million dollars. Worldwide, total cutting horse event winnings in one year average more that 30 million dollars.
For more complete information on cutting horses, visit http://www.nchacutting.com/
To contact a cutting horse trainer, call 530-945-6079, or visit https://www.facebook.com/RandyBrooksCuttingHorses
Cutting horse photo courtesy of Randy Brooks.
Visit www.sharonstgeorge.com again soon for facts I learned by writing Book Three of the Aimee Machado Mysteries.
Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries, published by Camel Press, are available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from your local bookstore in trade paperback and as ebooks.
While channel surfing the other day, I happened to land for a few moments on a program where a lovely twenty-eight-year-old Pakistani woman named Nelufar Hedayat was being interviewed. She spoke about a series titled The Traffickers on the Fusion Channel. My interest was aroused, as I had just finished the fourth book in my Aimee Machado Mystery series.
In my book, titled Spine Damage, a fifteen-year-old Portuguese girl goes missing from her home on an Azorean island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after she makes the mistake of accepting an invitation to a yacht party.
I can’t reveal here what happens to my character, a lovely, naïve and headstrong teenager named Liliana Ferrera, as that would be a spoiler, and the book isn’t due for release until May of 2017. What I can say is that I wish more attention were being paid to the devastating impact every sort of illegal trafficking makes on countries around the world, including the United States of America.
Not once during the recent, seemingly endless presidential campaign, did I hear a candidate express a workable solution to the problem of trafficking, whether the merchandise is drugs, stolen art, rhino horns, or human beings (often children) who are sold for purposes of slave labor or for sex. Nor did I hear any reference to the illegal trade in black market organs.
Yes, there was mention of building a wall. Of course, Paul Revere could have reminded us that not all invasions come by land. A wall will not stop drug boats from reaching our shores, or freighters from docking in our harbors laden with containers (only a fraction of which are searched). And how many airplanes touch down in our country on remote landing strips? What about autos and foot traffic arriving from the north? Will we build a second wall from coast to coast along the Canadian border?
I hold the fictional answers to lovely Liliana’s fate, but what of the thousands of real-life human souls who have been taken from their homes and forced into a black-market world, or the flood of other illicit trade that feeds the appetites of criminal buyers in this country and others throughout the world? For more on this subject, watch Nelufar Hedayat on the Fusion channel on Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m.. http://fusion.net/page/the-traffickers/
Will an innocent, trusting young teen be rescued in time? Find out when Spine Damage, book four in the Aimee Machado Mystery series, is released in May of 2017. And in book five, we’ll continue the theme with a mystery surrounding illegal organ harvesting. Meanwhile, the first three books in the series are available in print and e-book versions by shopping online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or upon request at your local bookstore.
We tend to think of hospital volunteers as elderly, gray-haired Pink Ladies who sit behind a reception desk in the lobby giving directions. Or we imagine young female Candy Stripers who staff the gift shop, selling flowers or teddy bears to patients’ families. Yes, those are volunteers, and we love them for caring and donating their time. But the modern hospital volunteer fills many other rewarding and sometimes surprising roles.
These days, candy striper outfits only see the light of day at Halloween parties, but most hospitals do require volunteers to wear uniforms that allow them to be easily identified. In spite of the lack of financial compensation, there are many ways that volunteering in a hospital can be rewarding. Men and women of all ages and walks of life are participating in this vital and generous form of volunteer work. They are vibrant, productive and priceless assets in the health care world.
The American Hospital Association’s website mentions a host of volunteer roles that many of us have never imagined. One hospital uses volunteer doulas, trained professionals who provide hands-on physical and psychological support during and just after birth: or who provide emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. That hospital estimates that 23 percent of its 1,500 births annually are attended by volunteer doulas.
And volunteers need not be involved directly with patients. In other hospitals and outpatient facilities, volunteer artists have painted calming scenes on ceiling tiles, providing creative art as a distraction for patients awaiting procedures, lying in hospital beds or undergoing other tests and therapies, as well as for families sitting in waiting rooms.
In another setting, volunteers staff a freestanding bookstore in the center of the hospital, which lends and re-sells new or gently used books and uses the proceeds to fund scholarships for the hospital’s teen volunteers.
A meaningful project for writers is practiced in a hospital where volunteers obtain the life
stories of patients and share them with hospital staff, physicians, family and friends. The stories or poems capture the essence of the patients’ lives and allow patients to restore and/or enhance their relationships with loved ones.
Examples of many more hospital volunteer job descriptions are listed on the Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center website:
In Breach of Ethics, book three of the Aimee Machado mysteries, two senior volunteers, a widow and a widower, find satisfaction and purpose by volunteering in Aimee’s domain, the hospital library. The volunteers work their shifts on alternate days, but their common interest in the library soon brings them close together and promises to light up their golden years.
When you anticipate a trip to the hospital, does your pulse quicken? Does your blood pressure rise? Does your throat go dry with dread? Then you’re probably hospital-phobic. When I set out to write this post, I did an online search of the term hospital phobia and found 480,000 results. I knew the phobia was real, but I didn’t know it had a name. The medical term for this condition is a mouthful. It’s called nosocomephobia.
What is it that strikes fear in the heart? What causes that panicky sensation? If you’re about to be admitted as a patient, it may be the latest headline about deaths caused by medical errors. If you’re a visitor, it may be something as simple as the thought of all those nasty germs floating around. Ick!
Even worse, you just watched a TV show about a crazed shooter running amok in the corridors of a hospital.
So what are you to do? If you’re a potential patient, you need to be admitted. Your appendix is about to burst, and it isn’t going to heal itself. Or perhaps your loved-one is in the hospital, needing you there by his or her side. You have little choice but to face your fear and go into that terrifying place filled with germs and other potential threats.
Let me try to reassure you. I worked in an acute care hospital for seven years. My administrative position sent me to every floor and every department in the hospital complex. The worst danger I faced in all of that time was . . .
Actually, I’m having trouble thinking of even one example, but I can think of endless examples of how hospital administration and staff are involved in keeping patients and visitors safe.
The welfare of patients involves a complex system of safety protocols designed to cover not just the care provided by physicians and nurses, but by every department and hospital worker. These include: emergency, pharmacy, radiology, pathology, dietary, infection control, and many more. Safety protocols are in place for every aspect of patient care.
But what about the safety of visitors? How are they being protected? From fire? From shooters? From other disasters? Fire and disaster drills are conducted regularly. Each department knows its procedures and assigned duties, and stands ready to assist. Hospital security protocols are in place, and personnel are constantly on alert for the very rare occasion when a patient or visitor becomes unruly or dangerous. As an added protection, more and more hospitals are requiring visitors to show photo ID and wear a visitor’s badge during their visit.
If you’re hospital-phobic, don’t give up or give in. There are treatments that can help. You can find a wealth of helpful information by doing a search using the key words hospital phobia.
Here is just one of the 480,000 links I found for information about this condition.
In BREACH OF ETHICS, the third book in the AIMEE MACHADO MYSTERY series, the issue of patient and visitor safety is on the mind of Timbergate Medical Center Administrator Jared Quinn. His concern for the wellbeing of patients and visitors results in a locked room murder mystery for Aimee and her team of amateur sleuths to solve.
The first three books in the AIMEE MACHADO MYSTERY series, published by Camel Press, are available in print and eBook formats from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or by request from your local bookstore.
It is possible that the practice of taxidermy dates all the way back to the beginning of man. Although there is no clear record of its start, it is known that the art form has been around for centuries. A mount of a rhinoceros in a museum in Italy, believed to have been done in the 16th century, is said to be the oldest in the history of taxidermy.
Long before that time, Egyptians were mummifying their cats, dogs, and other animals at their death. This practice was actually a form of taxidermy.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts who enjoy fishing and hunting make up a large part of the taxidermy business. Many invest enormous sums of money and risk life and limb in remote and treacherous parts of the world.
In some cases, a hunt is a means of eradicating an animal that is doing great harm, as in the case of feral hogs that now do two billion dollars annually in agricultural damage and related problems. As one hunter explained it, “Taxidermy helps to preserve the memory of an experience that may happen only once in a lifetime.”
Hunters and fishermen are not the only clientele of taxidermists. Moviegoers who have enjoyed the NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM franchise will recall the vast assortment of animals that came to life each night. Museums give taxidermists a great deal of business, and will continue to do so.
Modern taxidermists use forms placed inside the preserved skin of the animal instead of the original method of stuffing with straw or other materials. The forms have realistic shapes that are designed to look how the animal would appear if seen in the wild.
Taxidermy remains an art form that people continue to enjoy, either as reminders of memorable hunting and fishing experiences, or as displays in museums.
A word of caution though. It’s probably best to exit the museum well before closing time. That wild boar isn’t looking too happy.
Taxidermy plays a role in CHECKED OUT, book two of the Aimee Machado Mystery Series. Published by Camel Press, it is available both in print and ebook format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or by order from your local bookstore