The Stethoscope -III

I felt my holder’s shoulders tense as they rolled you into the room. The paramedic pumping against your chest barely pauses as your body is lifted onto the stretcher. Dark curls frame your face. It is a young face. Too young.

The angry mark around your neck tells a story too painful to comprehend. My holder’s hands move to your IV, flushing saline through the line to be certain it works, before pulling open the drawer of the red cart beside you.

“1 mg of epi,” the doctor says.

There is a barely audible gasp at the door to the room. My holder pushes the epinephrine into your veins, then turns to the sound. It is a woman. Her eyes are red and swollen and her cheeks are stained with tears.

She is your mother.

My holder crosses the room and brings her to your side. Your mother stands by your shoulder, close to my holder and she says your name. She tells you to fight. She asks you why.

My holder speaks quietly to your mother, while preparing the next dose of medication. I feel muscles tense beneath me as the doctor tilts your head back and slides a tube into your mouth. I am lifted from my perch and placed over your stomach. “No air over epigastrum,” my holder says and then slides me to your left, then right chest. “Bilateral breath sounds present.”

“Positive color change,” the respiratory therapist says.

My holder turns to your mother. “That means the tube is where it needs to be.”

Hands return to your chest, once again pressing against it, pumping the blood from your heart to your lungs and brain. Your chest rises as the respiratory therapist forces air into your lungs. Your mother whispers to you, telling you that you are strong. I am returned to my holder’s shoulder and I can feel that the tension has spread. I can feel the cry that wants to burst forth. But my holder’s hands keep moving. They prepare the next dose of epinephrine and push it into your veins.

“Are you having any difficulty ventilating?” the doctor asks.

“No difficulty,” the respiratory therapist replies.

The stretcher creaks softly as your chest is compressed.

The air moves in and out of your lungs with a soft whoosh, whoosh.

Your mother whispers your name. Her tears fall to the mattress beside your head.

Time seems to stand still as the team around you continues their battle with death.

Until…

“Hold compressions,” the doctor says.

All eyes turn to the flat line that makes its way across the monitor. A sob escapes your mother’s lips.

The doctor reaches out to my holder, eyes on me. I am handed across you and once again I find myself resting on your chest. I will myself to send a sound to the doctor’s ears. Any sound.

But there is only silence.

Tears fill the doctor’s eyes as they find your mother’s face. “I’m sorry, your child is gone.”

The respiratory therapist disconnects the bag that forced air into your lungs, then steps back.

The paramedic that stayed to continue your chest compression, looks down at the floor, then leaves the room in silence.

The doctor sets me on the counter and leaves the room.

The only people at your side are my holder and your mother. My holder rests a hand on your mother’s arm and asks if she wants anyone else here.

Your mother nods, the words are barely perceptible through her sob, but my holder understands and leaves the room. Now it is only you and your mother. She runs her fingers through your hair. She leans down and kisses your forehead. She wipes her tear off your cheek. She doesn’t speak. She has no words.

My holder returns with a man. He is your father. Your mother turns to him and he holds her as they cry. Together they turn to you.

My holder slips to the back of the room where I lay and picks me up.

“You okay?” the charge nurse asks.

My holder nods.

“It’s blowing up out here. Can you take a patient with abdominal pain in 6 and another with a headache in 4.”
My holder nods, but pauses for a deep breath before stepping into the first room. “Hi, I’m going to be your nurse,” my holder says. “I’m sorry if you’ve had to wait.”

I am proud to be a nurse’s stethoscope.IMG_9580

Note: As the holidays approach us, please remember that there are people around you who are alone and hurting. Some from a loss, but others because they don’t feel like they fit into this world.  Guard your words, because they carry a power that you cannot imagine. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes of the people you interact with…the sales girl who fumbles your order, the man that almost ran you over in the parking lot, or the nurse that finally enters your room after you’ve waited for hours in the ER…..

Teri Lee is an ER nurse working throughout the US and the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel.

 

Midnight Berries under the Strawberry Moon

I missed the mooIMG_4737n! More specifically I missed the rising of June’s full moon. But that won’t stop me from writing about it, or from gazing up into the night sky every chance I get.

One of the best things about the June moon is that it welcomes the arrival of warm weather. It is the Rose Moon, the Lotus Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Planting Moon. But those aren’t its only names. My favorite names are the two that make my mouthwater and bring back memories of my recent trip to the Great Smokey Mountains.

IMG_4968

It is the Moon when June Berries are Ripe and the Strawberry Moon. Yum!

The black bear looks up at the sky. The moon is full and it shines brightly through the trees and onto the entrance of her den. She nudges brown and rust leaves from the forest floor until the opening is hidden, then pauses to listen to the steady breathing of her two cubs. Confident in their safety, she turns away to begin her nightly foraging.

Leaves rustle and twigs snap under her paws as she lumbers through the woods to the rotten stump. This is her routine. She uses her claws to tear away the soft wood, then digs her nose into the moist pulp to slurp up the insects before they can scatter to safety. Satisfied she makes her way toward the edge of the forest, snacking on bits of vegetation as she travels. The wind blows, carrying a sweet scent to her nostrils.  Her mouth waters and she breaks from her usual foraging pattern, drawn to the aroma of berries.

But she is tense. This is farther than she usually ventures from her den. She listens for a cry from her cubs, as she allows the sweet, scent to draw her forward.

She steps into the field. Along the edge of the woods are prickly bushes IMG_5213covered with berries, but they haven’t ripened. She looks down. Wild, red strawberries surround her feet. She settles onto her haunches to nibble at the feast, her black fur glistening in the moonlight as the sweet juices run down the back of her throat.

As she stretches her nose to the ground to fill it with another mouthful of the sweet fruit, a whimpering cry reaches her ears. The berries forgotten, she crashes through the brush toward the cries of her cubs.

Outside her den, something moves in the shadows. With a roar, she rises to her hind legs. A raccoon dashes away, disappearing into the night. The bear drops back down on all fours and slips into her undisturbed den. She curls up around her cubs and they snuggle into her fur and begin to nurse. She closes her eyes, content to rest with her young. She will wait for the early morning light, when the sun once again takes over the sky to bring her cubs to the edge of the forest. Together they will enjoy the luscious berries.

I sometimes wonder why I’m drawIMG_5018n to the moon and the night sky. I think it’s because when I gaze into it, I see infinite space. A space not so different from the blank page on my laptop. As my imagination fills the emptiness, my fingers move across the keyboard and soon a story appears.

IMG_4376 IMG_4402Just like the pages of a book, every shining star is a far-away world waiting to be experienced.

What does your night sky represent?

Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel.

Welcome Spring

It might not feel like it to some of my northern friends, but winter is officially over and spring has begun!  I love this time of year, when fresh green leaves burst from their buds and flowering blooms erupt in a kaleidoscope of color.

daffodil1IMG_0149IMG_0533

On April 4th when the spring moon rises, it will be a blood moon—a total lunar eclipse. As the moon passes through the earth’s dark shadow, it will turn a rusty or red color. But don’t blink, because this eclipse will be over in a five short minutes. Here on the East coast (EDT) I’ll be checking the night sky at 2:01 AM on Saturday morning. Click here to find out the best time to catch sight of the blood moon in your area.

Photo Credit - Kevin Lyons
Photo Credit – Kevin Lyons

Like all moons, April’s full moon has many names.The most common is the Spring Moon, for obvious reasons. To the Abenaki it is the Sugar Moon (now my mouth is watering for some real maple syrup).

 

 

Along with other flowery names, it is also known as the Pink moon, named for the pink flox that burst into bloom in early spring.

But it’s most common name among Native Americans has to do with geese. It is the Moon When Geese Lay Their Eggs, the Gray Goose Moon, and Moon when Geese Return in Scattered Formation. If you’ve stumbled upon my #PhotographyJourney on Instagram, Facebook or my website, then you have already guessed these are my favorites.

 

goose pair

The goose thrusts his feet forward and spreads his wings, pulling them back to slow his descent. Water splashes up around him, sending rippling waves across the surface of the lake. There is another splash beside him as his mate lands.

 

 

Together they glide across the lake toward the tall green grass growing along a small island in the center of the lake. This has been their nesting site for the past three years and he is anxious to claim it once again.water grass

The sun has disappeared behind the trees as they step onto the island, shake the water from their tail feathers and waddle up the embankment. A crow caws from a nearby tree, breaking the stillness of the evening, then flies off leaving them alone on their island.

Despite the rapidly darkening sky, his mate begins gathering twigs and grass to start the nest. The gander returns to the water, dipping his head beneath the surface to nibble on the tender water plants. He spots movement at the edge of the water and glides over to investigate. A raccoon looks up. Their eyes meet and the gander circles away, moving silently through the water. He waits until the raccoon is gone before he turns back to the island. Although his mate has yet to lay her eggs he is not willing to risk exposing the location of the nest.

goose solo

The light of the full moon shimmers on the now smooth lake surface as he settles in beside her. He tucks his beak beneath his wing. Tomorrow they will finish the nest. He closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep dreaming of the fluffy yellow and gray goslings that will soon trail behind him as he sails across the lake.

I’ll be working in the ER during this full moon, but I’ll sneak outside to soak up a bit of the Moon when Geese Lay Their Eggs so that I can absorb a refreshing burst of spring inspiration while I continue my work on the sequel to Troubled Spirits.

 

Photo Credit - Allen Moscowitz
Photo Credit – Allen Moscowitz

Don’t miss this full moon and if you manage to snap a shot of the blood moon, please share in the comment section below. I’d love to see it!

 

 

 

Book Trailers 101

Book Trailer 101:

TroubledSpirits  cover - CopyLast year was a life-changing year for me. Without a doubt the highlight was August 21st, the day my YA paranormal novel, Troubled Spirits was published by Black Rose Writing. As a soon to be published author, I found myself thrust into the unfamiliar territory of marketing.

One of the first things I did was to make a book trailerI’m using the word “I” loosely, because my trailer was filmeIMG_0062d and produced by Kyle at INHAUS PRODUCTIONS. It took all day to film the Troubled Spirits trailer and the cast was amazing.

IMG_0103 IMG_0109All the teens were from the local high school drama program and most of the adults were family.  During this process I developed a new respect for everyone who works in the filming industry. So much time, effort and energy went into this process!

Are you scratching your head and wondering what a book trailer is? You’re not alone. A book trailer is a video, usually around a minute and a half that tells potential readers about your book. In short, it’s like a movie trailer.  

In today’s fast-paced, technical world, the average adult’s attention span is a whopping 8 seconds. With only 8 seconds to grab your readers attention, new authors must step outside the box.

Book trailer benefits vary among authors and there is not a lot of data out there on actual sales generated. But one survey completed in Texas revealed that 34% of school librarians use book trailers in their schools.

For me a book trailer was a must. I was fortunate enough to have a talented friend, which was awesome, because I had no clue where to start.

To save you from cluelessness, here are a few tips to help you on your way to creating your own trailer:

  • Be sure to obtain the commercial rights for any photos you use. Using your own pictures is a great option, but if they contain people, you should have them sign a media release. You can also download images for free at freeimages.com. Be careful, not all the images on this site are free. It’s divided into two sections. The top is for Istockphoto these images can be downloaded and used for a fee.
  • Another image source is Unsplash.com.  Once you sign up, you’ll receive ten photos every ten days along with permission to use them.This takes a little planning and patience.
  • You will also need the commercial rights for your music. Shutter Stock is one site that has music available for commercial use.
  • Don’t try to squeeze your entire plot into the trailer. Remember, this is a taste of your story–a teaser.
  • Research other book trailers and decide what you like or don’t like.

Once you’ve decided what type of trailer you want and selected your photos and music, here are a few tools to create your trailer:

If you don’t have the time, energy or desire to create your own trailer (like me), and INHAUS PRODUCTIONS here in Maine is a little out of your way, then here are a couple of companies who will do the work for you.

If you’re not on information overload yet, then here’s a link with a few more tips on how to make your own trailer, and another one on how to use your trailer to drive sales.

Last, but not least, I’ve thrown in a few more trailers for your viewing pleasure!

Want to share your trailer? Post a link in the comments.

Goodbye Winter Moon

This year’s micro-moon will rise into the night sky on March 5th. Because of its current distance from the earth it is the smallest moon of the year, but for me it represents something big—something exciting—the end of winter!

Photo Credit: Jackie Tiner
Photo Credit: Jackie Tiner

Many of the March moon monikers symbolize this welcome transition of the seasons. After months of the bright winter sun reflecting off the snow, some Native Americans call this The Moon When Eyes are Sore from the Bright Snow. And as the snow melts in the warming daytime temperatures only to freeze again at night, a thick crust forms on the snow, providing inspiration for another name–the Full Crust Moon.

Photo Credit: Lyons Den Photography
Photo Credit: Lyons Den Photography

Soon the winds will dry the melting snow, which is why the Celts call it the Moon of Winds.

As always, I have a favorite name for this month’s moon. It is the Full Crow Moon.

Photo credit: Jodi Tiner (Access Photography)
Photo credit: Jodi Tiner (Access Photography)

The winter wind ruffles the crow’s black feathers as he soars just above the bare branches of the sleeping trees, their roots tucked safely away beneath the long winter’s snow.

sunset (2) The  western sky is ablaze with the colors of the setting sun. As the the crow turns eastward he is greeted by the moon.

Impatient for darkness it shines before him in the blue sky.

The crow circles once, then alights at the top of a towering pine. He caws, disturbing the evening stillness as he welcomes the last moon of winter.

He too is impatient. He is ready for the melting of the snow and the softening of the earth which will bring the worms to the surface.  He is ready for the trees to once again be filled with fresh green leaves, teeming with insects. He is ready to soak upearlymoon1 the warmth of the sun.

When I look up at the Full Crow Moon, I too will say goodbye to winter. Although I’ll  pass on the teeming insects, like the crow, I crave the warmth of the sun, trees filled with fresh green leaves, and the emergence of colorful spring flowers. I can hardly wait to soak in their beauty!  What’s your favorite part of spring?

spring

The Power of Words

This post was originally written as a guest post for Sophia Kimble’s Blog. You can read the original post here.

Words, whether spoken or heard are a powerful tool. They can transport a reader to faraway places. They can inspire. And they can hurt. I believe in the power of words. Which is why if you drop by my author website,  you’ll find a page titled The Bully Projectbook cover

Although in Troubled Spirits, Annie Waters is forced to overcome a supernatural bully, it is not a story about bullying. My passion to prevent bullying comes from real life.

The Boy

You don’t remember me, but I remember you.

I saw you when another nurse led you to the room.

You lingered in the doorway unsure of the organized chaos before you.

I left him long enough to lead you to his bedside.

You took his hand as our hands pumped his chest.

I pushed epinephrine into his veins.

You told him he was strong.

We tilted his head back and slid a tube into his airway.

You looked up at his soft brown curls and said, “I love you. You can beat this.”

We forced oxygen into his lungs.

Your eyes didn’t leave his face.

We continued the seemingly brutal process of resuscitation.

You said his name. Your voice cracked.

We paused compressions to check for a rhythm.

You didn’t look up at the straight line on the monitor. You leaned closer and told him to fight. Your fingers reached to touch the raw skin on his neck, but then you pulled them back and squeezed his hand instead.

The doctor shook his head. He was gone.

Tears streamed down your face and you placed your hand on his cheek. “Why?” you asked.

I didn’t answer. There was no answer to why your son took his life. I learned later that he was bullied. Not with fists, but with words.

Words have the power destroy, but words can also bring hope.

The Girl

I don’t remember you, but you remember me.

You tried to see me at my work, but I wasn’t there.

You left a card for me each year, thanking me for taking care of you and Damien.

I don’t remember you.

You called my name as I waited in line at the store.

I turned to see who called me. I don’t know you.

You said I took care of you when your son Damien was born. He’s three now.

I’m not sure why you remember me so well, so I ask.

You said I told you that you were a good mother. And that was all you needed to hear. You made a choice to leave an abusive relationship because you believed me. You believed you could be a good mother. You went back to school. It was challenging and sometimes downright hard, but soon you will be a Medical Assistant.

PrintI support The Bully Project, because its mission is not only to prevent bullying, but also to teach others to take action and use their words to encourage and take a stand when they see something happening that isn’t right.  I’ve witnessed the power of words. And I want to make others aware of the power they have to choose the right words. Will your words have a positive or negative impact in the world?

Ghostly Guidance

This is a blog I wrote for a guest post at Roxanne’s Realm as a part of the Troubled Spirits Blog tour. You can read the original post here

casperBefore writing Troubled Spirits, I was a supernatural skeptic. Sure, I had watched Casper the Friendly Ghost as a kid and have seen all of the Ghostbuster movies, but I didn’t believe. Before I delved into a story involving the paranormal I did some research. Here’s what I uncovered:

ghostbusters

  • Although throughout Troubled Spirits I interchanged the words ghost and spirit, there is a difference. Ghosts are the souls of people who are trapped here. As a result, they are often, but not always, angry. Most of the supernatural beings in Troubled Spirits are ghosts.  Spirits are beings who have the ability to move in and out of the spiritual realms. Annie’s grandmother would be considered a spirit. So why did I, knowing the difference, flip back and forth between ghosts and spirits?  First to avoid word repetition. And second, the ‘Spirits’ in the title is a reference to both definitions of spirit—attitude and soul.
  • When ghosts interact with the living, there is a significant temperature drop. Usually at least ten degrees. This is because ghosts draw energy from their surroundings. They’ll also pull energy from batteries and other electronic devices. As an absolute last resort, they will siphon energy from the people around them, leaving that person exhausted. Annie experiences this phenomenon in Troubled Spirits.
  • An entity’s touch feels like a small electric charge on the skin or it may cause goose bumps. During one of my interviews, I spoke with a security guard who had encountered a very old spirit. After hours one night, he investigated a report of a child sighted in one of the buildings. He and his partner arrived to find a young girl sitting in a chair. She wouldn’t speak to either of them. The security guard, who also happened to be a paramedic, checked her pulse. It felt strong and regular. But when the two guards turned away for a moment, the girl disappeared. A search of the building came up empty. There were no reports of any missing children. Later he met with a medium and spoke with her about his experience. She informed him that the entity he encountered was able to use her energy to allow him to feel a pulse. I was thankful for this interview, because it allowed me to give the ghosts in Troubled Spirits a little extra freedom.
  • I’ll end with sharing one of my own supernatural experiences. In addition to being an author, I’m also an ER nurse. Much of my job involves saving lives, but some people slip from our grasp as healthcare workers. When this happens, we move the patient to a more private room to allow the family to spend time with their loved one and say their goodbyes. We always use the same room.

One night, we brought a spirit box into ‘the room’.

We huddled together in the darkness listening to the fuzzy static of my coworker’s modified AM/FM radio.  “Has anyone died here?” he called out. The entity responded with two words that I can’t repeat. Because they were unkind. This was the inspiration for Annie’s first encounter with ghost of the Caldwell School.

Like Annie Waters, I began my journey into the paranormal world as a disbeliever, but before long I realized—my only choice was to believe.

I have purchase links for Troubled Spirits on my website.