WIP and Remicade Day

This di starbucks.jpgmorning I wrote at the Opium Den, as usual. I was going to work on Allie’s chapter, but for the first time in the 5 or 6 years since I’ve owned my Alphasmart, the batteries conked out. Alphasmarts are amazing! They run on double A batteries and I sure can’t complain about those batteries finally giving up the ghost. Here I am, working on my Alphie at the O.D. Many writers have taken to using Alphies to write. They’re not very helpful when it comes to editing, but for quick and dirty drafting, they’re dynamite. Plus they’re very light, nearly indestructible, and can’t be connected to the internet, so I have no distractions. When I come home, I click a button and whatever I’ve written is transferred to my computer.
Anyhow, I didn’t mean to do an advertisement for Alphasmart here! Since my batteries gave out, I put Allie’s chapter aside and started looking through my handwritten notes for the various subplot ideas I’ve come up with for LOVING ANDY. I know my main storyline, but there are many, many layers that need to be developed. So I spent the morning searching the thirty or so pages of notes I have, seeing what resonates and what doesn’t. It was overwhelming, but also fun to see the different directions I can go in. This is the process that creates twists and surprises in my stories. It requires a very open mind. I filled about five more sheets of paper with notes and ideas and a list of topics I need to research, and then drove to my rheumatologist’s office to get Remicade, the infusion drug that keeps these fingers typing.
Well, I’ve been getting Remicade every 6-8 weeks for as long as I’ve been using my Alphasmart. It’s a piece of cake: the IV gets hooked up, I chat with the nurse, Pat, and fellow arthritis warriors, and while away the time for three hours or so. When Pat started my IV today, I knew instantly something was wrong. My arms and chest and face were suddenly on fire and my BP skyrocketed. I was having my very first “Remicade reaction”. Yikes! Pat quickly stopped the drip, loaded me up with IV benadryl, and we started over again, verrrrry slowly. I was fine then, but I’m still a bit shaken up. I know lots of people who’ve had reactions, but I had no intention of becoming one of them! I came home and slept for most of the evening. Now, I finally feel clear-headed enough to do some more thinking about my story.


  1. Bev on September 1, 2006 at 7:25 am

    OMG DIANE!Isn`t that just our biggest nitemare?!!!Next Wed. is my Remicade day.I will take my Claritin before I go.
    I hope your feeling better today.

  2. Diane on September 1, 2006 at 8:12 am

    hi fellow arthritis warrior! i’d gotten pretty smug about how easy remicade was, but yesterday was not fun. i was “not right” for the rest of the day. i feel okay this morning and am off to the opium den in a few minutes. i know you’ll be fine next wednesday. this was just a weird freak thing. 🙂

  3. Margo on September 1, 2006 at 8:38 am

    Omigod Diane, I’m so sorry! I hope that doesn’t happen again. I have allergies and am allergic to insect and bee stings among other things. A similar reaction happened to me 2 years ago when I was stung by a hornet so I know how scary it is. So glad your feeling better today. Your such a trooper…already off to the opium den…I truly believe nothing gets you down.

  4. Margo on September 1, 2006 at 8:39 am

    P.S….I love this pic of you!!

  5. Diane on September 1, 2006 at 9:10 am

    First, the pic: this is my “summer in NC humidity” hairdo. My hair is very curly and I usually fight it to make it straighter and smoother. It is SO humid here that I’ve given up, just allowing it to be natural. much easier, but i really like straighter better.
    Second, being a trooper: things certainly DO get me down, but i try to keep everything in perspective and remember that most of it is small stuff.
    Third, I’m sorry about your allergy to vespids! My ex almost died one day when we were clearing a woodpile and uncovered a hornet nest. I didn’t get stung at all, but he had numerous stings. It was quickly clear he was allergic. I rushed him to the ER just in time. He then got shots for a couple of years and is now okay. Have you tried allergy shots?

  6. Margo on September 1, 2006 at 9:21 am

    Oh yes…I am severly allergic to almost EVERYTHING (except doggies, thank goodness!!)…you name it, I have an allergy to it and I took allergy shots once a week for over 30 years (starting when I was 4 yrs old or so)…right now is hayfever season and I’m at my worst until the first frost which usually means I have to get 2 cortisone shots in each hip to get me thru…but like you, I look at it as small stuff (I’m so use to it) and I look on the bright side of things. I STILL like this pic of you even if your hair is curly!! I thought maybe you had gotten a new perm!! Really, I think the curls are nice and you look about 16 years old!

  7. Lorene on September 1, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Diane, I am so sorry you had the allergic reaction. How scary! I have no allergies to speak of but hubby is allergic to bees and we know to grab the meds as soon as he is stung. Several years ago I saw a beauty salon customer suddenly have an allergic reaction to hair bleach that she had used for at least fifteen years with no problem. It was quick, dangerous, and horrible. We rushed her to the hospital and she was fine but it was so close. She has since kept her natural color 🙂
    Will you still be able to take the treatments?
    By the way, you seem to be the perfect stepmother.
    I love curly hair. It is gonna do it’s thing no matter what you do 🙂 The more conditioning and less combing and brushing the better it looks. Another suggestion from this retired hairdresser is to be careful who cuts it. That’s the most important thing.
    My daughter has beautiful hair like you do and mine is perfectly straight:(

  8. Diane on September 1, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Oh, great, Lorene! I’m reading this just minutes before heading to the beauty parlor for a touch-up. after yesterday’s experience, I’ll probably have a psychosomatic reaction now, if nothing else.
    Margo, sorry about all those allergies! i’ve always felt lucky to have very few–guess I have to change my tune now.
    >>Several years ago I saw a beauty salon customer suddenly have an allergic reaction to hair bleach that she had used for at least fifteen years with no problem. It was quick, dangerous, and horrible. We rushed her to the hospital and she was fine but it was so close.

  9. Lorene on September 1, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    Didn’t mean to make it worse:)

  10. Margo on September 1, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    Diane, I have to agree with Lorene…I think your curls are pretty and you should make the most of them! I also have naturally wavy and curly hair and I finally gave up on trying to straighten it…Lorene’s right, it’s going to do what it’s going to do and if yours is like my hair, it has a mind of it’s own! So, I quess I’m doing the right thing when Lorene says to use conditioners…I have even gone to a ‘leave-in’ conditioner every day which helps keep it tame (otherwise it’s so wild it’s all over the place)…

  11. brenda on September 1, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    Sorry you guys are having so many problems…it has been that kind of week.
    Diane-I love your hair-love where your characters are going…
    THis was the first full week of school-don’t ask…but I don’t have a class room again-I go from class to class (And I voluntarily left my old high school in 2005 to go to this type of a situation…give me a break…)
    Anyway…I have hundreds of pages to read and papers to write…well, first of all-for the one class-the assignments are posted online-you can imagine, with the weather, the Internet was down until tonight…
    With the other class-I ordered a book from Amazon-in plenty of time–need hundreds read by Wed…look like it is coming Tuesday-go figure that one…
    I am worn out tonight and too tired to do anything but check email, order a pizza, and skip the football game-high school…
    Tomorrow, we drive 3 hours to WVU-to the game (my husband gets us season tickets), watch them play-then home…whew….
    Sunday and Monday will be read, type, work…
    GOOD NEWS: My son came home last night and will be here a few days…he understands that I have to go tomorrow but he has a mini-marathon (remember he does the Iron Man, l/2 Iron Man, and Marathons in NYC and such…he has so many he has done this year and more planned.
    He is just happy to visiting me-although he never lived where I LIVE…
    So-think of me while I try to get through the class for history/research and the ethnography class-oh yes, supposed to study for COMPS???When would that be????
    Funny how the older I get…
    Diane-my students at a school used that particular type of writing tool-I never got used to it-I just love the laptop-although I need a new one…but THE STUDENTS LOVED THEM…
    Hope you are all well, happy, and feeling okay-this is one long email as I am not going to respond to the others…
    By the way-Internet was off because of a huge hail storm ?tornado…and I was driving in the middle-when the garbage cans started flying-I got to shelter.
    Take care to all of you
    BABY is darling–and the girls

  12. Diane on September 1, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    hi brenda, we missed your comments here! you have so much on your plate, but it sounds like you’re loving every minute. have a great weekend with your family, and watch out for those garbage cans!

  13. brenda on September 3, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks Diane
    I am cooking today and working on tons of college work.
    I am trying to keep up with the history/research class, and the Ethnography class at the same time as typing notes for COMPS-and forgetting final project..
    We left yesterday for the BALL GAME at 7:00 a.m.-no kidding–game wasn’t until 3:30-but traffic, parking, etc. (THE two universities (larger ones)
    anyway…arrived home l0:30…I was worn out-and my arthritis makes it so difficult for me to climb the steps in the stadium-I ate arthritis/tylenol-only thing can take…doesn’t do any good-but…
    My son ran a short race yesterday while we wtere gone…he did l5 miles in under 2 hours…that included hills and the one they call Capital Punishment hill or something like that…I was sorry not to be here but he does so many of these…just finished l/2 Iron Man
    I have gone to D.C. and/or NYC the past 4 years in the fall-and seen him in those marathons…he runs to beat his time and have FUN not to win…
    Next summer he does an Iron Man at Lake Placid-back to subject…anyway…I am working on school work, chatting with my son…cooking for him and my husband, and spending some time on the cell talking to the girls in their home town-while they are at the zoo (THEY LIVE THERE)
    I am researching for the history class and reading/taking notes on a book several hundred pages for the other class.
    Just a note-I have decided that my project (if prof agrees) for the Ethno class will be about Vietnam…(This is not to be confused with Master’s Project)
    I will interview with my fancy little recorder that hooks into PC and/or email interviews…
    Those who served in Vietnam/drafted or not
    Those who chose not to go for whatever reason
    Those who wanted to go-but parents or others refused
    My opinion-then and now
    My son’s opinion… etc.
    I think I have a prospective list of about l0 people (MEN) and me…
    I plan to interview a friend from that time period-or more…
    What think YOU?

  14. Diane on September 3, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    I think your Vietnam project is a great idea. I’d like to see the “younger generation” take a look at it in the context of what’s going on today. My next door neighbor was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and he and another vet put together a curriculum they take to high schools to teach them about the war. Those of us who grew up during that era, whether we fought, ran, protested or watched things unfold on TV were so deeply affected by what was going on, much the way the older generation was by WWII. I think it’s hard for young people today to wrap their minds around it.

  15. brenda on September 4, 2006 at 9:18 am

    That gives me an idea…if my prof lets me do the project, perhaps you would answer a few questions for me…I don’t want to use your picture because that might not be the thing to do—we must be careful.
    My good friend who did the helicopters (I think) and was my advisor, etc., in college in the l990’s-in fact, after the divorce and Mother’s death-he convinced me to go there-got me grants and loans…(long story)….is going to do all he can. I am hoping my prof/advisor in grad school lets me run with this idea…
    It will take a lot of work, but I think I can do it along with everything else-don’t ask how????
    I have 4.0 in grad school, but I think this semester with these two very intense classes that the grade will drop–that’s okay-I am getting up there and need to finish.
    Anyone else???Margo???etc…comments

  16. brenda on September 4, 2006 at 9:21 am

    I love going through the process of the book with you-the only email I check as often now is this…thank you…

  17. Margo on September 5, 2006 at 9:17 am

    Wow Brenda…you just amaze me!…I miss reading your comments during the week so just got caught up reading them now…my husband served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and has told me lots of things…if you write a novel about it I will be very interested in reading it…take care with everything…

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