Stop Smoking The Easy Way

smoke-314984__180I wanted to stop smoking for no good reason except it was time, and I knew about a secret weapon. I knew about Zyban.

Zyban was marketed in 1969 as an antidepressant for clinically depressed patients because the side effects were less severe, but I have also heard it was first marketed as an antipsychotic drug. At any rate it had something to do with brain waves, but doctors noticed that patients stopped smoking while taking the drug. Now days it is prescribed exclusively for smoking cessation, although I’m not so sure it doesn’t have antidepressant qualities because it does tend to mellow a person out.

The routine is you take two pills a day, but keep smoking and pick a stop date 10 to 14 days distant. I chose a 10 day date and a 14 day date.  At the my ten day mark and still smoking I panicked, and hid the cigarettes. If I wanted one, I first had to find them.  On the 14th day, I stopped although I wasn’t sure I wanted to. The first day was the worst, but each day was easier. Seven days after I officially stopped smoking, I had a cigarette with my morning coffee to see if I still wanted them. It was like licking an ashtray, and I had to go brush my teeth.

I’m fairly confident I am smoke free because the cigarettes are in plain sight, and I just walk by with no thought what so ever of smoking one; however, I have dropped the Zyban down to one pill a day because I don’t want to be so mellow I am found dancing on the freeway in my underwear.

The real secret weapon is twofold. It has to be Zyban and not a generic version, and you have to want to stop smoking. My husband who really didn’t want to stop is still smoking, and something tells me I will have to one day pry a cigarette from his cold dead fingers.

Prince’s Accidental Overdose

Prince_at_Coachella_001The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office reported, “Prince died of an accidental opioid overdose after he self-administered fentanyl.”

Something about that statement does not compute. How does one accidentally overdose when the drug is self administered, and why would he do it in an elevator fully dressed and wearing shoes and a hat?  That sounds more in line with a sudden death episode than a drug overdose, not that he was not taking pills, lots of pills because clearly he was, and the news is not that shocking.

But here’s the thing. When interviewed his personal cook told a tale about Prince not being able to eat because he had sores in his mouth, and if he did eat the food came right back up. Consequently, Prince was very thin, something he attributed to lack of appetite. Couple that with his doctor saying Prince had a low body temperature, low pulse, fatigue, and was fighting the effects of the flu, and what you have is the classic symptoms of ‘Addison’s Disease’.

Undoubtedly, drug usage factored into Prince’s sudden death, but in the mad dash to get his body to the crematorium, was he checked for anything else? It could be he succumbed to ‘Addisonian Crisis’, and maybe, he was taking opioids not so much for pain but because it made him feel better because he was at death’s door.

I guess, I just don’t know enough about drugs in general and fentanyl and opioids in particular, and how they can trigger a sudden death episode in a elevator wearing a hat. It’s the mention of the hat that bothers me. Who wears a hat to a sudden death episode? However, I do know a thing or two about ‘Addison’s Disease’ and ‘Addisonian Crisis’; without medical intervention and a cortisone injection and sodium/potassium infusion, one loses consciousness, goes into shock, and dies rather suddenly where he stands.

Of course, it’s supposition on my part, but it would be a sad thing indeed if a talented entertainer could have been saved by a simple prescription for cortisone. As for the opioid usage, isn’t that what rehab is for? Damn! I wish he hadn’t been wearing the hat. The hat haunts me.


The Funny Thing About Addison’s Disease

emergency-ambulance-306183_960_720Actually, there is nothing funny about Addison’s Disease except you may end up on the medical’s examiner’s table awaiting autopsy before you are diagnosed, unless of course, you are the President of the United States as John F. Kennedy was.

Addison’s Disease is the great pretender in that it mimics many illness, and patients are routinely dismissed and sent home with a bottle of pills, and given some vague diagnosis such as flu, fatigue, female or male difficulties, backache, headache, or just plain hypochondria.  Addison’s Disease is also rare with only a 1 to 100,000 ratio. With such odds, a doctor could conceivably spend his entire career without encountering a single case of Addison’s Disease.

Addison Disease seems to arise between the age of thirty to fifty, and has no known cause.  Apparently, it just happens, and the lucky recipient can expect to exhaust an entire line of physicians in several states before receiving the proper diagnosis, and only then if he or she is lucky enough to be referred to an endocrinologist. Addison’s Disease comes in shades of primary and secondary; primary if the condition involves the Adrenal Glands only, secondary if the origin is associated to a tumor in another gland such as the pituitary.

To fully understand Addison Disease, one must first understand what is involved. Addison is a malfunction or injury of the Adrenal Glands which sit atop the kidneys and produce cortisol, which in turn secretes adrenalin which provides strength, stamina, and stimulates a fully array of body functions. When the Adrenal Glands cease the production of cortisol, the patient gets weaker and sicker until he goes into Addisonian Crisis which causes confusion, fever, loss of consciousness, and eventual death. At the point of Addisonian Crisis, prompt medical intervention is required and involves hydrocortisone injections and a saline drip administered by emergency personnel. This can only happen if the patient is wearing a medical id tag on his person that reads, ‘Adrenal insufficiency, cortisone dependent’. Otherwise, the EMT’s will think the patient is having a heart attack, and can break your ribs but not save you as what is needed is cortisone.

The symptoms are vague and could be many things or nothing; fatigue, low sugar levels, low blood pressure, depression, irritability, low pulse, nausea, dehydrated, and sensitivity to cold. You could show up at your nearest emergency room with those symptoms, and if you are lucky, receive an aspirin.

At the point the person receives a diagnosis, he is indeed a sick puppy with cravings for salty foods, low body temperature, sores in his mouth, unable to eat without the food coming right back up,  possesses no appetite, and has experienced an extreme weight loss. It’s hard for any doctor to tell an 85 pound patient who is projectile vomiting on the floor and  too weak to stand that he should go home and take an aspirin. Unfortunately, this is the point where patients are usually diagnosed, and it will be an uphill battle to regain former health.

Only then is the patient with Addison Diseases free to resume his life. Usually, stunned that a little pill twice daily is all that was needed, and most grateful he had been diagnosed. It is not uncommon for a Addison patient to thank the doctor who has diagnosed him because for the first time he begins to realize it was not ‘all in his head’.

All that is left is to take the meds twice daily as prescribed, and wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet that clearly identifies the condition as ‘Adrenal Insufficiency -Cortisone Dependent’. Not one of those cutesy things, but something the paramedics can see at first glace, because the Addison patient no longer possesses the ‘fight or flight’ instinct, and could easily go into shock by trauma or injury. Wear that tag, and wear it proudly. You have survived Addisonian Crisis, and lived to tell about it.

The Joys of Being a B-Book Author

120px-Rippl_Young_Girl_Dressed_in_YellowWhat is a B-Book Author? If you write e-Books, you know. It one of the two million e-Book authors that are stuck in the bottom tier, with more arriving daily. Make no mistake, there are many e-Books  deserving of the bottom tier; faulty grammar and syntax, scammers, and  pamphlets that  claim to be books but are not, but what about e-Books that are well written but cannot move because they are being crushed into oblivion? It’s a real dilemma, but such is life.

Of course, I and many others  would love to be in the A-Class, but I am not and probably never will be. But here’s the thing. I am retired, have three sources of income, and I live on the prairie where there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. It’s not like I have anything more pressing to do than write B-Books, so in a sense, I guess it’s a hobby.  Here’s the other thing. In the course of creating B-Books, I learned to write, really write. I use punctuation correctly, write with clear concise wording, and keep my paragraphs tight.

I guess, it’s all about perspective, and I would rather be a B-Book Author than never have written anything in my life.  It’s sort of like leaving footprints behind, and that’s not such a bad thing.



Graduation Day 2016; OMG!


My grandson graduated from high school  this afternoon, and I watched with mixed emotions; disbelieving so much time had slipped by without notice, and knowing it would be the last generation I would see graduate during my lifetime.  You get the picture; it was a happy and sad occasion, bittersweet I guess.  I think as I sat there free floating seeing images of a small boy raising his arms to me to be picked up, I realized I was not really paying attention to the program.

The next thing I knew the valedictorian was stepping up to the podium, and after lying his notes out, he stood there looking across the heads of his classmates to he audience. I figured he must have floated away like I had, and forgotten what he was supposed to be doing as well. After a bit he launched into a tale that went something like this.

When you start high school you are brainwashed into believing that you must study hard and get the best grades you can so you will receive a scholarship or get accepted to the best college possible. I tell you as surely as I stand here that is a lie of the greatest magnitude, because when you apply to that great college the first thing you are asked is about clubs and associations you have joined while in high school, furthermore, you will get to write a long essay about how those associations have enriched your life. Now that is all well and fine if one has done that, but what about the student who has spent every weekend in the library, belongs to no associations. and has barely any friends. What does that student write about? That student can expect his application to be given to someone from the debate club, while the student who has spent hour after hour memorizing useless information is accepted to a college somewhere he really doesn’t want to be.

Parents and grandparents in the audience were looking at each other, students were snickering, and the principal looked rather ashen.

After that the he thanked the teachers for trying to be educators in a school system that is flawed and broken, not just here but all across the nation, and finished by telling the other graduating members of his class, ‘This will be the last good day of your life. From here on out, it’s downhill all the way.’

I can’t be sure, but I think that big spoiled baby was throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get something he wanted; however, he was right about one thing, from here on out it will downhill all the way, at least for him.

Blonde Bombshell Number One

jeanLong before Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield or Raquel Welch graced the silver screen, there was Jean Harlow, and only Jean Harlow. Officially, the first blonde bombshell of the silver screen and sex symbol of the 30’s, she was discovered by the legendary aviator turned director, Howard Hughes.

Born  Harlean Harlow Carpenter on 3 March 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri, as the only child of a dentist and his wife. Her mother called her ‘Baby’ and was so possessive in later life Jean related she didn’t even know her name was Harlean until she started school. As her parent’s marriage faltered and failed, her mother clutched ‘Baby’ even closer until Jean married and her husband moved her to Beverly Hills, California in 1928 basically to separate her from her clinging mother. The mother followed, and the couple divorced the following year.

Either the stars aligned or the moon moved to the seventh house, because Jean crossed paths with Howard Hughes, and Jean Harlow the socialite became Jean Harlow the star of Hughes first film, ‘Hell’s Angels’, released in 1930. To capitalize on her hair color, Hughes renamed another movie he was working on, and she became the star of  ‘Platinum Blonde’. When female fans begin dying their hair to match hers, Hughes organized a series of ‘Platinum Blonde’ events with a prize of $10,000 to any beautician who could match Harlow’s hair shade; an impossible task as Harlow’s look was achieved through weekly applications of ammonia, Clorox bleach, and Lux soap flakes.

The stars once again shifted for Jean, and on her  21st birthday Hughes sold her contract to MGM for $30,000 at the height of her popularity. Jean Harlow had to have been born under an unlucky star, because while filming ‘Saratoga’ with Clark Gable she was struck down by a mystery illness that lingered. There appeared to be no cure for what ailed Jean, and for Jean Harlow there was no happy ending. Originally diagnosed as flu complicated by an inflamed gall bladder, a second opinion revealed she was in the later stages of kidney failure. Little was known about kidney disease in the 30’s, and there was much speculation about Jean’s condition being related to her hair applications.

On 6 June 1937, Jean was taken to  Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles where her mother barricaded the door, and repelled all visitors except doctors. She slipped into a coma, and died the next morning at age 26. She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale in the Great Mausoleum under the name Jean Harlow; however, the faceplate on her crypt bears the simple inscription, ‘Our Baby’. Her mother was laid to rest beside her in 1958. Due to public outcry, Saratoga was finished with three doubles instead of replacing Harlow. Originally scheduled to be released in 1937, Saratoga was released two months after Harlow’s death.

For whatever reason, the 40’s ushered in the brunettes; Joan Crawford, Linda Darnell, Lauren Bacall, Jean Tierney, Vivian Leigh, Olivia de Havillan, Judy Garland, and so many more, but Jean Harlow’s star is secure. She was and is the first blonde bombshell of the silver screen. Actually, the silver screen may never see the ‘Harlow’ look again, if hair treatments made of bleach, ammonia, and soap flakes are required, but she was the ‘Baby’, and what a babe she was.

Who’s Reading What?

456px-Thorma_Reading_Woman_1928Recently I had occasion to be in the company of a dozen or so women of various ages, and thought what better opportunity?

“So tell me,” I asked sitting down at a table, “Who’s reading what because I am a fledging writer trying to determine current reading trends.”

One woman looked me in the eye, and said, “If I were writing a book, which I’m not, I would write about sex and lots of it. It is the only thing that sells.”

Suggestions started flying around the table, and people from the next table pulled their chairs over to our table, no doubt thinking it some sort of strange parlor game.

“Hot sex, zombies, modern vampires, doomsday, life after doomsday, interplanetary travel, things from outer space invading people’s bodies, dystopian fiction, bigfoot, yeti, witches, and more sex. You simply must do the sex thing no matter who or what it’s with.”

“What would a book like that look like?” I queried, because to my way of thinking it’s rather difficult to write anything if you don’t know what you’re writing about.

They actually laughed at me. “Hell we don’t know, but those are the things people are reading. You write it and we’ll buy it.”

It’s Kiss A Cop Week

“What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Right now!”


Those words were chanted in America’s largest cities with glee while standing on the sidelines were the valiant law enforcement officers watching and waiting. It’s pure hate speech fueled by a lawless Administration, self-serving elected officials  in many large cities, and Black Lives Matters..

This is the week we honor our  police officers and law enforcement officers. As part of that week of remembrance,  President Obama passed out 13 Medals of Valor to officers who risked their lives to save others. He then launched into a speech about a bipartisan overhaul to make the criminal justice system fairer, smarter and more effective so that officers are well-equipped to enforce the country’s laws, and ended by saying, “Our country needs that right now.”

That’s a rather curious statement as this country has always needed our police officers so what bipartisan effort was he talking about? President Obama will soon leave us, and that same bipartisan effort he spoke of, in an effort to overhaul the Federal Government to make it smarter and more effective, will move swiftly to hustle his sorry ass out the door.

The Big eBook Cover Debate

“If you don’t buy a  professional cover for your eBook, your book will never sell.”

gdansk-77573__180Authors of eBooks have bought into this belief, and as a result, a cottage industry has emerged; people creating eBook covers and selling them to eBook authors. Prices range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. This is not to say don’t buy professional covers if you want to, but here’s the thing; why would you want to?

A cover is just that, the front of a book, and if you cannot write in a cohesive fashion using proper grammar and syntax, does it really matter what’s on the front of that book?

The above picture comes from ‘Pixabay’, a collection of free pictures, and is a street in Poland. There is also  ‘Morgue File’ and ‘Wikimedia Commons’.  All three are free to use, and have pictures that adapt well  for eBook covers.

This is that very same picture after I cropped it to capture the portion I wanted, enhanced it a little, and sized it to eBooks standards, 1410 x 1900 pixels.  This is exactly the look I was after, and I didn’t pay hundreds for it.  With Adobe Photoshop Elements costing less than $100., it’s a fun thing to do, unless you are one of those authors who claim they write books using cell phones.


Destination Dead:

The above book is just a little novella, but it holds it own. It’s been in continuous publication for two years, which surprises me. Is it a best seller? Absolutely not, but it’s enduring. Many people have commented on the cover, and what is there to say except, “I made it myself, and you could do likewise.”

What Does Detroit Have To Do With The Prairie?


This question was asked of me, and I actually was trying to think of an answer knowing one had nothing to do with the other, unless Detroit had been relocated to a cornfield which I figured was not the case. After some back and forth questions the person finally said, “Your blog name is prairie writer, but your books always have Detroit somewhere in them so are you a prairie writer or a Detroit writer?”

I had never thought of it in those terms, but I suppose that is how the two are related; a Detroit writer living on the prairie, although, I have been far removed from Detroit for several decades but it calls to me sometimes. They say the place where you are born does that, and I guess that must be true, more or less, because quite without knowing how Detroit always finds it way to my books.

This is one of those books. The title is misleading and sounds like anyone who ventures to Detroit ends up dead. Just not true, and it’s really about a man who travels to Detroit for nefarious reasons, a homeless man living behind a dumpster, and the woman who walks between the two. It’s also about a town rising up to take care of their own.

Maybe, I need to get myself back to Detroit for a visit so I can write about Boise, Sacramento, or Seattle.  Just saying.