Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Diagnosed and Cured

by Robison Wells

At long last, the doctors discovered the source of my three-month-long chest pain! I know that you've all been waiting eagerly for news; the candlelight vigils and endless stream of casseroles are truly what have kept my spirits up during this difficult struggle, or something.

So here's what happened: I went to the hospital, and the doctor laid me on a table in a dimly lit room and proceeded to ultrasound my ribs and sternum. As she did this, staring intently at her screen, she declared: "There's no doubt about it. Your chest pain is caused by an overconsumption of aspartame and processed foods. I'm going to transfer you to the HICU (Homeopathic Intensive Care Unit) and start you on an IV drip of superfruit juice." Then she turned to the nurse: "Page me a Reflexologist! STAT!"

No, just kidding. That would be crazy. What actually happened is that she looked at the ultrasound and discovered that one my ribs was extremely inflamed. It took about forty-five seconds to diagnose (after three months of dorking around). The verdict: Tietze Syndrome. It's kind of like costochondritis, but with a cooler name.

A few awesome notes about Tietze Syndrome:

  • Wikipedia states that it can be caused by a number of things, including injury, coughing, vomit, or even "hearty bouts of laughter". I shall never laugh again.

  • Wikipedia also reports that it can be exacerbated by psychological stress. So, apparently, I am not allowed to be happy or sad.

  • If it was missing the last 'e', I'd have Tietz syndrome, which would mean I'm a deaf albino. Good thing I didn't miss the e!

  • Someone has made a website about Tietze Syndrome which recommends that I become a vegan. Frankly, I would rather have crippling chest pain.

The ultimate treatment for all of this was that the doctor rammed a needle into my chest, twisted it around several times, and injected shards of glass in between the rib and the sternum. (The technical name for this procedure is that I got a cortisone shot.) It was unpleasant.

However, the good news is that, after three days of pain and complaining, I am a new man. I still can't sleep at night, but my days are almost pain free. It's amazing.

In other news that is completely, 100% unrelated:

As you know, I have an agent and she is trying to sell my book. On Monday night she emailed to say that a certain publisher was interested in my thoughts about the book as a series. Yesterday she emailed to say that the publisher wanted to see an outline of that series--and wanted that outline by today. So, I spent several hours last night trying to map out two more books.

My point is not to talk about me or my book or my agent, but instead to say that I used my brother's plotting system, The Seven Point Plot Structure, and it's amazing. There is far too much advice online about how to write, and a lot of it is useless nonsense, but this plotting system is about the closest thing I've ever found to a silver-bullet kind of solution. He has an hour presentation on YouTube and I heartily recommend you watch the whole thing.


At 3/03/2010 1:46 PM, Blogger Valerie Ipson said...

Now you know how it feels to be stabbed in the heart (er..ribs). Fodder for your next book...sounds like you might need some...a series! Congrats!

At 3/03/2010 2:25 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I'm glad they finally figured it out! Sorry you had to get shot to feel better but sometimes you just have to take one for the team.

And your brother's silver bullet rocks. I got to see his presentation at LTUE and it was phenomenal.

At 3/03/2010 2:52 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Hey, glad you finally know what's ailing you. (Knowing is half the battle.) Good thing it wasn't the Diet Dr Pepper. =)

I'm curious to see your brother's take on plotting. I had high hopes for that workbook you recommended a while back, but it didn't really work for me.

I honestly can't imagine plotting out 2 more books when you've just finished one (in 2 days!) but then, you're a seasoned writer and you just churned that one out in a month, right? Easy task for you, I'm sure. =)

At 3/03/2010 9:55 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I'm still trying to figure out why no one caught on sooner. You even had an echo--another type of ultrasound. Dorking around indeed.

(Totally going to watch your brother's cool doohickey thingamajig.)

At 3/04/2010 1:45 AM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

That is why I avoid hearty bouts of laughter, and instead go with the riotous bouts of laughter. Rioting is always more enjoyable.

At 3/04/2010 10:50 AM, Blogger Joss said...

I was right!

Of course, I didn't guess that it was specifically Tietze Syndrom, but I did think it was costochondritis.

At 3/04/2010 11:11 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

You were right! So, you win the prize. As I recall, I offered "a free thing of minimal value". So, hooray! Paperclips!

At 3/04/2010 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Seven Point Plot Structure link was amazing!! Thanks.

At 3/08/2010 3:24 AM, Blogger Sheila said...

Glad that you are finally diagnosed. I always knew that there had to be something wrong with you! ;)

OK, this is making me seriously excited for you! Is this the series/book that I read? I am hoping it is!! I will be praying for you and crossing my fingers for you and sending great amounts of Karma your way.

I will watch Dan's presentation as long as it is not scary or gross! I still am having creepy nightmares from reading his book!! :)


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