Well, hello thar! Long time, no blog! 😛 Today I’m talking about how being a doctor has made me a better writer, the second in a two part series Carole Ann Moleti and I decided to conjure up for everyone. 🙂 To see Carole’s awesome post, check it out here.
Although I’ve been a writer my entire life, I decided to become a physician in college since I’d fallen in love with medicine after working in pathology for a few years. I’d never even considered a career in writing, since I didn’t think it was a “real thing.” I grew up poor, so options such as writing, painting, and photography weren’t valid. My father had always told me that success was the ability to support your family and live comfortably, and in my mind, success meant a high-powered career (obviously, I was wrong–success is much more than a career, period).
Now don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no regrets about making this decision. I love being a doctor, and I continued to write all through college, medical school, and now residency. As a matter of fact, I think being a doctor has made me a better writer just by the wealth of experiences medicine has provided me.
Medical school was nuts, hands down. From day one, you’re asked to take apart a human body, and man, if that doesn’t mess with you a little, I don’t know what does. To preserve the civility of what you’re doing during those first three months of gross anatomy, they tell you about your cadaver. Who they were, what type of life they led, and how they died. You even meet their family at the end of the semester (no joke) and you truly begin to realize the gift this person has given you—their body, to help you learn and potentially save others someday.
Soon thereafter, you end up on clinical rotations in the hospital for a few years. I spent a month in a locked psych ward with actively psychotic schizophrenics, victims of unspeakable psychological trauma, desperate addicts, and those who were so depressed they tried to kill themselves in front of me (one with a pen, another with their bedsheets). I learned about the stigma that came with many of these disorders and why many people still fear getting help. During my OB/GYN rotation, I watched a birth for the first time (I still can’t even imagine what my face looked like!) and delivered six babies thereafter, including a set of twins to a mother who’d undergone IVF because she’d desperately wanted children. The pure happiness and elation on her face was something I won’t soon forget.
During my surgery rotation, I helped operate on multiple traumas, many of them from horrific car accidents, others from attempted murders such as gunshot wounds, stab wounds (with barbecue forks and machetes amongst other things), and a variety of other methods to break one’s body. During my intern year, I ran my first code on a patient I found pulseless and unresponsive at one AM on a Tuesday, and we brought him back to life in four minutes. I didn’t stop shaking for at least two hours afterward.
If these experiences don’t fuel a creative mind, I don’t know what does!
And throughout all of this, I wrote. I wrote whenever I wasn’t studying, whenever I could. All of these experiences filtered into my stories in some way, shape or form. In my debut novel, RELEASING THE DEMONS, my hero Blaze is a former prisoner of war and suffers from severe PTSD along with a deep-ridden rage that threatens to consume him entirely. My heroine, Valerie, is trying to keep her head above water in a world full of monsters who try to destroy everything and everyone she loves. In the next novel, BLACK BULLET, my heroine Lawan has also experienced a horrific trauma, and drowns herself in alcohol when she isn’t hunting her enemies. Lawan is literally based on a woman I met in the emergency room whose story I will never forget. My hero, Jon, is haunted by his sire in both his dreams and waking hours, a form of schizophrenia that borders on possession. And throughout both of these novels, there are scenes and characters that squeeze themselves into the story, all inspired by my experiences in my “high-powered” career.
Now that I’m progressing through a diagnostic and interventional radiology residency, life is slightly calmer, but I’m still running around like a madwoman performing minimally invasive procedures and supplying my colleagues with the answers they need to treat their patients. Every day I’m absorbing the stories of others and tucking them away for my next scene, next character, next book. Sure, I wish I could write more (don’t we all?), but when I finally manage to sit at my laptop, my head is swimming with ideas and they just pour out of me onto the page.
And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
* * *
L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.
Where to find her: