November starts NaNoWriMo- a month of writing in November. Writers commit to 2,000 words a day. I have signed up in HOPES that this will kick off my memoir.

As a teaser, here are the first 1,000 words:

I know it in my bones.

I know something is wrong. I feel it in my hips, my tibia, my fibia, my femur.

But my bones lie. They carry me forward when my heart palpitates, when my breath increases, when my tummy rumbles, when I pee my pants…..none of that matters….my bones carry me forward.

Perhaps if I had knew how my life would change, I would stop for a moment. Hold a moment of reflection at the door. Notice the blue of the sky or the wisp of the clouds. Take one last breath, inhaled the fresh air.

But the wind was bitter. Stupid blue sky and January wind.

It tears through my coat and her tiny face grimaces against the chill. The air is not fresh but full of cigarettes and fear. The snow piles in dirty mounds against the walkway.

And despite the inconsistent beating of my heart and the bile that collects against my throat, my bones carry my daughter and walk through the door. 

Inside isnt any better; florescent lights, tile floors, industrial cleaner, hand sanitizer, couch, television, desk.

The doors close behind me and the people on the other side of the desk looked up.

I smiled and glance at the T.V.

Huh, Who’s the Boss, have I seen this one? Is this the one where Tony and Angela kiss? That was a good one.

May I help you?”


The woman behind the desk nodded in my direction, “Can I help you?”

“I think my daughter is really sick,” My legs carry me to her desk. She eyes a monitor.




“No, Diarrhea.”

She nods and continued to types.

“Why are you here?”

Well that’s a loaded question lady, I want to say. Instead, I swallow hard, asking my stomach to cooperate. “I think she is really sick. She doesn’t take a bottle and when she does she throws it up. She doesn’t sleep. She doesn’t hold her head.”

My head fell to my hands, “I don’t know what to do.”

She types.

I watch.

I develop a disdain for this woman.

“Wait over there, we will call you.”

My jaw forms into a smile. My hand grips the handle of the baby carrier and my legs carry me to the waiting room.

I sit and gaze at the bundle in the car seat; she is perfect and broken, feverish and beautiful, all wrapped up in pink pajamas with dancing sheep. I touch her cheek with my pinky.

Hubs is suddenly by my side. When did he get here? He takes the baby carrier from my hand. My hand is empty. My bones ache.

“Don’t touch anything,” he said glancing around. “Who knows what this place is crawling with. Do you have the purel?”

I hate all of this. I hate the nurse at the front desk. I hate Tony and Angela deciding if they should kiss. I hate the way the polyester feels on my butt. I hate everything about this situation.

I look with a stewing gaze for more things to hate.

EXIT states the sign to my left. Oh you Exit sign. You tease. How smug you are, signaling a door where you can walk out. You advertise on high. You can leave here. You can walk out. But it will cost you your soul.

What is the price of my soul? What is the cost to leave?

I can bolt.

I can leave.

We can all leave.

Maybe it was a mistake to come here. We can get in the car and drive home. Stop at the drugstore for Baby Tylenol and Benadryl.

I have always overreacted.

I’m sure I am overreacting.

I stand between the EXIT and EMERGENCY. Between the howl of the wind outside and the stagnant air inside; my empty hand searching for the weight of the baby carrier wondering who’s life this could possibly be.

In truth, my reality is between the signs. My daughter is sick. She is so very sick and I know it. Beneath layers of fleecy blankets and pink pajamas with dancing sheep is my sweet babe whose pink rosy skin has turned grey and whose blue eyes are sunken. 

I turn my back from the exit and reach for the purel.  

Hubs squirts a generous amount and wipes it on his hands and face. He squirts more and swabs down the car seat, diaper bag, our feverish daughter.

“That’s not good for her immune system,” I say

He shoots me a look. We should not talk.

I sit on the edge of the waiting room couch.

What is that smell?

I glance at my fellow couch-mates with a discerning, critical eye; judging their hygiene habits and realize that smell is me.

My god I stink. I really smell; the smell of fear and body odor. I can no longer hide what my life has become.

What a façade. Yesterday we were in Beaver Creek skiing. We left early because Samantha looked so bad. In desperation I smeared deodorant on my pits, gargled last night’s wine with a little Scope. Smeared a little make up under my eyes.

If you look okay, she will be okay

Cover up covers up everything.

Foundation will strengthen our foundation

As long as my lipstick is refreshed, everything will be okay.

Hubs hands me a Power Bar. “You should eat something.”

I hate Power Bars. I hate everything about them. The chewy texture. The taste that is almost something you recognize but not really. Is that chocolate I taste? No its ass. Even the gold packaging. I hate it all.

I’m not hungry.

I want a coffee. Where’s the coffee machine? This is a hospital. Hospitals run on coffee. Screw coffee I need a bourbon.

I nervously start to rock and bite my fingernails. Hubs takes my hand from my mouth. “This is a hospital.”

I don’t care. Let me be infested with hand, foot and mouth disease, Swine flu, hippo virus, bird flu.  I would lick the floor……just let my daughter be okay.

“Schichtel? Samantha Schichtel?” The nurse called.

“That was fast.” I said to my husband.

“Good insurance,” He mumbles. We hurry past the others who were waiting before us. I try not to meet their eyes.

We file into a small room with a nurse and a computer.

“So, what’s going on with Samantha?” she asks.

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