• Is Death Growing in Your Garden? Information for Writers with Teresa Watson

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    The hazard symbol for toxic/highly toxic subst...
    The hazard symbol for toxic/highly toxic substances.
     (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    DISCLAIMER - This site is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes: this is for informational purposes only to be used for your fictional stories. The information is just a tiny bit about poisonous plants that is available. There is so much more that you can learn with a simple search. But this needs to be taken seriously, especially to protect your children and pets. These plants, while beautiful, are DEADLY, particularly to children and pets. Just licking some of these poisonous things can quickly CAUSE DEATH. Always check the toxicity of a plant before you add it to your
    garden or home.



    The following article was written by Teresa Watson.


    Growing Death in Your Garden 


    We all know the familiar nursery rhyme:

    Mary, Mary quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    With silver bells, and cockle shells,
    And pretty maids all in a row.

          But do you know just how deadly little Mary’s garden really is? Cyanide was a particular favorite of Dame Agatha Christie. In her mystery And Then There Were None , the first death was from cyanide poisoning. And who can forget those lovely aunts from Arsenic and Old Lace , who used arsenic, cyanide and strychnine in the elderberry wine to kill their gentlemen callers? (I highly recommend you watch the movie with Cary Grant and Josephine Hull; it’s one of my favorite movies!) In the 1962 movie Dr. No , the cab driver, after a fight with James Bond, kills himself with cyanide in a cigarette rather than tell Bond who he worked for. But not all victims who use cyanide die. Such is the case with Raoul Silva from the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall . Silva’s suicide attempt by hydrogen cyanide failed, and it burned his body internally, forcing him to wear a prosthetic face to hide the disfiguring injuries.


    It was suggested to me that I use poison to kill off a character in my next novella, and I was shocked to discover just how toxic the plants are in flower and vegetable gardens. Take a look for yourself; I guarantee you will be totally surprised. I’m going to mention just a few in this article. I’ll talk about which parts of the plant are toxic, how toxic they are and the symptoms. At the end, you’ll find general treatment for these types of poison. 

    Water Hemlock/Spotted Parsley

    English: Cowbane or Northern Water Hemlock (Ci...
    English: Cowbane or Northern Water Hemlock (Cicuta virosa) a. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    Let’s start with what the USDA rates as “the most violently toxic plant that grows in North America”:
    Water Hemlock/Spotted Parsley (Latin name: cicuta maculata). It doesn’t look deadly, with its tiny white flowers and umbrella-like appearance. You’ll find it growing near the edges of your property in pastures
    and meadows.


    Toxic parts of the plant:
      The whole plant - especially the roots of early growth. 


    How toxic
    Deadly to take by mouth or to apply to the skin. Death occurs within a matter of minutes, depending on the dosage.


    Symptoms: 
    * The first symptoms include drooling, nausea, vomiting,
       wheezing, sweating, dizziness, stomach pain, lethargy, and
       delirium. 
    * More serious symptoms include trouble breathing, convulsions,
       heart problems, kidney failure, coma, and death.


    Foxglove (Latin name: Digitalis purpurea)
    English: Foxglove Foxglove in hedgerow
    English: Foxglove Foxglove in hedgerow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    I’m sure you all recognize the word digitalis. Doctors use digitalis to strengthen the heart and regulate the heartbeat. The most commonly prescribed drugs are digitoxin and digoxin, and patients using these medications are carefully monitored by their doctors to make sure they suffer no ill effects. In your garden, they are tall, thin plants, with white, pink and purple bell-shaped flowers.


    Toxic parts of the plant: the entire plant, especially the leaves of the upper stem.


    How toxic: 
    As mentioned above, it is used for medical purposes. But, if you need a quick, effective way to kill off a character, a high dose of foxglove will effective dispose of them.


    Symptoms: 
    Blurred vision, confusion, depression, disorientation or hallucinations, fainting, headache, irregular or slow heartbeat, lethargy, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, rash or hives, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea or diarrhea, weakness or drowsiness.

     (***Children have been known to die by sucking on part of the plant.)





    Hydrangea (Latin name: hydrangea macrophylla)
    Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea, Hort...
    Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea, Hortensia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    My mother grows these in her garden in the front yard, and I think they are beautiful. They grow so big, and the flowers in colors of pink, blue or white are simply gorgeous (hers are blue). So I was shocked to discover that they are poisonous!


    Toxic parts: 
    The entire plant, especially the flower buds.


    How toxic: 
    Think cyanide.


    Symptoms: 
    * Itchy skin, vomiting,
       weakness, sweating. 
    * More serious symptoms
       include shortness of breath,
       dizziness, fainting, rapid pulse,
       a drop in blood pressure that
       can cause convulsions and death.


    Mistletoe (Latin name: Phoradendron flavescens)
    Mistletoe berries in Wye Valley
    Mistletoe berries in Wye Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    We all know what mistletoe looks like: a cluster of green leaves with white berries. A popular holiday decoration, all couples in love want to get caught standing under it for the kiss. But beware, looks can be deceiving, and enough mistletoe could give you the kiss of death.


    Toxic parts: 
    All of it, especially the berries.


    How toxic: 
    It depends on the dosage. Drinking anything containing mistletoe, or munching on the leaves, berries or shoots will, at the very least, cause abdominal pain and diarrhea (I’ve never tried mistletoe tea, but apparently people do drink it.)


    Symptoms: 
    Stomach irritation, intestinal irritation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, reduced blood pressure, slowed pulse, nausea, vomiting, slowed heart rate, cardiovascular collapse, and seizures. 

    (***This is VERY potent for pets, so keep this away from them!)


    Lily of the Valley (Latin name: Convellaria majalis)
    Convallaria majalis cv. Plena
    Convallaria majalis cv. Plena (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    How could something with a name that sounds like it should be in a song be so deadly? They are very sweet smelling, and look like tiny white bells.


    Toxic parts: 
    The entire plant, especially the leaves.


    How toxic: 
    Even the water you put the flowers in will contain
    deadly traces of toxins. 
    One bite will give you a
    headache, hot flashes, hallucinations and irritability (sounds like menopause!). Enough of the toxins will slow your heart rate down, potentially leading to coma and even death.


    Symptoms: 
    Besides the ones mentioned above, symptoms could include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, confusion, fatigue, dizziness, and reduced blood pressure.


    Nightshade (Latin name: Atropa belladonna)
    Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commo...
    Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as Belladonna, Devil's Berries, Death Cherries or Deadly Nightshade (Solanaceae), Flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
     I've personally never seen
     a nightshade plant, but I
     have heard of belladonna. Mostly found overseas, it can now be found in North America, especially in areas rich with limestone. The berries are various colors of red, orange and green, and when they bloom, the flowers are purple with green pollen bulbs.


    Toxic parts: 
    The whole plant, especially the berries, roots and leaves.


    How toxic: 
    A single leaf can be fatal to an adult. You probably won’t even have time to call for help.


    Symptoms: 
    Unable to speak, respiratory problems, intense digestive distress, and violent convulsions. 


    Antidote/Treatment:


    * CALL 911 or Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. 
    * Try to find out how much poison the victim ingested and their
        weight. 
    * DO NOT make the victim vomit unless instructed to by
       emergency personnel.


    An antidote depends on the type of poisoning, and with all the medical advances that are happening every day, an antidote could have been discovered as I write this. General treatment is aggressive supportive care by paramedics in the field, and then by hospital personnel. Depending on the severity of the poisoning, treatment could include:

    * Activated charcoal
    Gastric lavage
    * Blood and urine tests
    * Breathing support
    * EKG
    * Fluids
    * Medication to treat specific symptoms.


    Quick treatment improves your characters chances. But even then, the symptoms could last 2-3 days. The important thing is to get treatment for your victim as quickly as possible. But since this is for fictional writing, it might be better to let them die…

    Fiona - 
    That was very interesting, Teresa. You put your research to work for you in your new Novella that is part of UNLUCKY SEVEN.
    Can you tell us about your story?

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    Teresa - 
    It's time for the county fair, and things are heating up for the coveted "best pie" blue ribbon. But two competitors, Gladys Norwell, and Durlene Snodgrass, are disqualified the day before the fair. 

    During the pie eating contest, Gladys' husband, Harold, falls face first into his blueberry pie, and Gladys is the prime suspect. Did our beloved Gossip Queen kill her husband, or is someone setting her up? It's up to Lizzie, her beloved dogs Babe and Mittens, and the rest of the gang to
    sniff out the truth before the Queen
    is dethroned...permanently.

    Fiona - 
    Very fun! You know here on ThrillWriting we always like to ask about the story behind your favorite scar. Would you share yours?

    Teresa -
    Known to my friends as Queen Klutz, my scars (and casts) are many, but the favorite scar story belongs to my son. 

    When he was 18 months old, he wanted juice one night before bedtime. I told him no, and went upstairs to get his pajamas. Alas, my son has his mother’s stubborn streak. The one time I had to buy a glass jar of juice was the time he decided to pick it up. I heard a crash, and came racing down the stairs. There was a trail of blood from the kitchen, across the living room, ending at my recliner, where my son sat on the floor. A bloody handprint was on the seat of the recliner. I grabbed the phone and a beach towel, wrapping it around his right hand as I called my parents. After I hung up, I looked at his feet, and noticed a pool of blood under his left foot. Another beach towel went around his foot. 

    Picking him up, I went outside, holding him in my arms while I waited for my parents to show up. When they did, my mother got out with tea towels and a box of Band-aids because she thought I was overreacting. When she saw me standing there with him in my arms, she immediately opened the back passenger door so I could get in. Three hours later, seven stitches in his hand, and five behind the toes of his foot, we were back home. The middle finger of his right hand is slightly bent because of scar tissue, and is a reminder of that night.

    Fiona- 
    Before we end, could you tell us a little about you?

    Teresa -  
    Teresa Watson
    I’m the daughter of a retired Methodist minister, so I moved a lot when I was a kid. Familiarity with small towns and the people in them have helped me with writing my stories. There are plenty of characters to draw from for inspiration! I’m a wife of a wonderful man, a mother to a hard-working, sweet, kind and caring 20-year-old son, a granddaughter to an awesome 95-year-old woman who is the basis for a character in my new series, a daughter to two wonderful people who have been so supportive, a sister to a few, and a friend to many.

    Fiona - 
    Thank you so much, Teresa.

    And thanks to the readers/writers who stopped by. Please leave any questions or comments below. I moderate for SPAM so it will NOT show up right away. If you find this blog to be helpful, please share with your followers. Thanks so much! Buttons below. Happy plotting.

    Cheers,
    Fiona
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  • Crime Scene Plotting Gems: Info for Writers w/ USA Today Bestseller Jamie Lee Scott

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    USA Today bestselling author, Jamie Lee Scott joins me today.

    She is a fellow contributor to UNLUCKY SEVEN.

    Jamie, as you know, I love to learn how to write it right. And, like me, you like to get down and dirty with the learning process. I know that for your novella you went out on a ride along in Thibodaux, Louisiana thanks to our fellow author Police Chief Scott Silverii. And we were in classes together at the Writers' Police Academy, recently.

    Before we get started sharing some of the crime scene plotting gems that you picked up, can you tell us about your Unlucky novella?
    USA Today Bestselling Author, Jamie Lee Scott

    Jamie Lee - 
    Sure.

    Uncertain Beginnings -
    When Sergeant Wyatt Burke goes to the house of one of his officers -  after the man doesn't check back in for duty after his dinner break - he finds him face down on the floor at the foot of his stairs inside his house. What first looks like an unfortunate accident, soon becomes a murder investigation, and takes Sergeant Burke into darker shade of blue.

    Though my novella, Uncertain Beginnings, is the first in my "uniformed" police procedural series, I've written six private detective agency novels prior to this series, and I've used the information I've learned from law enforcement and crime scene investigators to write both the P.I. novels and the police procedurals.

    Fiona - 
    And of course we know that when you said a darker shade of blue, blue refers to cop culture. Would you say your novella is a police procedural?

    Jamie Lee - 
    Yes, a police procedural. I incorporated what I learned riding with Scott's cops and CSI to catch the killer in my novella. In this case, it's what you can't see that may be the evidence that solves the case.

    The seed that started this series was a 12 hour night shift with the Thibodaux police. I watched, followed and listened. It helped to get the details of how cops interacted with the public and how the public interacted with them.

    Fiona - 
    And today we are going to be sharing gems from your CSI class.

    One thing that doesn't show up in many books is that there is a series of hand offs in a criminal death (or an unexpected death).
    1) The police have to give the okay that the area is safe before the
         EMT can go help someone.
    2) The EMTs go in and help the injured person or declare the
        person deceased and give them a time of death. The official
        time of death is when the EMT makes the declaration and has
        nothing to do with the actual time that the person died.
    3) The EMTs hand the scene over to the medical examiner or their
        representative. The ME takes pictures and conducts specific tests
        on the body that will help them to make a determination about
        whether an autopsy is required.
    4) The ME hands the scene over to the detective - but the body is in
        the custody of the ME

    But that's not always true.

    Jamie Lee -
    In my CSI class at WPA, I learned that not all states have an ME who comes to the crime scene.

    The CSI unit works in tandem with the detectives to be sure the scene is processed properly and that the evidence isn't contaminated.

    Many CSI investigators aren't police, they are hired companies.  The CSI is a trained layperson. In this case a layperson means that they have not taken a police officer's oath.

    When the detective determines there's been a crime, they call in the CSI unit, who then comes in with their gear, completely suited up. They expect anyone on the scene to be suited too. This includes booties, gloves, hair nets, white suits (Tyvek).

    Fiona - 
    When they enter the crime scene can you go through the CSI unit's priorities?

    Jamie - 
    The scene is first photographed, long distance, to get an overall picture of the scene, then middle distance, gives objects relationship to one another, then close ups.

    English: A crime scene. .
     (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    Nothing is touched until ALL photographs are taken, and CSI is satisfied.

    After the initial photos, and possibly video is taken:
    * Numbered tents are placed
       for possible evidence
       pieces. 
    * Items are again
       photographed. At this
       time the evidence may be
       collected. There are
       different types of 
       collection containers. 
    The containers are usually paper, 
       but may be hard plastic, in the
       case of a container for a knife.

    Patti Phillips, photographer "Grab the CSI Kit"

    Fiona - 
    What are some details that you found surprising about the packaging?

                                                                   Patti Phillips, photographer "Grab the CSI Kit"

    Jamie Lee - 
    All wet evidence is dried before packaging, and rarely is plastic
       bag used unless there is zero % chance of mold.
    *  DNA is packaged in paper.
    * When the evidence is sealed, it is taped. 
    * The information is written across the tape, so that if there is
       tampering, it will be evident. 
    * All evidence bags have handwritten Incident Report #, 
       Date sealed, Time, Initialed, #items, and new opening each
       time the package is opened.
    * T he information is written on the package every time it's opened,
       and the new info is again written across the tape.
    *   Only CSI can touch the contents. Lawyers can look at it, but not
       touch, but then no one wants to touch if they don't have to.
    * Each time the evidence bag is  opened, it must be opened from a
       different side, so the original seals are never disturbed. 
    * Once all of the openings are breached, that package will be put in
        a new container, to start over with the original seal. This helps
        with chain of custody.
    All evidence is kept indefinitely until released by the courts.
    * There are warehouses of evidence from cases that have been
       cleared by the courts, but the statute of limitations hasn't cleared,
       so the evidence is kept.

    Fiona - 
    Tell us about any evidence collection that was new to you - surprising. 

    Jamie Lee - 
    When hands are covered for evidence, they are covered with paper bags, to avoid sweating, as that will ruin any evidence.

    Fiona - 
    On a dead person or on the way to the hospital?

    Jamie Lee - 
    Any person who was at the scene and may be a witness or a suspect.

    Fiona - 
    Alive then - who knew!

    Jamie Lee - 
    We can talk about "swabbing the log"

    Fiona - 
    Yes, let's do that.  what is it?

    Jamie Lee - 
    When looking for DNA evidence, you need skin.

    English: Overflowing toilet
    English: Overflowing toilet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    If you have nothing, you can wait for your suspect to take a poop. Then you "swab the log" because there will likely be some skin shed in the process of eliminating the fecal matter.

    The matter itself is worthless, but the skin cells that may have been deposited at the time of defecation can give detectives the DNA they need.

    Fiona - 
    Argh. So how do you stop them from flushing? And how do you swab a log?  - So awesomely gross!

    Jamie - 
    I'm not sure how they get the fecal matter in the first place. But if they aren't letting the suspect out of their sight, they may have them go in a facility that they've clogged, or somehow if there are "skid marks" that may hold some matter. 

    Swabbing the log would consist of the same protocol as swabbing the inside of a cheek. Only I'd think they'd try very hard to swab the entire surface, as to not miss a chance at getting skin cells.

    Fiona - 
    And this is why I write about CSI but don't actually do CSI.
    Other gems?

    Jamie Lee - 
    Interesting: GSR, gun shot residue will show on anyone in the room when the gun was fired.

    GSR is also extremely fragile and must be processed within four hours.

    The most important thing is that ANYTHING can be evidence.

    Fiona - 
    Give me a "for instance".

    Jamie Lee - 
    A person who put in a job application on Monday may come back and rob the place on Tuesday. Now you have the robber's address.



    My biggest surprise was learning that they use Mylar and a form of electricity to pick up prints.

    Fiona -
    Wait - how do you do that with a stun gun?
    Jamie Lee - 
    * They place the Mylar over the fingerprint, then make the
       electrical c harge with a stun gun, which lifts the print into
       the Mylar ,
    * The static charge on the dust particles cause the Mylar film to be
       sucked into the surface.
    * T
    hen the air bubbles are rolled out with a fingerprint roller, and
       the print can be examined with a light.  A flashlight will work. It's
       just to make sure you got the print before you affix it to a more
       secure surface. And it absolutely can't be in contact with plastic
       because it will remove the static charge.

    Fiona - 
    Affixed with superglue?

    Jamie - 
    It is photographed immediately.


    That photo is an electronically-lifted print

    I know your readers enjoy video quick studies. Here's one I found on Electrostatic Footprint Lifting with Dr. Shaler. In this film he:
    * Shows the film
    * Shows the electrostatic lifter
    * Step by step procedure including using a brayer to get rid of air
       bubbles
    * Electrostatic print can be lifted from paper, carpet, almost any
       surface. But the print can not be made with water. It must be
       made with  dust.


    Fiona - 
    Very fun stuff! Thanks so much Jamie Lee for stopping by ThrillWriting to share. Before you go, we always like to hear your favorite scar story.
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    Jamie Lee - 
    I have a scar on my face, under my nose on the left side, and everyone always thinks it's a pencil mark, if they see it at all. I was in a car accident when I was 5 years old. 

    My dad was driving our Riviera on a raining night, we were coming home from my grandfather's art gallery on Cannery Row in Monterey, CA, and he tried to pass a motor home. The motor home sped up, and my dad lost control of the car and hit a tree head on, I went through the windshield. Yes, I had a seat belt on, but in those days it was only a lap belt. 

    The cut was on the left, and my body was black and blue on my right. I have no recall of the accident, or several days after, nor do I have any memory of my life before the accident. I'm probably one of the few kids who has no memory of kindergarten. 

    Fiona - 
    If you'd like to see how Jamie Lee uses her hands-on knowledge in her novella, pick up your copy of Unlucky Seven, today.

    Thanks for stopping by. As always comments and questions can be left below. I moderate for SPAM so you WON'T see it right away. 

    If you found this article helpful, please share. Buttons conveniently placed below.  Happy plotting!

    Cheers,
    Fiona



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  • Code Blue: Information for Writers with Sarah Clark

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    I have the great honor of being part of the Unlucky Seven  Collection, available now for pre-order.

    My novella is called, MINE. In my writing, there were several code events. This article will describe what would have happened at the hospital. 


    A CODE BLUE is defined a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

    Here to help us understand what

    happens during a CODE BLUE is Sarah Clark. 

    Sarah spent 29 years as a nurse. Her positions included: ICU, Emergency Department, Med/Surg, telephone triage, long-term acute care, and teaching at the nursing school. For the last 3 ½ years, she has been the simulation coordinator for hospitals.


    If you are writing a crisis that begins outside of the hospital, most likely the patient will be arriving in an ambulance.

    Prior to arriving at the hospital the EMS will have sent a bullet-ed report to the CHARGE NURSE. 3-5 minutes before arriving they will encode – this is the report/notification.

    At the beginning of the shift, the charge nurse will have assigned rooms within the Emergency Department. Emergency is now called E.D. not E.R. by hospital staff. 

    * Your lay person would probably still call it the E.R. 
    * It would be a mistake to have the doctors and nurses call it that
       now. 
    The charge nurse is on the radio and manages the room flow. The charge nurse will assign the case to a room. 

    When the EMS unit brings the patient in, they go straight to their room/nurse.

    If they coded on the scene or in the ambulance, several things are already in place for the hospital staff.
    ·
     The patient will have pads already in place (often, one on back
       and one on front) for performing  shocks and be on a backboard,
       facilitating CPR compressions. 
    · The patient will be intubated
    · The patient will (when available in that locale) have a LUCAS

       unit  in place. A LUCAS will perform chest compressions for 
       CPR,  leaving the health providers hands free for other things. If
       the  LUCAS is in place, they will most likely leave it at the
       hospital  until the patient is no longer in need. It has a battery and
       can  operate for around three hours without be connected to a
       power  source. It can be plugged in and many ambulances have
       electrical  plugs. 
    · The patient will have an I.V. line in place.

    If the patient comes in with vital signs, then as a writer, you need to decide which of the above you would like to have in place.

    Let’s pretend for a moment that a patient presented at the E.D. with signs of a cardiac event. While in the E.D., he codes. Immediately the team goes into action.

    Here are the players:

    · Medication R.N.
    · Airway Manager
    · Person Performing Chest Compressions
    · Code Cart Manager
    · BLS Team Leader - this is the PROVIDER. They no longer call
      the person making the decisions “doctor” with the lack of 
      physicians the provider could be a physician, physician's assistant,
     or nurse practitioner
    · Documenter
    · Family Guide 


    MEDICAL RN stands on the right hand side of the patient. 




    · Check for IV access, patency (the quality of being unblocked)
    · Establish IV if none present.
    · Prime tubing with 1 liter NS (normal saline)
    · Administer ordered meds
    · Communicate when med has been administered
    · Protect the IV site. This is IMPERATIVE. That IV is the patients
       life line in an emergency. If the nurse can not find a vein they
       will place the line in the bone with an IO or intraosseus line. T
       The nurse  will say “Drill ’em.” This method is fast and relatively
        safe. 
       VIDEO QUICK STUDY Trigger alert. Graphic. (12:00)
    * The  IV line is most at risk when the patient is being moved from
       one  stretcher to another. GURNEY is a term that is no longer in
       use.



    Ambu Bag

    The AIRWAY MANAGER :
    stands at the top of the stretcher and is usually a respiratory therapist. This is NOT a nurse. A respiratory therapist has an associates degree – a two-year degree in providing respiratory aid.

    · Open airway
    · Ventilate with Ambu bag 
    · Requests suction setup 
    · 2 People: 1 to seal the airway and 1 to squeeze the
      bag 
      * An  Ambu  bag is 100% oxygen. 
      * During a code the patient is m anually v entilated. 





    · This person will often stand on the left, or if need be, they can get
        right up on the gurney with the patient. This person needs to get
        the chest compressed a full 2” or it is ineffectual. Most people
        will wear out after two minutes and need to be replaced. 


    · Any qualified person can do the compressions. 
    · They monitor/check for  pulse 
    · If the patient did not come  in with EMS then they  will place a
       back board and a Zoll pad  (for shocks)  there are 2 pads  – one on
       the back and one o the  front.  They can  cause fire (chest hair)
       They no longer use  paddles.
    · Two people can rotate responsibilities to give the person giving
       compressions a chance to rest.  They must monitor the  quality of 
       the compression.



    · Stands next to the cart –   everything they will need  during a
      code  is in the  cart. She will hand people  things as they are 
      needed. 
    · They must be a nurse, and i t is best if they are  familiar with the
       layout of the code cart
    · They hand in:
      * Back board 
      * Zoll Pads
      * Set up for suction
      * IV tubing with one liter of NS 

    · Prepare the Empinepherine 
    · Hands in meds as ordered
    · Operates Zoll defibrillator
    · Communicates with the runner for needed supplies

    So for example:
    The provider will say, “Give an amp of Epi.”
    Code cart manager replies, “Epi.” As she hands it to the medication
                           nurse.
    The medication nurse says, “Epi.” Then administers the meds and
                           says, “Epi’s in.” 



    BLS TEAM LEADER
    · This is the provider (doctor/physician's assistant/nurse practioner)
    · Stands at the end of the bed and does not do anything hands on to
       prevent tunnel vision. 
    · Needs to be able to see everything
    · Makes all decisions about the patient 





    THE DOCULMENTER
    · Ideally, this is the patient’s nurse – in reality it will be a newer 
      nurse. The documenter stands next to the provider.
    · Charting – documenting everything that takes place
    · Ensure participants sign the code sheet
    · Timer – is UBER IMPORTANT!

    “It’s been two minutes. Time for a rhythm check.”

    EVERY TWO MINUTES:
    · Check the rhythm on the heart monitor
    · Check pulse in the femoral area of the groin. That would be here:


    · Change out the compressor if they are human. 
    · Decide if you are at a shockable rhythm
    · Shock them.

    “It’s been three minutes do you want another epi?”

    EVERY THREE MINUTES:

    · Epinephrine helps vaso constrict to shunt the blood to the heart 
      effectively – it is the first line drug to use in a code, and it can be
       administered every three minutes.  




    FAMILY GUIDE
    · Determines if the family wishes to stay
    · Positions the family near the exit
    · Answers questions briefly and honestly
    · Reminds the team the family is present (tendency towards gallows
       humor to break the stress)
    · Escort the family out if needed


    In every hospital there is a RAPID RESPONSE TEAM. This is a pre-code team that includes an experienced nurse and a respiratory therapist. They identify the patient’s risk of coding and move him to ICU.

    NURSES SAY “CRAP.”

    When do they stop?

    1) The patient is stabilized
    2) The patient is declared deceased
        · Typically, they will call it if the efforts have not worked and 
           the patient flat lined for over twenty minutes.
        · If they were brought in with a flat line, it’s usually called – 
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           because of the length of
           time they were down.
        · If the spouse/parent is on
          the way, for example, they 
          will try to  continue efforts
          until the spouse has
          arrived. 
        · Often it’s the family that
          asks the team to stop
        · Sometimes they continue
          for longer than they
           normally would
           have to give the family
           time to come to the
           conclusion on their
           own. This helps with the
          grief  process. 

    And there you have it. 
    A huge thank you to Sarah Clark  for her expertise.
    And thanks to you readers/writers for stopping by.

    Please leave any questions or comments below. I moderate for SPAM so you will not see them show up right away. If this blog is helpful to you, please share with your friends - I've put some social buttons below. I appreciate your supporting our project Unlucky Seven. Happy Plotting.

    Cheers,
    Fiona





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  • Cops Gone Bad: Information for Writers with Police Chief Scott Silverii


    99cent BUY NOW LINK
    Fiona - 
    Hi Chief, thanks for joining us on ThrillWriting - that's a very nice kilt you're wearing. Can you tell us about the special occasion?
    (Great legs, BTW)

    Chief Scott Silverii sporting his pink kilt he'll be wearing
    at the Warrior Dash to support breast cancer research.
    Chief Silverii -
    It's great to be back. I love your work - the content is actual police academy quality. 


    Sure, My police department - The Thibodaux Police Department is teaming up with author Liliana Hart to raise awareness and money for cancer research. The kilts will be worn by officers and team members participating in the Warrior Dash on Oct 11 in Louisiana - that even includes Liliana Hart.


    WARRIOR DASHLOUISIANA
    www.warriordash.com

    Fiona -
    What a great cause. 


    I know that you are very involved with your community and are often seen doing spectacular things to bring awareness and needed funds to worthy causes, I remember your pictures from Breast Cancer Awareness month last year. As a matter of fact, I only know good cops. Really good cops who serve on duty and off. But I also know that's not always the case. Do you mind if we chat about that? Please first tell us about yourself.


    Chief Silverii -

    Thank you, we are the city's police department after all. Yes, tough topic, but let's talk about it. 

    I'm Scott Silverii - I'm from south Louisiana's Cajun Country. I've been in law enforcement over 24 years and currently serve as the Chief of Police in the City of Thibodaux (La). I began my non-fiction writing once I completed my PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Orleans. I self-pub my dissertation - A Darker Shade of Blue and then sold an extended manuscript to Taylor & Francis Group where it was published by CRC Press - Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad.

    Fiona -
    Temptation. When one is in a position of authority it is so easy to cross a line. What kinds of roadblocks are inherent in the system that would help to weed out people who might abuse their authority prior to coming onto a police force?

    Chief Silverii -
    It begins with an in-depth application process that includes a quality background investigation. Too often, agencies accept friend referrals - those usually implode down the road. Education is also key - the officer must be taught the dangers inherently associated with independent positions of authority. Accountability is the base line - without it, everything fails. No room to turn a blind eye, or allow your buddy to slide - paths of least resistance lead to falling for temptation.

    Fiona -
    Once an officer has taken his oath, as they move deeper into the cop culture, how much do cops overlook the wrongdoings of other cops? It seems to me, if it's not nipped in the bud, you'd have cops gone wild.

    Chief Silverii -
    It can become a slippery slope. Officers are afforded a wide range of discretionary privileges associated with performing their duties. You can't paint them into a box with policies for every possible encounter. It's difficult for cops to judge other cops on actions attributed to discretion.

    Corruption can take many forms and levels from not performing your duties to committing crimes. There is a Code of Silence that is inherent. It's the “us versus them” mentality. This begins in the police academy - cadets learn that the class is punished for the mistakes of one. Therefore, they cover each others butts to save themselves from the discipline - while building brotherhood, it also teaches covering up and the No Rat Rule.

    Fiona –
    You're writing a novella that takes a fictional look at this, can you tell us about your plot line

    Chief Silverii -

    I was invited to join you and five other amazing au thors in an anthology called Unlucky 7 - each author writes a novella based on a small town murder mystery. My work, Bayou Backslide, looks at the temptations of police work. Even in the face of investigating the ultimate act of  victimization - murder. What I find fascinating about writing about police fiction is exploring more about the effect the job has on the officers, than whether or not the officer can do the job. This work will look at how temptation, discretion, autonomy, and misplaced loyalty effect the cop, the agency, and the community.


    Available for pre-order at only 99cents Available for a limited time only. Click HERE NOW



    Fiona -
    Very interesting. Okay, let's look at some of those aspects. Just coming home from the Writers' Police Academy, we learned about some of the awful things that cops experience on a daily basis. Over time, they develop an "us against them" mentality. Can you talk about some of the things that impact an officer and the changes that are globally seen by individuals facing the challenge of police work?

    Chief Silverii -
    WOW - WPA was another amazing event. I'm still on a cloud.

    The culture of policing is a powerful influence. If you are familiar with Janis' concept of Groupthink, it's similar in this profession.

    Policing depends upon homogeneity or everyone looking, walking and talking the same way in order to be cops- compliant. No room for the Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson characters. Though they make for great movies, they would also make bad reality.

    Officers go through transition stages of socialization - or Fitting In.
    *Once they enter the academy - they realize that everything they

      thought they knew about the job from watching TV, movies, and
      reading is WRONG.

    *They must accept that the only way to succeed the academy is to

      modify their thinking and beliefs to those of the culture.

    *In training they must juggle this next life behind the badge that

      requires silence and full commitment - that obviously causes
      trouble at home with spouse, kids, family and friends.

    *Finally, the officer is cut loose to work on their own. They are

      vulnerable to the temptations because no one is directly watching
      them over the course of that 12- hour shift.

    Fiona -
    Over time, how does this effect the "bad cop's" decision making?


    Chief Silverii-
    Path of least resistance. Complacency becomes the rule. Not making waves is the ethos over “to protect and serve.” - If I work hard, then you look bad. If I make a mistake while making lots of cases, then the sergeant will get the grief - therefore, don't make cases. Mike Roche reminded me of a saying – “Little cases = little problems, big cases = big problems, no cases = no problems.”

    Fiona-
    So that would be the kind of thing one would expect in any organization.

    Let's talk about cops who go over to the dark side. The ones who think they can, and possibly do, get away with some pretty heinous stuff. To charge them would look bad for the sergeant. What kinds of things could a bad cop do that is particular to that cop because of their position?


    Chief Silverii-
    It's unlimited - From trading sex for a traffic ticket, to taking bribes for providing security, or looking the other way. Even allowing the drunk to drive off because the cop doesn't want to do the paperwork is unacceptable.

    Understand, we are talking about a small population of cops fitting this dynamic - most are committed and honorable public servants, but in a club of over 800,000 there's gonna be bad apples.

    Fiona -
    Agreed.


    Can you tell us writers who are writing good cop/bad cop plot lines what might happen once the police find out that a cop has been involved in something pretty big - a murder or drug distribution for example - how do you police the police?

    Chief Silverii –
    Internal Affairs are the organization's integrity gatekeepers. They operate independently of general police assignments and are often unpopular among the other cops. Old days they were called the Rat Squad. A chief or sheriff also has the option of referring cases to the state police, the state's attorney general, or a federal agency.

    Fiona -
    The federal agency would depend on the crime. As my last question - what would you like us to know, what would I never guess about this particular topic?

    Chief Silverii –
    The process of socialization is so powerful that it takes a special (not impossible) person with an established moral / ethical center to avoid the pitfalls. I applaud those individuals. The old guard is retiring or dying off. This new era of technology and accountability is leading us into the next phase of policing. I’m so excited. It's on the horizon. It takes forward thinking, fearless men and woman to stand in the gap and demand a better way. It's time for a Cultural Revolution in policing.

    Fiona -
    I am grateful to them for their service and grateful to you for sharing and also for letting us see how fab you look in a kilt.

    You can reach Chief Silverii at: https://www.facebook.com/CopsWritingCrime

    Thank you readers/writers for stopping by. As always, please leave your questions or comments below. I moderate for SPAM, so you will NOT see your comment right away. If you enjoyed this post, I‘d appreciate your taking a second to share. I’ve put some social media buttons below.

    And tell your friends about UNLUCKY SEVEN – it’s a great deal. Happy plotting.

    Cheers,
    Fiona





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  • SEALed: Information for Writers with Navy Veteran Stephen Templin

    Today our guest is Stephen Templin

    Steve is a New York Times and international bestselling author. His books have been translated into thirteen languages. Before becoming a full-time author, he completed Hell Week, qualified as a pistol and rifle expert, and blew up things during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training.

    After the Navy, he became a missionary then tenured professor at Meio University in Japan for 14 years, where he practiced the martial art aikido. His PhD is in education. Steve lives in Dallas-Fort Worth (stephentemplin.com)

    Fiona - 

    Hi Steve, thanks for coming and hanging out with us. So a SEAL huh. How did that become your goal?

    Steve - 
    I've been interested in miltary/spy stuff since I was a kid. And writing.

    In high school, I read a lot about the Vietnam War and was impressed with the SEALs, so I joined the Navy to become a SEAL.

    I read about terrorism in Europe, and I was interested in fighting terrorists.

    Fiona - 
    So off you went to training. Were you in the SEAL Challenge in high school - the men who knew they were headed for SEALS - or did you join the navy with the hopes of becoming a SEAL?

    Steve - 

    Yeah, guys today can sign up for a contract before boot camp. There were n o contracts when I went in.  No special group, we were just lumped together with the other Navy guys.

    I took a physical screen test (PST) during boot camp to get in SEAL training but failed my first attempt. So I spent time on a ship as a sailor and prepared to take the test again.

    Fiona - 
    What kinds of things were in the screen test and how did you prepare to meet those qualifications on the next round?

    Steve - 
    At that time, there was a timed swim, 35 push-ups, 35 sit-ups, 6 chin-ups, and a timed mile run.

    I failed the swim.


    Being in the Navy, I had easy access to pools when my ship wasn't underway. So I practiced.  I sucked at swimming without fins, but once they put fins on me, I was a fish. 

    And I kept training the other parts of the test: push-ups, sit-ups,  and running.

    Later, when I took the test, I passed the swim by one second.


    Fiona - 
    What happens next?

    Steve -
    After the PST, there's medical, dental, psychological, and hyperbaric chamber testing.

    So out of about 100 guys who applied, I was the only one who passed.

    That was just to get into the training.

    Fiona - 
    Explain the hyperbaric chamber test and your experience in it.


    Steve - 

    It was a compression chamber where they simulated diving deep.

    The guy before me panicked before reaching depth, and he failed. 
    Somebody else's ears or nose bled.

    It's helpful to yawn a lot and clear the ears while going down in depth. They do the simulation by air pressure. 
    They don't do it anymore.

    Those of us who were accepted to training did what was called indoctrination. the hardest part of that was drown proofing, where they tie hands and feet together and jump in deep end of pool.

    Then we had to perform a variety of tasks while tied up in the pool:
    * bob from surface to bottom so many times 

    * swim length of pool and back
    * do dead man's float 
    * forward somersault 
    * backwards somersault...

    After indoctrination, guys were ready to quit already.


    Fiona - 
    You said you went through psych testing - can you give us an overall idea of what they were looking for?

    Steve -
    Just trying to weed out crazy people, I think. Asked questions for example:

    *Have you ever read Alice in Wonderland?
    *Do you ever hear voices in your head
    *Would you like to become an interior designer.
    *And they asked a number of the same questions more than once.

    Fiona - 
    Alice in Wonderland? - who hasn't read that book - it's sort of quintessential childhood stuff. Having talked with a friend who does mass killing studies -it's Catcher in the Rye that's the issue book.

    Steve - 
    They might've asked about that, too. I hadn't read Alice in Wonderland.

    Fiona - 
    Most of what one hears about SEALS has to do with physical strength and endurance - but much of that is psychological. Which of your character traits did you see mirrored in the other men who successfully made it through SEAL training?



    Steve - 
    SEALs would say "mental toughness" but that's sometimes difficult for outsiders to understand. I'd describe it as strong self-efficacy.
    In other words, a strong belief in completing a task or group of tasks.

    Physically, water polo guys do best

    Fiona - 
    And mentally?

    Steve -
    Chess players

    If you play water polo and chess you got a good chance of making it.

    Fiona - 
    Very nice - did you do either?

    Steve - 
    I played chess

    Going through SEAL training is very mental. The mind controls the body, too.

    Fiona -
    When you went through your training - the horrible hell week is what we've seen depicted - do you also undergo psychological training like an elite athlete would?

    Steve - 
    I think hell week is quite unique. Elite athletes quit all the time.

    Image of BUD/S trainees covered in mud during ...
    Image of BUD/S trainees covered in mud during Hell Week. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    Going without sleep for 5 1/2 days and hallucinating dreams while awake is something few elite athletes experience
    And that isn't the hardest part.
    The toughest part is the cold.

    Most people have experienced 1st degree hypothermia: numbness in extremities and mild shivering.
    We were in the water constantly and mostly in stage 1 hypothermia.
    They also put us in stage 2 hypothermia: violent shivering and mind slowing down.

    Stage 3 is dangerous, and they tried to keep us out of that: shivering stops, and person becomes an idiot, not knowing where he is or what he's doing.

    There is no Stage 4, only death

    Fiona -
    Has anyone ever died during hell week?


    Steve - 
    No one has died during Hell Week to my knowledge. The instructors are very careful.


    Fiona - 
    What tricks did  you personally employ to succeed? - Were you tempted to ring the bell or was that off the table for you?


    US Navy 070131-N-5169H-322 Basic Underwater De...
     (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Steve - 
    The bell was never an option for me. When I was in the most pain (freezing) I visualized a better place (warm).

    I hear that a lot of guys think about quitting during hell week. I don't know how they could wrestle with that and do all we had to do.

    It was all I could do to focus on surviving.

    Some of the most athletic guys don't make it through hell week and some of the weakest guys do.

    Fiona - 
    Your books are about SEAL team six is this correct?

    Steve - 
    All of them deal with SEAL Team Six in one form or another, yes.





    Fiona - 
    SEAL Team 6 is now called DEVGRU - can you tell us who/how/why the men get chosen for this assignment and how it differs from a traditional SEAL team?

    Steve -
    Usually the top SEALs volunteer or are asked to volunteer for DEVGRU. They do a lot of the national priority jobs:
    * hostage rescue 

    * capturing/killing terrorists 
    * counterinsurgency, etc.
    The Bin Laden raid is their most famous operation.

    DEVGRU is pretty thorough about their screening. Guys still have to go through what is called Green Team training, so they have to pass that before becoming a part of DEVGRU

    Fiona - 
    While a traditional team would...

    Steve - 
    A traditional team is capable of most of the same things, but DEVGRU has a group of guys on standby constantly. So when the president give the green light, they can be anywhere in the world within 24 hours or so.


    Fiona - 
    How do you keep your SEAL characters from becoming caricatures? How do you keep them three-dimensional.

    Steve - 
    Just by drawing on personal experiences, observations over the years, and so on. I think dialogue is important

    Fiona - 
    Is it hard to write the specialized SEAL-speak, making it correct and yet understandable to the non-military reader?

    Steve - 
    As a professor, I taught English to speakers of other languages, so it's easier to explain SEAL talk to Americans than English to non-Americans.

    Fiona - 
    What do you see written incorrectly that you wish you could teach writers so they'd get it right?

    Steve - 
    The loud, muscle-bound characters are less common. 

    And a triathlete physique is more desirable than a body builder. The SEAL job is more of a marathon than a power lift. And it doesn't take much strength to kill a terrorist. Or anyone.  The pull of a trigger requires very little strength.

    In Zero Dark Thirty, the guys were shouting a lot when they took down bin Laden. In real life, guys know each other and have been doing the deed for years -- no need for words.

    Fiona - 
    You have a new book out can you give us a synopsis?





    Steve - 

    Chris Paladin leaves SEAL Team Six to become a pastor, but CIA spook Hannah Andrade pulls him back into Special Operations Group, the ultra-secret unit that SEALs and others served under to eliminate Bin Laden. Chris and Hannah are joined by Delta Force’s Sonny Cohen to stop a new terrorist threat from launching a deadly cyber-attack against the United States.

    Fiona - 
    At ThrillWriting we always ask: What is the story behind your favorite scar - and barring favorite scar story can you 
    tell us a harrowing tale that you survived?

    Steve - 
    During SEAL training, we were landing our rubber boats on the rocks at night: night rock portage. We got flipped out of the boat by the waves and landed in the water and on the rocks. I got caught between the boat and a boulder.

    Waves just kept pushing boat against me and filling with water. The pressure was so strong, I thought my chest was going to burst. I really thought I was dead. I've passed out under water, but that was peaceful compared to the rock.

    I was sandwiched between boat and the boulder. 
    About 7 guys couldn't pull it off me.  They finally caught a lull in the waves and pulled it off while I pushed. And I got out. I really thought I was dead.

    Fiona - 

    How did they know you were under there?

    Steve - 
    They saw me. I think another guy was trapped with me. We were standing. A boat weighs about the same as a small car when full of water. 


    Fiona - 
    Thank goodness they did! Thank you so much Steve for sharing your expertise.


    You can find Steve's books at stephentemplin.com


    And thanks to our readers/writers who stopped by. Please leave any questions or comments below. Remember I have to moderate for SPAM so it wont show up right away. If you've found my blog to be helpful, please share. I've put some social buttons below for your convenience. Happy plotting.

    Cheers,
    Fiona

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  • Face to Face with Gang Terror: Information for Writers with Valerie O'Brian

     
    Autobiographical article by Valerie O'Brian

    What is it like to come face to face with a criminal?

      I have faced this obstacle, time and time again. As a reporter and freelance journalist, I have encountered some of the worlds leading gangland criminals. I have spoken, dined, and even loved some of the world’s most hardened terrorists. Do I suffer from Stockholm syndrome? This is a possibility.

    I have been part of research teams hunting down missing women. These would include Ireland's infamous missing six. As such, one day on my way to University, he came at me with such speed. I didn’t see him until it was too late. I stopped dead in my tracks imagining the blow to my face. The Beast of Baltinglass, also known as Larry Murphy, was a formidable force with enough speed to strike the fear of God into me. I think I have been working on the case with some of my elite special forces friends from the Irish Army Ranger Wing for far too long.

    I was sick. I was plonked in a town, which was on the peripheral of his hunting ground. Kildare and Wicklow are his torture thrones.  Horror rapes, distraught women,   a check list and a methodical mind. He works with a compass. It is questionable if he works alone. I am so doubtful. As an ex army women, I know it is not impossible to dig a deep grave in no less than a few hours. A killer needs to be pumped. A killer needs to be fuelled. A killer needs to have you on his agenda, on his list and a rapist.

    In his mind, he must have a reason to go after you. Six missing women, six torn families and yet the district of Kildare and Wicklow knows just a fragment of the real trauma inflicted. Not all women escape. Not all women reach the safety of the garda station. At times the armed response unit and detectives arrive months after the crime scene has been cleaned up. As such, it is reported that US American student Annie McCarrick’s family have spent up to E150, 000 in a search operation to find her.

    Larry Murphy is at the centre of her disappearance. It is believed she is the victim of a serial killer. Missing Newbridge women Deirdre Jacob is believed to have been snatched from the street in broad daylight.  It is presumed that all of these women are dead. It is presumed that all of these women were brutally raped, murdered and buried in the Wicklow Mountains .  Each of these women had to strike a cord in the mind of the serial killer. He has a code of moral conduct. I have over the years discovered his pet hates. He doesn’t like a single women going out to dinner with a married man. He particularly has a pet hate for glamour models, unmarried mothers, and uncatholic behaviour. 

    In an island of scholars and saints, Larry Murphy is the alleged serial killer. But where is the proof? I would imagine all of these women, were petrified into never coming home. I would imagine, a complex web of lies, was weaved with sinister night minds at work. A complex underground system was put together to entrap, imprison and traffic these women. There are more than six.

    It is the wish of everyone that someday these women would be found alive and well. It is the wish of everyone that no harm ever came to them. For if they lived, and are still alive, no one could ever imagine, the horror they endured. 

    Who is the henchman? Who is the real Larry Murphy?  I have come close to the truth. If I am being honest, I have become too emotionally and psychology close to the alleged serial killer. I was extracted from the situation. It was a black operation carried out with a team behind it. The screams and post traumatic stress will remain with me forever. I cannot begin to talk about it. I cannot break the truth. I cannot be the one, to uncover the facts. I am not a forensic detective. I do not work in a laboratory. I have no DNA evidence. So I am at a loss to whether or not these women are alive or brutally murdered years ago.

    Am I suffering from Stockholm syndrome? I have been living in the predatory area of Ireland ’s most infamous serial killer.  I have come close to his incredibly tight circle and community. I am assured he was a good father, a brilliant carpenter; to his wife and family, a selfless man. Yet the fact remains, he is a convicted rapist, having served ten hard years completely unremorseful in Europe ’s top security penitentiary prison, Portlaoise Prison.  So having recovered from illness, I have been reunited with my Special Forces Friends. They are some of the best in the world. We have had our arguments. At times we were angry.

    “It is your fault my jaw is broken”

    “Who threw the acid in the swimming pool?”

    “No one has any respect for you, you’re a women”

    I was Irelands Top Infantry Soldier with a sharp mind, and inquisitive train of thought. These talents or rather mishaps landed me in Irelands vanishing triangle. I was a lamb to the slaughter. I was given my mission. I was too ill to understand what was really going on. Eight years later my mind still cannot come to terms with the reality. I have a form of Stockholm syndrome.

    Drug traffickers, brutal rapists and terrorists were woven into my everyday life. As such I could carry on down the shops buy a pint of milk, get my hair done and chat about my upcoming wedding. Human trafficking, drug mulling, and selling new born babies on the black market are part of the sinister world my friends and I delve into.

    I cannot begin to describe what a black operation in the Elite Army Ranger Wing is like. It is black, it is hard and it is sinister. I am proud of the some of the rescues. I am proud of some of the lives saved. I am happy that I am getting married in the near future. I hope my former life does not catch up with me. So I would implore some of the men I have investigated, had dinner with, and sometimes was powerless to restrain.

    I implore you to leave me; a hardened, old women and former soldier retired into a world of marriage. I will never be able to have children.  I will never be able to lead a normal life. I am in so many ways scarred, in the same manner many of the victims, were scarred. In the same way that some of the rapists, murderers, and terrorists minds were moulded.   I cannot break the mould and ever lead a blissful white picket fence life. But I can try. I hope Larry Murphy seeks rehabilitation, and finds remorse for the victims he has carried out his crimes against.

    He has watched me. He has followed me. I didn’t have sex for two years. I went to mass almost daily. I prayed, religiously. He thought I was a good upstanding member of the community. I never sought to draw him out. I never sought to infringe on his privacy. Yet I plan to write a book in the fictional sense. I hope it gives justice to the women who are considered Irelands Missing Six.

    Yet it is up to the Gardai, and FBI to find the remains of all of these women. Though I hope they are alive. It was incredibly harrowing coming face to face with Ireland ’s most infamous alleged serial killer. I cannot begin to describe what it has been like living in the shadow of the Irish Army Ranger Wing and in the Shadow of Irelands Missing Six for eight years.

    In the Shadow of Men was my first foray into the world of published works. When I landed in my gorgeous home and beautiful community, I never imagined my Special Forces friends, landed me on a secret mission, in sleepy hollow. As yellow ribbons adorn trees in America for missing US student Annie, and Fiona Pender’s mother and brother plead for her return. What will happen to those suspected or being part of Larry Murphy’s infamous gang? For after eight years, I doubt very much that he worked alone. This is just one of the most harrowing stories and situations in which I as a crime reporter, undercover journalist and former soldier have been involved in.

    I plan to return to a normal life, married, happy and set free from the captors. My most horrid scar is waking up screaming the house down when someone enters the room.

    “Jesus Christ I am going to be late for work”

    “I have to sit down for ten minutes”

    “I am sure I am having a heart attack”

    “I only turned on the light” a new tenant might speak, a ghostly pale shadow fleeting across his face.

    Was it the Catholic Church, was it a gang, I will never be sure. I wouldn't describe it as my favourite scar. I would debate the word favourite. I think I would describe it as a war scar, a battle scar, which might never be erased. Missing, they are all out there somewhere, their bodies, just missing. I would ask any one with any information to do the right thing and go to the police with any information relating to any missing person you might know.   How did I stay sane? I walked for up to two hours each day.
    I wrote, I painted the house over and over and over again.

    “Pink again”

    “What about lavender”

    “No, pink again, ok we will go with pink again”
    It was the only semblance of sanity left in me.

    “Jesus Christ, I can’t even get to the computer, with the files, and papers”

    “Cigarettes and ashes all over the whole house”

    “Ah Jesus Christ, you need help girl”

    “You’re not well” my mam would say.

    In turn I would hand her the Sunday papers, brutal photos, slash murders all across the page. Yet she didn’t pick up the clues. As a doctor of history and sociology, I cannot quite believe she didn’t pick up the clues. Why not? I could never say.

    “Larry Murphy lives down the road”

    No, it was a secret black operations world. It is a worl d in which I will never forget.    


    A big thank you to Valerie O'Brian for sharing. I conducted an interview with her. Please look for that in the near future.

    And thank you to you, Readers/Writers. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Also, if you find this resource helpful, please spread the word - I've put some social media buttons below. Your effort is much appreciated.

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