Author Question: Disease for Infant

My good friend, Candace Calvert, drops by today with a medical question. Even though she is a former ER nurse extraordinaire– pediatrics was not her specialty so she is doing what medical people do best– consult an expert and I am happy to help out with the help of one of my physicians.

Candace writes inspirational romance with a medical backdrop. I happily endorsed, Rescue Team, releasing May 1st which is book #2 in the Grace Medical Series. Hope you’ll check out all of her books. She is one talented lady.

Candace Asks:

I need a disease/disorder for a 6 month old baby that would require hospitalization and is hereditary.

Jordyn Says:

Okay, first I have to confess that I got the answer to this question from a physician co-worker who is an encyclopedia for crazy medical conditions. If your child is that zebra in the forest, she will figure out what it is so thanks Cathy for this answer.

A perfect condition would be a Fatty Acid Oxidative Disorder. In this case, a long chain mixed fatty acid oxidase deficiency. Now, before your eyes glaze over with that– I could never write that— checked out look like I may have had in high school algebra you could simply say the child had an inherited metabolic disorder.

The child would appear to be normal and all body symptoms normally functioning until something happens to cause the child to fast such as stomach flu (gastroenteritis) that would cause the child to stop eating due to vomiting.

This definition comes from the follow link:

Definition: Fatty acid oxidation disorders are inherited conditions that affect the way a person’s body breaks down certain fats (fatty acids). A person with a fatty acid oxidation disorder cannot breakdown their stored fat for energy. Consequently, the body begins to fail once food the person has eaten runs out. In addition, fatty acids build up in the blood. In the case of fatty acid oxidation disorders, the inability to break down fats for energy and the build up of fatty acids can cause serious health problems.

In a normal, functioning body, when you no longer are taking in food, your body starts to metabolize muscle and fat for energy. This is actually the basis of some diets that cut out carbs in order to get you to burn fat. It puts your body in a state of “ketosis” which isn’t necessarily an awesome thing– but I digress.

When the body is burning muscle and fat for energy, you get a build-up of ketones in the blood. We can actually see the body is burning ketones by performing a urinalysis that shows ketones.

In this case, what would actually point the physician to think about this particular metabolic disorder is the absence of ketones in a state where the patient would normally be ketotic. For instance, the blood sugar would be dangerously low (10-20– where you could actually seize.) Normal blood sugar is 60-100. When the blood sugar is low, the body should naturally go to protein (muscle) and fat for energy because it is very self serving in wanting to stay alive. On the urinalysis, there would be absence of ketones showing the body’s inability to breakdown these tissues.

Treatment would include infusing a high sugar solution (like D10).

Author Interview: Candace Calvert 2/2

We’re continuing today with my interview with medical thriller writer Candace Calvert. Be sure to pick up her latest and greatest novel, Trauma Plan.

Welcome back, Candace!

Jordyn: Tell us about your current release.
Candace: Trauma Plan is the first book in my (Texas set) Grace Medical series. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to ER duties. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? To prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.

Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.
As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode, and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.

Jordyn: What’s one thing readers might be surprised to learn about you?
Candace: Like the nurse heroine in Trauma Plan, I’m also a certified lay chaplain.
Jordyn: Most embarrassing moment while nursing? Most triumphant nursing moment?
Candace: Embarrassing: I once walked into an ER treatment room, glanced at the partially clad young man on the gurney and asked, “Can you expose your upper thigh without taking off those bicycle shorts?”  He stared at me for a moment, then struggled to do that: healthy skin exposed. Confused, I asked him where his “infected boil” was. It turns out that the clerks had put the wrong ID sticker on this man’s chart. He was there for a sore throat. I can’t tell you how many times nurse friends STILL snicker and ask me, “Can you expose your thigh . . .”?
Most triumphant: Once there was a woman brought in as a possible overdose, she was unconscious, pale, rapidly deteriorating. We were about to intubate, give reversal agents and lavage. In talking with the husband, I learned that she’d also taken Benadryl because of a “sudden rash and itching.” She was in anaphylactic shock, but too far gone to show the hives. We turned her around in moments with the appropriate interventions. It was a small “triumph,” but I always think about the “what ifs” had we proceeded along that OD path instead.
Jordyn: Most embarrassing writing moment? Most triumphant writing moment?
Candace: Most embarrassing: Probably my first submitted manuscript years ago. After I mailed it off (snail mail era), I was looking through the Word file and realized that I’d accidentally pasted a huge chunk of Internet research smack in the middle of a scene. To this day I always check my manuscripts compulsively, then still hesitate and take a deep breath before pushing the “Send” button. Submission PTSD.
Triumphant: The most obvious would be getting that first call from my agent Natasha Kern saying she was interested in signing me. But, in truth, the moments continue. Not so much the starry reviews or awards, but rather the connections I make with readers; the incredible notes that say my stories have touched their lives, made a difference, offered hope in tough times. For me, this is exactly like “the best part” of nursing.
Jordyn: What are you writing now?
Candace: I’m currently writing (working title) First Responder, the third book in the Grace Medical series.
Jorydn: Any final thoughts?
Candace: I’d like to say how very happy I am that medical drama has found its place in today’s Christian fiction market. I love teaming with talented writers like Dr. Harry Kraus, Hannah Alexander, Dr. Richard Mabry and Jordyn Redwood (!) to invite readers into our exciting world. And help “Grey’s Anatomy find its soul.”
Thank you for hosting me here, Jordyn. It’s a pleasure to connect with your readers. I invite them to stop by my website: or visit me on Twitter and Facebook. Happy reading!

Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.

Author Interview: Candace Calvert 1/2

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be interviewing Candace Calvert today and Wednesday! She’s a fellow medical thriller writer, a great mentor and true friend. Her novel, Trauma Plan, just released so be sure to pick up your copy.

Welcome, Candace!

Jordyn: Tell us a little about your nursing/writing path. Were you always an ER nurse? Have you always written stories? Or, did writing come after nursing?
Candace: I was an ER nurse for more than 3 decades. Yes, (laughing) I was drafted into this calling as a mere child. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and in school I was one of those rare (and possibly odd) students who welcomed essay assignments as a treat. Though I tinkered with creative writing off and on during my adult years, it was a near-death experience that actually launched my publishing career.
In 1997, I was thrown from a horse and eventually landed “on the other side of the stethoscope” in my own trauma room. I’d suffered thoracic and multiple rib fractures, a bleeding lung, cervical fractures and a spinal cord injury. The inspirational account of that event—“By Accident”—appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul and was my first published work.
Jordyn: What was your favorite part about nursing? Least favorite part?
Candace: Favorite part: That heart-warming and goose bumpy moment when you know that “being there” for a particular patient has made a big difference in that person’s life. Least Favorite: Inflicting physical pain during necessary treatment, especially with children.
Jordyn: What do you think are some common misconceptions about nurses– or ER nurses specifically?
Candace: People think that nurses get “tough” and immune to the pain and tragedy they experience in their careers, that there is some protective psychological flak jacket we pull on to distance ourselves. It’s so not true. As a peer counselor for Critical Incident Stress (“burn out”), I saw the profound effects that painful scenarios have on staff. One of the main reasons I write medical fiction is to reveal (and honor) the compassionate hearts behind the stethoscopes.
Jordyn: What made you decide to pursue publication?
Candace: In truth, my husband. I’d been dabbling, dreaming. One day he signed me up for an online writing class, saying, “Stop talking about writing a book and just do it.” Pushy and wonderful man.
Jordyn: What are some common medical inaccuracies you see when you read novels or watch television?
Candace: One of things that irks me most, is when a young, healthy person is the victim of trauma (gunshot, MVA, etc.), drops to the street of a huge city (meaning LOTS of hospitals!) and someone does a quick pulse check and then says with wisdom and melodrama, “He’s gone.” Excuse me? I’m sure it’s plot effective to get rid of that victim, but no CPR, no 911 call, no transport to a nearby trauma center? Where’s that “Golden Hour”?  A witnessed collapse and no one does anything. Makes me crazy.
We’ll continue with Candace on Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing everyone for Part II!

Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.