Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guest Post by Brad A. LaMar



Pain Meds and Life Lessons
Guest Post by Brad A. LaMar

I’d like to thank Scooter for letting me guest blog on Cowgirl Contemporary Fantasy, even though I am not a cow nor am I a girl.  I thought I would share a story about my father and my uncle that brought a little humor to a rather depressing situation. 

When my father, John, turned 50 he owned his own roofing business and was also a firefighter with great work ethic and big heart for helping someone in need.  He never really needed anything from anyone since he was going to work twice as hard as the next guy and make whatever it was that needed to happen happen.  I tell you this because about four months after he turned 50 he was struck by a debilitating virus in a condition known as Guillain- Barre syndrome (GBS). (You can follow the link to learn more, but essentially the covering on his body’s nerves known as the myelin sheath was stripped away and his body cannot receive messages from his brain to move.  It can be experienced differently by those who are afflicted it, but in my dad’s case he became paralyzed from the neck down.  Also, he had amplified sensitivity to being touched.  Sort of like if you placed a finger on his skin he would feel it like he was being hit by a hammer.  He would remain that way for over a year and a half before he had some regeneration in his nerves.  One doctor told him that he had the deepest case in Indiana history that didn’t kill someone.  Lucky, but also unlucky.

Dad wasn’t feeling very well at the firehouse and found some opportunities to take naps in between emergency runs.  The next day he drove over to a roofing job site and met his crew, but he still wasn’t feeling quite right.  He left his crew to head home, but on the way home he noticed that he was getting a tingling sensation in his feet and in his hands.  He got home and slept for a while and then around 3:30 in the afternoon he got up and walked to the kitchen for a drink of water.  By this time his hands felt like the circulation to them had been cut off and he fumbled with a glass.  Once he finally took hold of it he turned on the faucet and filled the glass, but something was way off.  He couldn’t direct his arms and hands to lift the glass to find his mouth.

My mom walked in from work at this point and noticed that dad was just standing at the sink.  “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I can’t find my mouth,” he replied.

That was it!  Mom led dad out to the car and drove him to the hospital.  By the time they arrived, dad couldn’t get out of the car.  Nurses came out and lifted him into a wheelchair and took him in.  I was at my college classes and knew none of what was going on, so when I came home that evening my cousin was waiting for me.  He told me what was happening and we hustled to the hospital.  When I arrived and looked at my father lying in that bed completely unable to move I broke down.  I was nineteen and that was the first time I had experienced any real heartbreak.

Over the next couple of weeks doctors ran a battery of tests ruling other possible aliments out until they settled on GBS.  A diagnosis was nice but dad was not sleeping, not eating, and on some heavy pain medication.  Those three things added up to a man not thinking straight.

My uncle Steve, my dad’s brother, came to visit one time while I was there in that first couple of weeks.  Dad was in a chair and was at a slight angle so he could watch the TV comfortably.  Steve and I stood on either side of him as we all participated in small talk.  At one point I noticed that dad was quiet and staring down at his knee.

“What’s the matter, Dad?” I asked.

Dad sighed.  “You won’t believe me if I tell you.”

“What is it, John?” Steve asked.

“Well,” Dad began.  “There’s a white rabbit sitting on my knee looking at me and I don’t want him to.”

Steve and I exchanged looks and Steve decided to play along (not in a mocking way) and he said, “I’ll get it for you, John,” as he swept his hand over dad’s knee to knocked the “bunny” away.

Dad’s face showed his frustration.  “No, no, no.  He just jumped over your hand.  Help me grab him with my hand.”

“Okay, Dad,” I said as I lifted his wrist and hand and helped him to work his fingers to grab the rabbit.

I wanted to cry, but the satisfaction on his face after that did not let me.  He later told me that he knew the rabbit, among other hallucinations, wasn’t real, but to satisfy his mind he still had to run through the motions.  He needed to be the one to do it.

I learned something about perseverance and the strength of a person’s resolve throughout that whole experience with my father.  His ordeal and the way he responded to it helped me to put things into perspective.  I learned that life is going to hit you with waves of hardships but you can’t allow the undertow to drag you out to an ocean of misery. 

My father eventually was able to walk again, feed himself again, and give himself a shower.  He fought through one of the darkest moments in his life and came out of it a stronger man.  In the process, his son came to think of his father as one of his heroes and greatest teachers.

A little about me…

I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana as a kid in the 80’s and a teen in the 90’s.  So I went from neon colors and short shorts to grunge and flannel; funny how things change.  I graduated high school and then pursued a teaching degree.  I have been married and divorced and married again and have two great kids from my first marriage.  I have been an educator for the last 14 years and have been writing with being published in mind for the last six years.  My wife and I are animal lovers so we have two little dogs, one puking cat, and two small frogs.  They all bring adventure to our lives.

My Debut Novel…

My book is called The Obsidian Dagger and it is the first book in the Celtic Mythos Series.  Here’s the book blurb:

When a mad witch with a magically crafted and frightfully powerful Obsidian Dagger threatens to obliterate humanity and overtake the magic clans of the Celtic Isles, destiny forces 17-year-old American, Brendan O Neal, and his younger sister, Lizzie, to intervene. Joining the desperate princess of the Leprechauns, Dorian, and her two loyal companions, Rory and Biddy, they embark on a dangerous and wondrous adventure across Ireland and Scotland to thwart the witch and save mankind. Battling the witch s mutated forces of magical beings, the heroic band will have to reach deeper into themselves than they ever thought possible to find the strength, courage, and will to see their quest through to the end. Brendan will soon learn that the lines between reality, mythology, and divinity are more blurred than he ever imagined.

I was thrilled to learn more and more about the rich folklore of the Celtic people and as I researched it all a story began to develop in my mind.  So, after learning as much as I can I began to plan the adventure.  You could imagine my shock and joy when a publisher offered me a contract and a series!  I listed some links below, but you can always Google Brad A. LaMar and learn more about me and my writing.  Thanks to Scooter for letting me hitch a ride on her blog.  Happy reading everyone!

@bradalamar29
I’m on Pinterest, as well, just search "Brad A. LaMar."

You can purchase The Obsidian Dagger on:


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