Your health should be your highest priority.

I didn't learn that until my trip to the hospital.

We begin our story with the fact that October was going to be a really busy month for me.  Not that I'm complaining.  I like plans and schedules.  And every woman knows that making a things-to-do list is the way to get-things-done.

So I finished the manuscript of my next book, and two days later, I was scheduled to throw the 13th annual Book Club Party at my house, which is 1,000 people over two days. Then three days after that, I was scheduled to leave for Rome to research a new book, and you get the idea.

But woman plans and God laughs.

The first day of the book club party, which was Saturday morning, I was racing around upstairs, trying to get ready.  The weather was hot/cold, so I couldn't decide what to wear, and I was changing in and out of clothes while the dogs watched, since we were all enclosed in the bedroom.  I finally settled on a dress, which was the first outfit I started with.

Please tell me you do this, too.

Your first answer is always the right one.

This doesn't always apply to marriages. When even the second one could be the wrong answer.

I'm choosing my third outfit with more care.

But to return to the point, I finally got dressed and was about to leave the bedroom when I noticed that one of the dogs, Kit, was sitting next to his leash, which was on the floor. Kit is an adorable Cavalier King Charles spaniel, the runt of his litter, but he has his quirks.

Quirk is the word you use for faults in the dog you love.

And Kit's quirk is that he guards his leash, food bowl, and water bowl, so if he's sitting next to his leash, he'll growl at anyone or anything that comes near.  I couldn't leave the bedroom with the leash on the floor because he could get into a fight with the other dogs, so I had to pick it up.

Kit growled, but I thought to myself, he won't bite me.

After all, he loves me.

And I feed him.

Who bites the hand that feeds him?

Evidently, Kit.

Because as soon as I reached down, Kit bit me on the hand.

It wasn't a terrible bite, but it was bleeding in two places, so I washed my hand, put on two Band-Aids, then went down to the book club party, where I hugged, shook hands, and patted the backs of 500 guests.

I didn't leave any bloodstains.

But it hurt.

And swelled.

And by nighttime, my wonderful assistant Laura was saying I should get a tetanus shot, so we went to urgent care and got one, but my hand swelled more the next day, especially after I hugged, shook hands, and patted the backs of 500 more guests.

By Sunday night, my hand was turning red and Laura was telling me that we were going to the hospital.

I told her I didn't have time. I had to put the house back in order, write a column, and pack for Rome. I had a schedule.

Laura frowned. "Your health is the most important thing."

I frowned back. "No, my schedule is the most important thing."

But Laura wasn't having any, and in short order, we were in the hospital emergency room, where the doctor put me on IV antibiotics and pointed out that the redness in my hand was snaking up my arm, which is called sepsis.

The doctor said, "I'm admitting you."

"To the hospital?" I asked, in disbelief.

The doctor was too polite to wisecrack.  "Yes, and you'll be here for a few days."

"But I have to go to Rome. It's scheduled."

The doctor shook her head.  "Sorry, your health comes first."

"Not if the hotel is prepaid," I told her, but she didn't laugh.

Evidently, sepsis has its own schedule.

And caring too much about my schedule is one of my quirks.

So, to make a long story short, I was in the hospital for a few days, the sepsis went away, and I got out just in time to go to Rome, having learned my lesson.

Don't prepay the hotel.

Look for Lisa and Francesca's new humor collection, "I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses," and Lisa's number-one best-selling domestic thriller, "After Anna," and her new Rosato & DiNunzio novel, "Feared," in stores now. lisa@scottoline.com.