Sickness and Writing

So, this time, I didn’t update on Monday because I was sick.  It was an easy ER trip, though.  The doc knew about my condition, so he did a quick exam and then gave me my meds and sent me to wait in a recliner until they kicked in and knocked me out.  A nurse came and asked if I was ready to go and I said no, because I still felt nauseous and probably couldn’t walk.  Then another half hour or so passed and the nurse was back, and I felt confident enough to be on my way. 

I got home and went to sleep.  I woke up around 430pm, and my sister brought me Gatorade.  Then I went back to sleep, and woke up around 7.  Then I went back to sleep at 9 and woke at 1230am. Which is why now, at 3am, I am writing my blog.

I didn’t have much to say.  I was just going to write about writer’s block.  I suffered a short-term case during the past few weeks, as evidenced by my lack of output.  But yesterday, I reworked the ending of part one of my WIP.  I introduced a character, small but important, who explains a few things that need to be known to my MC’s (main characters.)  The MC’s are on a major Caribbean island after living their life on a significantly smaller one with few people, no cars or big buildings, and relative quiet.  I was struggling with a scene, where I’m getting them off their rowboat and onto the island, and I obsessed over it for a week.  I know I should have moved on and come back to it, but it was the final scene of part one and I just had to finish it.  So, I brainstormed with Mark.

Mark is great for this, as he is not a writer, but he does have a vivid imagination.  He’s not much of a reader either, so I am kind of telling him the story as I go, which is also helpful.  But sometimes I get stuck and I go to him, and we spend half an hour or so going over my ideas.  He likes to give suggestions of where the story should go, and sometimes they are good.  A lot of times they aren’t applicable to what I’ve already got going on, in which case I say a simple “no,” and we move on.  He never gets mad if I shoot down his idea.  He knows this is my thing.

Anyway, we brainstormed, and out popped a character that the MC’s know as “the man with the hat,” but whom I secretly named Bernie after my sister and her youthful affinity for bucket hats.  (Photo below.)

This gentleman explains to my MC’s some very basic information that they need on the island, and points them in the right direction in their quest.  It’s probably a frowned upon trope, but I don’t care.  I needed it to get to where I had to be.  Plus…this is just a first draft. 

So, I am back on the writing train, and I am working hard on my WIP and hoping more ideas come to me soon for my blog, because I can’t write about the same things all the time…sickness and writing.  I mean I’m a pro at both, but I just need new topics.

But, I got past the part of my book where I was stuck.  I completed part one, at over 20k words.  That is certainly something to celebrate.

My sister, age 3.

On Books and Tummy-Aches.

It is midafternoon on a Monday, usually a time when I am far done with my blog, but today was a holiday, and this week has been strange.

I was sick, unfortunately, pretty much all week.  It was terrible and I have no desire to rehash it so let’s just call last week a wash and move on.

I came across a photo the other day, below.  Me and Kevin, maybe four-years-old.  I am sick and lying on the sofa, and he is sitting beside me, reading a book.

I don’t read much anymore because it is difficult for me, what with my eyes.  I do more now than before I got new glasses, but without bifocals it’s still tricky.  I have had two Stephen King’s sitting beside my bed for months that are unfinished.

And then today, Kevin gave me about fifteen more. 

While downsizing his life, he decided to get rid of his King collection and gave it to me, which is awesome, but now means that A. I need more bookshelves, and B. My reading list has just expanded greatly.  They’re all books I have yet to read, or have read once and didn’t have a copy of. 

Anyway, this special delivery reminded me of that little picture of a sad and sick Briggy being soothed by the fake-reading of a four-year-old Kevvie.  I was really sick this week, and I had a few plans with my bud that ended up having to be postponed because of it.  If there is anything worse than the physical pain that comes with gastroparesis, there is the mental anguish of always feeling like you’re ruining something by getting sick.  Every plan I have to cancel or rearrange haunts me.  I hate it.

Today, I hate the whole damn thing.

But tomorrow, who knows…maybe I will make a space on my bookshelf.  Maybe I will choose a new King novel to devour, hoping that it will get me back to the other two languishing on my nightstand.  Maybe I will read something, and the words will seep into my eyeballs and though my pores and wind their way though my body, and I will be healed by a story or tale or poem…little healings, that keep me going.

Always gotta keep going.

Monday, Wednesday, Whatever.

I impose a Monday deadline on myself because when I was younger, I never did my homework on time.  I spent a great many afternoons in 6th grade sitting in detention and finishing my science labs.  It only got worse as I got older.  It wasn’t until my fateful year at college that I learned to work with deadlines, and I try to impose them on myself to keep my life in order.  I am a procrastinator from way back, and it’s difficult to change one’s stripes, so I am always trying.  Thus, I imposed a deadline for my blog.  Every Monday, I will post something, whether profound or not, just something so I can hold myself accountable.  However, deadlines are made to be broken.

I have written this before.  I have also written the same excuse for this broken deadline, because it is always the same excuse…it is difficult to write with an IV in one’s arm, or as the case was Monday, one’s foot.

I don’t like to write about getting sick because I have a lot of emotions attached to it, mostly anger and rage.  Mostly failure.  Like, I know I did nothing to end up in the hospital on Monday morning.  I took my pills.  I followed my diet.  And yet my stomach rebelled, as it is wont to do, and landed me back at good old Mercy hospital.

First, there’s the waiting room, which has at best lasted thirty seconds and at worst lasted eight hours.  We were somewhere in the middle on this one.  Then there’s triage, where they try to find a vein, fail miserably, give up and put me in a room.  They send another nurse, the “vein whisperer,” if you will, and she pulls out all the stops.  Still, nothing, and they go to the foot.  Finally, they’re taking blood.  Finally, I can get some meds.  Compazine and Zofran and Ativan and Morphine…and then there is sleep.

I wake up and they tell me I can’t leave, my blood sugar is too high, because of course diabetes wants to come out and play, too.  They will keep me overnight for observation, which sounds simple but means I probably won’t be out until at least supper time.  I wake up in the night in pain, more morphine; I wake up nauseated, more Zofran.  Someone brings a breakfast I don’t touch.  Someone takes my blood.  Someone else brings fresh water, and that tastes remarkable.  My blood sugar is normal again, and if I eat, they’ll take out my IV.  I do as I’m told between sleeps.

Eventually a doctor comes around the same time as my lunch tray and tells me I can go home if I eat soup a little soupier than that they just gave me.  I wait longer for food.  I eat, I don’t throw up, so I call my nurse and tell her I want to go home.  I wait.  Three hours later, she takes the IV out of my foot, tests my blood sugar, and sends me on my way.

This is a short visit.  This isn’t the nine days I spent in June, and it doesn’t feel like October when I went back three times in a week.  This is just one day that throws me off by a century.  I wake up this morning with pain in my stomach and a faulty gag reflex and run to the bathroom, terrified that we will be going back for round two.  I take my meds and pray they stay down.  I eat a cracker.  I wait.  Eventually the pain subsides and I don’t feel the urge to puke, so I eat another cracker.  I wait.

There’s a lot of waiting.

Now, I sit at my desk which is downright buried under stuff, because of course the house looks like four child-sized tornados went through it.  Cleanup is also the thing I do on Mondays, right after posting my blog, and it is the thing I will be doing this Wednesday, despite my body being tired from retching and my brain foggy from medications.  I have to do it though, because I need that normalcy in my life.  I need that to hold onto when I lose a day, or three, to a broken gut.