Thursday, June 12, 2008

And They're Off . . . part 1

In a matter of hours, I will be hitting the road with the family for part one of the vacation: a four day trip to Maupin Oregon. We will join another 50 plus VW camper buses for cook outs, pot lucks, live music, beautiful scenery and much fun. I am completely ready psychologically. I've been working long hours to make sure I could take off this time. I've been to five doctors in one week. I've been scheduled for one surgery when I get back in July with the looming possibility of one or even two more to follow. I am doing my best Scarlett O'Hara imitation and saying I refuse to think about that today and will just worry about it tomorrow. Right now my head is full of things like get out the kitty litter, clean out the frig, pack all four million new medications, remember the dog dish and other sundry details. We will be back on Sunday afternoon to do the BIG switch from bus to van, small bags to suitcases and short trip to long. Am I feeling overwhelmed, daunted, worried, apprehensive? You bet I am. Am I also excited, ready to get out the door and just leave crap behind me for a while? Absolutely. Wish us safe travels.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

An Unexpected Grief

Today I was working on an assignment and for whatever reason, the image of one of my dearest friends when I was a kid popped into my head. He had been my buddy all through the school years and was really special to me. I spoke with him briefly 8 years ago, reminiscing about some of our favorite memories. Even though we hadn't seen each other since high school graduation, I thought of him often and wondered how he was.

I decided to Google him and see if I could find him. I did. He died. Six weeks ago.

I felt like someone punched me. It really, really hurt. All of those fun times we had together . . . they seemed like months ago. I could not believe he was gone. Brushing away tears, I called information and got his mother's phone number in Indiana. I called her and told her how very sad I was. She told me that he had committed suicide and I thought my heart would break. My gentle, kind friend killed himself. I wished somehow I could have known he was so unhappy and called him. I could have reminded him of the joy we had together as kids. I could have invited him to come and stay with us for a while. I wish I could have reached out and hugged him and talked way into the night. I could have just let him know how important he was to me. But I didn't know.

He was 49. He was one month shy of getting his doctorate degree in psychotherapy. He was a sweet boy who was a friend to me when no one else was. I grieve for him today. I grieve for the years gone by. I am glad that I was able to tell his mother how precious he had been to me. I hope it helps her heart. I wish it would help mine.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Well. . . . . Damn

The emotional week comes to a crashing end.
Went to see the urologist today. A look at the ultrasound and my medical history and they scheduled surgery immediately. I refused to have it done until we do our trip to Indiana and back. (yhusband thinks I am insane and the stubornest woman on the planet.) However, I am not letting anything interfere with that. But this is very sobering. It will cost upwards of $15,000, which we don't have but thank goodness for payment plans. I've been given meds for the pain, which is helpful. The problem won't end there though. Once the stones are gone, we have the issue of what doctors believe to be the original problem which is (say it with me, now) hy-per-pa-ra-thy-roid-ism. The solution to that? Apparently more surgery. More money. ARGH. On Wednesday, I get a full report on everything from the doctor. I leave the next morning for a four day campout in Maupin, come back on Sunday and leave again Monday morning.

I am walking around feeling guilty as hell over this. I have had this huge lull in work for the first time in years--of course, it would happen NOW. I am worried about how we will ever manage to pay off all of this, as well as how well I will be able to keep up with the work I do have while undergoing all of this treatment. Mostly, I am feeling old and sad and in pain and frustrated.

Ah well. Life goes on. I will get myself emotionally grounded by the end of day. Right now I am just feeling completely overwhelmed by life and responsibility.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Apparently, I'm Stoned

It has been an emotional week in my life.
First, I went to a new doctor. She is exceptional. I think she will be my forever doctor. She takes her time, listens to you, never rushes you, believes what you say and generally treats you like an actual human being. In the medical world, I find this rare. I went in for unremitting side and back pain. She did an exam, asked LOTS of questions and then set me up for an ultrasound and some blood work.
That is what I spent today doing. At the end of this exhausting day, here is what I have found out about me:
I have a huge gall stone
I have two kidney stones (hence the title, people), one of which is partially blocking my ureter. No wonder I am in pain.
Blood work also says my thyroid is whacked, my kidneys are damaged, my triglycerides are terrible and I am losing calcium in my blood. (But hey, not anemic anymore!!)
All this comes at me 8 days before I leave on vacation. Now there is talk of diets, gallbladder surgery, ultrasound kidney stone treatment and much more. My head is swimming and I feel quite confused. I see the urologist tomorrow morning (if I can swing the money they want up front . . I've been putting every dime into the vacation account) and then my doctor for a full report over everything on the 11th. I am taking Joseph with me so he can listen with me because otherwise, it is just too much to take it by myself.
In the meantime, my period is late (NO, I'm not pregnant, otherwise this post would be coming from the psych ward) and I am ridiculously emotional. Plus, damn it, it HURTS.
But hey, I shouldn't even notice, right? Because, clearly, I am stoned!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

They Just Keep Telling Me . .

Everyone who knows me well enough to read this blog knows that I am a writer. I've authored more than 140 books to date. I love the job and it still gives me a thrill to look my name up on Amazon and see the listings. However, with very few exceptions, everything I write is non fiction. I know the process upside down, inside out and topsy turvy by now.

The problem is that the people I love most in my life are the ones that keep suggesting, encouraging, reminding, insisting, demanding and NAGGING me to write a novel. They want me to write a fictional novel because, they all swear in legion, I would be SO GOOD at it. Hmmmmm.

Writing a fictional novel when you typically only write nonfiction is like asking a professional basketball player to take up polo or a flamenco dancer to learn square dancing. Sure, the very BASIC process is the same (hit a ball, dance a step, write the words, etc.) but it calls on much different ideas, pathways, processes, skills and talent. I'm not sure (although damn, they all seem to be!) that I have or can get those skills.

Sure, I love the idea of having a novel on the shelf with my name on it. I'd like to see it on someone's bedroom table with a receipt stuck in it to make their place. I"d like to see someone walk by at the library with a copy in their hands. I'd like to read a review about it that talks about character development, plot line and that fantastic twist at the end but I am also incredibly intimidated by the thought of attempting it. No plots drift through my head after I watch a movie. No ideas pop up as I am reading someone else's novel. I am not struck with a lightbulb over the top of my head when purusing the bookstore aisles. Would that it were so.

So despite the fact that my husband, daughter, best friend and others keep asking when I am going to write a novel (or as some less tactful people put it, a REAL book like the 140 ones I've done aren't REAL), I will keep putting on my someday list and hope that inspiration will find me while I am still young enough to pay attention to it.