Thurs. Feb. 13, 2020: Procedures Continue

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Quick post over on Gratitude and Growth.

So, let’s catch up on the past few days. I went in to work, although slightly altered hours. One big client project went out yesterday afternoon. I hope to go in for a few hours’ late tomorrow morning for another one. Got out a grant proposal. Got out a book review. Worked ahead on client email blasts, so all they have to do is hit “send” over the next few weeks. Rearranged some booked time at Cape Space — they were so lovely and understanding.

Went in to work on Tuesday, because it was better than staying home and fretting. Got the call for my appointment with the specialist that afternoon. Put in a few hours’ work and headed over.

The specialist was very young, but again, very kind. He disagrees with the first doctor and her dire prognosis. He refuses to do the radical surgery that the first doctor suggested. He said it’s not necessary. He wants to do a much less radical procedure that he believes will solve the problem permanently AND serve my overall health much more in the long run. Normally, I’m for as little surgery as possible, but as I said, “I want you going in there only once. I don’t want to do this in increments. Do all the excavation in one procedure.”

He said that it wasn’t necessary. He said too many women have the radical surgery done when they don’t need it, and it results in further health complications as they age. He believes, according to what he saw during the examination and my other signs, that I don’t have any of the markers indicating the radical procedure is necessary; instead, the blood work, etc., indicate otherwise. I am slightly anemic, and we’re working on that. He upped the dose on the medication I was prescribed on Monday night 3x the original dose. He wants to increase the iron intake from 50 mg 2x/day to 325mg 2x/day. He wants to fast track the surgery for next week — but it will be in that morning, home in the afternoon.

I felt much better.

Went over to the hospital to get my bottles of barium goo. Berry flavored. Right.

Stopped and talked to my nurse/advocate on the way home, to keep her updated. Upped my evening dose of the medication, and within less than an hour noticed the improvement.

Didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night in spite of exhaustion.

Trouble getting up on Wednesday — I’d fallen asleep right before the alarm went off.
Drank my first bottle of goo at 8 AM. Not as bad as I feared, but it made me really cold. Five, ten minutes after I finished, I was fine again, but it was weird.

My friends, both local and afar, are rallying around, which is great. I know I can call on them if I need help. I made arrangements to be driven to the hospital on the day of the surgery and picked up, whenever that may be, because my mom doesn’t think she can find the hospital or find the way home. I also have the offices of Elizabeth Warren and Julian Cyr in case things get complicated and I need more of an advocate to help navigate paperwork, etc. So far, my nurse/advocate and the administrator there have handled everything and it’s been smooth (except for CVS, who always tries to screw their customers). But I keep reminding myself that when CVS was so awful with my mother a few years ago and I pitched a fit to corporate, the regional manager gave me his cell number, and the few times I needed to use it, he handled the issue in less than a half hour.

Went in to work and worked with the client. Came home, drank my second bottle of goo an hour before the appointment. This time, it made me so cold I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. Again, it stopped five minutes after I finished, and within ten minutes, I was fine.

Went in for the CT scan, and things went south fast. The technician was having a bad day, and I was at the end of 72 hours of battering tests, so I was at the end of my resources, and that did not make for a good pairing. I warned her about my fear of needles. I told her that my veins were difficult, which was the root cause of my fear. She told me I had to get over it. Not the best bedside manner.

The first time she put in the port, in the same arm where the blood draw, it hurt like hell and my vein spat it out. “Ptoui.” Not the sound you want. Or the result you want.

It kept hurting like hell. She bandaged it, went to the other side, discovered she didn’t have the right size needle she wanted (bigger, of course). So I had to wait until they hunted it down. She jammed it in. It was uncomfortable (although nowhere near as painful), but stayed.

Then she told me to get up and walk over to a row of chairs until I was called. “With this in?” I asked.

“We’re not gonna carry you into the room,” she said, and flounced out.

Um, excuse me? I’m lying on a gurney with a vein spread open. I’ve never had this done before and don’t know the protocol. How about not being an ass? I’m sorry she had a rough day, but that was uncalled for.

A few minutes later, I was called in and prepped. I hated the sensation of the saline flushing, and the iodine injection wasn’t fun either, but it wasn’t too bad. The disembodied voice instructing me when to “inhale” — “hold your breath” — “BReeeeathe” was a little weird, but, whatever. The sensation of the contrast dye was odd, but it wasn’t terrible.

I told them about the reaction to the barium drink and got a shrug and, “I’ve never heard that before.”

“I thought it was strange, so that’s why I’m bringing it up.”

Not like they gave a damn.

The port was removed, the arm taped. So both arms are hurting, but especially the right, where it spit out the port.

I had specifically asked, when I picked up the goo, if I had to make arrangements to have someone drive me home, and was told, unequivocally, “no.”

Ha! Good one.

My mom had come with me, but she has no night vision and couldn’t find the way back. I was having trouble gripping the steering wheel. Not to mention that I’d been through 72 hours of battering tests and I resented the fact that I had to drive myself the hell home after this one. My own fault for not making arrangements, but it didn’t change my upset.

Went home, made dinner, took my medication. I felt like I’d been beaten up, both physically and mentally. My right arm, in particular, hurt a lot. Plus, there were after effects from the barium and the iodine. Nothing awful, but they were there.

Went to bed early.

Slept through the night.

Woke up feeling okay. A little sore, but pretty normal, and certainly better than I have for the past few days, except for my arm. There is a bruise on my right arm that is 4″ wide and 5″ long and it still hurts like hell.

Library for a bit this morning, then over to Sandwich Library, then home to finish the article that goes out tomorrow, and the next book for review.

Will probably stop by to talk to my nurse. Waiting to hear about the scheduling.

Charlotte is having anxiety attacks. She and Willa lost their original human due to medical issues. She remembers that hospital smell. I finally said to her, “Charlotte, not everything is about YOU.”

She looked at me in complete surprise, with that, “But of course it is! I’m a CAT!” expression.

As long as she is with me, she settles down. The minute she can’t see me, she panics.

Willa is being Willa, getting on. She brings me toys to make me feel better. Elsa used to do that — believing the right toy could solve anything.

Tessa lies beside me and purrs.

I contacted my landlord to let him know I’m having surgery and the furnace replacement needs to work around that. It’s NOT EVEN SCHEDULED. Now, we were having furnace issues back in November. It’s February. For fuck’s sake. He said there needs to be a Home Energy Assessment before the loan is approved. We had that about seven years ago, when they took all my light bulbs. He said it’s scheduled for March 13, and he’ll be there. I said if it’s too close to the surgery, it won’t be happening. It should be fine, especially if my surgery is next week, but come on, for fuck’s sake.

I researched the replacement furnace. Even if he goes high end, it’s 2-3 months’ rent. We’ve been paying rent for 10 years, with very little work done on the house. I know what the taxes are. I know what the homeowner’s insurance is. We’ve paid in almost half the value of the house. So stop dicking around. You had four months to get it in, and now that I’m having surgery, you expect it to work around the requirements for a LOAN? No. You will damn well be on MY schedule at this point. I was there for the estimates. They were willing to schedule it ASAP and have it done in a day. It should have been done before Christmas. Furnace and plumbing issues were part of the reason we didn’t go to Maine for Thanksgiving.

My acupuncturist in NY did a distance healing — unasked. I’d just let her know what was going on and asked her to keep a good thought for me. She’s the most wonderful healer I know, and it made a difference.

I let my yoga/meditation teacher know what was going on, because I won’t be at the studio for the next few weeks. I also asked about booking one of her Reiki sessions after surgery to speed the healing. She said absolutely; in the meantime, she’d like to give me the gift of a distance healing session, and would send me the details.

Well, she did. A list of stuff she needs to do the healing – which I don’t feel up to putting together. Although the first session is free, I’m supposed to book 4 session at X dollars, and book my post-surgery Reiki session now.

Um, what? First of all, I can’t book anything definite now because I don’t know when the surgery is; I’m waiting for the booking and then the pre-op booking and whatever else has to happen. I can’t make that type of commitment. Quite frankly, I don’t have the energy right now to gather a list of stuff she claims she needs for the healing and get them to her.

Remember, I do distance healing. I don’t need seven different items to do it. My acupuncturist did a healing on Tuesday for me, without needing a list of stuff and commitments to specific times and all that – she simply did it (unasked).

I told her I couldn’t do the distance work right now, but I would book the hands-on Reiki after the surgery, and I didn’t know when it would be.

She argued with me,

I was in shock, and, frankly, I’m hurt. I respect this is her profession. I believe she should be paid for her profession. That is why I wanted to let her know I would be booking a paid, post-surgery session.

She comes at me wanting money now – when I’m already stressed about medical costs and lost work – and telling me that what she “needs” for the healing “only takes a few minutes” to put together.

If I say I CAN’T right now, that means I CAN’T. I am measuring my energy, prioritizing it, and directing it. I am NOT at her beck and call. Also, I have to make sure I direct my financial resources carefully over the next few months. I can’t take on much more new work this month, and I will be missing work hours. It means I’m taking an ill -timed financial hit. I have some decent chunks of change coming in from work already submitted, but it’s down the line, not right this minute. I need to be careful. Committing to several hundred dollars additionally is not something I can do right now, until I know what the immediate costs (including any medications I need to pick up on my way home from the hospital) are.

Again, I DO distance healing for people. I know what’s involved. I do distance healing for complete strangers (without payment) when requested.

On top of that, when she had surgery a few months ago, I did distance healing for her every night for two weeks AND offered to run errands, cook, go grocery shopping, do laundry, etc. She didn’t take me up on the errand running, and I certainly didn’t expect her to offer anything like that (in fact, I’d forgotten about it until I thought about the whole situation for awhile).

While I respect that this is her profession, and I absolutely believe in being paid for work, I feel like she is preying upon my situation and vulnerability right now. I said thanks, but no thanks. Especially not accepting my refusal to do exactly what she wants when she wants it. She made an offer; I asked for details. I couldn’t fulfill what she says she needs for this to work, and I told her upfront, before wasting any of her time and energy. To argue with me about it, especially when I’m in an accelerated schedule of tests and upcoming surgery, is inappropriate.

It makes me re-think my relationship with that particular studio. It also makes me wonder if she is the right choice for post-surgical work, because the trust issues I had with the studio last year are, once again, raised.

And also, damn it, ANYBODY who does not respect my boundaries during this time is going to get a new one ripped.

We will prep the living room as my recovery room — set up the fold out couch. I won’t have to do stairs, the bathroom and the kitchen are right there. I can stack my books nearby and watch DVDs if I feel like it.

Anyway, getting in what I need to this morning, and then focusing on completing the article this afternoon. I got two more quotes on Tuesday that I’m weaving in, a couple more tweaks, a polish, some subheadings, and we’re good.

I’m having my mom do the driving, so she gets comfortable in the car again, at least during the day, because she will have to be able to go to the grocery store, etc. over the next few weeks.

Reading, writing, resting. That’s the agenda.

 

Published in: on February 13, 2020 at 10:02 am  Comments (5)  
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Mon. August 26, 2019: Shake Up Your Process — #upbeatauthors

milky-way-2675322_1920
image by Felix Mittemeier via pixabay

Monday, August 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’ve been talking about different things that inspire us here on the blog for the Upbeat Authors Month of Inspiration. Today, our final day on this topic, let’s talk about shaking up our process as a way to inspire.

We all get stuck. We all have days where there’s resistance.

As a full time writer, I can’t afford the luxury of writer’s block. Yes, I said “luxury” and I will not apologize for it. If I want to keep a roof over my head and food on the table, I can’t indulge in writer’s block. When things get tough, I have to show up and do the work anyway. Just like in any other PROFESSION.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I look at my chapter and have no idea what to do next, even with a detailed outline. Or I know what to do, but the words feel like lead instead of taking fire and racing across the page.

Then I know it’s time to shake things up.

How do I do that?

Lots of different ways:

Shower. Yup. For me, that’s one of the best ways to work through plot problems. I take a shower. I get more inspiration in the shower than just about anywhere else. When a book gives me trouble, I am so clean I squeak and practically glow in the dark.

Cook. I love to cook. While I often like to cook focusing on the cooking itself, my mind often begins to wander and work out plot problems. Food and feeding each other is an important part of many of my books. When I set a book somewhere, I often cook meals from that area that are then incorporated into the book.

When I initially write cooking or food scenes, I overwrite them, overload them with detail and sensory description. I then cut back in the editing, leaving what is necessary to further plot & character.

Housework. Vacuuming, scrubbing things, folding laundry. Again, there are days when I want to do it mindfully, when I need to do it mindfully. Other times, I can let my imagination figure out how to solve writing problems. Then I’m eager to get back to my desk AND the house is clean!

Take a Walk. I’m lucky. I live in a neighborhood that is quiet enough to take a walk. I live a few miles from the beach. I live a few miles from several Audubon sanctuaries. Walking helps me clear my head and figure things out. I tried running, but I hated it so much that I stick to walking.

Additional yoga/meditation. Sometimes getting up and doing a few asanas or sitting on my zafu makes all the difference. It’s a refresher for my tired brain.

Read a book. Reading often fuels the writing. The danger is that you get so into the book, you lose the whole writing day. Sometimes I use a particular book as a reward AFTER I get in my quota for the day.

Switch projects. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn’t. If you have too many unfinished projects around, it drains creative energy. It’s important to finish what you start. I teach an entire class about this and have a Topic Workbook on it: THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Switch locations. When I get restless at either of the two desks in my writing room, I might write in the living room. Or out on the deck. I often go to the library to work. We’re lucky on Cape; every town has a wonderful library with a unique character. Library-hopping is an activity many locals enjoy. There’s also Cape Space, a wonderful co-working space. I don’t write much fiction there, but sometimes I’ll go if I need to video conference or work on projects for my marketing clients.

Go to a museum. As I’ve talked about, over and over again here, I use visual art to fuel my verbal art. Live music often does the same. Or dance. Or theatre.

Experiment in a new genre. Try writing something in a genre in which you don’t normally work. It can be flash fiction, if you like. Or it can grow into something different.

Write a scene several times, in several different perspectives. If you’re struggling with a multi-person scene, do one draft of it in the perspective of each character. Yes, you’ll cut a lot. One of the most ridiculous things I hear from writers in classes is they don’t want to write something that will get cut. It’s not a waste of time. You need what you learn from it to get to your ultimate goal.

Use prompts. There are prompts all over the place. In July, I posted one every day. They are still up here on the 31 Prompts page.

Write differently. If you always outline, try blank paging. If you NEVER outline, outline something and then follow through and write it. (Note: I don’t call it “pantsing.” To me that sounds like an STD. I call it “blank paging”). Whichever way you try, FINISH THE PROJECT. If you didn’t like this foray, you don’t have to do it that way again. BUT FINISH THE PROJECT.

Join online groups where you can hang out with other artists. I find Women Write Change to be especially valuable, in both good times and rough ones. The #remotechat group on Twitter, with its Wednesday afternoon chats, is terrific. We have so much fun there, and exchange so much useful information. #TheMerryWriter, also on Twitter, is a fun monthly game, and I’ve met some great people through it. I’ve had some excellent conversations with other artists of all types via Ello. Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog has grown into a tight, supportive community.

Get together with other artists in person. I like mixing with all kinds of artists. Too often, hanging just with writers lately has become a venting session or all the talk goes to marketing. It’s not enough about craft and content and ideas. (Again, this is why I love Women Write Change — we talk a lot about craft and ideas).

The HobNob Group ended when its founder died last year. I miss it terribly. It was a combination of visual, verbal, and performance artists. We got to learn from each other and support each other. I participate in some of the writer activities around here and go to conferences. I try to attend as many readings and author events as I can. I also go to opening receptions at local museums and art galleries. I’ve cut back on a lot of the other networking I was doing around here (chamber events, business networking events, etc), because I’m setting the foundation for moving in a different direction with my marketing writing.

Online is great, but meeting and spending time with other artists in person is even better.

Make sure you give yourself an Artist Date. We talked about that earlier. If you stick to that, and integrate a weekly Artist Date into your life, a commitment to yourself, you will find that you’re refilling your creative well, and that will flow into all areas of your life.

What are your favorite ways of changing up the process?

Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow

Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and warm

Yesterday’s choice to rent office space was a good one. First of all, Cape Space is great. Second of all, I got a lot done. I’ll definitely use them again.

Came home to power outages off and on all afternoon. As usual, Eversource sucks. Plus, my phone is dying. I’m so sick of these phones that only last a year.

Got some excellent work done on a project yesterday – nearly 30 pages. Not what I should be working on, but it has a future, so it’s about reshuffling. I have that luxury right now, about being able to flow with projects that pull strongly. I’ll keep in that groove, while also doing some work on SYMPATHETIC MAGIC, for which I had some ideas as I was running errands this morning.

Out and about early this morning, because we’re supposed to get hit with another foot of snow tomorrow. Groceries, cat food, wood, firestarters, liquor. We’re all good.

I’ll either spend the day alternating between studying Constitutional Law and researching Italian Renaissance paintings, or writing in longhand.

Because you KNOW the power’s gonna go out! 😉

I’ll build a fire first thing, so I can light it as soon as the power goes.

Putting together some additional material from yesterday’s meeting, and doing further research. Hoping I can get it all out on Friday.

Looking forward to a snow day!

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow  
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