Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If It's Not One Thing...



The pounds are starting to creep back on. Not many, but I can definitely tell in my clothes that I'm gaining again.

I'd like to think this isn't my fault. But to tell you the truth, when I was in the hospital visiting hubby, I indulged a bit. The hospital food wasn't the greatest, but they did make pretty good desserts. Hehe.

I really didn't care about calories too much at that point, and I should have. I did try and eat my veggies, though. ;-)

But honestly. There's only so much energy a person has. And mine wasn't focused on my weight loss.

So now I've had to reign myself in again. I'm back working out at Curves, something I wasn't able to do when hubby was in the hospital. I've really started to watch my food intake. I like to hover somewhere around 1500 calories a day. And I'm sticking to my dark chocolate from now on. That curbs my sweet tooth cravings.

Here's the funny thing. When I was going to Curves all the time and watching my calories, I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted and I wasn't gaining anything. But the combination of stress, sitting in a hospital room for hours on end (even though we did go for a few walks) and, well, stress, really hit me hard. I'm one of those people who eats when they get emotionally upset. I recognize that and try to stop it before it gets too bad. But I slip and fall. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to slip too much.

I still wonder why it's so incredibly easy to gain weight, but so terribly hard to lose it.

On Writing...

Dived into the manuscript last night. I'm writing a scene that is full of conflict. And I can't wait to crack open the laptop tonight!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stuff

Lots to talk about today.

Hubby

Hubby is home from the hospital. He was discharged late Friday afternoon. However, he has to have his antibiotics given via his IV and visits the hospital twice a day for that. No fun. They had to put a PICC line in his other arm (it's more or less an IV that doesn't have to be changed very often). So now he's got tubes in both arms. Needless to say, he's tired of being poked and prodded. And for the first time since this all happened, he's having quite a bit of pain - in both arms. Thus, he's taking pain medication and it makes him sleepy. He's been napping quite a bit. The skin graf (or is it graft? I will have to look that up at some point) is scheduled for Wednesday morning again. Let's hope things go well this time!

My Family

I'm going to publicly state that I have the most awesome family in the world. They have really shown us so much support in so many different ways this past month. They are amazing and wonderful and I want to thank each and every one of them. I love you all!!!

Writing

I may have to revise my edit timeline. I haven't even looked at my manuscript since last Wednesday. Hubby going back to the hospital sucked every last bit of energy out of me. But tomorrow, it's back to it again. And I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday

This looks just like me. Er, except take away the fur, the whiskers, and well, the general feline characteristics.

I don't feel like I've done anything but run back and forth to the hospital. I just finished folding a mountain of laundry and next, it's bill paying time. This translates to, "Hmm...how much of a payment can I make on this bill before they shut me off?" As I've said before, God will provide. We'll be ok. I cling to that. It gets me through.
The good news is that hubby is scheduled to get out today. The doctor said that the staph in his arm was a different strain than the previous infection. While it is not the "superbug" kind that is beginning to make headlines, it will have to be treated with a different antibiotic. Hubby will have to go to the hospital twice a day to have the antibiotic done via his IV. That will not be fun.
He's doing great otherwise. The nurses love him because he's so mobile and can pretty much do everything himself. He's also such a big comedian that it definitely lightens the mood around there.
He wrote on the white board in his room, "Alcatraz: Inmate #128." (his room number) Ha! Leave it to my husband to find humor in the situation.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Update

Wow.

I'm tired. I even slept in today. But sometimes, that just doesn't make a difference.

Went to the hospital this morning and hubby is doing just fine - although the arm is still iffy. They're waiting to see which kind of staph he has now to make sure that it's not becoming resistant to the antibiotics he's been on.

And here's something interesting to note. The infection they took out has been there since the beginning. They missed it somehow. Don't ask me why or how this happened, but I guess that's the medical community. They can't know all because there are so many unknowns.

At any rate, it had formed another abscess that needed to be drained. And now, hubby can bend his arm completely. Before, the infection in that particular spot kept him from doing so. I guess things happen for a reason and what was supposed to be a skin graft led to them discovering this other part.

We're scheduled for the skin graft for next Wednesday. I think it's a little soon, but what do I know?

And I'm not particularly fond of this hospital, either. It's different than the one we were at last time. Not so much the people, but just the building itself. It's very hospital-ish - cold, unfeeling, and sanitary. I hate his room - it's rather depressing.

But at any rate, I'm still here. I've cried. I've raged. I've slept. And oh, how I've longed to just run away. When I stopped at the new Super Target in town to get some groceries, they had a survey you could fill out for a chance to win a trip to Jamaica. And even though I am not a summer, tropical person, I thought Jamaica would be perfect right about now.

They gave hubby a laptop to keep him busy, so while I'm at home with the kids and working we can chat. That's nice, anyway, and he's able to surf the internet.

I'm off to get a bit of work done for the day job, then it's back to the hospital tonight. We're hopeful he'll be out by tomorrow, but it all depends on how fast that stupid staph bacteria grows in the petrie dish.

Miss you all...and thanks for the good thoughts. :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Checking in from the Waiting Room: Updated

Well.

It's been a day already and it started right around midnight. We went to the ER because my husband's arm was looking worse. We thought a bug bite might have gotten infected. Don't know if that's the case or not. So off we we went to the ER at around 11 p.m. We were there for about an hour or so and the doc sent us home because hubby wasn't suffering a fever.

Went home, got about four hours sleep, and then came back to be here at 5:30. And of course, we were early.

Surgery prep, some very congenial nurses, and some bad MTV videos. I had breakfast. A big, fat cinnamon roll with lots of icing. Diet smiet. I don't care at this point. I will care tomorrow.

About two hours after we got here, the doc came in, looked at the arm, and said that he didn't think this infection was clearing up. Thought maybe the skin graft would not be a possibility, but they were going to go in and take a look. If it's not good, they will readmit hubby to the hospital and get him started on some different antibiotics.

I'm exhausted. I'm frustrated. And I just want to take a very, very long vacation.

We're at a different hospital this time and I have a lovely view overlooking a lake and a comfy place to sit. I also brought my laptop, so will focus on my novel as an escape from reality.

UPDATED

Hubby is back in the hospital. The staph infection was not getting under control and had spread to his forearm. His wound now extends from his bicep down past his elbow. He will be in the hospital until at least Friday. Let's hope he can come home sooner. He's on different antibiotics.

I'm so sleep-deprived I can't think straight. Off to take a long nap, then back to the hospital...

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Joy


Great weekend.
Fantastic weekend.
Stupendous weekend.
Why?
Because I got a ton of editing/writing done. And it felt terrific.
I've immersed myself so fully in my novel that even when I'm not sitting at the computer, I'm thinking about it. I've moved scenes, deleted others, gotten rid of entire paragraphs, and left some rather good ones.
I definitely felt the joy of writing this weekend.
Are you feeling the joy right now? If so, tell me about it. If not, you can share that, too.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

These Are the Days

Do you know what it's like to have a twenty-five pound weight drop on your bare foot?

I do.

It happened last night. The offending weight (used in my husband's barbells) was on our couch. I, however, did not know this and when I pulled on a folder file that was mysteriously heavy, I dislodged the weight and it fell down and bounced off my foot.

Yes, bounced.

I spent the rest of the night with my foot propped up and an ice pack on it. When I tried to walk, I about cried. But after awhile, I tried to put some more weight on it and was successful. So, needless to say, I blessedly escaped with a badly bruised foot, but no broken bones. Thank you Lord! That was the last thing I needed - to be on crutches and have my husband disabled, too!

Speaking of my husband, he's scheduled to have a skin graft done on Wednesday morning. Please pray that it will go well.

And speaking of writing...

I have all weekend to work on the novel. So off I go...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Imagination Part 2




Sometimes, a picture doesn't need words. I think all three of these speak for themselves. :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's the Sacrifices

So I'm dragging a bit at work today. I've only had one Diet Pepsi, but that may change.

The reason? Why, lack of sleep, of course. My resolve to meet my deadline for my novel edits had me at the computer at 11 p.m. last night. And my fingers were flying. In fact, when I finished, my arms hurt. (Of course, I'm doing my edits on my laptop which does not have a handy split keyboard).

But I was quite pleased with what I'd accomplished.

And I can't wait to get to it tonight.

What sacrifices do you make for your writing?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pssst...It's My Anniversay

And I didn't even remember until I came to work and saw it on my calendar.

It's been 8 years.

I love you, honey!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Getting Back on Track


When a major event happens in your life - like your husband being in the hospital for nearly three weeks and being unemployment for a possibilty of two months - you sort of get sidetracked from normal, everyday life. And in my case, I also got sidetracked from my novel.

I think I did a decent job of working on it while everything was going on around me, but I can definitely tell that my focus wasn't on it. And that's how it should be. I had more important things to worry about. My husband's health and taking care of my daughter came first.

But now that hubby is on the road to recovery and my daughter is thrilled to have him take care of her at home now, it's time for me to refocus and get back on track with my writing.

The edits aren't yet done for the novel, but I believe I can get them done within a reasonable amount of time. Since hubby can't lay around for very long, he's been doing light housework, which has definitely helped me out, and this will give me more time to write.

I'm not much of a goal maker because they generally tend to derail me more than help. Weird, I know, but if I give myself deadlines, I like to meet them. (There's probably not much difference between a goal and a deadline, but it works for me).

I'm giving myself until August 4th to have my novel completely finished - edits, rewrites, proofreading, etc. I think it's doable.

In fact, I just might download one of those nifty count down gizmos to help keep me on track.

Anyone else need motivated? Come join me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

He's Home



Hubby is finally out of the hospital.

He still has the nice vacuum sponge attached to his arm and has to carry the wound vacuum around with him, but hey, he's home.

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayer, good wishes, and encouragement!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Let's Talk About Writing


Right now, my daughter is running around the house. It's 10:58 p.m. Yes, I should be in bed. But these days, I don't get to bed too early. There's simply too much to do. Housework. Writing. Visiting hubby in the hospital (yes, he's still there).

My daughter has an incredibly vivid imagination. She has donned her Batman mask (just like in Batman Begins) and has a pair of my red fuzzy slipper socks pulled up all the way past her elbows. For her tail, she has attached a jump rope. She believes it to be the longest tail in the world.

Tonight, she is a dog. At the hospital, the doctor has started asking her what animal she is today. Sometimes it's a fox. Or a wolf. Or a saber tooth tiger.

What does all this have to do with writing?

Imagination.

As writers, we all need it. If we don't have it, our stories are flat, dull, and just plain boring.

But I believe that as adults, we don't let our imagination take flight like we did as kids. Do you remember what you used to play when you were little? I was everything from a paleontologist to a housewife to a motorcycle rider (I even had some cool sunglasses). I was rarely, if ever, bored. When I wasn't indulging my mind in a book, I was strengthening my creativity through play.

Exactly as my daughter is doing.

Sometimes I have struggled to put words on the page. My characters mull around and utter inane words. They do boring stuff. They don't jump in mud puddles and get their feet wet. They don't suddenly decide to stop paying the bills, skip town, and head to Jamaica just for the heck of it.

When I have trouble getting my characters to act, getting the words to flow, getting the story to move forward, it's largely because my "adult" is writing and not my "child." Now don't get me wrong - we need both to create. But sometimes, the adult gets a little heavy handed and thinks, "That's not realistic at all. That's just stupid and immature."

But sometimes, that's exactly what our writing needs. We need a burst of the ridiculous, a spontaneous lurch into the unknown. We need to let our inner child come out and play once in awhile instead of being all stuffy and adult-like. In short, we need to excercise our imagination.

When's the last time you played with your writing, whether it be the language or your characters' motivations?

I suppose this use of imagination ties into the joy of writing. When we write and we're happy, I believe it is because we are allowing our imagination to roam a bit, to go outside the cubicle and into the playground. We experience a child-like delight in our story, our article, our novel because we're having fun.

Maybe this doesn't happen on every piece you write. Maybe you're writing something really serious and the thought of letting your inner child come out and play is a ridiculous notion. But wait. Is it really? Maybe you could capture a different turn of phrase if you allowed your imagination to do its job, or take the article in an entirely different direction and make it better by playing with the words.

The next time you sit down to write, tell that pesky, mature, no-nonsense adult attitude to go sit in the waiting room for awhile. You and your imagination have a date on the playground.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

It's been an eventful few days.

Lots of visits to the hospital. Lots of writing. Lots of sleeping!

My mom took my daughter and I to the mall today. It was nice just to be around other people and see the hustle and bustle of humanity. I'd been hiding in my house a little too much lately, venturing out only to the hospital and to work. And yeah, I could feel the depression start to creep back in.

Hubby is scheduled for another surgery tomorrow. That makes three in six days, and he has to have anesthesia for each one. The doc is thinking he may be able to go home early next week, but he's going to have to take his vacuum sponge machine with him. It's amazing to watch that thing work, sucking the infection out of his arm in a little tube.

Unfortunately, the new antibiotic they put him on made him break out in a rash, so he's been dealing with itchy skin! They gave him a shot of Benadryl right in his IV and needless to say, he was out pretty soon after that. :-)

I just want to get him home. Things are slowly being worked out financially. Looks like the VA will be able to help out with the mortgage, and we've been given an extension with our car payment. But it's the everyday bills I'm struggling with. But as always, I remind myself that God will provide.

Writing was great on Thursday and Friday. Got lots and lots done, and I had a wonderful time. I think tomorrow I'll take the laptop to the hospital and work while hubby is in surgery.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Same Old



This is a picture of us at our wedding reception eight years ago. I just realized that our wedding anniversary is coming up - July 16. Let's hope he's out of the hospital by then!

We're definitely going through the "in sickness" part of the wedding vows. And that's ok. Despite being a bit snippy and grouchy with one another because of everything going on, we're still very much committed to each other.

I actually celebrated the 4th of July yesterday. I hated not celebrating with hubby, but my daughter and I still had a good time. We went over to my brother's house, had a small picnic, and then went to watch the community fireworks show. But more moving than the bursts of colored light was the simple act of my daughter holding my brother's hand as we walked down the street. It was quite precious. He is going to make a great dad someday!



This morning I had to go to the hospital for surgery #2. They had to put a vacuum sponge in hubby's arm to keep the infection draining. Now he's hooked up on both arms - IV and antibiotics in one arm, and the nice little vacuum machine in the other. The doctor told me that it was a very deep infection in his arm and has damaged his skin. In fact, a skin graft might have to be done to get his arm to close properly. That is just a possiblity at this point, but I pray we won't have to do that. He will have to have surgery again over the weekend to check on the healing process. When I asked the doctor why they waited until now to drain it, he said that it was time - if they had drained it before it was ready, they could have risked even further complications. I've had so much medical stuff in my brain recently that I really don't know how to explain it anymore. Either that or my brain is just too darn tired.



I lost it yesterday in his room, though, and cried. I thought I was doing so well the night before when I had to deal with his first surgery. "I'm handling this pretty well," I mused to myself. Well, that was just the calm before the storm. Everything just got to me yesterday and I ended up crying in hubby's arms. I'm not ashamed to admit it - I've got a lot of stress right now, and I think I've dealt with it pretty well. But sometimes, the dam has to break. I felt a lot better after a good cry. Why are women built this way? Why do we relieve stress through tears?



I took a nap when I got home today, and right now, I intend to dive into my manuscript for the rest of the evening. It's hot, hot, hot outside and I have no desire to be anywhere near it.



I'm in a bit of shock, I suppose. I never thought we would still be in the hospital nearly two weeks later. Who knew?



I can tell you what's getting me through this, though. The thoughts and prayers of my friends (including all of you!) and my family and the Lord. I wouldn't have any strength if it wasn't for Him.

So even though I've said it before, it's worth repeating - I deeply appreciate all the concerns, advice, and encouragement you've given me over the past two weeks. It's so great to log on to my computer and see your comments. You're all wonderful!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nope, Not Home Yet

I now know what a surgery waiting room looks like.

Hubby and I were told that he might possibly go home Tuesday. But yet, here it is, Tuesday night, and hubby is in the same room, the same bed, but sporting a nicely gauze-wrapped arm. He's still dopey from the anesthesia (and I am too darn tired to see if that is spelled right).

He went in at 8:30 p.m. and I just now got home - it's nearly midnight.

The orthopedic surgeon had to go in and drain the abscess in hubby's arm. The infection just wans't getting any better in that particular spot and when they went in, they saw why. I don't quite understand it all, but it looks like the infection had actually built a "wall" in his arm. Blood vessels had started to wrap around it (apparently the body's attempt to heal itself). Thus, when they opened him up, he lost quite a bit of blood - 400 cc's (whatever that means). The incision was about four inches long, and hubby's arm is now packed with antibiotic gauze. He's going to be in some severe pain when he wakes up in the morning. I left him in his morphine-induced state. He was slowly coming out of it, but he was about ready to fall asleep when I finally took our daughter and made the now-familiar journey out of the hospital.

The doc has to go in and look at the arm again on Thursday morning to see how things look. That means another surgery.

I do not want to see this hospital bill.

This whole thing is just crazy. I never thought he'd be in there this long. I never thought I would become familiar with his different nurses. I never thought I would start to recognize the volunteers who work at the front desk. I also never thought I would eat such bad hospital food.

I have three days off this week, plus the weekend. That's five days. Those days will probably consist of hospital visits and writing. And I'm going to sneak in some good sleep time, too. I need it after what we've been through!

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. :-)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Stir-Crazy

It's been a week and two days since my husband has been in the hospital. And the end isn't in sight yet. We thought Monday would be the day. But the doctor told us today that nope, it's looking more like Wednesday or Friday. We're waiting for the swelling to go down in his arm around the bicep area, where the infection appears to have originated. Otherwise, my husband is doing great. Has his appetite back, no fever, etc. He's tired of laying around, though. And to tell you the truth, I'm tired of being at the hospital!

I did take a walk yesterday afternoon - I just couldn't stand it anymore. And to my surprise, I found that William Jennings Bryan, a famous Nebraskan and actually, famous American, built a house where the hospital now stands. That house is now a museum and the hospital is named after him. I'm hoping to visit it next week. Looks like I'll have plenty of time to do so!

I'm also upset at myself for my eating habits lately. I haven't been going to Curves since I pretty much live at the hospital. I was hoping to get back to working out this week, but since hubby's still going to be hooked up to IV's and getting antibiotics, that doesn't look like it will happen. And the hospital tends to make some pretty darn good desserts. I resisted today, but haven't been the best on the other days, and I know I've already gained back a few pounds that I lost. So now I'm on a mission to eat better.

But man, it's hard. When I get stressed, I eat. It's a proven fact. I try to eat healthy - veggies and fruits, but that doesn't always happen. I've got a huge financial burden on my shoulders right now. The bank is calling demanding its money, and I'm pretty sure some of the utility companies will be calling me soon, especially the cell phone company. They all want me to go borrow money from some well-meaning, rich relative. Um, sorry, everyone I know is broke! And really, I have my pride. I am not one of those people that goes and begs others for money. Just not me.

I'm in the midst of filling out the paperwork to get some help from the Veteran's Admin. for the bills, but they don't cover past due bills. I am just hoping that everyone will work with me.

I won't lie - I had tears in my eyes when I left the hospital today, not only for the migraine that started to creep around my temples, but also because I really don't know what we're going to do. Having no insurance and a huge hospital bill is enough, but when you add on an additional month of living with only one spouse's paycheck when you're used to living with two is not going to be easy.

I just try and comfort myself with the knowledge that God will provide. In fact, I cling to that right now.

On Writing...

Despite being a big stressed out, I have dived back into the manuscript and have had to shut the inner critic and the "you'll never sell because you suck" voice off. It's not been easy. Sometimes the words flow better than others, and I'm just going to stick to it. I need to get this manuscript sent off. I've looked at it so long that I think it all sucks. Suppose that's not too strange for those of us who do this writing gig!

It's Time

I've had this blog for over 10 years. But I'm finding that I go to it less and less. Maybe it's the death of blogging that broug...