Monday, September 5, 2016
Reflections on writing - and mortality
I'm rapidly recovering from my gall bladder surgery ten days ago. The pain from the operation site has worn off (except for when aepilot_Jim's puppy enthusiastically jumps on my stomach, which he tries to do whenever he sees me!), and the suture sites are almost healed. I go to the surgeon for post-operative clearance on Wednesday, and hopefully I'll be given the go-ahead to return to my water fast program, which was disrupted by the problematic gall bladder. It'll be good to get back to losing weight!
What's surprised me is the effect that the surgery has had on my ability to write fiction. As regular readers will know, I hit a brick wall as far as creativity is concerned when I ran into kidney stone problems last year. Those were eventually resolved after two procedures, just in time for Miss D. and I to move to Texas in January, which provided another two to three months of disruption while we packed up, traveled here, and unpacked and settled into our new home. By the time I was ready to get back to writing, my gall bladder had begun acting up.
It now appears that my gall bladder had been affecting me for some months. By the time it was removed, it was necrotic, so it had probably been slowly poisoning me for quite a while. That might explain why I found it so difficult to concentrate on creative writing over the past few months, and to work out plot details and character developments. It's as if I was trying to think through fog, and not doing very well at it. Even in the short period since my surgery, I've found the creative process beginning to work again, and this past weekend I got stuck into the next Maxwell novel once more. It's a huge relief to be able to put words on paper that don't suck, and that I don't have to discard the following day!
This, in turn, made me reflect on life and health in general. We take an awful lot for granted; and we often ignore warning signs until a lot more damage has been done than was absolutely necessary. I know that in my case, because I live with back and sciatic nerve pain 24/7/365 following a work-related injury in 2004, I tend to ignore small increases in pain, because they merge into the background pain that's always with me. It takes a fairly significant increase for it to stand out from the background noise, so to speak. I have to wonder whether that didn't help to mask the effects of a slowly dying, dysfunctional gall bladder. Would I have noticed it sooner if I hadn't had my normal daily dose of pain to 'cover' it? I don't know . . . but it's a thought.
I'm going to have to pay more attention to my body, and 'listen' better to any signals it might be sending me. If I'd ignored my gall bladder for just a few weeks more, this situation might not have had so happy an ending. I might have ended up with an ambulance ride to the ER, and emergency surgery to stop jaundice - or something worse. That, on top of existing metabolic problems and other issues, might not have had a very good outcome.
I can only suggest to you, dear readers, that if you're in my position, where it's sometimes difficult to notice new health problems because they might be masked by existing ones, you should talk to your health care providers about anything they think might be of concern. We all have our own health issues, so there's no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to this; but as the old saying says, "prevention is better than cure". I can certainly testify to that from recent experience!