Hello to everyone who is a part of WG2E. This will unfortunately be my last posting for the foreseeable future. My writing career is on hold, and at this point I do not know if it will ever return, or if I will live long enough for that to happen. There’s a lot of that in my life right now.
As many of you are aware, I went into hospital on April 2nd. I have been a paraplegic for 22 years, but still able to “walk” on crutches clipped to my arms. I have known for the last year or so that my ability to continue in this matter was coming to an end. A wheelchair has always been in my future and when your future turns into your pasture you have to watch your step. I was prepared for that. I had accepted it. I didn’t really expect it to reach the end while standing in a lavatory on an airplane over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, though.
When I entered the hospital I had a huge team of people working on me within 15 minutes of arriving. They drew enough blood out of me to feed a family of vampires for a month or two. A couple of days later a doctor came to see me and said that they had noticed something unusual on one of the tests. The next thing I knew I was sent for an ultrasound. (Thankfully, I am not pregnant even if my belly made it look like I was having twins.) Later that day I was wheeled down the hall again for a CT scan.
A few days later, another doctor came to my room and told me that I had advanced cirrhosis of the liver. I thought that couldn’t be possible because I only drank the occasional beer, a bit of wine, and on special occasions a single malt scotch (as in “a”, “single” single malt scotch.) That’s when I learned that not all cirrhosis victims are heavy drinkers. They called what I have non-alcoholic cirrhosis.
I asked if I would need a transplant and was told they only worry about that when your condition gets bad. Two weeks later, a specialist came to see me and told me that I was in serious condition and would be needing a transplant sooner rather than later. I said at least it’s one of those transplants that can be done with a portion of a liver from a live donor. Apparently, in my case that wouldn’t work. I need an entire liver from a deceased donor.
It really threw me when someone said, “It must seem weird waiting for someone else to die so you can live.”
So what does all of this mean to my writing career? Plenty. Aside from the fact that I am somewhat terrified by it all, one of the effects of cirrhosis is a reduction in your ability to concentrate and focus. Certain toxins in your blood are not effectively filtered by the liver, and they affect the part of your brain responsible for concentration… It’s taken several hours and a lot of stop and go to write this short post.
That overly large belly I mentioned above is partially due to another one of the symptoms, and partially an affinity to enjoying many foods that have now been removed from my diet. I asked a doctor what was life without cheese, and she said “Longer.”
People often ask if there is anything they can do for me. A lot of said they would pray for me, which is appreciated, but I think I am now the most prayed over atheist since Paul got his donkey barbecued out from under him on the road to Damascus. The only thing I am asking people to consider is to make sure that they have signed an organ donor card and made their families aware of that decision. It may not help me directly, but it will help others in my position. I unfortunately live in the Canadian province that has the lowest per capita rate of organ donors, but at least I won’t have to pay for it when and if one does come along. (After 60 days in hospital my total bill was $0.00, and people in the US don’t want national health care???)
So I leave you all in good hands. DeeDee cares so much about this writing community and you are lucky to have her. I really appreciate the notes from so many of you, and DeeDee’s help promoting my books through RG2E. I wish all of you the very best in your writing careers, and hope that you are never faced with this kind of a situation.