Getting a straight answer from a doctor

Post Doctor's appt selfie. This is my "well that was a depressing waste of energy" face.
Me, post-doctor’s appointment. My “that was a depressing waste of energy” face.

It’s not easy. I feel that’s one way The Doctor is very much like regular doctors — give you a straight answer when you ask a question? MADNESS

But, finally, I did. Yesterday, at my follow-up appointment at the cast clinic. After he told me that I’d probably have to be in the brace and off my feet until October, basically (so, a bit longer than originally thought), I finally got an answer regarding the possibility of ligament or meniscus damage:

They don’t know.

They won’t know until my fracture is healed up, because they can’t do an examination to figure out if the ligaments or meniscus are damaged without risking further damage to the fracture. So in several weeks, I may get an answer to that question.

I’m guessing it’s going to be “Yes, your knee is damaged,” mostly because my knee still feels like it’s been smashed with a hammer and I can’t bend my leg without extreme pain.

But apparently the reason they kept avoiding my questions about the knee was because they didn’t know and couldn’t tell me for a while. Which is all I wanted to know! Just an answer, any answer.

So now I know it’s still on the table, the possibility of more severe damage, and I just have to wait and see what happens. And in the meantime, don’t put any pressure on the broken leg.

This weekend we’re picking up a wheelchair for me and maybe getting me a proper shower at the in-laws’ place. If I’m up to it, Mr. Katje might even take me out for dinner at our favourite restaurant.

I’m honestly pretty excited about the wheelchair. Apparently it has a leg rest on the left hand side, which already makes it a million times better than those stupid hospital wheelchairs. (Yes, I totally have the muscle strength to just hover my leg straight out the entire time I’m in that thing. Not.)

I don’t mean to sound bitter about our experience with BC medical this time around. I’m getting the help I need. I’m just frustrated and tired of being cooped up in a chair 24/7, and looking at another 2 months of being cooped up like this.

Book has been proofed, as of last night. now to change the files and ship em off.
I think I went through 5 stacks of post-it notes.

So, I’m trying to set my brain to productivity. Namely, edits, rewrites, and writing fresh words (and, on the other side of the business: publishing). I’m just finishing up the work for a book by Kaimana Wolff, called Broken Sleep. It’s a really good book, even if the subject matter is hard for me to take. I said in my review that it’s a harrowing exposé of abuse, and I stand by that. It needed a lot of proofing, though, as you can no doubt tell by the picture. Right now it’s on round 3 of proofs. I’m waiting to hear back from the author, and then I can finish up work on it.

If you want to get an ebook ARC — advance reading copy — you can sign up for one here. They will be sent out as soon as I’m done with the ebook formatting.

Regarding my own writing, currently I’m working hard on The Jade Star of Athering. When I started re-writes there were 9 entirely new parts I had to write. Now there are 4, along with the various continuity edits and smaller rewrites within the finished chapters. For the record, editing and re-writing Jade Star has been like trying to marathon through a swamp filled with eels and unspeakable horrors. I am never doing vomit-out-words-and-fix-it-in-post writing again — after this, I’m going back to the much-more-natural-for-me edit-as-I-go style of writing. Fixing it in post is torture.

After I finish my edits and rewrites, I’ll be sending off the manuscript to my editor for the first round of edits. When she’s done, it’ll be time for beta readers to have at it. Once I’ve implemented beta feedback, it goes for its final round of edits, and then I start the publishing process. It’s at this point I release an ARC for advance readers. During the publishing process, we proof the manuscript several more times (and likely find more errors). Hopefully by the time release day rolls around there are no more errors left. (I say hopefully, because we are human.)

When Jade Star is off with the editor and beta readers, I’ll be focusing on finishing up the first draft of From the Ashes, sequel to Stranger Skies. I have a deadline of the end of the year to finish the first draft, but if I’m lucky I’ll get it done sooner.

I’ve got a lot of writing projects planned out for the next year or so. I really want to finish Jade Star and From the Ashes soon because I have another book I’m starting in November — Anala, the sequel to Jade Star and third book in The Third Age. It’s going to need to be outlined very carefully, however, as it happens during the same time period as Book 4 (which is so far untitled).

There’s a lot more on my plate, writing wise, but if I outlined my entire year’s plan here then I’d have no choice but to stick with it and I like to give myself some leeway for failure. (Insert winky face here.) Accountability is great, so long as I’m making myself publicly accountable for things I know I can accomplish.

So right now it’s just a matter of keeping busy with what matters to me, which thankfully is something I can still do while I have a broken leg. I have to be grateful for that — my passion doesn’t involve using my leg. I can still work on it even when injured and chair-ridden.

-Katje

PS: If you want to be first to hear about release dates, tours, events, etc for both my mother and me, then you should sign up for our mailing list. It comes out about once a month, and it gives you the opportunity to sign up to receive ARCs before anyone else can, or to pre-order first. Also, you get 2 free ebooks for signing up. July’s is set to come out in the next couple days, so sign up soon!

Distraction is the better part of valor

In about 6 hours I have an appointment with a doctor at the hospital’s cast clinic. They may be upgrading me from this monstrosity of foam and velcro to a proper plaster cast.

I had to go into the hospital again on Monday morning — a phone call at 5 am told me that they’d missed something on the x-rays and needed a CT to confirm. Turns out I do have a break — a femoral condyle fracture. I broke my femur.

However, I still don’t know if I also have tendon or ligament tears or if all the excruciating pain was from the fracture. There is also still the issue of the slipping/grinding noise/pain that happened that night at emerge when my knee was bent for too long. Since then my leg has been kept straight by the immobilizer, so it hasn’t happened again, but I’ll be asking the doctor about it. I don’t want a possible bone dislocation or something else to get missed.

If it is just a broken bone, then things have improved dramatically. Yes, my summer is still ruined, and yes I’ll still have to spend my birthday in a cast, at home, likely stinky from lack of regular showering (I showered on Monday with the help of Mr. Katje; I doubt I’ll have the energy to do so more than once a week, leastwise not until I’m able to get the shower seat from Oma’s old place). If there’s no ligament damage, I won’t be facing quite as much physiotherapy as before thought.

But I still don’t know. And until I know, I’m not letting myself get too optimistic. The fact is regardless the full extent of the injury, I’m going to be down and out for the next several months. Recovery, whether incredibly long with a torn ligament or comparatively short with just a fracture, is still going to be long, slow, and hard.

In the meantime I have fallen into a deep depression over this. I feel useless and helpless and like a burden, and I hate feeling these things. When it was just a spinal injury I wasn’t the most active of people, but I could still do my part. I was in pain daily but I could move about and get things done. Now the most I can do is sit around in a recliner all day, trying not to move my leg too much in the immobilizer-that-doesn’t-immobilize.

I am trying to fling myself into writing, editing, and publishing — useful, productive things I can do. It hasn’t cured the depression but it does distract me from it for a little while.

Distraction is currently my best weapon against despair. Instead of sitting and staring into space, thinking about how much this fucking sucks, I open my computer and work, or turn on the TV and watch Stargate and let the absolute adorableness of Teal’c carry me away from my problems.

Insert interesting, witty title here

It should tell you how tired I am that I didn’t even care about missing doing my 750words.com entry yesterday, let alone missing a blog post here. I realized it was going to happen and couldn’t summon the energy to scramble together something. I just let it slip me by.

Moving is always, always, stressful, and I’d hazard a guess and say most people hate it. Even though I am so happy to be getting out of the place I’ve been in since September 2012; even though I am so happy to finally be permanently cohabiting with Mr. Katje; even though I’ve had help from amazing people, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to do this; even though this new place is great, and I’m excited about living there — moving sucks. It sucks big time.

I haven’t gone through my email in a few days and my inbox now has over 500 messages in it. I can barely get an hour of publishing work done each day. Writing? Oh, yes, I think I remember what that was. I think I probably enjoyed it, and would again! (I’m referring to working on my books, here, not blogging.)

Well, that last part is not entirely accurate — since the month began I have written 3 poems. I’m hoping that number will go up. But writing a poem is not the same as working on The Jade Star of Athering or From the Ashes for a few hours. It uses different skills, different parts of my brain.

I have completely fallen behind in my Coursera courses and cannot bring up the energy to actually do any of the work for them. This is unfortunate, as I signed up for the courses in the hopes that they would help enrich my writing life. But I cannot spare the time or energy for them.

All my brain is focused on is The Move. Information falls out of my grey matter all the time, especially spelling — I’ve rewritten parts of this post trying to spell words correctly so many times I’ve lost count. If I’d let it go unedited, it would be unreadable.

All I can think about is boxes and things and do I have the energy to move that bit down to the car today and organizing my piles of random junk that have been moved, wholesale, from place to place for years and that has to end now. I am going through the piles and throwing out what needs to be thrown out and keeping what needs to be kept — but it is a big job, almost as big as the move itself, and I am tired.

So forgive me, forgive my lapses. Right now it is all I can do to keep myself moving, fixing on a future point when I will be fully in the new place, everything will be shiny, nothing will hurt, and I will have my brain back. In the meantime, I struggle to get my fingers to type out the words in my head; I struggle to meet my commitments to myself.

And I’m going on vacation in HabitRPG, or my character will be dead by the end of the week.

-Katje

Link Roundup, Friday the 31st

I read some things on the internet this week that I thought some of you might also find interesting, so I decided to do a small links round up post. This is not a regular feature, and I have no intentions of making it one. It’s just something that will happen now and again if I find a good amount of interesting links.

Self Publishing Is Not The Minor Leagues, by Chuck Wendig, and the follow up post, Readers Are Not Good Gatekeepers. I’m in agreement with Chuck that self publishing is not where we get better — we should aim to publish our very best if we’re going to ask for money for our work. That said, I’m more forgiving of typos or errors in self-published works, because author-publishers often don’t have access to the resources that traditional publishers do. There’s no excuse for a bunch of typos in a traditionally published book, in my opinion — they have hundreds of editors who should be making several passes through a book. An author-publisher might only have beta readers and an English major friend. Fewer resources, fewer people — understandable that some things may slip through.

Anyway, both posts are very good reads and worth your time if you’re a writer — self published, traditional, hybrid, or indie — or reader.

Early Europeans had dark skin and blue eyes, at io9. This is interesting on a few levels to me — not only the “Screw you, racist logic!” level, because good luck arguing Europeans are naturally white with this info, Neo-Nazi scum — but also the worldbuilding and diversity in fantasy level, which is related to the racism mentioned above.

There is a bit of a social narrative/paradigm that states that medieval fantasy must be set in cold northern climes, and therefore white folk! I’m guilty of unconsciously writing this way myself, though I’m actively working to stop doing that.

However, it’s also used as an argument against diversity in fantasy — “We can’t have POC, it’s not realistic! Yes, of course my story has dragons, it’s fantasy.” I mean, of course this argument is ridiculous already, but this article helps to shine more light on how ridiculous it is. It may also help writers detangle assumptions they may have about how their characters in the north should look, which I think is a good thing.

11 Ways to Quote and Promote Your Book Using Images, at The Book Designer. This is a publishing and book promotion-related article, so if you’re not in the business of promoting a book it may not hold much interest for you. I think it’s an intriguing idea to help promote one’s books; I may be trying it in the future.

NASA Images Find 1.7 Million Year Old Man-Made Bridge. I always find stuff like this fascinating — both on a “Oh wow, cool, human history stuff!” level and a worldbuilding level. This also relates to mythology and real-world events being connected, which I also find super cool.

See you tomorrow!

-Katje

The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1

Cover image of The Writer's Journey, Third Edition, by Christopher VoglerI’ve started reading through The Writer’s Journey (Third Edition) by Christopher Vogler. I was given the book ages ago by mom and never really sat down to read it. (I have such a huge pile of books that are TBR.)

The book is a look at the Hero’s Journey and how it can apply to writing and a writer’s life. The Hero’s Journey is the idea that every story is, at core, the same. It’s a monomyth paradigm put forward by Joseph Campbell.

There are a lot of problems with this paradigm being touted as universal. The Hero’s Journey has a definite Western bias and trying to apply it to non-Western stories and myths is, to my mind, a form of literary colonization.

However, I still think the book will be useful to me. Not because the Hero’s Journey is universal, but because it is specifically biased to Western civilization, and I am a Western writer, with a Western audience.

The book also doesn’t push formula, which is unexpected, honestly. It puts forth the Hero’s Journey as a form, but says that to make it really work, one must internalize one’s understanding of it and then do one’s own thing. It’s form, not formula. It’s a map, with possible rest stops marked out, not an itinerary from which one may not stray.

The rest stops he marks out are as follows, with my own understanding of what each rest stop means.

Continue reading The Writer’s Journey, Chapter 1