Journal of a Pandemic Year: Part Twenty-Six

Dear Readers,

I came to a sudden realization this morning. For the past ten months, I’ve been dealing with crippling writer’s block which is somewhat new to me as it is not anything that I’ve struggled with in the past. Sure, I managed to get all the edits done to Molly’s Song and place it with a publisher, but by my own calendar, I should have had two other books written by now. (One being the sequel to MS and the other being a stand alone) Whereas in other, better, times, I can stand in front of the computer, close my eyes, and visualize the story unfolding in my head, now when I close my eyes, I see nothing but darkness. Today I finally understand why that is, though unfortunately there is not much I can do about it.

For the past ten months, like many of you, I spent most of my time looking at the same four walls. Apart from doctor appointments and my morning walk on the beach, I haven’t been anywhere, not even to campus. It’s the lack of variety and variation in my day to day life in this pandemic world that is causing my brain to lock up. Alas, there is not much that can be done to change things, at least not until I can get my vaccine. I’m in the priority group due to a chronic medical condition that puts me at high risk, so hopefully I can before too much longer. Regardless, I’ll be able to power through the block eventually. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. There will be that eureka moment. I just have to be patient.

Sadly, another issue from my past has decided to intrude upon the present. In Nov. of 2017, I spent a week in the hospital due to a small bowel obstruction. It cleared up, but I was back in January when it reoccurred. I had an emergency surgery and spent three weeks there. Upon release, I was still sick, or at least I still felt sick. In March, another obstruction hit me (on our tenth anniversary, no less). I spent another week there and was told I needed another operation, this time a bigger one. I had that surgery done in mid May. So that’s the backstory.

When I got out of the hospital in May of 18, I had dropped all the way down to 130 pounds…and I’m 6’4. In May of 2020, I finally got back to the weight I was prior to Nov. of 2017 when it all started. Over the course of time, I had gotten to the point that I no longer worried about the condition. The second surgery appeared to have worked. Bowel obstructions (and the horrific pain they cause) stopped crossing my mind at all. Now, the primary cause of small bowel obstructions is abdominal adhesions, but mine is caused by my autoimmune disease attacking my intestines and causing a section to essentially stop working and so nothing would pass through them. The second surgery added a second “drainage” spot from my stomach to my duodenum which, in theory, means that is the primary drain backs up, the secondary drain will handle it. Just like your air conditioning unit!

However, the blockages are returning. In early September, I can’t remember the exact date, I developed an obstruction in the morning. I went to the ER (as it is a medical emergency and can be life threatening). Thankfully they were able to tell me how to get it to clear up at home since they could identify a specific issue on the C/T scan. Everything was fine until Friday, Jan. 8th. That morning it hit me again, hard. I had always said that the obstruction in Nov. of 2017 was the most painful, however, the one on Jan. 8th overtook that one. I waited to go to the hospital though. After some violent vomiting episodes, I did feel a little better, but I finally went in. They were busy, as well you can imagine, and so by the time I finally got my C/T scan, it was over eight hours from the onset time. The scan came back clear, as apparently the vomiting forced the blockage to release.

Unfortunately, until they see it on a scan, they won’t really be able to figure out the exact cause and decide what the course of action is. Typically, that is a surgery, but more surgeries increases the risk of more obstructions. It is a never ending cycle. Even now, while I type this, I can feel that all too familiar twinge in my stomach that usually signifies an incoming obstruction. Sometimes it passes on its own, but other times in doesn’t. The last thing I wanted to worry about right now is a recurrence of an issue from two years ago that might very well lead to extended hospital stays and surgeries, but it is what it is.

Everyone has their own crosses to bear, I just happen to have a couple of them. Heavy ones, at that.

Until next time, Dear Readers, take care of yourselves. And each other.

L.H.

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