Friday, July 25, 2008

Surgery Update

Good thing I love my husband. This is the photo he took of me before I passed through the doors into my left elbow replacement surgery. Such a flattering pose and beautiful party hat and attire.

The surgery went well, but I had to stay the night in the hospital because they couldn't get me to stay awake long enough to breathe! At least the surgeon was also able to pop my right elbow back into place, so I can bend my arm and type with all five fingers on that hand.

A night on oxygen helped me breathe, sleep, and stop being nausiated at least. Now it's a week of healing before the torture begins---physical therapy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tides Across the Sea

I've decided to bring my baby out in the public. Although I've worked on this novel for nearly the entire fourteen years I've been married, drafted, rewritten, and submitted it to several places, I'm now taking the marketing and selling of this manuscript more seriously. Alexandra Penfold, Assistant Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, asked for chapters after we talked last March at the UVSC Forum on Children's Literature. You all know how busy my life can be, but I finally completed all the last minute fine-tuning on those chapters, likely bored members of my critique group silly as they looked at yet another synopsis, and worked, then reworked the query, finally realizing she asked for these pages so all I really needed was a cover letter to remind her of that. Cover letter done, all the necessary pages printed, and this baby is off to New York City. Of course, my husband is taking her to the post office. After all, I have a broken elbow and can't do oh so many things---like drive!

Last night, Annette Lyon forwarded a blog to our group from Nathan Bransford, an agent with Curtis Brown, Ltd. , about trends in writing which seem to include Mayans. Well, my novel happens to be about Aztecs, thank you very much, but I started reading Nathan's blog and realized he is in the market for YA novels. Tides Against the Sea is YA---the human sacrifice scene alone should guarantee that. So instead of working on my final graduate paper like I was supposed to be, I spent the rest of the evening reading his submission guidelines and drafting a query to ask him if he thinks my baby is pretty. Hey, I figure it can't hurt. I haven't sent the query yet---that dratted assignment is still weighing heavily on me--but I will by next week. After all, I have to have a minute to recover after my surgery!

In the meantime, if any of you would like to read Chapter One of Tides Across the Sea, you'll find it posted at I look forward to hearing what you think.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

After the Fall

Perhaps some of you have been wondering where I've been (and if you haven't, then why are you reading my blog anyway?) Most of my friends know why I haven't been blogging the last few weeks---all those days, after the FALL. Here's the inside scoop for any of you who might have missed the whole story.

It all happened in California on a beautiful evening the last Saturday in June. My husband had gotten us tickets to the Symphony at the L.A. County Arboretium. Our four sons, my husband and I were walking into the venue. I glanced down in time to see a huge rock in my path. I moved my foot just far enough to the right to miss the rock. Unfortunately, I hadn't seen the 3" piece of metal (perhaps a sawed-off Stop sign post) that was lurking just behind it.

Of course, it caught my toe. I yelled my husband's name as I fell in slow motion toward the asphalt driveway. I scrambled my legs, hoping to keep my balance, but the pull of gravity and angle of my body had already conspired against me. My arms were up in front of my chest, elbows out.

SPLAT! My left elbow and left leg hit the ground full force. Then, BANG, the right side followed. I'm surprised my face didn't plant itself as well.

The next problem---I couldn't get up. Every muscle and bone in my body had moved into automatic shock, refusing to move. I had to be picked up and put into a chair. The Red Cross came, my husband the nurse looked me over, and we filled out some paperwork.

Honestly, I knew I was bruised, I thought I was sprained, and I knew my left arm was going to swell, so I pulled off my wedding ring and watch before they were stuck to my body forever. There was a weird sensation in my left arm, but I didn't think anything was broken.
My left arm was wrapped, and I hobbled to a spot on the grass to listen to the first half of the concert.

I spent the next two days of vacation in the hotel room, taking OTC pain meds, and I thought I was getting better. The drive home was uncomfortable, but I was black and blue so I expected some pain..

So, off to the doctor I go once we are home, and the X-ray shows I've chipped a piece of bone from my elbow. Should be no problem, but let's go to the orthopedic surgeon just to be sure. After all, it is my elbow, an important functioning piece of the anatomy.

Five days later (July 4th holiday, so no one was in the surgeon's office, you know), he tells me the break shouldn't be a problem to heal on its own. No surgery needed. I'm suddenly feeling much better, then he says, "Except, there seems to be some stray chips of bone that I don't know where they came from."

Next stop---a CT scan, then back to his office for a consult. Sure enough, there on the computer screen I watch as he shows both me and the other specialist the five pieces of my shattered radial ball scatter all over the screen. Yippee! I'm now scheduled for replacement surgery, but I can't get there until July 23rd.

In the meantime, my right arm and left leg are still killing me. Back to the doctor's office I go. Another X-ray. Nothing broken this time it seems, probably just a sprain (althought I still wonder if it's not dislocated because I can't straighten my arm after three weeks!) Deep bruising an tissue damage in my leg is causing swelling in my lef and foot. At times it feels like my skin is ripping like hundreds of layers of paper and that a stake is being driven into my foot at the same time. Lovely though, isn't it?

Today, the surgery is five days away, the radial bone (which turned out to be twisted) aches, my left foot and leg are now wrapped to match my left arm, and my right arm still protests if I move it too close to my body.

On top of all this, I have a two-day graduate class that I must attend and present for tomorrow and the next day (the professor says it's required!). At least my husband came home from his second business trip to L.A. The neighbors have been bringing in dinner, and I've found out that at least two of my boys are willing to help Mom when she needs it. (Two more of them WILL if I ask, but they don't come to check on me by themselves.)

Everyone assumes me that once the surgery is over, I'll feel great. I sure hope so, but until then, know you all know why I haven't been blogging, writing, reading, or doing much else of what I usually do. Hopefully, I'll be back up and running by the middle of August---before if I'm lucky.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Glenn Beck Like You've Never Seen Him

Give yourself a few minutes and watch this piece from Glenn Beck. It brought tears to my eyes.