The end of 2013 is fast approaching and I have been given a moment to pause and take stock of how much my life has changed in the last 12 months. It’s not a pause I would have chosen to taken but instead one forced upon me by the universe and the gods of pestilence and plague.
I nearly lost my good right arm.
Okay maybe I am being a bit hyperbolic, fuck let’s be honest I am exaggerating like a fat kid looking to score some burgers. What happened was one night 2 weeks ago I woke up and in the stygian blackness of my bedroom and scratched a bump on my right forearm. When I woke 3 hours later the little bump was inflamed and swollen. I treated it with some Neosporin, slapped a Band-Aid on it, and continued on my way.
Bad idea Bob.
On Monday December 23 I woke in agony and called my grandfather to ask for a ride to the ER. Karen was already at work and even if I still had a car capable of movement, the fucking truck is still dead in my mother in laws driveway, so begging for a ride was my only choice. When we arrived at the hospital I was whisked back to the tiny rooms where doctors torture their patients and nurses fuck EMT’s on the late shift.
I worked at that very hospital for a year so I know what I’m talking about.
The pretty Physicians Assistant told me it was a very bad infection, they were going to have to cut me, and that it was going to hurt. Surprisingly her blunt honesty made me feel better. First she injected Lidocaine all around the rotted hole. This actually didn’t hurt too badly. Next she sliced an inch and a half slit where the original bump had been. I didn’t feel a thing. After she milked more than a cup of bloody puss from my forearm, I’m serious it was easily more than that, she brought out the long cotton swab. She told me she needed to clean out the puss pocket and that she would be as quick as possible. She slid the antiseptic bit of wood and cotton into the hole and fire raced up my arm.
I didn’t scream and I didn’t cry. Give me at least that much credit. But my body went rigid and my left hand seized the bed rail with an intensity He-Man’s buddy Fisto would have been proud of. I watched in horror as the thin stick slid more than four inches down my arm nearly touching the crotch of my elbow. I thought I might be sick. I like to think I’m relatively tough. I’ve broken bones. I’ve suffered bad cuts and contusions. I’ve suffered two concussions, been tattooed (on the same infected forearm), and I use to be plagued by cluster migraines. But no single experience has been as painful as that fucking swab raping my poor arm.
From now on I do believe that Q-Tips will cause my dick to retreat into my body for the rest of my life.
After that she packed my arm with sterile gauze, unpleasant but like a hand job from a goddess compared to the swab rape, and wrapped my arm. I was give a massive dose of antibiotics right there in the hospital and a prescription for more of the same and Vicodin. After filling the prescription and calling off at the day job, I mean seriously who the hell thinks I could work a fucking mop with my pimp arm crippled, I went home and collapsed.
As I write this I am still bandaged. The gauze was removed by my wife because I will be damned if I give the hospital anymore of our money to pull some fabric from my forearm. I took some of the Vicodin but I hate how narcotics make me feel and at this point the infection in almost gone and Tylenol is handling the pain just fine. It kinda feels like I have sunburn on my arm. And the best part is now that the swelling is down I can see that my tattoo was NOT affected by the infection.
So what does this have to do with my year end wrap up?
While in pain I was unable to write more than a few words before being forced to stop. I am not ambidextrous and the very idea of typing with the sinister hand leaves me with a dry mouth and racing heart. This left me with time to read, I finished a new read through of The Stand, and think about … things.
I am one lucky mother fucker.
This year I have reached the point where on just my writing I have been able to pay, at a minimum, our rent every month just from my writing. I have been able to enjoy my family to a degree that once seemed like a pie in the sky dream. I am not ashamed to admit that this has a lot to do with balancing my depression and bi-polar condition with medication. But hey I’m not a Scientologist and I believe in the power of medical science.
This is not to say I haven’t earned this. I’ve worked hard. I’ve made time for my family when in past years I’d have watched TV or slept. I have written something every day, or at least done some sort of writing related work, whether I felt like it or not. The results have been a better relationship with my six children and about half a million words written. Instead of slowing down or even leveling off I seem to be gaining speed.
It’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time.
What comes next?
I think 2014 is going to be an important year for me. I am about to enter the convention circuit and attempt to whore my wares directly to the readers. I hope to make some connections in the wide indie publishing world and if nothing else I intend to have a lot of fun. There will be new seasons from my serials (Summer Camp of the Dead, The Preserve) and work on new projects. I will also begin volume 2 of my “After the Descent” series which is just the collected essays from my blog (I will never not hate that word).
So in conclusion I nearly lost my arm but it’s been a phenomenal year and it I owe it all to you my awesome readers and fans!