Words & More Words

This Romance Writer’s Life…

Tales from Recovery...And will I win NaNoWriMo

In my last entry, I talked about preparing for NaNoWriMo and how once I’d won the 50,000 word battle, I’d be taking the month of December to recovery from cervical fusion.

The best laid plans…

Instead of waiting until December 4th, I moved up my surgery to November 16th because the nerve pain was excruciating. It was affecting my ability to function on all fronts. Funny thing is, now that I’m post surgery, I don’t remember how bad the pain was. But it was bad enough I couldn’t wait. And now, it’s gone.

I will admit, I didn’t want to screw up Thanksgiving, or NaNoWriMo, but I’m glad to be on the other wise of it (and Thanksgiving went really well).

The week of surgery, I prepared everything in my life as best I could. My biggest stressor being my dad’s caretaker, I wanted to make sure he was in the best situation while I was out of commission. I even wrote 14,000 words of my NaNoWriMo project just to get a jump on things, knowing full well I might not win this year.

Despite the pain and my desire to make it stop, I was pretty freaked out about going under the knife. The surgery sounded super scary. I learned they go in through the front of your neck…you know, your throat! Apparently, it’s less invasive. Who knew? I was anxious about the whole thing and the night before and day of surgery, I almost cancelled and called the whole thing off. I wasn’t mentally ready.

I had to be at the hospital at 10:30am, so at 9am, my sis was over with a huge care package. The childhood blanket the most sentimental of the items, but I appreciated all the snacks I couldn’t eat until a few days ago — pez, snickers bars, popcorn, bottle caps and good n’ plenty candy. All welcome here even when I’m not undergoing surgery.

As soon as we hit the hospital, I felt terror setting in, but there’s nothing like a hubby and sis who know how to keep you laughing. The team in the hospital prep room must’ve thought we were all insane. At one point, hubby was taking pics of me sitting on the bed, and apparently those gowns don’t cover everything. Despite the laughter, I was still freaking out on the inside, and needed my pre-surgery cocktail soon.

There was a moment when the surgeon came in. He walked up to the bed and took my hand. He said he woke up thinking about my surgery and how he decided to to add a level (I was originally getting a plate and screws for my C6-7, he added C5). I was fine with that. I did not want to have to do all this again.

When they wheeled me to the operating room, it took only a matter of minutes from scooting myself over to the table, to breathing into a mask. I kept thinking the mask was pushing on my nose but the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. The pain wasn’t so much in the front of my neck as it was in the back of my neck and shoulders. That was to be expected, considering they hog tied me to expose my throat. I remember them cycling through pain meds to get me to a point where I felt better and could be moved to a room before going home.

Back in the room, I remember my best bud had arrived with the hubby and sis, but most of the afternoon remains fuzzy. I get snippets of memories every now and then. News that a neighbor was in the hospital after taking a fall. My sis mentioning they played my parents song, “A Summer Place,” while she was getting a crappy lunch in the cafeteria. One single teddy graham that was so good I made hubby wrap up the rest to take home and sent my sis to buy a box. Side note: I’ve never had teddy grahams until that point, I also never ate the take-home teddies, and the box just got cracked open and it’s not the same.

Most of it’s fuzzy pieces of consciousness, Luckily my sister made a voice memo while we were back in the room so I have a memento if not actual memories.

I got home later that day and although I was able to get up and around, I was pretty stoned. I couldn’t swallow or eat for a few days after the surgery and I was rotating through multiple ice packs on the back of my neck. When I was finally coherent, I decided to start watching some of the movies I’d set aside for the recovery process. Rock of Ages, Hard to Hold, the new version of Fright Night…and an epic shit ton of The Flash. Great show, gets better the more I watch it.


Besides an attentive hubby, of course I had (and still have) two fuzzy nurses keeping watch over me as I recover. I had a follow up with the surgeon who took x-rays showing everything looks perfect in my neck, and outside of tightness, sleeping issues and the inability to drive for another week or two, I feel human.

So this week, I’m finally starting to feel better and I’m back to writing. I’m at a little over 40,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I have about 30 hours to go. Doubt I’ll hit the 50K. But it’s a strong start (continuation) of The Girl Who Didn’t Go. It’ll carry me into December.

For those of you who are completely cracked like myself, here’s a fun video showing what this surgery involves. Don’t worry it’s an animation (no real blood here, but remember they did this times three on me).

I’m feeling really thankful to be over this and can’t wait to get back to writing more of this novel that’s buzzing inside me.

Kelly DuffComment