By Jackie King
Writers share the same problems as the rest of the population, but we have the advantage of recycling our misery. We even have the audacity to call this “research.” The truth is anything we novelists experience, sooner or later turns up in our books.
I’ve been writing about the complications of aging. And believe it or not, I'm doing this in order to cheer myself up. (This sentence sounds dumb even to me, but it’s the truth.)
On September 16, I had a pacemaker implant. It seems that I had developed something called AFib. (Medical abbreviation for atrial fibrillation.) Listed among several causes are high blood pressure and sleep apnea; and I have both.
My first thought was that AFib was what old men got, not middle aged women like me. Then I remembered my actual age (which always comes as a shock to me) and had to admit that I had joined this rather large club. (And I do know that it’s better than the alternative, but I still like to gripe.)
AFib can cause strokes, so the doctor ordered me to stop driving until I had a pace maker implant. “This is a simple procedure and easy to recover from,” said the good doctor.
No doubt it’s simple compared to open-heart surgery or having a brain transplant, but it has been no walk in the park. One of the inconveniences I’ve suffered has been the necessity of carrying my left arm in a sling so I don’t raise it over my shoulder. Have you ever tried to style your hair with one hand? So I spend all of my time explaining to all and sundry how I broke (or didn’t) break my arm.
As a writer I’m tempted to make up exciting stories about farfetched adventures instead of telling the boring truth, but so far I’ve resisted the urge. I don’t dare risking one of my friends breaking my right arm.
I’d love to hear your similar stories. And to repay you, next time I post you’ll hear about how I learned to live with a mask and bi-pap machine to control the sleep apnea.
I’m falling apart…God help me.