Gimpin’ Ain’t Easy


My loyal fans keep asking me, “Steve, what’s the progress on your upcoming books?” and I answer myself in the mirror, “All things in due time, Steve.  In due time.”

But to be honest, I really haven’t gotten much done these past several weeks.  I can give you a ton of reasons why it’s slow going, but instead, I’m only going to focus on one excuse:  I’m a broken man.

No, I’m not referring to my recently announced separation from my wife and baby mama (although that certainly hasn’t helped things).  I’m talking about my hip.

Yes, like a grumpy old man sitting on my porch, complaining about the weather and talking about the good ol’ days, I have hip issues.  Ever since I was a part of a vehicle sandwich 15 years ago (long stupid story), I’ve had issues with my right hip.  While it’s hardly a consistent pain, it’s stopped me from being more active over the years.  At one point, it only hurt when it got cold, or when a gypsy sneezed over a freshly dug grave.  Over the years, it had gotten better.

Then, six years ago, I was involved in a head-on collision at work.

I took a day off from the accident and spent the next few weeks sore as hell, but I didn’t think much of it.  Several others told me I’d feel it eventually, within the year, but I kept on keeping on.  What else was I to do?  I truly loved my job and had only been at it for a month when the accident happened.  I certainly didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.

Sure enough, a year later, I started feeling pain in my hip again.  It may be a coincidence, it may not, but either way, it was at turns a mild irritation and full-on debilitating.  I tried to exercise, to strengthen my muscles, but every time I did, within days, I ended up in more pain.  After a time, I learned to deal with it, to accept it would be fine sometimes and other times, I’d be on the floor in the fetal position, wishing I could put a hot pack directly on my bones (stupid skin, getting in the way).

What does all this have to do with my writing?  Man, aren’t you impatient?

Last Sunday, I slept on the couch.  Okay, it’s more of a love seat.  It wasn’t the first time I’d camped out there, as I usually bee-lined to the living room whenever one of the animals woke me up in the middle of the night, to avoid them waking up Natalie as well.  When I got up, I knew something wasn’t right.  I was sore and stiff–more than usual–and my hip could barely support my weight.  I spent the day trying to relax, applying heat and taking Advil.  I had bowling that night, and it was a game I really didn’t want to miss.

I was feeling pretty decent by the time I had to leave for bowling.  Not tip-top shape, but I could walk and stand without too much pain.  I made the executive decision to go and I’ve been regretting it ever since (although I must say, I did beat my average).

Half-way through the three rounds (games?  I’m not up on bowling lingo), I knew something was wrong.  I hurt to stand, my hip throbbed when I sat.  I did my best to play on and by the time I was hobbling out to my car, I was sure I hadn’t done myself any favors.

I had to go shopping after bowling and it was there I found myself freezing up.  It was all I could do to keep one foot in front of the other.  If I hadn’t grabbed a shopping cart, I have no doubt I would have ended up on the floor, unable to move, waiting for someone to call out, “Cleanup in Aisle Five”.

Despite my chiropractor’s insistence I stay home, I went to work on Monday.  By the end of the night, I was fully regretting that decision.  I called off on Tuesday after seeing my chiropractor again.  He told me I had a pinched nerve and my spinal column was out of whack at the base.  He gave me the name of a man who gave me some prescriptions and I hoped this would lead me to my road of recovery.

Unfortunately, the muscle relaxers they prescribed didn’t seem to have much effect.  If anything, they made me sleepy and they might even be responsible for a persistent headache I’ve had over the last three days.  My hip has gotten somewhat better, to the point I think the nerve may no longer be pinched.  It’s still really sore, however, and sometimes I move a certain way that reminds me in no uncertain terms how bad off it is.

I was hoping to get in for a massage or some PT, but the car situation has made that rather difficult.  Instead, I’ve been trying to take it easy, stretching when I can, alternating between cold and hot.  It seems to be helping.  Still, I look forward to the day I can go back to my standard level of pain, which now seems like a long-lost utopia.

Oh, what does this all have to do with my writing?  It hurts to sit.  I do it all day at work and my hip feels like it’s on fire.  Even at home, I’ve been more inclined to lay on the sofa than to sit or stand.  While I’ve gotten a few chapters edited this way, it’s really slowed down the process.  Still, I have obligations to keep and I am determined to get (at least) these two books out this year.

And so I set a goal, here and now:  I will have my edits for The Shadow Within done by the end of March.  I still have no idea what the release will be, as I’m hoping to get other people in on the editing process this time (I don’t want to put out another poorly edited book).  I’m gunning for June, as that will mark my two-year anniversary from publishing Ascension.

Wow, has it really been that long?  I definitely need to step it up.

Thanks for reading.

S.L. Madden

BTW, this was my 100th post!  Woo!  Yeah!  All right!  I’m…just waiting for some balloons to drop from the ceiling or something.  Yup.  Any moment now….

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