Surgical Complications Slow Me

hospital room

Yes, I have been in the hospital.

It really was not supposed to go that way.

What happened?

I needed oral surgery. It was an outpatient procedure, unpleasant, with the risk of complications that all surgery carries, but likely to go smoothly. I’d even been through Part One in May with a minimum of fuss. Part Two would be similar, right?

Well, it wasn’t.

The surgery I needed was the reduction of a torus mandibularis.

“What the hay is a torus mandibularis?” you ask.

It is a bony growth in the lower jawbone along the surface nearest to the tongue.

bony growth on the lower jawboneMine was much larger and more poorly positioned than the one in the photo at right. That lucky person would clearly have been able to floss his or her teeth just fine.

My toroid was located near to the top of the gum line and it had a bump upward on top of that. Which meant that when I flossed those teeth, I could not physically get the floss fully down into the bottom of the cranny between tooth and gum. This was causing gum disease to develop.

Toroids usually come in pairs, and mine did. I had the right one ground down in May. It was unpleasant, but bearable.

Part Two—the left one—was August 8. It was a nightmare.

When my surgeon finished the toroid grinding (there’s a special machine for this), he discovered that the inner edge of the jawbone at the back of my mouth (beyond where the toroid had lain) was razor sharp. If he simply reattached my gum tissue (detached and pushed aside for the surgery), the bone would cut the gum tissue. He had to smooth and round that sharp edge.

So he did.

But the edge went back…and back…and BACK!

So he excavated back and back and back, rounding all the way. Finally he got to the end of it and could start stitching my gum tissue back down.

That was unpleasant enough, because it increased the length of the surgery. But I made it through. I was under twilight sedation, so I was semi-aware. Not nice, but bearable.

The true nightmare began about 6 hours later.

My pain levels sky rocketed. I needed extra pain relief, which was a little delayed in arriving. My mouth swelled. Even worse, my tongue started to swell.

By the next morning, my tongue was so swollen—felt like the Goodyear blimp crammed into my mouth—that I could no longer swallow. At all.

photo of blimp in sky

I could still breath, which was essential, of course. But any swallowing was a complete no go.

I could not swallow my own spit. I could not swallow any water. I could not swallow any medicine.

My surgeon prescribed liquid steroids, which could be eye-droppered into me, one drop at a time. And I managed to swallow them. They helped, but not enough, especially since I was now very dehydrated and dry heaving. I needed IV fluids and IV medications. So, hospital.

They kept me for only 23 hours and sent me home.

There were some setbacks—which I will not go into now. I’m wearing out in the storytelling, I’m afraid. Maybe in another blog post. 😉

So how am I? Will I be okay?

Yes.

I can swallow. The swelling is down (although not completely absent). The pain is controlled reasonably well. (Every now and then it breaks through, and then—yikes!)

But J.M. Ney-Grimm is definitely in slow mode. I sleep. I read. I rest. I drink broth. And then I sleep again. (The ole brain is truly off line.)

I had imagined myself writing a short story for the sheer fun of it during these convalescing weeks. Nope.

Because my surgery was more extensive than planned (getting that close to the base of the tongue is a bad thing), the recovery will take longer, probably a good month. For now, my top priority must be healing. Sigh. I’d rather be writing!

 

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Interesting Times

The waters here at Casa Ney-Grimm have been much choppier than those at Burt Lake in the photo above.

I went to the ER with a kidney infection. Then I had oral surgery. Then I fought through two infections. Urgh! Then came the most crushing blow: the department in which my husband works was targeted for a reorganization, with the result that my husband’s position was eliminated. Effective July 19. Double or triple urgh!

Through it all, I’ve continued my revision of The Sovereign’s Labyrinth (sequel to The Tally Master), but progress has been slow. But now—now!—I think I’m within striking distance of finishing. All of the truly tricky stuff is complete, and I’m excited about the changes I’ve made. This book is going to be good (she says with a modest grin). I’ve got another 8,000 words of the manuscript to review, and then I’ll send it off to my first reader. (Again. She wants to see what I’ve done with her feedback, brave woman.)

So what about Burt Lake?

A dear friend has a cottage there, and she invited me and my husband and children to spend a week with her. It was glorious. Sunny. Warm, but not hot. The lake seventy-five feet from the screened porch. And the best of company.

We swam nearly every day. We lounged in deck chairs by the water. We cooked and ate sumptuous meals. My daughter tried paddle boarding. We forgot all our troubles for a while.

Now we’re back home, and the troubles are crowding close. A job and medical insurance must be found. But the writing is keeping me sane, and I am clinging fast to the maxim: “One day at a time.”

If you’re the praying sort, I’d love your prayers. If you’re not, kind thoughts would be great!
 
 
(Photos by Amy Vandenburg. Copyright © 2019 Amy Vandenburg. Used with her permission.)

 

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Mists from the Deeps

     In the night, in the darkness, in the loneliest watch
           heart freezes
           soul cries out
           being shudders

     No answers on offer

     And yet . . . from despair, if I answer yes
           to loss
           to fear
           to death
     Yield assent without limit
     Assent, because all other answers lie barren

     Like earliest dawn, which seeps into the night sky so subtly
           my heart lightens
           a sense of possibility mists from the deeps
           some answer, unspoken, arrives

     Fragile and delicate, surrender to it, do not reach
           this succor may be accepted
           never taken
           new life in the bud

This poem and the accompanying photo appear in my new upcoming release, Journey into Grief.

For more excerpts from the book, see:
Cold Rage
Blessed Radiance
Futile Seeking
Risen

 

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Daylight Shines

           The sky is so blue and friendly
           almost as though it is her smile
           or maybe her laugh
           or both

           I have no sense of its infinite possibility
           ceding to the blackness of outer space
           going on and on past the moon
           past Mars

           No, this sky is immediate, personal
           happy like a baby blanket
           comforting like Mother
           and mine

           I am shielded, illuminated, protected
           under its canopy of brightness
           so long as daylight shines
           safe

This poem and the accompanying photo appear in my new upcoming release, Journey into Grief.

For more excerpts from the book, see:
Missing Her
No Beauty
Exiled
Despair

 

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Meeting and Greeting

The library in my town has a copy of The Tally Master in its Local Voices collection. I’m glad my book is there, and I hope that a few readers have checked it out, read it, and enjoyed it.

Just last weekend, my book’s presence on the library shelves led to something more. The library was holding its second ever Local Voices Book Fair, and I was invited to participate!

The event was held in a large ballroom on the third floor. Two authors gave readings, and roughly forty authors manned tables where their books were on offer.

I was impressed with my fellow indies! They seemed a fearsomely intelligent bunch with professionally done books featuring excellent covers. I gathered enough social courage to walk by all the tables and to stop and chat with every author who gave me the least of an opening. I had some interesting conversations, because of course we talked about their books! 😀

Meanwhile, my son generously manned my table and sold a copy of The Tally Master to the one fantasy fan present. (I was the only fantasy author there, so fantasy readers were a bit thin on the ground.)

I enjoyed getting out of my writing cave, and I learned from one of my fellow authors that bookstores in my town are actually very indie friendly. They are interested in hosting book signings by local authors. Furthermore, even unknowns can actually sell books at these signings, because the local readers like discovering local “hidden gems.” Clearly I should look into this!

I gave away bookmarks (image at right) to everyone who came anywhere near me, and I received two new subscribers to my newsletter.

The next day, the librarian who manages the library’s YA collection contacted me to ask if I would speak on an author panel geared toward National Novel Writing Month. (The manager of the Local Voices collection had recommended me to her.) I said yes!

I’m unexpectedly finding the public author shtick to be fun!

 

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Your Data Is Protected

The European Union has a new data privacy law that became effective today.

It’s called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and anyone with a website that permits comments (or any other activity that collects data) from European citizens must comply with its requirements.

The GDPR consists of 11 chapters containing 99 articles full of legalese. (Here they are in all their glory!) Making sure that I complied with every last detail of these would have been impossible, if I’d tried to do it solo. Luckily WordPress has done the heavy lifting!

The latest software update for my WordPress site contained a GDPR-compliant template, keyed to my site, that I could read through, customize, and then publish. So I’m legal! Even in the EU!

Of course, I’ve never collected much in the way of data on my site. This is the place where I talk with you all, and where you can talk with me. I’m interested in communication, and not interested at all in the hard sell.

But there is now a page on my site describing my Privacy Policy. Woo hoo! You can click on the Privacy tab in the navigation bar. Or simply read on. I’ve copied my privacy policy into this post.

Here it is: 😉

Who we are

The URL for this website is: http://jmney-grimm.com. And I—the fantasy author J.M. Ney-Grimm—am the person creating and managing the content on the site.

What personal data we collect and why we collect it

My website uses WordPress as its platform. By default, WordPress does not collect any personal data about visitors, and only collects the data shown on the User Profile screen from registered users.

Comments

When visitors leave comments on the site, I collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Media

If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.

Contact forms

If you use the contact form to email me, or if you email me directly, your email will remain in my inbox indefinitely. My memory is very poor, so I keep all correspondence in order to better recall what I’ve talked with you about in the past, in case you email me again in the future. Your stored email will contain your email address, the subject of your email, and the contents of your email.

Cookies

If you leave a comment on my site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year.

If you have an account and you log in to this site, my site’s software will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.

When you log in, the software for my site will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me," your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed.

If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on my site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracing your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Analytics

I use WordPress Stats to see which posts and pages on my site are the most popular. The software shows me if a link somewhere else on the web led a visitor to my site, and if the visitor clicks on one of the links on my site, but no information about the visitor is collected.

WordPress Stats is a lower tier of the Jetpack plug-in (which gives more sophisticated analytics). Jetpack’s privacy policy is located here.

Who we share your data with

If you subscribe or leave a comment on my site your data is shared with A Small Orange, the web host for my site. A Small Orange is “a refreshingly different web hosting company which prides itself on providing fast, reliable hosting with exceptional customer service,” and their privacy policy is here.

If you sign up for my newsletter, your data is stored for me by MailChimp. MailChimp’s privacy policy is here. If you sign up, I will send you emails when I have a new book out, a piece of important news, a discount to let you know about, or when I want to share a cool bit of lore from one of my stories. Signing up for my newsletter means you consent to receive such emails from me.

How long we retain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so I can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on my website (if any), I also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators (that’s me, and only me, for now) can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data I hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that I erase any personal data I hold about you. This does not include any data I am obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service. If you sign up for my newsletter, your data is stored for me by MailChimp. MailChimp’s privacy policy is here.

Contact information

Please email me (J.M. Ney-Grimm) at j -dot- neygrimm -at- yahoo -dot- com, if you have any privacy concerns or questions about the privacy of data stored by my website.

 

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In Memoriam

              I lit a candle today
              In memory of her I struck the flame
              To honor her I touched fire to wick
              From loss I watched the burning
              But it was love that moved my hand
              And it was love that moved my own children
                    and my husband
                    to stand with me
              Remembering her
                    my mother

 

OTHER WORDS OF GRIEF:
Futile Seeking
Gusty and Fresh
Risen
I See Her in Nature
Bright Radiance
Grievous Loss

 

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How Many Writers Make a Conference?

A few days before I was due to meet my writer friend Laura Montgomery in Culpeper (for a lunch of Chinese stir fry), she announced that she was christening our meal the Midway Writer’s Conference.

We both chuckled. Can a gathering of two really be considered a conference? Despite our laughter, we gave the question serious thought.

We’re old college friends who lost touch over the years and then reconnected in the comments of the wonderful blog run by Passive Guy, aka David Vandagriff.

We were astonished and delighted to learn that our lives had acquired some curious parallels. She’s the mother of twins; I’m the mother of twins. She’d launched herself into indie publishing writing science fiction. I’d done the same writing fantasy.

How cool was that!

After a bunch of cordial emails and some beta reading for one another, we decided to meet up for a cup of tea. After the briefest of pleasantries—“You look just as I remember you!—we talked writer shop for 2 hours straight. At the next meeting we talked for 4 hours, this time mixing publishing shop in with the writer shop talk.

Our latest meeting was 6 hours, with a focus on the marketing angle of indie publishing.

Yes, these really were conferences. Although this time we actually did manage to talk about our kids. Who knows? Maybe next time we’ll even chat about our spouses. 😉

One of the topics we discussed in Culpeper was the nature of genre and whether or not I wrote epic fantasy. Laura blogged about the question (and our conference), so I’m going to quote her. She said:

We tried to figure out if…The Tally Master was epic fantasy or not. 

I was arguing it was. The troll wars rage across the Northlands. Weapons are forged. Our cursed main characters live in a troll tower of monumental proportions. It all seems pretty epic to me.

Jessica demurred.

The hero is a bronze-age accountant. She was telling a small tale. It was a mystery about missing tin, a matter of seemingly little moment.

But, said I, it has large consequences, it’s part of a grand, epic sweep. A light bulb went off in my own mind…

And now I think I’d better send you off to Laura’s blog to read the rest. It’s really not fair for me to steal her audience.

So click HERE and go read. She’s witty in an understated way that I love, so it’s worth the click. I’ll wait while you visit her. Promise. 😉

Did you go?

I’m going to pretend you said, “Yes.” You did, right!

(The Sky Suspended features the patent fight she mentioned. Mercenary Calling presents the mutiny charge in a suspenseful story that also kept me in a ripple of internal chuckles the whole way through. I do love Laura’s dry humor.)

What did you think about her light bulb?

I thought she was clever—and correct—in her assertion that we both like focusing up-close-and-personal on a hero caught in the sweep of epic events.

But does that truly make my books epic fantasy? I know I’ve asked this question before, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to decide the answer for certain.

I’d love to know what you think. 😀

 

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