Last week I was stricken with a pain in my stomach that was unlike any I had ever experienced before. It was so bad that it actually drove me to the floor at one point. An ambulance ride later I found myself sitting in a hospital staring emergency surgery in the scalpel. I fussed with the docs…yes it hurt, yes I wanted it fixed BUT I have so much work to do! I think there were points when at least one of those doctors wanted to throw things at me because, as she put it, I was being ridiculous.
After the “you-have-no-choice-because-you-could-die” speech from not one, but six, surgeons I finally gave in and let them cut me open. By Friday the surgery was over and I was already being a pain in the ass because I wanted to go home and get back to work. The nurses would sweetly pat me on the head and smile, nodding that I would be able to go home soon. They humored me because they knew that when I did finally get home I was not going to just hit the keyboard. They knew I would be in pain, my body trying to heal itself. They also knew that I would just have to see for myself…..they were right.
It’s been 5 days since the surgery and I am slowly getting back into it. I complain to my spouse about not feeling up to task and I’m told, geez, it’s only been five days. I know that I need to allow my body to heal but I also feel the giant tug of responsibility towards my readers so I have fought every step of the way. That is, until this morning…
This morning my 13 year old daughter hugged my head as I sat at my desk trying to find a comfortable position. She giggled as I twisted this way and that, grimacing and making the noises of a small hurt animal. She waited until I had given up on comfort and said, “you almost died…I think your readers would understand if you took a week off. Besides, how are you going to write anything good if between every word you are writing, ow, ow, ow…..?” I called her a smart butt and sent her off for her first day of school but then I had to admit…she’s right.
We writers really tend to push ourselves because we work for the hardest boss on the planet…ourselves. We think that the whole world is going to fall apart if we aren’t working forgetting that we are the ones actually creating that world. I have to take the time this week to heal and I would encourage any of you who get sick to do the same. Winter is coming and cold and flu season is headed our way so even if you don’t find yourself staring at a bunch of masked men and women with sharp instruments there still may be times when you will need to allow your body to heal…do it. You owe it to your writing.
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