To anyone who hasn’t given up on this blog, it probably seems like I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. And right now, that’s close to what it feels like. I spend my days in a windowless room in an intensive care unit, by my husband’s bedside. He’s been in the hospital for nearly two months and in the ICU for over three weeks.
My husband suffers multiple complications from diabetes. He’s already lost most of his eyesight. He’s been in and out of hospitals since September. Last winter, an infected wound in his foot sent him to the emergency room and a hospital stay that stretched to three weeks. We were told he’d need to have his leg amputated below the knee. Devastating news, especially when diabetes had already taken so much. He came home for a month on IV antibiotics while we got second opinions and considered his options. During this time, I became his round-the-clock nurse. I was happy to take care of him but often feared I was in over my head. I don’t have any medical training, and suddenly (other than a weekly visit from a real nurse) I was the one responsible for holding him steady.
For a while, we thought that he’d be able to have a less drastic surgery, but for various reasons that didn’t work out. He opted for the amputation. That surgery went well, but he developed pneumonia and, on the day we were supposed to start talking about his discharge, he went into sudden cardiac arrest.
We were lucky. I was in his room and realized he was in distress. I got a nurse, who called in a crisis team. They were with him when his heart stopped, so he got immediate CPR until the doctor was able to get his heart beating on its own again. They moved him to the ICU, and for more than a week we waited to see if he’d regain consciousness. Day after day, things looked grim. He had another close call. Staff gently warned me that each day that slipped away took another sliver of hope with it. Counselors appeared to talk to me about the possibility that he wouldn’t wake up. Someone even asked me about organ donation. My husband had signed a living will; I knew what his wishes were. Still, I kept asking them to wait one more day, do one more test…
On the twelfth day after the cardiac arrest, I was with him alone in his room. Standing by his bed and holding his hand, tears running down my face, I asked him one last time to open his eyes. I didn’t expect anything, but he did–wide. He relaxed a little, and I asked again. He opened them again. I asked him to close them and he scrunched them shut. By this time I was yelling to anyone who’d listen, “He’s waking up! He’s waking up!” I don’t even know how to describe the abrupt switch from profound despair to absolute joy that I felt just by seeing him open his eyes. Since then, he’s continued to wake up–slowly, but we have hope. He’s got a long road ahead and I’m not even sure where it leads, but I’ll be walking it with him.
During these weeks and months of crisis, I missed some work deadlines, which means that HELLHOUND’s release had to be pushed back to the fall. I regret that, but I couldn’t help it. No matter how much I love Deadtown’s world, it’s hard to focus on made-up characters in your head when someone you love is in crisis. Now that my husband is more stable, I’m working on Deadtown 6, which will be the final book in the series. I’m excited to bring together the plot lines and character arcs in a grand finale! It feels good to get back to work.
Thanks for your patience. I expect to be around more in the coming weeks, and I look forward to getting back in touch with online friends and readers.