A progress report

In John Lennon’s song, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” he sings:

“Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”


My mother always said something similar: “Man plans, and God laughs.”

Well, life was sure happening to me last week. I worked diligently on my book, as I said I would do in my previous blog post, for the first three days, and I actually made some great progress. Then boom! It all fell apart.

My husband, Bob, woke up early last Thursday morning with shortness of breath. I took him to urgent care and he got an EKG. With those results the doctor there said take him to emergency at our local hospital. And we were off and running. Two and a half days later and tests to rule out a heart attack, pneumonia, blood clots in his lungs, and congestive heart failure, he was feeling better. So they sent him home.

Less than 24 hours later, he was short of breath again – even worse. This time we called his own doctor (who had actually been consulted early on by the first hospital’s medical staff), and luckily he was on call on a Sunday morning. He directed us to the hospital where he’s on staff, and said he’d meet us there. He also got pulmonary doctor involved.

They took more tests, most of which were negative except for the lung function test. That showed obstructive function – called COPD, a curious diagnosis since Bob never smoked, and all contact with second-hand smoke was over 50 years ago. But at least they had a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Bob and MadelineThat’s the good thing! His  disease is treatable. And it won’t impact the quality and quantity of his life. When my husband asked his pulmonary doctor about that, he said Bob could buy a green banana. He’d be around to see it get ripe. Yeah, right. I guess that’s what he thinks is good bedside humor.

So in all that time did I work on my novel? Well, yes and no. While I was sitting with Bob in the hospital for almost five days, I wrote a poem, I wrote my journal entries every day, and I got into reading a good book. Then, finally this week, I brought a hard copy of my novel and began to redline it. That proved quite effective, making me decide that I’ll redline first, and then input changes into the soft copy even when I’m working in my home office. I can think on my feet better that way. As a result I moved forward three more chapters in the last two days.

I learned a good lesson. There’s always a way to get some work done even at the height of family trauma. It was good for me to bring my work along to the hospital. It helped take my mind off the scariness of the situation. For a while I really thought we were dealing with life and death issues. I’m thankful it all turned out so well.

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