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How does your health impact your stories?

Crumbly Writer

I'm back at home with a new pacemaker (not quite back to writing yet, though) and it's gotten me thinking. How does your health impact your stories? Do you infuse your characters which aspects of your health issues, or do you avoid health issues entirely.

In my "Catalyst" series, when I wanted to show the main character suffering from a chronic condition, I interjected many of my experiences with chronic diabetes to give it a sense of realism, but often, I find that writers with chronic conditions tend to write overly depressing material, while those who focus purely on fantasy tend to write happier fare.

How much does your health or that of others near you impact your writing (beyond not being able to write)?

Lugh

@Crumbly Writer

It certainly doesn't help for me to have a less than totally understood fatigue syndrome, which turns out to be closer to sleep disturbance than, as had been suspected, depression. My writing, however, has been helping me with various emotional issues.

I have a work in progress, "Wounded Warriors of the Sexual Revolution", which has a major theme of healing sexual problems, as well as using sexuality for healing. While I'm deep in scientific medicine, I also do consider life forces and shamanic healing. The prior story, "Green Berets for the Sexual Revolution" also has a chronically ill character.

In these, I try to educate. For example, I have had a problem with erectile dysfunction, which turned out to be not due to the usual problems, but a pre-diabetic state. Had that been diagnosed much earlier, my life would have been much better. It interacted with my then-wife developing chronic illnesses, the treatment of which interfered with oral contraceptives. Condoms are not helpful with ED. At the time, it was difficult to get a vasectomy in Virginia -- I should have gone to DC.

I also warn that Viagra and related drugs (5-phosphodiesterase inhibitors), while fine for some people, could easily kill someone on my cardiac drugs. It scares me when I see fiction involving slipping someone, unaware, the "blue pill".

Crumbly Writer, I'm on my 2nd pacemaker, the first having worn out and needed replacement. You might be amused by the circumstances. For a number of years, I was a research patient/volunteer in the cardiology unit at NIH Clinical Center. Every so often, I went in for a week of inpatient studies, with the latest diagnostics.

One night, I awakened, at first frightened as I could see little but bright orange, as if surrounded by fire. As I came out of sleep, I realized that it was the long red hair of the night nurse. Her lovely voice reached my ears: "I want you...", which sounded interesting.

Alas, what she was saying was "I want you to wake up and stay awake until a cardiologist gets here. Your heart is stopping for 15 seconds at a time, only during sleep." She did, however, stay with me for charming conversation until the cardiologist got there, and didn't seem to mind that her skirt was riding higher and higher. At a research hospital, you may be the only patient for that nurse.

I had a variant of Sick Sinus Syndrome. The Class I recommendation is to implant a bradycardia pacemaker for sinus pauses > 3 seconds.

My pacemaker battery is due for replacement in an estimated 2.5-3.5 years.

Crumbly Writer

@Lugh

My pacemaker battery is due for replacement in an estimated 2.5-3.5 years.

We should talk (offline, since this doesn't involved story creations), as that's what my pacemaker is for (bradycardia), only my heart is fine. Instead I've got neuropathy of the autonomic nervous system, which means my body can't self-regulate my otherwise healthy heart.

sharkjcw

You guys are making me fill healthy. I only have failing eyesight, lower back and knee problems.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Lugh


Crumbly Writer, I'm on my 2nd pacemaker, the first having worn out and needed replacement.


There is a show on cable called "Sex Sent Me To The ER". It claims to be true stories, but some of them are pretty strange.

One in particular that this thread brings to mind is a young couple sent to the ER because they were electrocuted while having sex to the point where they both had electrical burns to their genitals.

It turned out that the male of the couple, who had an arrhythmia, had a brand new pacemaker which was badly miss-calibrated. If his heart rate got even a little elevated it was shocking him to the point where anyone touching him would get zapped.

Replies:   Lugh
shinerdrinker

I just had a third spinal laminectomy to help ease the pain caused by spinal stenosis. It just so happens that when I went into the hospital for the surgery according to the outline of my first story "Mayhem in a Pill," I was just about to begin a chapter detailing some physical torturing, I really didn't want describe torture while laying on a hospital bed and waiting for not only the surgery but the week or so of physical therapy.

I am home and 80 percent of the pain is gone so I can actually concentrate again. So I'm still having trouble getting back to writing about pulling out toenails one by one, so I switched chapters and started a third chapter in a row focusing in on young Tim and his fight toward football fame. It doesn't hurt the story in anyway and totally helps my state of mind.

So yeah, I'd say yes my health has impacted my story.

Lugh

@Dominions Son

When observing at one Level I trauma center, I observed a panicked physician, screaming "I'm blind!", having to be tackled for treatment. He was a colorectal surgery fellow.

A patient had presented with "FB in rectum." Colorectal was paged, and the fellow looked forward to using their new fiberoptic operative sigmoidoscope, complete with high-magnification viewing system. After appropriate sedation and lubrication, the room was darkened, it was inserted....and then the physician started to scream.

It turned out that the FB was a Maglite, inserted bulb down. When jarred by the probe, the light turned on, was collimated, and blasted into the fellow's eye, causing temporary flash-blindness in his dark-adapted vision.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReBTWaaAjds

Grant

@Crumbly Writer

How much does your health or that of others near you impact your writing (beyond not being able to write)?

I can't remember the story or the author, but apparently the Author went through a particularly brutal breakup/divorce. That resulted in some serious abuse & pain & suffering for his main character that wasn't part of the original plot line.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

the Author went through a particularly brutal breakup/divorce. That resulted in some serious abuse & pain & suffering for his main character that wasn't part of the original plot line.


sound like situation normal, well screwed by the court

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


well screwed by the court


only after the lawyers took their unfair share!

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Tendonitis in my fingers limits amount of typing.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


How much does your health or that of others near you impact your writing


My muse goes into hiding when I'm not feeling very poorly.

see what happens when you type while tired and then edit and post just before crawling into bed. the above started life as:

My muse goes into hiding when I'm feeling poorly.

and was meant to come out as:

My muse goes into hiding when I'm not feeling very well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
DerAndy

Thankfully I'm relatively healthy, even though how long it stays that way is questionable as long as I don't start living healthier... ^^

My mood does influence my writing, however. Years ago I worked on a story, and when my personal life went bad I stopped writing on it. Otherwise I would have killed off all characters slowly and painfully. My mind still links this story to the bad times, so my previous attempts to restart writing failed miserably. I'll get there, however. :)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

My muse goes into hiding when I'm not feeling very poorly.

Don't worry, Ernest. Hang around here and we'll have you feeling terribly in no time. 'D

@DerAndy

Years ago I worked on a story, and when my personal life went bad I stopped writing on it. Otherwise I would have killed off all characters slowly and painfully. My mind still links this story to the bad times, so my previous attempts to restart writing failed miserably. I'll get there, however.

You might need a bigger break than that. Since much of the writing was contaminated with bad experiences, you may need to start fresh, either by beginning again, or from tackling the entire enterprise from a fresh perspective (i.e. a new character and a new theme).

If nothing else, try introducing a new character who brings a new perspective, focus on him, and if he works, have him meet the original character later so he can influence his attitude and pull the entire story together. But most of all, think about who the story needs to pull the entire thing together, rather than simply continuing an unsuccessful story forward. You stopped for a reason, so you've got to resolve that issue before you'll make much progress. You should be spending this down time figuring out how to resolve that issue.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  DerAndy
oyster50

A bit over a year ago I was off work for several weeks with a nerve problem in my lower back. I was prescribed some pretty stout painkillers while I awaited diagnosis and surgery and I think that during that period of time, I was a very productive writer, posting multiple chapters of three active stories weekly.

Dunno if it was the drugs or all teh spare time. Daytime TV sucks.

Oyster

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Don't worry, Ernest. Hang around here and we'll have you feeling terribly in no time.


No need to go to any trouble, CW< the local cops are way ahead of you on that one.

Ernest Bywater

@DerAndy

My mind still links this story to the bad times, so my previous attempts to restart writing failed miserably.


Try writing a light or funny story. As to finishing the other, you may want to consider letting someone else revise it and finish it for you. Find someone who writes something similar and ask them if you decide to do that.

Ernest Bywater

@oyster50

Dunno if it was the drugs or all teh spare time.


Maybe both, the spare time give you the opportunity to write, and the drugs letting your mind wander.

REP

@Ernest Bywater


My muse goes into hiding when I'm not feeling very poorly.


Considering the number of good stories you produce, you must get sick a lot.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP


Considering the number of good stories you produce, you must get sick a lot.


Thanks for alerting me to the typo, I've just edited the original to show what it started as and was supposed to end up as.

DerAndy

@Crumbly Writer

You might need a bigger break than that. Since much of the writing was contaminated with bad experiences, you may need to start fresh, either by beginning again, or from tackling the entire enterprise from a fresh perspective (i.e. a new character and a new theme).


I still like the story, and I still like the characters. That's the funny thing. It's not their fault I had a bad time, so I don't want to abandon them. A new perspective might help, though. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@DerAndy

I still like the story, and I still like the characters. That's the funny thing. It's not their fault I had a bad time, so I don't want to abandon them. A new perspective might help, though.

That's why I suggested a new character, who represents your perspective now. Having him interact with the main character should (hopefully) allow you to work out the issues around the topics raised without radically altering the stories main emphasis.

It's worth a try, if nothing else, especially if it reinvigorates the story. If nothing else, trying a new technique, only to toss it later, might help you in revising the original (once you've worked through the aspects of the story which are troubling you).

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