Tuesday, September 29, 2015


When you think about it, the human body is truly amazing. We can treat it badly, but it still attempts to heal itself. And it can!
On May 5, I woke up with pain in my knee. At the time, I didn’t remember doing anything to injure it, but I figured since I’d been quite busy preparing for a big party, I’d probably tweaked it.
During the next week, the pain grew. I tried ‘doctoring’ it myself, but it just got worse. I stopped taking my long walks so as not to further injure the joint. After several weeks, I finally gave up and went to the doctor.
The first X-ray showed arthritis, but the MRI showed two tears in the meniscus and a Baker’s cyst in addition to the arthritis. However, the cartilage and tendons were intact as was the ACL. Huge blessings.
Between the x-ray and the MRI, my doctor prescribed physical therapy. It didn’t help.
Since the pain was growing worse, and I was no longer able to sleep through the night, I scheduled surgery.
We were planning our 50th anniversary celebration for September 5, so I had to work the surgery around that date. I finally scheduled it for August 6, a month before our party. I naïvely assumed I’d be fully healed by the big day. Not so.
This was my first major surgery. Others who have had the same kind assured me it was a ‘piece of cake.’ What I didn’t realize was that these folks had experienced many surgeries in their lives. Given the context, this probably was easy—for them!
It took me a couple of weeks to recover from the anesthesia. I’d sit at my computer and stare at the screen. I had several editing jobs to finish, but I just couldn’t concentrate for any length of time. Since I am usually able to focus in on my work, I felt very disconcerted and confused.
Since I still wasn’t sleeping comfortably at night, I began to drop off on the sofa several times a day.
The pain in my knee continued, despite elevating and icing. I saved the painkillers for nighttime, and they began to allow some drugged sleep, but I was still walking gingerly, icing, elevating, and hoping the pain would go away.
Can you say, ‘unrealistic expectations’? Even though the doctor had said it might be three months or more for complete healing, I thought I’d be one of those who bounced right back. Not so.
I managed to get through the anniversary party okay, but my knee still ached.
Three days after our big bash, I caught what I thought was a cold, but I now believe was a bad case of the flu. Not only did I feel terrible, but the pain in my knee felt worse.
The doctor called in a prescription for antibiotics, but the illness persisted.
A couple of weeks ago, I was so discouraged, I sat down to talk to a good friend who is a nurse. She has also had several knee surgeries, including replacement. What a helpful conversation.
She pointed out that recovery time depends on lots of factors, including the extent of the work done, personal healing time, stresses, immunity, etc.
My surgery had been scheduled for one hour, but took over half again as long. I was also under the stress of planning and carrying out a big party. Larry had surgery two days before the party for a basal cell carcinoma, and I was worried about him. (He, too, has had little surgery in his life.) By the time I talked to my friend, Larry had developed an infection at the site of the surgery. So no stress at all!
I finally went to the doctor again, and she gave me three prescriptions: another round of antibiotics, cough meds, and steroids. I have been trying to avoid using steroids for the knee pain, but this time, I agreed.
What a difference a few days has made! The flu (or whatever) symptoms are finally diminishing. The cough is lessening. And for the first time since May, I can walk at my normal pace and climb up and down stairs without pain!
I am so grateful for medicine for discovering all the great treatments and drugs which allow our bodies to heal. But the major miracle is that they do it at all. I finally feel back to about 90% of normal and can foresee the percentage increasing as the days pass.

Isn’t the body’s ability to heal wonderful?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Guest Interview with Marilyn Meredith

Today my guest is one of my favorite authors and good friends, Marilyn Meredith. Her latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Not as It Seems, is now available. I realized we have something in common, so I’ve asked Marilyn to address this common theme.

When we were talking about this visit to her blog, Lorna asked the following questions: “We wrote our historical novel, The Memory Keeper, from the POV of a Juaneño Indian. What is different in writing from the POV of Tempe, another Native American, from writing your non-Indian characters? How do you research the information on your local Indians? How does Tempe’s Indian background affect her worldview, and how she goes about her work?
Here are my answers:
At the beginning of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Tempe knows very little about her Indian heritage. The part owner of the local inn, also an Indian, takes it upon himself to educate her. In each book, she learns more and more about her heritage.
Her point-of-view isn’t much different from non-Indian characters. In fact, though the detectives she often works with think she should be the one to investigate crimes involving Indians, she is still an outsider to those living on the reservation.
I’ve met many of the local Indians, researched by going on the reservation, but as I often tell them, what I’ve done mostly is borrow from them rather than actually writing about a particular group of Indians who live on the res. Even the fictional reservation in my series, though it has many resemblances to the real reservation, has some differences.
This particular book is set in Morro Bay and the surrounding area and deals with two different Indian tribes, which I had to research—and was quite surprised by what I discovered.
Because of Tempe’s previous contacts with the dead and the spirit world, she has some unique and sometimes unsettling experiences while trying to locate a missing woman. I don’t think her Indian background has as much effect on her worldview as her supernatural encounters.
Not as It Seems Blurb:
Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for son Blair’s wedding, but when the maid-of-honor disappears, Tempe tries to find her. The search is complicated by ghosts and Native spirits.
Character Naming Contest:
Once again, I’ll name a character after the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs.
Tomorrow I’ll be stopping by John M. Wills blog http://jwillsbooks.com/blog-posts/and talking about the setting for Not as it Seems.

Marilyn Meredith now lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra, about 1000 feet lower than Tempe’s Bear Creek, but the area much resembles the fictional town and surroundings. She has nearly 40 books published, mostly mysteries. Besides writing, she loves to give presentations to writers’ groups. She’s on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and three chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter.

Monday, September 7, 2015

50 Years--And Counting

On September 4, 2015, Larry and I reached our 50th wedding anniversary. It sounds like a long time, even though it seems like yesterday. The following day, we celebrated the occasion with family and friends.
Through the years, we’ve been asked how we’ve managed to stay together all these years and still like each other. We usually quote Lorenzo Music. You may remember him as the voice of ‘Carleton, your doorman’ on the Rhoda show or the voice of Garfield, the cat. Years ago, he and his wife were interviewed on a talk show, When they were asked the same question, their answer was, “Low expectations.”

Of course, everyone laughed. But the more we thought about it, the more truth we heard in it. Our expectations often get us in trouble. We set them too high, and then we’re disappointed when they aren’t met. By keeping them lower, we are pleasantly surprised when things work out better than we expected.

Another quote we loved on longevity came from Robert Mitchum. When asked about his own long marriage, he attributed it to “lack of imagination.” We always thought this statement contained an element of truth.

Our low expectations or lack of imagination or the great modeling we had in our families, with many members demonstrating the value of long marriages, may have contributed to our own. Or perhaps we just managed to find the right partner early in life.

I am personally grateful for whatever factors contributed to the past fifty years. I’m ready to keep going, and since Larry also renewed his vows, I guess he is, too.