Hello, my name is…
1 – Hello, my name is Medron. The secret of jello is that it has a lot of protein and sugar in an easily digested form. That is why it is the first “food” that hospitals give you. In solid form of course. I took it at 2:30 AM on Wednesday morning in an even easier digested liquid form into what I thought was an empty stomach. I was wrong. The first two swallows of liquid jello hit my very full stomach like a bomb and I felt an urge that could not be denied. So I grabbed my trusty Taco Bell dog cup, assumed the position, and began my Olympic tryouts in projectile vomiting. I totally emptied myself and felt much better. I farted, burped, and my stomach began to gurgle. My digestion was working again. So I drank the rest of the jello and all was well.
2 – Hello, my name is Medron. The Taco Bell dog cup became my most trusted companion after my Olympic tryouts. He went with me everywhere, always ready to make me feel better, and his presence was comforting. But I have not needed him like that again so far. I kept to a liquid diet of jello and beef bullion on Wednesday, and tried out a couple bites of real food on Thursday. By Thursday night I even managed to generate some real belches. The ones my friends call Wookie mating calls. For the Wookies we grew up with in the Star Wars novels. I have no idea how Darth Mickey’s Wookies will handle romance of course. I liked them when they threw pots and pans. Oh wait. That was Roddenberry’s Klingons. ;)
3 – Hello, my name is Medron. An interesting thing is that all of this started on Sunday an hour after eating Easter dinner. The goose had taken a long time to cook, and it felt like previous cases of food poisoning I’ve had, so I wasn’t nervous at all. I did what you do for food poisoning. Ate chicken noodle soup, had some nice cream style corn, got under the covers, and felt better. Then I went to work. It hurt a bit, but twelve hours later I was still operational. Then the apendix burst at 6AM and I knew something was wrong. The moral of the story? A sick apendix feels just like food poisoning.
4 – Hello, my name is Medron. There was some confusion when it comes to my discharge. I never got a final doctor visit, and many of the plans were in flux when they decided to let me go. My discharge papers said I should have a six day perscription of antibiotics and they were sending me home with a stool softener. No stool softener. And the pharmacy only gave me a four day prescription. Which was going to end on Saturday. A weekend. When the pharmacies are closed. Color me worried when I realized the problem on Friday. So I called the hotline and talked to them. It seems they really did mean for me to run out of antibiotics five days after a life threatening operation. Oh lucky me.
5 – Hello, my name is Medron. I began toying with real food on Friday. The meatloaf was good but I could only eat it very slow and in small amounts. My system handled it, but an attempt to eat it later that day hit a total roadblock. My stomach just said no, so I ate some more jello and went to bed. On Saturday I tried chicken noodle soup, with real chicken added, and had the same result. Once was OK. Twice was right out. I have been able to handle scrambled eggs each morning though, which has been an amazing jumpstart to the day. The best news is, my Wookie mating calls remain strong so all hope is not yet lost. :)
6 – Hello, my name is Medron. Sunday was a day of change. It was one week after the first symptoms started. A friend stopped by on the way home with gifts from the convention I missed this weekend. We talked a bit. It was good. It was tiring. Then I had a hankering for pudding and ate most of a bowl of fresh milk chocolate pudding. Pure bliss. I can actually lie down on a bed without hurting now. So that is good too. Then I saw a Subway commercial and fell in lust. A few minutes later I held in my hands a toasted slice of wheat bread. Add cheese, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, ham, and lettuce, and my mouth took a direct trip to heaven.
7 – Hello, my name is Medron. An issue I’ve had for many years is mucus buildup in my throat. I cough it up and it comes back. The only way I’ve found to combat it is to drink pop. The carbonation breaks up the mucus and gives me some relief from the coughing. But with my recent issue, drinking pop was just right out. Now part of my recovery included drinking juice for extra vitamins and the like since my system was running so low. I found after one sip that grape juice was just going to make my mucus problem worse. But apple juice is acidic enough that it ate the mucus right up. I’ve been drinking apple juice ever since and the coughing is gone. I never realized how something so simple could help so much.
8 – Hello, my name is Medron. I spent my first night after surgery in one of those awesome powered hospital beds that goes up, down, and all that jazz. It made it so easy to find a comfortable position to sleep in. When I came home I had this awesome rocker/recliner chair that allowed me to do the same thing. It hurt to lie back all the way, and it hurt to sit up straight. But I could kick my feet up, lean back just a little bit, and go to sleep with a minimum of discomfort. There are times when the littlest of things makes all the difference in the world.
9 – Hello, my name is Medron. I went back to work this week. Two days at the end of my normal week just to see if I could do it. The first night was hard. I had a hard 10 pound weight limit and my normal backpack is way more than 10 pounds of everything I could want. So I took a much lighter shoulder bag into work with a light netbook instead of my normal heavy-duty laptop. Then I found out somebody removed the painkillers from the first aid kit at work so by the end of my shift I was very tired and very sore. I went home and fell hard asleep for most of the day. The next day proved much easier though and I finished my short workweek feeling good about my recovery.
10 – Hello, my name is Medron. It’s been almost two weeks now since my issue with the appendix started. I’ve been sleeping on a reclining chair and later a couch most of that time. I have a waterbed and there was no way I could lever myself out of that while recovering. Well, after working two nights I thought maybe I was up for the waterbed again. I tried it on Friday and it was heavenly. I can get in and out and easy, and I think that is my final test to prove that I’m really back. I can eat what I want, sleep where I want, and my mind is getting back into writing stories again. I’m doing good. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like me again. And I think that’s the most important thing of all.
11 – Angel War 1 – Relaxation
12 – Angel War 2 – Homecoming
13 – Angel War 3 – Confrontation
14 – Angel War 4 – Escalation
15 – Angel War 5 – Reprieve
16 – Angel War 6 – Intrigue
17 – Angel War 7 – Incursion
18 – Angel War 8 – Deception
19 – Angel War 9 – Commitment
20 – Angel War on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
21 – Jack of Harts Newsletter
22 – Music is Life. I grew up listening to music. Michael Jackson. David Bowie. Prince. They were all part of the music of my youth. Music has always helped soothe my mind so I can concentrate on things. Without music in the background I feel…like something is missing. I always have. Music makes me better. And music brings memories of the books I was reading or writing while I listened to it. Music is a window to my past. Michael Jackson. David Bowie. Prince. They changed music. They helped me grow up. They will always stand strong in the soundtrack of my youth. And I will always remember what it is like to party like it is 1999…
23 – Painkillers. We all suffer from pain sooner or later in life. Whether our hips give out, we blow out a back, or have a major operation, sooner or later we will all have to use painkillers. They are amazing. They can make us feel good when we feel horrible. And that is very powerful. I’ve used them. They have saved me from pain I could not imagine living with. But I’m done with them now. I don’t need them so I put them down. The problem is that they are very addictive. Abuse of prescription drugs by people who hate drugs is one of the most shameful things in our society. We need to stop thinking of it as shameful. It is an illness. We need to treat it just like we treated what put them on that road. It has claimed the lives of far too many people who were afraid to ask for help. People who felt they had to hide their illness to protect their reputation. That needs to stop.
24 – Characters and Art. I have created many characters that walk through the stories that I write. And in many ways they are real people in my mind. Sometimes they feel more real than the physical world around me. I often find myself asking “What would <character name> do?” when I see something happening. They all have different answers. I keep them straight by having a cheat sheet of major characters, giving their basic statistics, where they were born, where they grew up, and stuff like that. I also have character portraits of them. I’ve hired artists to make them. I use 3D software to make my own. The key is that whenever I am writing a character into a story, I pull up their picture and put it on the screen next to my writing window. I pull up my cheat sheet and place that next to their picture. And then I write. The characters I put to page feel real to me because I see them in my mind and with my eyes. And it is my great hope that I convey that reality with the words that flow through my fingers.
25 – Angel Flight.
26 – Hello, my name is Betty. The American military had a long tradition of using voice-activated systems as early as the 1970s with the original Bitching Betty. She served as the voice of the Pre-Space F-15 fighter platform, though was not a true computer generated voice. The voice actress Kim Crow recorded her phrases, and the computers simply picked the right ones at the appropriate time. A series of different programs and voice actresses would bring life to other Bitching Betties over the years, and they became integral elements of American fighters until the Artificial Intelligence revolution forever changed things.
27 – Hello, my name is Jack. History says the Apache were nomadic hundreds of years ago. That changed when we relegated them to their reservations in the 1800s. They became just as urbanized as the rest of America over the centuries that followed, and outside of some fringe reenactment groups they were nearly identical to the America I grew up in. The Shang changed that. Yosemite Station’s ruins achieved a direct hit on the Apache capital and shattered their lives and economy. Those who didn’t come out of the ruins fighting began to rebuild their society and infrastructure so as to make sure that nobody could ever wound them so badly ever again.
28 – Hello, my name is Charles. The Fleet 2300 Project was a revolution in warship and fighter technologies. It consolidated a century of study into alien technologies and combined it with our best engineering to make a new fleet that could stand up to anything in the galaxy. The fruits of that project included the Avenger, Marauder, and Los Angeles-class heavy cruisers. They stood up to the Shang. They attacked the Hyades. They gave us a chance to win The War. And they were all old tech within ten years. Progress always marches on, especially when one is fighting for survival.
29 – Hello, my name is Betty. Bitching Betty became the primary name of voiced computer systems in America for nearly half a century. Then Apple released Siri to the consumer market and everything changed. Microsoft answered with Cortana and Amazon made Alexa. They became mascot and marketing in one, and soon every major company developed one. The United States Army soon joined the race with Jane, derived from G.I. Jane. That name for a standard female recruit was derived from the older World War II term of a soldier, General Issue Joe. And that of course was the genesis of the famous action figure toy line.
30 – Hello, my name is Jack. The Apache Nation that rebuilt itself after Yosemite fell was far different from the urbanized culture they had before. Most of their young men and women went to War for one thing. And those who stayed behind wanted to make certain nobody hit them that hard ever again. So they rebuilt with an eye towards mobility. Everything from homes to factories are now built on gravplating that allows them to move anywhere they want to go. Modern Apache villages are ever-evolving affairs of individual families picking up their homes and leaving whenever they want to. Most villages can pack up everything, including the sidewalks, and begin moving to a new location within hours. They can move within minutes in an emergency. That’s pretty amazing to see actually.