Archive for the ‘life’ Category

S.O.S.

Friday, August 27th, 2021

I haven’t heard from my editor since May 2021 and as near as I can tell her last online post anywhere was July 4th 2021. Does anyone know if Raven McKnight is okay? She used to work with Loose Id. The online tags I know are @ravensrandoms, @gl1tterbug, @Ravenmisc and RavenM. Raven McKnight is the name she uses online, like Rowan McBride is for me.

She has health problems and I live in a Oobleckian bubble of time distortion, which is why it took me this long to realize she seems to be off the grid.

In May she took on my new novel, so I really don’t think she would be out of touch this long if she could help it.

🆘💯

I almost died again. It must be Thursday.

Monday, August 16th, 2021


Yes, I know this is posting on a Monday. There’s a method to this madness.


So. I had a GI bleed so bad and painful that I passed out and spent five hours on the floor. Was still intensely sick when I came to and had to call 911.

The paramedics couldn’t take me to my first choice hospital because they had no beds. Nope on my second choice for the same reason.

Covid.

The medics suggested a third, and I said yes even though I’m intensely uncomfortable with new places. Because of some weird planetary alignment / twist of fate fuckery, every member of my support system was out of town for one reason or another. I was alone. Honestly it was the first time I had ever been alone in an emergency room, and trust me, if ERs gave frequent visitor points, my next ER visit would definitely be in Hawaii.

The symptoms I had… They were so similar to what my mom went through last year. I kept thinking of all the surgeries and other procedures she had to endure, and I wondered if I should have gotten a DNR bracelet.

This third hospital was full, too, but they weren’t overflowing like the other ones. I got processed and triaged. I noticed people in beds lining the hallways. The intake nurses put me in the world’s most uncomfortable wheelchair. The intake doctor told me that they were gonna put me on IV fluids and take a CT scan. Then I was wheeled into the waiting room.

No one came to do the IV fluid thing.

The waiting room was almost full too. There were a lot of people in so much pain that they would periodically cry out. But they still had to wait. One person was so exhausted that he fell out of his chair. The nurses helped him back into it and told him to be patient. There were two worried parents near me with a sick toddler. She didn’t understand why she hurt and just kept saying “Ma,” “Da,” “Ow,” and “Home” over and over in between fits of tears.

A nurse took me to get some blood work done. She gave me something for nausea and said someone would be hooking me up to IV fluids soon. She rolled me back into the waiting room.

More pained screams, moans, a child’s plea for home.

A couple hours later I was taken for the CT scan. Because I was lying down for the scan I nearly fell asleep. I remember wishing the process had been longer because I did not want back into that wheelchair. The tech said it was usually forty-five minutes to an hour after a scan before patients saw the doctor.

A nurse wheeled me back to the waiting room. She said that someone would be by soon to give me IV fluids. A woman to my left was sobbing. Her leg was braced and bloody. I saw a doctor tell a man that his wife’s chest scan showed that she had pneumonia and that she was currently being tested for Covid. The doctor said if she did test positive, she’d be moved to a different part of the hospital and they would come and get him.

An hour later, they came and got him.

Two hours later, they came and got me. Wheeled me into a curtained examination cubicle and transferred me into a weird recliner that was slightly more comfortable than my wheelchair. I could hear people up and down the hall crying out in pain. I told myself if the CT scan or bloodwork had shown something truly terrible that they would have gotten to me much earlier. I tried to turn the waiting into a silver lining.

The constant sounds of people in excruciating pain made it hard to believe in the lining.

Two hours later a doctor showed up. He said the scan showed a bunch of little things wrong with me but nothing life threatening. Blood work was normal. Ish. He was worried they couldn’t pin down the source of the bleed and was concerned that I was still in pain. He wanted to admit me so that a specialist could see me.

I said okay without even thinking.

Then he explained that they didn’t have any free beds and I might have to spend up to 48 hours in the recliner before one opened up.

I asked, “because of Covid?” And he let out an exhausted breath and said, “yeah.”

I took a moment, then asked if I was in immediate danger. He said no. I told him I had a GI specialist and going home, sleeping in my own bed, and calling her in the morning to make an appointment would probably be faster, yeah? He said possibly and asked the name of my specialist. She didn’t have admitting privileges to that hospital.

I really, really wanted to go home and he said that was a reasonable choice. He wanted to hook me up to some IV fluids before discharging me.

Three hours later, I happened to make accidental eye contact with a passing nurse. I smiled awkwardly and said hi. She said hello and started to walk past me, then backtracked to ask my name. I told her, and her eyes went wide.

“Oh, you’re the one everyone’s been looking for.”

The computer had listed me in a different cubicle. Apparently the nurses had spent a good portion of the last three hours searching for me.

The discharge nurse showed up with my paperwork. I mentioned the doctor had said I needed some IV fluids. She checked her little computer and I wondered if it was operating on the same system that misplaced me. No notes in the chart on IV fluids. I was too tired to argue and asked if there was a vending machine out front where I could get water. She said she would get me some and she actually did and it felt like a freaking miracle of medicine right there. I mean, the cup even had ice chips in it. Ice chips.

I tried to take it slow because my insides were feeling super sore and fragile, but that cup was empty in under a minute.

It was well into the morning when I finally got home. I called my GI specialist and made an appointment. Then, after 16 hours in the ER, I crawled into bed and slept for almost 20.

So, my doctor’s worried. To the point the C word was brought up. But I’ve had so many cancer scares at this point that all I could do was give a halfhearted shrug because I knew what was coming next and that it was going to suck.

Colonoscopy, endoscopy. Soon as possible. She’s going to do both at the same time so that’s something, I suppose. I’ve had both procedures done before (cancer scares, aka my new normal), so I’m not nervous. It is what it is.

I’m actually having a lot more trouble processing what was.

The screams, the wails, the moans, the crying. That little girl who didn’t understand why she was hurting or why she was surrounded by people who were hurting.

I called 911 on Thursday, July 29th. But I’m still hearing the sounds of all that sickness and pain.

And the thing is, it didn’t have to be that way, you know? Or, at least, not that bad. Not so bad that seriously sick people were parked in the front waiting room and doctors want to admit someone but literally can’t. Not so bad that a xyr dehydrated patient never gets their IV fluids. (A fact that horrified my specialist–not exaggerating).

It didn’t have to be so bad. But I live in Texas, and for some reason a lot of people here refuse to get vaccinated.

So I’m asking you to do just that. Get vaccinated. I got the Moderna, my father got the J&J. Months ago. It really isn’t a big deal.

You know what are big deals? GI bleeds, car crashes, heart attacks, COVID-19. Having any kind of emergency and being unable to get help because hospitals aren’t taking patients, and the ones that are have exhausted doctors and nurses working triple shifts and missing little things like that patient over there who hasn’t had anything to drink in roughly 24hours after losing a pretty good amount of blood.

Just… Get vaccinated. Wear your masks. Be safe and save others, okay?

All this Death…

Monday, September 28th, 2020

This post is going to be a mess so please forgive me. It’s also going to be highly personal, so apologies for that as well. As with my previous complete post, feel free to skip if you don’t have the spoons to spare. Your health is just as important as anyone else’s.

All right? All right.

First, thank you for everyone’s kind words when I posted about the passing of my mother.
I didn’t respond to many messages, but each and every one helped me so, so much. Some of you asked if there was anything you could do to help. I wasn’t in any kind of headspace to answer that question in the moment. But I have an answer now:

Wear a mask. Vote.

This is not a political statement. Like I said earlier, this is personal.

My mom did not die of Covid. So you would be forgiven for thinking that Covid-19 has nothing to do with me and the fact that I just asked you to put on a mask came out of nowhere. But even though my mom didn’t die OF Covid, it’s very, very possible that she died BECAUSE of Covid. Even her doctors said so.

In an earlier post I said that Mom is the heart of this house. She was then and she is now. She was loving, and brave, and strong. The strongest person I ever knew and ever will know. But she drew her strength from her family, and we weren’t allowed to see her for two months.

The hospital was on lockdown because of Covid-19. It happened so fast that they didn’t have the infrastructure for video conferencing. The nurses, doctors, and other staff were stretched thin because half were permanently assigned to the Covid wing in order to help protect the non-Covid ICU patients. Once, I pushed hard enough to convince a nurse to hold a phone to my mom’s ear so she could hear our voices. She was still on a ventilator, but every time we checked in we were told her eyes would open but she was otherwise unresponsive. So I pushed.

As soon as she heard our voices, her eyes opened wide and she tried to sit up. I didn’t have to push after that.

They gave her a tracheostomy. We had to approve it over the phone. I still wonder… well, I still wonder a lot of things.

Then, after the fifth or sixth week, we met Jen. Jen was a nurse with an iPhone. She offered to let us FaceTime with my mom. We’re an Android family, so we didn’t have FaceTime. She didn’t know how to Duo.

But we both had WhatsApp, and she was willing to use her PERSONAL PHONE to let us see my mother.

Nurses really are heroes.

Mom started to improve. Slowly. Slightly. When she got her trach valve and we heard her loud, strong voice say “Hi!” for the first time, Dad and I laughed we were so happy. We were sure she’d get better. We picked out a pair of sneakers so she’d be able to walk out of the hospital in new shoes.

The hospital got an iPad, so we got one too. Yes, I know iPad supports Duo, but the nurses were baffled by it, so we got the iPad. I mostly use it to write letters to her now. I like to believe that a metaphysical postal service delivers them for me.

Lockdown ended. We had to wear full PPE to see her, but we could see her and she could see us. Kind of. She told me she’d been sad because she was starting to forget our faces. She hated our masks because she couldn’t see us smile. She hated our latex gloves because we held hands all the time and she missed simple, human contact. Despite all that, she was joyed to see us.
She was relieved and grateful to know for sure—FOR SURE—that we hadn’t forgotten her. That we missed her as much as she missed us. That we still loved her. Her vitals began to improve that day. Her doctors were impressed and a little confused.

But… we’d been separated for two months.

Her body just didn’t have anything left in reserve. Her spirit was back, and she fought hard, but there was nothing to fight with. And everything the doctors did for one system made another collapse. They couldn’t do anything that wouldn’t make something else worse. One doctor cried when he explained to me that he’d brought in every medical team in the hospital, but there was nothing anyone could do. My mother said ”I’m sorry” and I told her that none of this was her fault, that she did everything right. I said it truthfully. I said it fiercely. I heard a thump and turned toward the doctor. His back had hit the wall and he’d slid to the floor, his face cradled in his hands.

2020 has been a fucking rough year.

We brought her home. Hospice. She got to hug us and tease us and see us smile. She was so very happy for one, wonderful week, and then she was gone.

I’m glad and thankful we could do that for her. So many families this year had to say goodbye via FaceTime.

This has been a very long post, I know, and I’m sorry. But I’ve been wrapped up in my grief and shutting out the world.

Then a teenager who lived next door to me died.

Then Chadwick Boseman died.

Then Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

Then Then Then.

Everyone is grieving. And for some reason we’ve forgotten that we’re all in this together. I need… I need us to remember. I don’t want one more person to be hurt by this fucking virus. Because Covid-19 has killed over 200,000 people in America alone. 200,000 people have families, extended families, found families, and friends grieving right now. In addition to all that tragedy, how many families have lost a loved one the way I lost my mother? How many families didn’t have to get wrecked? How many people are crying like I’m crying as I struggle to write this?

If we had all behaved as one tribe, if we all had worn our masks–not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors–how many families would not be mourning, feeling that months, days, seconds had been stolen during that final spark of life? If we had all looked out for each other, would my mother be alive today? I don’t know. I just know that Covid touches everyone, not just the people who contract it.

So what can you do for me in my time of grief?

Wear a mask. Vote.


“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg




“Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”

— T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)




Fuck. This. Virus.

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

I know I was supposed to post a cover reveal, and I totally understand if you don’t want to read about my personal problems. If that is the case, go ahead and skip this post since there will be nothing writing related in it. It’s perfectly okay — literally everyone in the world is stressed out right now, and you need to take care of your emotional health. The cover reveal will be the post after this one, and will go up some time this week. I think.

***

I’m supposed to be sleeping. My dad just came out of his bedroom to tell me I need to try and get some rest so I won’t get sick. The fact that he even knew I was awake means he’s not sleeping either.

My mom has been in the ICU since March 2nd. Ironically, what happened to her had nothing to do with the coronavirus/COVID-19. She got a blood clot in her stomach and one in her arm. Because of those clots, and subsequent complications, she’s had 4 surgeries since she was admitted.

Her birthday was on the 16th.

It took her a long time, but Saturday seemed to be a great day for her. All the tubing and lines were removed. Her stomach was working well enough that the doc was going to let her eat real food for the first time in 3 weeks. She was happy and alert (after every surgery she had to fight her way back from ICU Delirium). She was even walking a little.

I didn’t get to see any of that because the hospital went on lockdown with new coronavirus protocols. Even family members weren’t allowed to visit their sick loved ones. I hadn’t seen her since Thursday. I was only allowed to talk to her on the phone. But she was getting better. We were going to bring her home soon.

Then, Saturday night, her oxygen levels plummeted and they didn’t know why. She became unresponsive and they had to put her back on the ventilator. The doctor gave us special permission to visit her, because, well, I still refuse to say it out loud.

We got 20 minutes. Then they said we had to leave.

They’ve been able to stabilize her, but she’s still on the ventilator. All the tubing is back in place. She’s not responding to the nurses. The doctors are still running tests. We weren’t allowed to see her today. Coronavirus protocols, you understand.

I can’t sleep. Neither can my dad.

My mom is the heart of this house. When she’s not here, we’re not here. Not really. I need her to get better. I want to go to the hospital and hold her hand because she might not respond to the nurses, but last night she opened her eyes for a split second and squeezed my hand the way she always does.

I wonder if she’s thinking about us. I’m scared she won’t understand why we’re not with her.

I can’t sleep.

I call every couple of hours. I know which nurses are sympathetic and those are the ones I ask to tell my mom that her family loves her. I have no idea if they actually tell her or not.

I’m a wreck. My dad, who is usually so unshakable and stoic, is fraying at the edges. He can’t sleep either.

I’ve never felt so scared or helpless. I can’t think of anything to do for her so I’m writing this. I’m asking for prayers, positive energy, gentle thoughts — whatever your belief system can spare.

Maybe then she’ll wake up. Maybe then my dad and I will sleep.

All Right. Let’s Do This.

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

I’ve been absent for over a year. Part of that was due to the health issues mentioned in previous posts, and part of it was because I retreated into a metaphorical hole and cut myself off from the world. Even IRL friends and family. I still don’t know how that happened, but I shouldn’t have let it, because you guys are great and if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have a website. Or a writing career.

Buuuut, I have been getting stuff done. 🙂

I’m going to break the details into a few different posts so that the blog won’t be a million screens long and give you eyestrain while reading it (I had to live 8 months with eyestrain headaches before I could get an exam and new glasses — they are no joke!). This post (you’ve probably guessed) is an update on my health. 

It’s… okay. Most of the issues that took me down the year before last are still there. Docs still don’t know the causes or how to fix it, which is a bummer since getting a cancer scare every 3-4 months has now become my new normal. Although in a weird way the new normal is a good normal because having those cancer scares means I don’t currently have cancer.

On the debilitating pain side of things, I was able to see an excellent physical therapist. Can walk short distances without the cane now. 👍🏼

Mentally/emotionally: Trying to reconnect with the world. I missed you guys. 💯

Um. Stubbed my toe a week ago…

Well shit. Pretty sure that’s all I can say about my health without veering sharply into TMI territory. This was much less painful than I thought it would be. Rock on.

Next post will be a cover reveal for a re-release! Woo-hoo!

Thank you

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Writing again to say how much I appreciate your generosity. I was blown away when you funded my website in under 24hrs. Absolutely did not see that coming. I’ve taken the goal status bar down, because you funded the campaign to 132% and that’s…amazing. I was able to pay for my hosting fees as well as my domain name for the next year. I’ve updated my site, so hopefully there won’t be any more confusion over what’s available, what’s not, and what’s coming soon.

With the extra money, I bought some image editing software, since it looks like I’m going to be doing some of my own book covers while I save up to commission an artist for others. All in all, a crazy good start to the new year. 🙂

I downloaded new (and free! yes!) word processing software, so I’m gearing up to buckling down. I feel better and more motivated than I have for a long time, and it is in no small part due to you.

As for the Ko-fi page. It seems a bit weird to have it and not utilize it in any way, so I’m going to try putting the link in my email signature and newsletter updates, as well as a non-clickable version of it here (since this blog is attached to a site with adult content, and Ko-fi rules say not to link to or from those sort of sites). This is NOT me asking for more money, so please don’t take it that way. 🙂 I just like the idea of, well, all things coffee. lol.

I’m off to re-read Jascian so I don’t drill any plot holes into the new chapter. And also to see if I can create a new cover for True: Ethan so I can make it available for download. Thank you again. You have no idea how much seeing that progress bar fill up meant to me. I get to keep my site. So cool.

Take care,
— Rowan

Want to buy me a coffee? Go to ko-fi dot com /rowanmcbride.  🙂

New year, new…year.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Okay, I meant to have a more upbeat title, but I honestly couldn’t think of one. O.O

2018 was a wicked rough year for me, and I wanted to share some of what I’ve been going through. Some of you know that I have Schizoaffective Disorder, which is this oh so joyful combination Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed in 2001, but by 2006 (year I published my first novel!) it was pretty well controlled. Last year, though, my brain was like “nah.”

Medication was no longer effective. Went through a whole lot of other meds trying to find one that worked, but I’m medication resistant so that’s been a challenge.

Back in June I had a full-on psychotic break. Shortly thereafter I attempted to kill myself 1 and a half times. I say “half” because the second time I called my local crisis center and was talked down by a very nice lady whose name I cannot remember. It was my first time ever calling a crisis hotline, and if you’re depressed or suicidal or in the middle of a psychotic break or whatever, call yours. If you don’t know yours, call the national hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They are open 24 hours a day. Please please call if you’re in trouble. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here if not for the nice lady whose name I can’t remember, and honestly we all deserve a chance to be here.

Also in June, I woke up and found out I couldn’t walk. Two days after that, my mom almost died after a routine colonoscopy (perforated colon). Now I’m walking with a cane, which is good, and my mother is fine, which is better.

But you can see how June was a royal suckfest for me. I’m still recovering.

This month I have to see a neurologist and start tests to see if I have multiple sclerosis. I also have to get screened for 2 separate forms of cancer. I’m choosing not to worry until there’s something to worry about.

Now I seem to be on some psych meds that are helping me want to do things again. Like {gasp} write! Currently the plan is to upload a few of my orphaned stories, update “The Jascian’s Toy,” and work on “True: William.”

Here’s where I need your help. Since all but one of my publishers closed, I am now an actual starving artist. I’m scraping by okay, but I can’t renew my website hosting fees. And I love that website. I learned html over the course of a weekend and created every single page myself. I don’t want to let it go.

So if you could help by donating through my Ko-fi page, I would sorely appreciate it. I’ve posted chapter 1 of a rough draft of “True: William” as a thank you if you do happen to stop by. Ko-fi has rules about linking to and from pages containing adult content, and I’m not sure if this blog would count, but it is connected to the main website, so maybe? But the link is easy enough. www dot Ko-fi dot com/rowanmcbride.

2019 has just started. As of now I’ve updated this blog for the first time in FAR too long, and I’ve posted something new to read. That alone pretty much makes it an improvement over the whole of 2018, and I genuinely feel like I’m just getting started.

How’s that for upbeat? 😉

Great news!

Friday, December 15th, 2017

I don’t have cancer!

Not the greatest day

Friday, December 1st, 2017

This morning I had to go to the hospital to have a “suspicious tumor” surgically removed. I find out on the 15th if it’s cancer.

I found out tonight that my main publisher Loose Id is closing. That happens in May. You can read more about it here.

I’m…tired. So I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do. All but one of my currently in-print books are with LI. I could resubmit elsewhere, but LI was rock solid and now they’re shutting their doors. I could self-publish, but I’ve done that twice and hated it both times. I could, well, stop.

I don’t know.

And come to think of it, how screwed up am I to be more upset that my publisher is closing than at the idea I might have cancer?

Maybe I need to step back and get my priorities in line.

Let’s show a reader some love.

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Recently, I received a comment (copy/pasted below) from a Jascian reader that broke my heart. They live in a place where buying gay-themed books (physical or digital) could get them into a lot of trouble, so they can only read stories that are posted online. While I do intend to update Jascian as soon as I can, realistically that could take a while. So I’m asking for suggestions from you. Gay male love stories (centered around love, not just sex) that don’t have to be downloaded in order to be read. I know there are a lot of really, really great stories posted online for free, and I’d very much like to show this reader that we as a community care.

 

Please post your suggestions in the comment section of my home blog (not tumblr, twitter, or Good Reads) to make them easier to access. Whatever platform you’re reading this on should have a link to it, but just in case: http://rowanmcbride.com/blog/?p=391 . They didn’t ask for any of this, but if it were me a story suggestion, or a few words of personal encouragement, would go a long way.

 

Thank you. And thank you to w. brown for writing to me.

__________________________________

From w. brown:

 

This is harking back to antiquity and another topic but the theme is timeless and I don’t see it on the index.

 

I’d give anything to read the continuation of the story, The Jascian’s Toy.

 

I live in a country with an oppressive attitude toward LGBT, a country where nobody is out because being out would mean the end of your career, eviction from your home, the loss of most if not all your friends because people would be desperate to show that the contamination of association with a gay had not wiped off on them. Gays who have been discovered while they’re doing military service have been killed because it gets them out of barracks nobody would want to share with them. Gay bars are a hopeless dream here. There are covert meeting places but they can be dangerous and at the best are little better than a meat market. You might meet a guy you like but just as likely meet one that you need to hide from later and there’s isn’t any time to linger over finding somebody compatible. It’s the luck of a hasty draw that determines who your partner is.

 

Buying a book from abroad would be impossible because it never would clear customs. I would even be afraid of getting anything by email since I don’t know if surveillance would extend to it, or to transactions needed to obtain it. The only source I have to read LGBT material is sites like this, of authors who have generously shared their work in public because I still have anonymous access to some PCs at my workplace. This story in particular has been a godsend since it is a masterpiece, and an abiding consolation that I can resort to without growing tired of it. It is the thing I always turn to when I feel discouraged. I can feel there is a happy ending lurking in it and that Gavin will find a way of showing Blake where his true happiness may lie, and Blake will quietly continue to improve the plight of lessers by urging Gavin to employ His power sympathetically. But it is more than just a beautiful romantic tale, the great adventure of the the love between The Ideal Giant and a human. It makes me feel that there is more to live for than the life I see around me. Every time I read it I want to be a better person, one like Blake, although I cannot be as brave as he is but I think that I could be as brave as I am on my best day.

 

Please, Mr McBride, do not forget about this life-changing story and that it is crying out for completion. Even the occasional addition of a chapter would be such a blessing.