A Quick Update – and a Sneak Peek

So…

The surgeon wanted me to have a CT scan last week. With oral (yuck!) and IV (ouch! – not really, surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad) contrast. I worried from then until yesterday because the last surgical drain keeps putting out some really yucky stuff.

But the scan came back, in the words of the doc, perfect. There’s no gunk in my abdomen and he’s a little stumped. Sort of. I asked if it was possible that the end of the tube somehow healed inside of my colon. He said he’d wondered the same thing. If the drain isn’t just pulling the ‘uck’ from my colon. (if that was TMI, sorry)

Long story short, after 14 1/2 days on a liquid diet (with 1-2 servings of thin instant potatoes with canned gravy or a little butter), I can eat real food again. I’m also supposed to leave the bulb at the end of the drain alone. Quick explanation: after emptying it, I’ve been squeezing it, then putting the plug thing back in so it’s flat. That creates the suction to drain stuff that shouldn’t be there.

That was almost 24 hours ago. So far, I’m loving being able to eat meat again! Especially chicken! The drainage has slowed dramatically, though a tiny bit of – who knows what – is still getting into the bulb. Hopefully, that will slow down to nothing before too much longer.

So enough with the updates. Since I’ve been back on medicine for my hypothyroidism for almost a little over two months now, and am 5 weeks out from the surgery, and 4 from the flu, I’m starting to feel a little better – and itching to get back to my writing. 

Since book 4 in the Casteloria/Royal Sweethearts series (affiliate link – click here for details) is 3/4 of the way done (and I’ve kind of started writing book 5 in a notebook), I decided it was probably best to finish it and move forward with that.

And to kind of back myself into a corner – which used to work when I felt better – I’m going to share the first scene with you. Since I do feel better than I have in a couple of years, here’s hoping it will keep me on track. 

Let me know what you think about it in the comments below. 🙂

~~~~~

Heart pounding like a jackhammer, Quinn MacMahon could feel beads of sweat breaking out on his upper lip. Willing himself to calm down, he lay in the dark room trying to focus on slowing his breath from panicked gulps of air to a more relaxed and normal rate. But he couldn’t break free. He could never break free.

“It’s a dream,” a disembodied voice chanted like its owner was reading a child’s nursery rhyme, but it was his voice too. “Just a dream. It’s all in your head. Wake up, wake up before you’re dead!”

But no matter how hard he willed it to happen, the scene continued to play out in a nightmare that had been haunting him for the past five months.

It always started out innocently enough, trying to fool him, to make him think it was all in good fun. Nearly everyone he cared about was there, in the courtyard. Prince Cameron and his family. Nolan and Abby. Fin and Princess Briannon. Some of the other guards.

Unseasonably warm temperatures had melted most of the snow more than a month earlier than usual and the volleyball net had been set up as soon as the grass dried.

He heard the laughter and good-natured insults as each team gave their best effort to win the game.

Yeah. It had been a perfect spring day.

Or it had seemed to be. He knew what was coming. Knew he couldn’t stop it from happening this time, any more than he’d been able to stop it the dozens of other times.

Fear set in and he could feel his heart begin to pound harder when the white ball sailed out of bounds and rolled toward the edge of the cliffs.

“It’s just a ball, let it go. The voice was frantic now, shouting.

But, as though sitting in a theater, he watched himself run after it. Like it mattered. Like they didn’t always bring extra balls because the odds were better than good they’d lose another to the icy Atlantic.

But he was determined to save this one, laughing as he chased it. And then the dog appeared, as if from nowhere, probably thinking it was a game. Whatever the reason, the warnings came too late.

“Quinn! Look out!”

“Quinn, stop!”

“Quinn, no!

One step too far to the right to avoid crushing the little ankle biter and the ground gave way beneath his foot.

In that instant, he accepted the fact that he was going to die. Not protecting his king. Not protecting the king’s family. Those would have been noble reasons to give his life. But no. He was going to die because he tried to save a volleyball.

And then he was falling. Somewhere in the mess that was his mind, he remembered that part happening fast. But now, as he tried and failed to escape the clutches of the dream, it took forever.

The sky above him seemed larger than life, a vivid, impossibly brilliant blue. The sun was bright, and perfect cottony clouds looked as though they’d been painted by the hand of the world’s most gifted artist.

He tried to concentrate on those, grateful he didn’t have to watch the jagged rocks below getting closer by the second. Once had been enough. More than enough. Like the impact. At least he always woke before reliving that moment, though he seemed to get just a little closer each time.

Being forced to remember the brief moments before he’d lost consciousness would have been too much. He’d never known such pain. He’d never prayed to die before either, but he’d done so that day.

Heart pounding so fast now he could barely catch his breath, Quinn woke, his body jerking so hard he felt the bed shake.

Except for the drug induced sleep in the first few days following the accident, and each surgery thereafter, he’d relived the accident so often he was almost afraid to close his eyes. He never knew what might trigger dream, or what he might do to prevent it from happening.

His skin clammy and his body trembling, he commanded himself to calm down, to focus on the waves washing up on the shore outside his window. A soothing, relaxing sound, it should have helped, but it never did.

“It was just a dream,” he muttered, echoing the voice in his head, knowing that it really wasn’t. More like memories he couldn’t get rid of no matter how many ‘happy thoughts’ he tried to think after the sun set each night.

He wished he could forget it. Or that it had never happened in the first place. He wished he was back on Casteloria doing his job instead of recovering here on Bois Blanc Island, praying he’d walk again. Knowing he never would. At least not like before. Before he was ruined.

His heart beginning to slow back down to normal, he could finally hear low voices in the hall outside his door. Whenever he woke like this, he always hoped he hadn’t cried out, but those hopes were always in vain. Someone always heard.

“It’s all right, Mrs. MacMahon. I’ll see to him. You go back to bed and get some rest.”

His mother put up a sleepy token protest, but it didn’t take long for Kyle to convince her to follow his advice.

Kyle was one of several nurses King Liam had hired to look after him until he was better. Better? What a joke. That was never going to happen. He knew it. They knew it. But he was the only one who had the guts to acknowledge it.

His gaze went to the wheelchair in the corner. It sat there, the moon shining on it like a spotlight, mocking him. A cruel reminder of what he used to be—and what the future held for him now.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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