Getting It All Done

Edith here, writing from north of Boston and feeling a bit anxious.

Anxious about what? I had two books release last month that are selling well. I’ve completed the first draft of novel #27. Neither I nor anyone in my family has contracted COVID-19, and I have a roof over my head and a good heating system heading into a New England winter. All good, right? Of course.

I’m anxious because of that unfortunate picture. I am heading into the literal body shop on Thursday to have the disintegrated base of my left thumb rebuilt. It’s a problem that has grown increasingly more painful over the last four years, with bone on bone and no joint space left to put an injection into. A surgical procedure called opponensplasty can fix it.

I shouldn’t be anxious. It’s day surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital with a highly regarded surgeon experienced in the procedure. I won’t have general anesthesia. I’ll be in good hands and am having the required COVID test this afternoon. Still, it’s a medical procedure, and ya just never know on all kinds of fronts. (Yes, I have already cast my ballot for November 3. Ya just never know…)

And then? Uh, six weeks without the use of my thumb. Gah! I’ve been trying out doing all kinds of things without using my left opposable digit and discovering how much will be impossible. If you came to visit starting on Friday – which you won’t, so that we all retain our COVID-free status – you would find me braless and wearing elastic-waisted pants. Yeah, that thumb thing. I’ll be relying on Hugh for a lot as it is, and asking him to button my jeans and fasten my bra might put him over the top.

I am nothing if not a list maker. About a month ago, I started drawing up a list of everything I needed to get done before October 22nd. It kept growing and it’s still not all crossed off. I included blog obligations for November, because I want to save any strength in my fingers for writing fiction.

I’m hoping to get to the garden chores today. And I can cross off the Oct 20 Wickeds item – this post! Actually, I should have gotten the newsletter item sent out by today, too, and I now see I never added VOTE – also done.

If you have any prayers, good thoughts, or healing energies hanging around, I could use them on Thursday morning!

Readers: What do you do to calm anxieties? Are you a list-maker?

96 Thoughts

  1. Edith! It’s scary but you’ll get through it because of who you are. People keep telling me I should try dragon voice recognition software. They swear it’s actually a godsend as opposed to the one that came installed on my computer, which is a devilsend. Please be well. It’s nothing but a complete nuisance but again you’ll get through it. And yes, I am a list maker!

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  2. Praying for you as you are going through all of this. God will get you through; Just take it easy and get your thumb better. I have arthritis in my right thumb so I somewhat know your struggle.

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  3. Edith, you know I’ll be holding you close in my heart and thoughts and will be sending healing light your way. One of my dearest friends had this exact surgery done last year. I drove her to the surgical center and home again. Take your pain meds as prescribed and you’ll be fine. Yes, you will come to appreciate our opposable thumbs, but you’ll be glad you had the procedure done.

    And YES, I am definitely a list maker. They’re everywhere!

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  4. Best wishes, Edith for a speedy recovery. I’m sure you’ll come through it like a champ. And yes, organizing a list is my preferred method until I check it off my yellow legal pad.

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  5. Edith, I’m not a compulsive list maker but I do make them for certain things that I need to remember to get done.

    I’m not sure if I have any anxiety coping advice for you. When I’m confronted with anxiety, I get a little nuts but invariably have to power through my grim grey attitude so that I get things done. It’s not warm and fuzzy advice, but that’s what works for me since I really don’t have any other options.

    As for six weeks without your thumb, have you considered that Dragon software that converts your voice into words on the screen? Another writer I am a fan of had a medical issue that left him unable to type and it helped power him through until he could do it again.

    Here’s to the successful surgery and quicker than usual recovery!

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  6. I hope your surgery goes well and you have an easy recovery. Back in april I broke my right wrist and left shoulder and was in a cast for 8 weeks. Elastic pants and braless is the way to go trust me! I did make lists of things I wanted to do once I was better, and a honey do list for my husband while I recovered.

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  7. You’ve got this!
    Stay safe and strong …
    Capture your thoughts with a dictation app until you are able to write comfortably.
    Listen to the nurses 🙂
    Prayers go with you 🙏

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  8. Sending you all the prayers and positive vibes possible for an easy procedure and quick recovery. Let everyone at home fuss over you for a while.

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  9. Sending my prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery. I’m a MA girl and Boston has the best medical professionals and you are in good hands in more ways than one. Stay strong and stay safe!!

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  10. As I had two separate procedures done in Aug in hospitals, I understand your anxiety & wish you well with your procedure & recovery. Sending prayers. Everything went very well for me & I’m sure you’ll do fine! I never thought of myself as a list maker until a close friend asked me about my calendar. As I normally travel for my job & will start doing so again in the new year, I suppose I’m a calendar keeper rather than a list maker.

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  11. Hi, Edith. Wishing you all the best, and sending you positive energy. Also praying that you have a speedy recovery.

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  12. Dear Edith, Prayers for a painless procedure and quick recovery! I recently (3 weeks ago) had a day surgery in the middle of four deadlines. Thankfully got almost everything done before hand. And yes, I’ve always been a list maker. It helps me let go of my J personality task pondering or else I keep thinking about what I need to do.

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  13. I’ll be thinking of you Edith but I know you’ll be fine. You’ve got the positive attitude necessary for a quick recovery.

    Yes, I do make lists. But sometimes the cure for my anxiety is just to sit quietly with a cup of tea and remember to breathe.

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  14. Most definitely a list maker – both of things needing to be done and just about everything else as well. My most recent list was for the new pantry shelves we put in the closet of what was on hand. That way you can look at the clip board attached t the front of one of the shelves and know if we have it and how many. When we take an item off it gets checked off so when down low we know what needs bought on the next rare trip to the grocery store. With winter coming and since we are way over due for a bad winter plus all signs (like prediction in persimmons seeds and color of wooly worms), those trips may be even more limited and the news saying Covid-19 won’t peak until March of next year at the earliest, it all means we need a well stocked pantry.

    As for stress and anxieties, I have two game plans. One is to relax and do some fun reading – especially cozies which get me to trying to figure out whodunit it while falling in love with the characters in the story. The second is to stay super busy. That’s when it’s good to do some cleaning or baking.

    Praying for an easy procedure and fast healing for you. I know things will go well because the 22nd is my birthday. When I blow out my candles, I will add you to my wish as well as to my prayers.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  15. Praying for you of course. Prayers for an easy and successful surgery, a fast healing, lots of help around the house, and for your anxiety to dissipate. Good luck and know we will be thinking of you. Hugs

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  16. I think I must have missed whether you are left or right-handed. Hopefully, right-handed. How wonderful that it’s an outpatient surgery without general anesthesia! Who hasn’t spent a day braless in elastic-waisted pants during Covid without your very good excuse, lol? Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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  17. Hugs, Edith, and prayers and positive thoughts for a successful surgery and speedy healing.

    When I broke my left wrist two years ago I discovered just how much we need to rely on our significant others. Stretchy waisted pants are a definite boon! No advise for the bra issue, I’m a child of the 60s so braless was not outside of my wheelhouse. :).

    While undergoing the healing process I began using Dragon Naturally Speaking. Although I never got truly comfortable with it, it was a pain-free way to get some writing done. You know the adage, you can’t edit a blank page – Dragon let me fill some pages, albeit with no punctuation – it seems verbal punctuation is my blind spot.

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    1. Thanks, Kait. I’m good at dictating punctuation, because I do it all the time now in texts and emails from my phone. What I found problematic was that Dragon didn’t use smart quotes, and when I transferred the dictated text into Scrivener, the dumb quotes stayed. Bad, dragon!

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      1. Search and replace? I dictated directly into Scrivener – you get that little pop-up. Don’t remember a problem with the quotes, but it was two years ago – memory fades…

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  18. I’m a list maker as well, and before knee surgery a year ago, I had checked off almost everything except the final garden chores. Whew. Day of surgery and then reality set in. I had not anticipated some essential things like those baggy pants to pull over the post surgical dressings and bandages. Duh. I moved to the active-wear section of the closet. My son was present to help set up my carry system – how to get bottles and cups and food from kitchen to table while on crutches – fun times. Yes, things were dropped, spilled, and splashed. It’s a learning curve to adjust to the new – albeit temporary – normal.

    You can dictate your stories into a recorder if you aren’t happy with the latest dictation software, then have someone transcribe it. Old school sometimes works when the new stuff is glitchy.

    All will be well. You’ve chosen to correct the pesky problem, chosen a great doctor, are getting it done at a stellar hospital, and you have Hugh as your support system. Cheering for your success!

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  19. Dear Edith, You will be in my prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.
    When I have been in the care of doctors and their staffs, I turn to memory verses and especially use ones from Teresa of Avila, Spain (1515-1582). She wrote: “From moment to moment one can bear much.” And, her “Bookmark” has helped me when heading for surgery or at the dentist office for major repairs:
    “Let nothing disturb you
    nothing frighten you,
    all things are passing;
    Patient endurance
    attains all things:
    one whom God possesses
    wants nothing
    for God along suffices.”
    Take care and hope and pray you will be back writing (dictating) soon.

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  20. Good luck and I am sure that you will come through surgery perfectly. Yes, I am a list maker and I don’t remember when I wasn’t. I think I was even as a very young kid as soon as I learned to write! Getting things crossed off? Not as well as I’d like. However, I really expect too much of myself. Dragon Software will be a big help to you and I am sure that your positive and forward-looking attitude will carry you through wonderfully. I’ll be thinking of you.

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  21. Sending you good vibes & prayers! I hope your recovery is full and speedy. And, yes, I’m a list maker. When I was preparing for a major life change (it’s been postponed to the new year, yay!) I had a mega-list. It does help to calm anxieties and identify what I really didn’t need to do. Best of luck!

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  22. All fingers and thumbs crossed for you! I’m glad you’re “north of Boston” — I lived in Beverly for 40 years, and you couldn’t have a better place than the north shore to spend your six weeks in, even thumbless.

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  23. With every confidence that you’ll be fine, adding my good wishes to all the others. But for the bra thing–(I have carpal tunnel and arthritis in both hands) Have Hugh fasten the bra hooks beforehand. Just step in, pull it up and make proper adjustments to body parts and straps! Easy-peasy!

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  24. Best of luck with the surgery…and you are entitled to the anxiety IMHO. I had cataract surgery just before the big shutdown in March and even though 1. I know many who have had it. and 2. much needed and 3. I’ve had much more serious surgery…yes, I was still anxious. Yes, it was fine. And yours will be too! Lists? Couldn’t function without them…and they do help keep the anxiety under control. don’t they?

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  25. Holding you in the Light for a successful operation and a speedy and complete recovery, Edith.

    You are so well prepared, which makes a big difference. I hope the time speeds by for you, and that you find glimmers of silver lining among the clouds.

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  26. Being a list maker who has lists for list, I am very impressed with all the items you have crossed off! It feels so good to make that line through an item, doesn’t it? Sending prayers and positive thoughts to you for the surgery. My husband had what I believe is that same surgery, one thumb what we now call pre-lockdown, and one surgery originally scheduled for March 29 and of course cancelled because shelter in place was in effect. He finally had the surgery on August 17 and while he didn’t voice any concerns (mostly because he loves his surgeon and his thumb hurt so much I think) I looked that hospital over very carefully as I waited to take him home. All went well, he’s busy doing his exercises, all the post-ops have been good. But you’re right, you never know. So good luck to you, take care of yourself, don’t write any more lists until the thumb starts to heal – and thank you for voting. Very, very (imagine a lot more very) important!

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  27. I had my thumb done three years ago, the best thing ever. What I found with the many weeks of physical therapy how much we actually use that appendage. (FYI: make sure you have a deck of playing cards). I had no pain, so I didn’t need pain killers. You do need to rest for a week, so have plenty of books to read. Good luck, I will say a prayer for you. If you need anything I am only the next community over from you.

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  28. It really is amazing how much we use various parts of our body without thinking about it – until we can’t any more.

    Best of luck. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

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  29. Good luck with the surgery. When I broke my dominant wrist a few years ago, I learned three things: 1) Dragon does work well, but it takes a bit of time to train it to your speed and voice (I think this Yankee had a southern version, but eventually we made it work); 2) unless absolutely necessary – skip the bra – I found wearing some of Joel’s oversized men’s buttondown shirts were great for hiding bouncing things, comfort, and ease of getting on and off overhead without bothering with the buttons .. plus unlike my t-shirts or blouses, they weren’t as tightly fit so I didn’t have to worry about my hand involvement (thumb to almost elbow was out of use); and 3) as someone said, the PT was key.

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  30. I know you’ll manage because you are so very resourceful, and I’m sure you’ll do so with good humor. I just wonder which one of your beloved characters will mirror these days . . . Robbie with cafe chores? . . . bicycle shop repairs?
    I hope not the midwife series, as options were limited for thumb repairs. Hugs and Healing Light to you. ❤

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  31. Edith, I’m a list maker too–love the feeling of crossing off items on my to-do list! I’ll be praying for your successful surgery and leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shallop be well.” – Julian of Norwich

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  32. I am not a list maker, but I know what you mean about getting things all done before a surgery, I have had to do that before. I wish you all the Best with your surgery. God will be guiding the surgeons hands and all involved in your surgery. ❤ You concentrate on getting better and healing well after your surgery so that you will back to doing what you are used to doing . Take this time to take it easy and like a little mini vacation for you. I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless you and your family my friend. Lifting you up with prayers.

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  33. Hi, Edith, Wishing you a speedy and complete recovery. Sounds like you’ve thought this through and managed to hit all the right notes. Love the list! (I, too, am a list maker. Sadly, they’re all over my desk at times.) A personal aside: when I was 21, I was in an automobile accident which wreaked havoc on my body (head on collision from a big auto hitting our tiny Fiat). My right hand was severed and reattached except for the thumb (only top joint was found — a story for another time). Over the years, I’ve come to truly love the thumb, and thus, try to be careful with the only one I have. As you know, it really is a magnificent tool. Reading your post, I am convinced you will find a way to do what you need without interfering with your healing and do it with grace and humor. My prayers are with you. All the best. 👌😊 Caroline

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  34. I had a somewhat different procedure done on my left thumb joint. Yes, it hurt like holy hell, but then it hurt a lot before the surgery which is why I had it done. It was indeed awkward, but I made it through. I did go to the hairdresser a couple of times, at first, instead of trying to wash my hair myself, and I had my loving husband who (like Hugh) was willing to do whatever he could to help. I wish you the very best. Healing and comforting vibes winging their way to you, dear.

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  35. After already going through two knee replacements I’m very sorry to hear that you now must go through thumb surgery as well! I’m sure the anxiety is worse when you have to wait a while for the surgery. Looking at your list and the number of accomplishments you’ve amazingly marked off it seems you have been waiting. I broke my ankle in two places on June the fourth this year and had surgery on June the eighth. I didn’t have long to wait but I was worried about being put under. I requested a nerve blocker option and thought I’d be awake but they did give me something like Ativan which has knocked me out before and I knew or felt anything until they woke me up and told me it was over. Surgery was a success as I’m sure yours will be. The worst is the recovery period and getting back to normal. I did everything that was in my power to do. I had faith in a very good surgeon and then I relaxed after I prayed and gave the rest to God. What else could I do?That’s what I would tell anyone to do…You are a strong woman who I’m sure has overcome more than her fair share of battles in this life but you will get through this. Just put REST on you list for at least a week and give yourself time to adjust. Yes, I am a list maker too and it empowers me so much to mark things off so I truly understand preparing ahead of time. Luckily I had already done that for my household with Covid.Let your friends, beau and family help. Stay busy while you recover with books, movies, a computer and or whatever you can manage to keep your mind active and to help the time pass. Take your pain meds as instructed and then wait for what comes next. Do what you can and trust God for the rest. I can’t imagine having two knee replacements and how that went but you did get through it. Remind yourself of that! You are an awesome writer and have many more wonderful books to write for your loving fans in the very near future! Hang in there you are braver and stronger than you think! Prayers for God’s hand and intervention in your surgery, prescription treatment, healing, recovery, rehab and every need concerning and because of this surgery to be met in the name of Jesus I pray, Godspeed, Amen! *HUGS* Sharon Braswell

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  36. I am praying for a successful surgery as well as minimal pain. I understand the challenges of having to ask for assistance. My husband has been an angel taking care of me for two years. Yes, I make lists as well as become anxious. I struggle with giving my fears and concerns to the Lord. I give them over, but I take them back. May God bless you and keep you in His loving arms.

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  37. Sending prayers up for your successful procedure. Keep us posted, or ask Hugh to send quick update. I’ve had several medical procedures in the last few years and I could not survive without my partner. He does everything. No losts for me. They make me more nervous just lookinh at them. Good luck on October 22.

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  38. Edith, I hope your surgery goes well…and I’ll be a simpatico in some sense, as I just got a wrist guard yesterday which I need to wear for 6 weeks! Well, actually for 5 weeks, 6 days, and 16 hours, but who’s counting! No pain, but three little independent issues that hopefully will nicely heal!

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