Getting my Ducks in a Row

Edith/Maddie here, on the first day of spring.

Spring! Spring is a time of growth, of rebirth. It’s when we celebrate the cycle of life and renewal. When we pause and notice the equilibrium between night and day, winter and summer. Right?

Well, what about feeling out of equilibrium, even at the equinox? Let me explain.

I’m a writer. (The chorus of “DUH” resounds.) I make my living with my imagination, my heart and my brain, and, very importantly, my hands. I’ve already been through two hand surgeries since fall of 2020. One was the wrong one, one the correct one (and yes, I did engage a very good personal injury lawyer, thank you S. and H. [you know who you are], and I can’t say anything else about that except that satisfaction was had).

You’d think that’d be enough in the medical procedures department, on top of previous knee replacements, shoulder repair, and more. But, no. Tomorrow I go in for what my (good, second) hand surgeon described as minor finger surgery. I’ve had a cyst resting on the nail bed of my middle right finger for a couple of years. It corrodes the nail, swells with fluid every week or two causing me a lot of distress, and when it resolves, it’s both painful and gross.

The doc said the cyst is related to the arthritis in that last joint.

All that said, I am a person in my second S decade, and the end of (my) life isn’t as theoretical as it once seemed. I am reasonably healthy and hearty, don’t worry, but all kinds of s**t can go down during surgery – even on a finger. Plus, I am a worst-case-scenario kind of worrier.

So, I’m checking the ducks, with a mind to the ducklings who will survive me.

Wills and estate planning done? Check.

Literary executor assigned? Check (see willing son on left).

Passwords to my entire universe handed over? Check.

Family photos scanned and labeled? Oops, fail.

Basement clear and decluttered? Oops, again.

Closets … ? Ah, forget about it.

Bills paid, manuscripts turned in, charity donations made? Check.

Do Hugh and my sons, my sisters and brother, my dear personal friends and cherished author pals know I love them? Check, without question.

I think the important ducks are lined up. I fully intend to see you all on the other side (that is, Wednesday). And, please, make sure your own duckies know you love them.

Readers: What tangibles do you plan to pass along? How about intangibles? (And have you ever had a cyst removed from a nail bed?)

42 Thoughts

  1. Oh! I wish you a fast recovery and a simple surgery. I did have a cyst removal years ago on the base of my index finger. Close to golf season, I was anxious for it to heal. It seems sometimes we know how the big ones go and somehow accept that. However, we are always so annoyed with the ones we consider annoyances. The ones that get in the way or are small and you think wouldn’t be a big deal but turn out to be.
    Ducks in a row? Unfortunately, probably about your age but feel woefully behind on that! In my head but not necessarily acted upon. I even have a folder for it without much written in except passwords, account info, insurance info. Good reminder, thank you.

  2. Like you, I still need to get all my photos in binders or some kind permanent order other than in a bunch of folders! Other than that, my military husband has made sure my ducks are all in a row, which is a calming feeling. I haven’t had finger cyst surgery and I hope that yours goes very well! Think how glad you’ll be to get rid of that thing once and for all. Please keep us updated!

  3. I know what jewelry pieces are going to which granddaughter. I am hoping they will also want my book collection, a lot of which are signed. I need to organize my sports cards collection, mostly from my much younger days. I proudly display my Bobby Orr card. Still love that man!

  4. I’m not organized at all. I’ll take this post as a reminder. Good luck with the surgery. We’ll be waiting to hear the good outcome!

  5. As we have gotten older, “things” seem to take on less meaning. Between that and a big major downsizing move, we have disposed of a lot of “stuff”. What is left has been legally arranged for, but I hope that the best treasure we can pass on are our memories – both the good times and the rough times and how we managed to get through them together. Probably the materialistic things to past on, as I would hope they do for generations to come, would be the handmade Amish furniture we have.

    Although I’ve never had a cyst of the finger, I have had a few surgeries for internal cyst. No surgery is fun and I can only imagine how horrible it would be to awake to find out there had been a major screw up on the doctor/hospital’s fault. Will be praying for things to go right, the doctor be skilled and proficient in this surgery correcting the situation so that you have many more years of writing enjoyment. Ok that’s also a bit selfish on my part, because like all your fans, I LOVE your books. Wishing you peace instead of worry as well as fast healing. Before you know it, it will be over and only bright days ahead.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. Good lucky and speedy healing today! I am doing some serious spring cleaning as it is the first day of spring!

  7. Best wishes for a successful surgery, Edith! No mail bed cysts here, though, I did have a cyst removed during carpal tunnel surgery that the doctor didn’t expect to find. That was a bit of a surprise!

  8. Prayers for successful surgery and recovery. I have my legal ducks in a row. It’s the others that are still running around very disorganized!

  9. Hello Edith .I’m a writer too and have hand problems –mine involve carpal tunnel and arthritis in both hands and haven’t had surgery for either. I type with the ring finger of each hand. Works for me. I’m older than you and have begun giving favorite belongings to folks who I think will value and appreciate them–and I get to see them enjoy the things. Swedish death cleaning? I guess so, although I feel fine and don’t plan on departing any time soon. It lessens the pile of stuff somebody will have to dispose of later, and brings me pleasure to do it. Working on the photo thing. Wishing you happy hands soon.

  10. Arthritis is indeed no fun. I am confident that you will come out on the other side with a finger that works like it should. I am looking forward to hearing later this week about how easy it all was. (My important papers were drawn up years ago and were revised a year ago. As we all know by now, things change and when they change, the trust, will, etc. all need to be revisited and updated if necessary.)

  11. Edith, here’s to a successful finger surgery and a speedy recovery.

    While it is good that you have your big ticket ducks in order, forgive me if I don’t want to worry about that coming to pass for at least another couple of centuries of Robbie adventures. I would much prefer to keep the people I actually like around for a good damn long time.

    I’ve never had to have a cyst removed from a finger but did once have one on my chin. As for having my ducks in order, my answer would be that I don’t. The wiseass in me says “If only the good die young, I’m going to live forever.”

    But seriously, I do need to get off my butt and get things set up. It would be relatively easy I think though. Everything goes to my sister except the house which she would have to split with my brother by the rules of my mother’s will. But I actually have to get that down on legal paper.

    1. I recommend getting it on paper, Jay. If only to make it easier for your siblings.

      I also prefer to keep folks around – and that goes for the fictional ones, too. ;^)

  12. Best of luck with the finger surgery, Edith. Like you, I’ve had a bunch of joint surgeries, and we both came out of it all. Now, the little things are the ones we worry about. I wonder why?

    I have all the major ducks in a row, and my 13,000 or so pictures are all labeled and in order. I have gotten rid of a lot of things in the past few years. That much less for my daughter to have to deal with. I just have a room full of things I have brought back from travels, mostly South America. While most of them are not worth much monetarily, they are worth a lot as a collection. I have no idea what to do with them. As long as I’m alive, I’ll keep them. My daughter will want a few of a them. Then, I’m sorry, it’s up to her to dispose of the rest. I don’t envy her.

  13. Best wishes on your surgery, and on having a “refurbished” finger you’ll be happy with!

    I think upcoming life changes are what kick one into gear to get things documented – especially important if one is single.

    Ten years ago I was told I had a 35% chance of living three years – okay, ducks, let’s line up now! So I put together two executor’s handbooks – one for me, and one for my mom with dementia, for whom I handled all financial affairs. Long Word documents that listed everything I could think of – from whom to notify (friends and businesses), to where wills and other documents are, to where our funeral outfits were located. I updated both periodically as things changed, and printed them into a binder on my desk. I still update mine, and review it with my siblings before surgery, etc.

    I also did a pre-paid funeral for my mom, choosing the casket, gravestone, service, etc. When she passed last year that was such a blessing – we had only minor decisions left to make at such a difficult time. The duck in charge of planning one for me is behind on his task.

    I’m now working through all the pictures and family documents – trying to purge and organize them….. this is the most challenging. Oh yes, along with “trying to part with” some of both my and my mom’s decades of “things we treasured”.

  14. Sending prayers for your surgery tomorrow! Be at peace, dear friend!

  15. I’ll be praying everything goes well.

    I need to be better about putting my ducks in a row. Especially since cleaning out my place could take weeks. I should do that myself.

    But it’s much more fun to read another book.

  16. No cyst on my nail bed thank goodness. I do have arthritis. It does not hurt except in one finger that the knuckle is larger, and I can’t make a fist. It doesn’t hurt except overnight as the fluids aren’t working with it. I have several fingers that have gone catawampus though unfortunately. Good luck on your surgery tomorrow. We light a St. Jude candle nightly and pray for friends and family and that him and God for watching over us and taking care of us. So, you are added tonight. You will do well. We just had some cysts cut off our pup on Friday and we are waiting on the pathology. So that was scary while she was out. My most serious operation was in 6th grade when I had a blood clot in my leg that could have killed me. God bless and good luck. I just finished Bayou Book Thief and really liked it. Now on to Wined and Dined in NOLA. All our ducks aren’t in a row, but some are. I need to get that all taken care of. Next project is to work on photos and other genealogical things. Have scanned many. Pus I am trying to make a file folder and booklet telling my niece and nephew what things are handed down from family and what other things that we have collected are worth, so they just don’t give them away because they are worth some serious money.

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