W.O.L.F. Sector
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

News Archive for April 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's Always Something

Written by Kodi Wolf at 1:41 AM

The past few months have been kind of crazy.

Most of January was spent working on a commissioned jewelry project for one of my sisters. Corene and I were able to see her over Christmas and I brought a bunch of my work for her and the rest of my family and friends to see. She fell in love with one of the bracelets and asked me to make a matching bracelet and necklace set based on the weave design, but with a few alterations.

I haven't really talked much about my jewelry work on here, but since I actually have some pictures of this particular project and I'm really proud of how it turned out, I figured what the hell? :) It also took me a while to figure out how to take good pictures of my jewelry (my first attempts were horrible), so I'm really proud of how nice the pictures turned out, once I figured out the right settings on the camera.

Sterling Silver Helm Weave Bracelet

This is the 7-inch Sterling silver helm weave chain mail bracelet with toggle clasp.
(Full-size image)

Sterling Silver Helm Weave 2-in-2 Necklace

This is the base 16-inch Sterling silver helm weave 2-in-2 chain mail necklace with magnetic clasp. I also made 4-inch and 8-inch extenders, which offer the options of also wearing it as either a 20-inch or 24-inch necklace. The main section is done in helm weave and the rest is a 2-in-2 chain.
(Full-size image)

If you'd like to see more, you can download the zipped PDF at the link below, which has detailed pictures of the necklace (including the 4-inch and 8-inch extender chains) and the matching bracelet.

Sterling Silver Helm 2-in-2 Necklace and Bracelet PDF (zipped) 1.4MB

And yes, I opened and closed every single jump ring myself, including those itty-bitty ones for the 2-in-2 chain (they're only a little over 3mm wide). The only parts that were pre-made were the magnetic clasps for the necklace and the bar half of the toggle (I don't know how to solder silver... yet :) ).

Anyway, so that was January. Things got back to normal after that and I went back to writing again, but then in the middle of February, I got some kind of eye infection and a sinus infection at the same time. That sucked, but a few days after I finished the antibiotics and prednisone, I came down with what I thought was a normal cold (sore throat, stuffed nose, sneezing).

At first, I didn't realize I was sick because it hit while our power was out during the ice storm that blew through our area on March 7 (thankfully, it was only out for about 16 hours, but our cable Internet was out for 11 days). Our house was freezing and I thought I was just reacting badly to the cold, but I still felt like crap after the heat came back on, so that's when I figured I was really sick.

By Sunday morning (March 9), my resting heartrate was in the 120s (normal for me is 75-85) and my blood pressure was around 145/100 (my normal is 120/85). With my heart racing (it would spike into the 130s when I stood up) and my chest aching so bad that I felt like someone was sitting on it, Corene and I decided to take me to the ER.

After they gave me morphine in the hopes of calming down the chest pain and helping me relax so I could breathe easier, I had 3 vagal responses (vasovagal syncope) to getting nauseous from the morphine, which basically means I nearly passed out 3 times, started sweating profusely, and my high blood pressure dropped to some insanely low number that Corene thought must have been a misread, but probably wasn't (during those times, I go blind and deaf because no blood is getting to my brain, though I stay somewhat conscious).

By that afternoon, they had admitted me, and by that evening, my blood pressure had climbed back up to 175/118, at which point they gave me a blood pressure med to bring it back down.

After a bunch of different tests to rule out everything from heart attack to cancer, they decided I probably had a viral infection (my white blood cell count was 14,000; normal is 3,500-10,500), but given that I'd been sick, that was a somewhat inconclusive diagnosis. However, it was their best guess, since all the other tests came back fine. And since there was really nothing they could do for a viral infection, which would go away on its own in 7-10 days, they finally let me go on Tuesday afternoon (March 11).

I have no idea how much blood they took, but I'm what's known as a "bad stick" because my veins are small, they like to roll, and they collapse pretty easily. So I had 13 different puncture sites along my arms, plus 2 in my hips from injections of a blood thinner ("just in case"). Four of them bruised massively and it's only now, nearly a month later, that most of them have finally faded, but several of them are still sore to the touch, particularly where they ended up giving me potassium by IV. My potassium was a touch low at 3.4 (normal is 3.5-5.2), so I think they were just trying anything they thought might help, but I think it burned my veins a little and I just haven't fully healed yet, so it's contributing to the soreness.

Thankfully, my heartrate and blood pressure calmed down, but my blood pressure was still running a little high (averaging around 120/90), so at the follow-up appointment I had with my regular doctor, he said I might have diastolic high blood pressure. He's given me three months to get it down with exercise, since he knows I hate taking pills (my diet is already low in sodium with no caffeine, so I should be fine on that front). He recommended a goal of 30 minutes of walking each day (which could be done in 3 sets of 10 minutes each), though he also knows with my fibro I need to work up to that, so he said I should start at just 5 minutes and build up from there.

Since that appointment on Monday, March 24, I've been walking every day and my blood pressure has already shown improvement, so hopefully I'll have a good follow-up appointment in 3 months (end of June).

Oh, and my doctor did more blood tests for my potassium level and blood count, and everything was back to normal, so yay! :)

So, other than venting, I'm telling you all this to explain why the progress reports are a tad sketchy for January and March.

And also because even though I was too busy/sick to actually write at times, I did get a lot of reading done and have learned a lot more about story structure and character stuff, which has helped me brainstorm and outline several scenes for Lights of Life, as well as help me get a much better handle on where that story is going, how it's going to end, and the kind and scope of revisions I need to make for it to all work out the way I want it to. I also think the stuff I'm learning will help me with my other stories when I get back to them (I'm trying to stay focused on Lights right now).

If you're curious, the books I've found so useful are:

  • Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

  • Plot Versus Character by Jeff Gerke

  • Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

I've also found K.M. Weiland's site, Helping Writers Become Authors, to be useful, particularly her new series of articles on structuring character arcs. It's an ongoing series she started on February 9 of this year. I've found Parts 2-4 to be really helpful in figuring out why and how my characters need to change (as well as what that change should be). From Part 5 on, she actually helps you figure out how to work all those important character things into the story at the appropriate points in the story structure (the series isn't finished yet, so I'm not sure what else may be included in the series later on). I'm also subscribed to her YouTube channel because her videos are pretty cool, too.

So now we come to April. Here's hoping it'll be a good month for writing. :)