On death and other such stuff…

So I wrote last week about motivations; what’s the *real* reason behind people – and characters in novels – doing what they do. Is it all explainable? If so, then is it forgiveable? When is a crime a crime? All that kind of thing. I was trying to puzzle out how to go about writing a torture scene for my current WIP (Work in Progress). I was concerned that, having had zero experience with torturing someone – physically, anyway; I’m fairly sure that I hurt people emotionally in my past, and I’m sorry and I regret it – and having zero experience also of being tortured physically, that my writing of a torture scene would be just simply inane. How could I write something successfully when I had – you guessed it, zero! – first hand experience? Yes, imagination is all well and good, but in my opinion it’s not good enough when potential readers *have* real experience of torture, and who may find my treatment of it inane, hurtful, derogatory, deprecating. So I was worried.

And so, after several hours stewing, chewing my nails about it, and so on, I did the only thing I could do. I needed a torture scene, so I sat down and wrote it. As best I could. I guess it’s just a wait-and-see what my beta-readers think of it when I finally get it to them, huh?

I had death on my mind rather more than normal this week. Not only because I wrote my first ever torture scene, in which the character died as a consequence, but also because my doctor suggested it to me on Monday. You see, I was finalising the paperwork for Mr6’s future autism allied health visits, and needed his signature. He signed away happily, then looked at me, and asked how I was going. If I was sick at all. I said yes, I’d been sick since last Thursday, and it had gone through the throat on fire and the runny nose, to my chest. He said, “Come on in, let’s check you out” and ushered me into his office quite smartly. I was surprised, I didn’t have an appointment. Long story short, I was at 50% lung capacity and hadn’t realised. He’d asked me what my athsma was normally like, when I wasn’t having an attack like I was right then. I replied that I wasn’t having an attack, that my breathing had been like that all day. He was very, very concerned. I explained that my reason (there’s that word again!) for not using my ventolin was that, whenever I use it when I have a headcold, the ventolin reacts badly with that nodule on my vocal cords, and I end up with laryngitis for AGES. The last time, it took over 6 weeks to clear. And as a 0.7FTE teacher, I can’t afford to lose my voice.

He said, “Just imagine if you got to the stage where you’re down to only 30%, and you’re in the shower, with all the humidity, trying to get air in, and then something triggered an attack. I’d hate to think what might happen.” Which made me think. Seeing as my husband regularly works a ridiculous-number-of-hours-week, I’m primary care-giver to my three gorgeous cherubs. And I would hate them to be traumatised by one of them finding me curled up on the floor of the bathroom, turning blue, gasping for air, at 10pm at night [not to mention I couldn’t afford the therapist fees], so I reluctantly agreed. Laryngitis versus death. I guess one is infinitely preferable to the other.

I was amused, initially, at how ‘serious’ it all was… until it occurred to me that having only 50% lung capacity was kinda like I’d been walking around and doing stuff with just one lung. So I did as the doc suggested. I bought my own Peak Flow meter (my God, those things are expensive!!!) and have been diligently taking my meds (so much for the ‘drowsy’ side effects; I’ve had insomnia all week) and my stats have slowly risen from the 240 which I blew Monday afternoon, and the low of 150 that I got to on Monday night, back up to the 340 mark. Which is good. Someone of my height should be blowing at around 480, apparently, so I’m getting there.

So yes, death has preoccupied me a little. This morning though, I’m more thinking about pain. Because for the first time in a few weeks, I did my Krav Maga session yesterday morning. And boy, oh boy, am I feeling it today!

Have a great week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn