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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

When in Shit: Shovel

Last week, I saw the physician’s assistant at the doctor’s office where I’m currently a patient. Not a fan of the doctor so I won’t be remaining a patient but it’s where I am now. I received antibiotic ear drops and more antibiotics for an ear infection I have in my left ear. It’s been many years since I’ve had an ear infection and thankfully, I’m not experiencing the excruciating pain I used to have when I was a kid. I am experiencing the sensation of my left ear being blocked. It’s as if someone turned the volume way down on the left side.


When I was young, I couldn’t hear well. My mom recalls my 1st grade teacher asking me to stop reading and me not doing so until she gently tapped my desk. This led to tubes in my ears and having my tonsils and adnoids removed - which was a tremendous help. During the time when I wasn’t hearing well, I honed the craft of lip reading. It wasn’t until the pandemic began and masks covered everyone’s lips that I realized I still relied on lip reading. It had become a habit I wasn't aware I'd possessed. I've reverted to lip reading once again as this infection wreaks havoc. This isn’t easy if you’re on a teams meeting with multiple people.


I have long had sinus issues that don’t present in a way that’s useful in getting the issues addressed - but I suspect my sinuses are to blame for my current situation. This situation continues to evolve with new symptoms - like nausea. Fortunately, I’d recently stumbled across some anti-nausea meds I’d been prescribed, but never used, following my gall bladder removal. So, I added one of those to the mix yesterday. I am calling an ENT office later today to be seen there because it’s clear something isn’t right. It’s difficult to tell if progress is being made but something disgusting came out of my ear yesterday so I suppose that is progress.


I’m kinda down in the dumps about this shit and marvel at the fact some people feel shitty all the time and carry on. I suppose they have no choice but to go on. But I don’t handle feeling unwell well. For a few weeks, as this illness whorled, I groaned like a zombie. The fact I am now speaking in sentences is another indication of progress, however slow.


We had company coming from Massachusetts for the weekend but were forced to reschedule because I wasn’t sure what was going on with me or if I were contagious. So that too is down in the dumps inducing. She rescheduled for April. I’ll feel better by then… I wonder if Van Gogh had an ear infection and that’s what really drove him over the edge with his ear? Or was it pursuing his craft? Or both? This seems relatable as I continue to battle through edits in my book. Of course, I won’t cut my ear off but really, trying to get healthy and stay healthy and complete this editing is a bit crazy making.


Citing everything as Chicago Style dictates has been a challenge because I’d never heard of that before, it’s very nuanced, and I used a shit ton of resources to support my argument. That seemed like a good idea at the time. I feel like I’m in a long, dark, winding tunnel - not entirely certain where the tunnel will end and spit me back into the light. I know I submit this for another check, then wait. I am learning a lot from this process - about writing, editing and myself. Picking up tips I wished had been introduced earlier in the process, such as my overuse of the word “that”. Clearly, a bad habit I was unaware I possessed.


Ordinarily, I have a lot of energy but stacking a book atop not feeling well and work has made things a bit like Jenga. Things are wobbly and I’m hoping to avoid a catastrophic collapse. I question what the issue is as I've always been able to build a pretty sturdy Jenga tower, then I remember that I haven't been 48 or held a (now, due to recent promotion) SVP role, etc. I don't really say this - unlike my current editor who's new to the publishing company I'm working with who says at least once per meeting, "I'm new to this too." This is not a phrase that will engender confidence so I don't understand why she says it. Repeatedly. Imagine saying this at work? If you do, please knock that shit off.


I was supposed to travel for work last Wednesday but cancelled - which, given my ear, was a good call. Early last week, I had little voice and a webinar presentation for work looming for Thursday. Over 1700 people had registered so my team was a little concerned I’d be able to speak. I pulled through!


I had taken Friday off for our Massachusetts guest but still took the day - me and Chicago citations battling it out. I have another meeting with my editor this afternoon. Fortunately, she is on the west coast so I plan to take on a few additional edits this morning. I’m not a morning person but today, the nausea related to my ear infection forced me out of bed.


In the words of Stephen King, I'm off to shovel some shit before work.



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