Monday, May 26, 2014

Rocky Mountain Highs & Lows

Estes Park, Colorado 8,200 Feet
Our trip to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in the Rocky Mountains turned out to be quite an adventure. Your prayers for my altitude adjustment were answered since I only had a slight case of nausea for about 24 hours after arrival. However, Charles suffered enough for both of us. Because he was so sick, we decided to cut the final day from the conference schedule and head back down to a lower 5,200 feet in Denver in the hopes he would feel better. Instead we ended up in the Estes Park Emergency Room with a doctor prescribing a forty mile ambulance ride down the mountain. Charles oxygen levels were dangerously low and his lungs were filling with fluid. The decision was made to admit him to the Cardiac care unit at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, CO. After three days and numerous tests of his heart and lungs, the doctors determined he had no serious problems. Lots of oxygen and diuretics helped to stabilize him. We were both so exhausted after his release we stayed an extra day at a motel to rest up before catching a plane on Wednesday for Atlanta. 

Charles' Hospital Feet
It’s scary being so far away from home when there is a medical emergency. We are so thankful for the kind folks at the writers’ conference who helped pack our suitcases, got Charles into the car, and led us to the ER. The medical attention at the ER and hospital was top notch and the folks at the motel were also very helpful. 

I was able to attend the better part of two days of workshops. The classes on the art and craft of writing fiction were excellent. All my notes and handouts will be just what I need if and when I write the novel that is in my head. I met with three acquisition editors and they gave me some good pointers on how to get started on my book. At least 75,000 words will have to be written before I can present a book proposal for consideration. That sounds like a daunting task. Another highlight of my week was meeting novelist, Tracie Peterson. I've probably read a dozen of her books. She writes the kind of historical fiction that I wish I could write. Charles, on the other hand, never dropped his fishing line in the water. 

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect them. I was so concerned about getting sick, I didn't even think about Charles having an issue. Last fall after our vacation in Florida, I was admitted to the hospital with cellulitis. We have decided that vacations are highly overrated. We are ready to get back to work and normal living at least until the next vacation bug bites. My pastor reminded me that our “adventurous” trips provide  fuel for future blog posts. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

An Altitude Adjustment

The title of this blog post does not contain a typo; although I admit my attitude sometimes needs an adjustment too.

My biggest concern right now is for an altitude adjustment. In the near future, Charles and I will be heading to the Rocky Mountains. I will be attending the Colorado Christian Writers Conference while my adventuresome husband hikes and casts his fly fishing rod in the sparkling waters in Estes Park. Who do you think will have the most fun?

The atmospheric pressure changes and the higher altitudes of the mountainous west have been known to precipitate my headaches and nausea. So why did I make the decision to take a chance and go anyway? The outstanding faculty of writers, agents, and editors at the Colorado conference was hard to resist and Charles dearly loves being in the mountains. I also hear that Estes Park is a very picturesque place—although a bit chilly this time of year.
Years ago, I spent part of my visit to the Grand Canyon at the medical clinic getting medication for nausea. But another time, I was able to climb the lower portion of Mt. Rainier with no problems. Our plan is to spend a couple of days in Denver so that I can adjust to the lower altitude before we make our way into the Rockies. And this time I am going prepared with a sack full of pills.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am not a good traveler. My high-maintenance body tends to rebel when it is away from the comforts of home and hearth. I am praying that this time will be different. My inspiration for this trip comes from one of the Psalms of David:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

When I write my next blog post sometime before the end of May, I will update you on our exciting trip. In the meantime, say a prayer for our safe travels and my ability to conquer those mountains.