Kidney Stone Saga: Death to Spike

I promised an update regarding my saga with this kidney stone. Yes, only 1 kidney stone, and it’s still considered a saga.

I’ve decided to name it Spike. Because on the CT scan, there’s one giant spike sticking out of it that’s causing the majority of the pain.

Spike

Spike Demon Stone

Spike Demon Stone.

No relation to Sharon Stone.

The urologist gave me 3 options, none of which I liked.

The first option was to let it continue on its course and pass naturally. Which could take 4-6 weeks. (I nearly threw up at that statement).

The second option was Lithotripsy. (I stare at him with a dumbfounded expression). The shockwave technology procedure uses a laser through water to obliterate Spike into much smaller pieces, making it easier to pass. The procedure requires anesthesia, hence hubby would have to stay home from work to drive me home and take care of the kids.

The third option was to use a scope to “go in and get it.” This procedure also uses anesthesia, but more importantly requires a stent for another 5-7 days to prevent the tube from swelling shut. The medication to help control this would dry up my breastmilk supply for good.

That automatically excluded option 3. I refuse to choose that option if there’s anything else on the table.

Then the urologist was quick to point out that if option #2 wasn’t successful, he’d advance to #3 anyway. (He was so direct and quick in this statement, and said it without any kind of empathy or blip of understanding of my concerns, I wanted to sock him in the jaw).

I ignored his statement and went back to the first option. There would be no way I could make it through another 4 weeks without strong pain medication. But the meds I was currently taking made me so loopy, I couldn’t drive. (I was on my way to ask for a different kind of med that was just as strong, but wouldn’t make me drowsy.)

The doctor immediately cut me off and discussed the Lithotripsy procedure. (Again, wanted to sock him in the jaw.) He made it sound like it was no big deal. It would be very successful given Spike’s size and location. Then immediately stands up and brings his nurse in (without letting me finish my questions). The nurse walks in and is very nice. She discusses post op care, restrictions, all that fun jazz. But then drops another bomb.

The doctor only does these procedures on Mondays and Tuesdays. The worst possible days for my family’s schedule.

Long story shorter: after numerous phone calls begging for different options, I’m scheduled for lithotripsy in 2 weeks on a Thursday (they are squeezing me in between his other kinds of surgeries). I also asked the nurse for a different pain med so I could drive during this timeframe.

money_down_toilet 2Here’s to hoping I pass Spike before the shockwave stuff in 2 weeks. I’d rather avoid more medical bills on top of all the other stuff I’ve gone through this year. Giving birth to a baby, 3 ER visits, gall bladder removal, and the corresponding meds: I really could use a break.

I’m sick of bills. I’m sick of being stuck on hold with our incompetent insurance provider, thereby making us go over on our minutes for our cell plan. I’m sick of missing writers meetings and putting my family out. I’m sick of using the little strainer they gave me to “catch” Spike. I’m sick of having to throw out all of this breast milk because of the meds.

Spike: You are evil. Your time on this Earth is severely limited.

Now it’s time for more coffee. Perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Mr. Perfect or Bad Boy Hero

I think everyone will agree when you’re reading a novel, any genre, if the hero is too perfect- or seemingly flawless- it’s boring. People like to have main characters with flaws. Sometimes even bad streaks. It’s the same thing with writers. When you’re writing a character that seems too nice or perfect, it’s boring.

I found that out with my previous manuscript. My heroine’s love interest seemed too perfect. And writing scenes with him in it was tedious. So now I get to have a fun time putting a few bad boy streaks in him. But I’ll start those fun revisions next year (a whopping 3 weeks away).

I’m having a blast writing my third manuscript. Mainly because the ‘hero’ in the story is hardly a hero at all. He starts a lot of the conflicts, has some unsavory ‘flaws’ and lives his life in a much less than charitable fashion. If I’m having this much more fun writing the story, I’m hoping my critiquers will have more fun reading it.

But this brought a big question to the tips of my fingers.

How bad is too bad before readers start to hate him? Before they throw the book across the room and refuse to read any further to see the redeeming qualities?

I think much of this depends first on the time period in which the book is set.

I believe Middle Ages and early Renaissance time period grants ‘heroes’ a little more wiggle room in the good/bad department, due to the harsh living conditions and necessity to live against the elements and endless bandits roaming the lands.

But for contemporary time period, what are some of the big No-No’s for heroes? I’ve heard several agents and editors say infidelity is the #1 Anti-Hero characteristic. Not necessarily promiscuity, but if the ‘hero’ is in a committed relationship or your intention to have the main characters end up together, infidelity is a major turn off.

Cruelty to children and the helpless is probably another big no-no. But how far can a writer go in ‘evil-ing up’ her hero?

I’ve perused a few sites trying to find what most others find as acceptable flaws, versus ‘too-much-to-handle.’

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/heroes.shtml

http://www.booklaurie.com/workshops_flaw2.php

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue9/Romance.htm

http://mysteryminx.com/intellectual-battlefield/heroes-hunks-and-perfect-men

But what do you think? What ‘flaws in a hero would make you toss the book across the room? What is your boundary between hero and evil?