Monday, May 23, 2016

The Snore Of Destiny Part Trois.

As I write this, I'm at a rather low ebb. 

A few weeks ago, as regular readers may recall, I underwent surgery on my throat to address an issue I was having with swallowing and choking - as well as an annoying snore. Throughout the course of investigation, it actually turned out to be a more serious issue than I had anticipated, involving the paralysis of one side of my vocal cords. You can recap on the short history here and here

The objective of the surgery was to create an area of scar tissue that would have the effect splinting my airway open so that it wouldn't flop inwards, particularly when I sleep and thus cause the snore. It was also going to address the problems I've been having with my swallowing which has, in a word, become scarily dysfunctional.

To cut a long story short, that surgery did not have the outcome we were hoping for. 

It didn't work. 

My swallowing remains dysfunctional and the snore wasn't neutralized. In fact, if anything, it's worse. 

I have tried to cajole myself along in the hope that it would all settle down, and once the healing process had run its course, all would be well. But it didn't turn out that way. 

So last week, after visiting my surgeon, I had to make a decision. 

I was presented with the option of returning to hospital and having a dual procedure that involves removing some of the tissue around my palate. This includes the uvula - that dangling, tear drop shaped piece of flesh that hangs down from the roof of the mouth and swings back and forth. The effect of this palatal flap surgery will be that it will open that section of the airway up and reduce amount of negative pressure that can be exerted on it when I sleep. Simply put, it won't vibrate and therefore I won't snore. 

The second part of the procedure is the trickier proposition. It involves going back to the area of my vocal cords that has been affected by the paralysed nerve supplying that region of my throat and removing the bone that anchors my right vocal cord. This is called the arytenoid bone. By removing it and applying the laser to that area of the throat, it will widen the airway as well as strengthen it by deliberately forming scar tissue. It will prevent food and fluid from entering that area of my airway that was sneaking in underneath the epiglottis. That's the flap of tissue that closes over my airway during swallowing and prevents food and fluid from falling into my airway. 

This is happening this week - this Friday.

The trade off?

My voice. 

I have to face the fact that this surgery will have a profound and permanent effect on my voice and my ability to speak. 

It has come to that because of the dysfunctional nerve that supplies my voice box. It won't recover from the viral neuritis that has affected it and so, what is being done now amounts to damage control. And I've chosen this route because - basically - I don't want to choke to death in my sleep because of some small fragments of food and fluid that has snuck into my airway.

I will require therapy afterwards to kinda retrain my throat and the muscles in it to adapt to this more extensive surgery. So I expect my recovery to be a lot more complicated.

But to sacrifice my speech...

Our voice is everything. It is a key part of who we are and without it, how are we to express ourselves?

I've been thinking a lot about this over the past week. Of course, expression and communication in this written or text form is so much a part of who I am & so I don't doubt that I will continue to express myself in this fashion. 

But, expression and communication is much more than simply words on a page. 

It's conversation. It's interaction with others. It's expressing ideas. It's singing shitty pop songs in a moment of abandon - either alone or in the presence of others. It's talking on the phone to loved ones far away.

It's reading stories to my children. 

I've been thinking about that one a lot. I remember a promise I may to my daughter recently that I would re-read to her The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. I used to read it to her when she was first born as a way of getting her used to my voice. She always loved hearing me recount that.

What am I going to be without my voice?

I'm scared. 



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spring Comes To Those Immortal - A Look At Immortal's Spring by Molly Ringle.

Immortal's Spring (The Chrysomelia Stories, #3)Immortal's Spring by Molly Ringle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sophie Darrow said yes once to a young man offering a realm of Greek gods and immortality. Now her home has been shattered, and her friends and family pulled along with her as they run from an evil cult and take shelter in the gloomy Underworld. But remembering the life of the original immortals long ago--Persephone, Hades, Hekate, Hermes, and more--may be their key to victory, as well as happiness. 

In ancient times too, the murderous cult Thanatos attacked and destroyed nearly all the Greek immortals who sought to bring good to humankind. But those immortals planted seeds in both their realm and ours to ensure their season would someday bloom again. And spring is finally coming.

I have been on board with Molly Ringle's The Chrysomelia Stories since Book One - Persephone's Orchard and I was given the opportunity to read a draft of the final entry - Immortal's Spring last year. In preparing my review, I returned to it this month when I was given a final copy of the novel.

(image credit: Molly Ringle).

It is no small thing for me to say that Molly Ringle's works rank among my favourite hands down. As a writer myself, I take a sort stylistic inspiration from her - specifically in her construction of characters. Ringle is an astute observationalist, able to imbue her creations with unparalleled realism and presence, such that you find yourself quickly empathizing with their journey and becoming invested with them. Throughout The Chrysomelia Stories, I have come to care a great deal about the likes of Sophie Darrow, her paramour Adrian, her brother Liam and the extended cast of characters who carry the load of dual identities - both here in the modern day world and the parallel world of Ancient Greece - where each of them assume the roles of classic figures from that culture's rich mythology.

Looking at Immortal's Spring in isolation, it is undoubtedly the most compelling in the series, and I say this only because it carries the responsibility that is common to all third acts, it has to address and resolve the cliff hanger Ringle left for us at the conclusion of Book 2 (Underworld's Daughter) whilst maintaining the sense of tension and real urgency as it progresses towards the finale. Ringle's narrative crackles with energy, sensuality and excitement. Her investment in and portrayal of the cast elicits a real emotional response in the reader and that is where the genius of this series lies.

I have such an appreciation for Greek mythology as a result of journeying through the Chrysomelia Stories. Throughout my reading of these books, I have constantly cross referenced Greek mythos with Ringle's storytelling just so I can appreciate the true genius of what she has wrought.

Molly Ringle is an equal to Rowling, to Riordan, to DiTerlizzi and Black. Immortal's Spring specifically and The Chrysomelia Stories more broadly are a modern day epic that everyone should know about.

Immortal's Spring is out everywhere on June 1st 2016.

Molly Ringle has been writing fiction for over twenty years. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in Seattle with her husband and children. Her studies include a bachelor of arts in anthropology and a master of arts in linguistics. She also loves folklore and mythology, and this has been the impetus for her epic series of stories couched in Greek myths. When not writing, she can often be found experimenting with fragrances, chocolate, and gardening.

Pre-order Immortal's Spring here, here and here

Visit Molly Ringle here.

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View all my GR reviews


Monday, May 16, 2016

Talking The Recipient With Our Time TV.

A couple of weeks ago, I recorded an interview with Adelaide's Our Time TV, a magazine styled program on Channel 44. Over the course of the 10 minute interview, Sue Cardwell and I explored the inspirations behind the novel, how my background in Intensive Care Nursing helped shape a compelling medical thriller and how I juggle a busy Nursing career, parenthood and being an established author. 

Our Time TV is a Channel 44, Adelaide production airing weekly across Australia. 

Visit Our Time here