Portrait of the Artist as a Sick Woman

SO, HI THERE. It’s been awhile because this is approximately how I’ve been feeling.

Krovikan Plague, from Magic the Gathering (Alliances)

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this sick.

The first week of June, I came down with what I thought was a nasty summer cold: sore throat, low-grade fever, dry cough. It didn’t go away, so after a week I hauled my sorry ass to the doctor where she found pneumonia crackling in my right lung. I got some megakiller antibiotics to slay the offending bacteria and went home, where I pretty much zonked out for the next week.

In retrospect, I think I may have had walking pneumonia for a month or so before I got that “cold.” Because I track my time 24/7, I had noticed that I was sleeping more than usual in May even though I was tired, tired, tired all the time. I started to wonder if I needed to see the doc or a shrink, sick with something or sliding into an unaccountable bout of depression. The cold, and then the pneumonia, explained a lot when they came along.

It is now two weeks after the pneumonia itself has been vanquished, my chest X-rays clear. I am starting to come around. Slowly. Kinda. But ohhhh so slowly. I have zero energy, zero focus. Still sleeping a lot. Still coughing a lot. People told me, in person or online, it could take “several weeks” to recover… three, four, five… and not to push myself. The voices of their experience all agreed on that: the nasty beast would just flatten me again if I gave it the opening.

But truly? I. Had. No. Freakin. Idea. What. That. Meant.

Nightmares, being sick, pneumonia, Egyptian, demon, a woman with her feet on backwards
Card art for Legend of the Burning Sands (L5R)

I’m going to keep this blog short, although it has taken me several days to put even this much together. I have badly wanted to let people know why I hadn’t been heard from much lately. When I have a little energy, I work on Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls — I am the bottleneck right now, needing to edit, write my little bits, and do a ton of artwork. I’ve tried to keep up with emails, kinda. Everyone else on the project is working their rumps off, and there will be a lot of cool stuff available for GenCon … but not the rules. And that’ll be because of me. So be it.

Little that I usually do (often nothing) has been done for the last month, for freelance work, library time, or simple chores and errands. I’m still counting my “good days” in terms of “good hours.”

Pneumonia is a funny thing. Some people literally walk it off. Others damn near die, as my friend and writer/game designer Lorelei Shannon wrote about so eloquently and frighteningly when she had it.

All in all, I’m not walking it off and I’m not taking a spin around the dance floor with dashing Mr. Death (as Lorelei put it), but evidently it is going to take me some time to recover. I’ll work when I’m able, and update more when I can. Things are improving! I think I managed to stay awake the whole day yesterday. Next step: be awake AND have more than two working braincells.

27 Replies to “Portrait of the Artist as a Sick Woman”

  1. Improve! Recover! Feel better!

    Let us know what we can do to help. Feel the love from your fans/friends.

  2. Oh gosh I had hoped you had mostly recovered. I figured we hadn’t heard from you because you were making up for lost time with T&T. You don’t know me as anything more than a fan but if I can give you a hand with ANYTHING just let me know. I am sure getting behind is driving you mad. Also if you do make it to GenCon (which I selfishly hope you do) my husband and I will both be there so if you need something (even if it’s just gophering) let me know and we’ll make sure you have access to us.

    1. Thank you for the offer, Glenda. Right now, going to GenCon is still up in the air. This illness has really thrown all my plans in the dumper.

  3. Been there. Pneumonia while stationed in Korea, in the middle of a mission-critical exercise. Which meant no going to sick bay, with troops depending on my branch. When maneuvers ended, I collapsed and have no memory of the following week. Took forever to get back on my feet.

    You don’t want that. So obey your body now, so it doesn’t go AWOL on you. No lives are in danger if you’re late.

    Except Fang the Dissectable, and he doesn’t count.

  4. Liz! Just concentrate on getting better. I of course want my T&TD but not if it’s at the cost of you being sick for God knows how long. Your health comes first.

  5. That sounds miserable – glad to hear you’re on the mend. Illness is a terrible thing, it not only attacks our bodies but our energy and creativity. Funny how the ephemeral stuff is so frailly rooted to our physical bodies. Wishing you the best!

  6. I’m sending you warm thoughts of a speedy recovery, Liz. I hope you recover fully soon. I know you were being super-productive for a while before this, so it’s probably chaffing you to have to slow down. But, yeah, definitely get your rest and recover, then get ready to get back in the game fighting when you’re 100%!

    As always, let me know if you need anything.

  7. Oh, I know exactly how you have been feeling. I didn’t realize I had pneumonia until I had problems breathing- as in I couldn’t. I could stagger about 50′, stop catch a little air, and stumbled into Urgent care. Long story short: Oxygen level was at 82 and dropping, a week of IV antibiotics and oxygen treatments at home for three weeks. Hang in there Liz, my prayers are for a swift recovery.

  8. I love your use of card art to illustrate your condition!

    I’m familiar with that crackly feeling in the chest, from a mild but still deeply dreary-making case of bronchitis. I managed to walk my dog and put together meals, but that was about it.

    I’d rather dT&T be late than have any member of the team endanger health (or sanity) to beat a deadline.

  9. Liz,
    Have a Healing Feeling or… four. Rest and be well. As for DT&T; You are one of the primary reasons I gave to the campaign and I would be saddened, if you were to be unable to continue in your current capacity. T&T’s return to glory would be diminished, in no small way, without your insightful contributions and skillful editing.

    1. John, that is very kind and flattering of you! I have zero intention of stepping out of the project… it means a lot to me, and to all the Fellowship, for this project to have gotten the kind of passionate support which we see. Both Ken and I believe strongly this ought to be the definitive edition of the game (although sometimes we disagree about exactly what that means!), a worthy response to the trust you all have placed in our hands. I am sorry my being sick has delayed it, but if I don’t have the focus and drive to work with the skill and creativity I expect of myself, I have to put the work to one side until I can do a proper job. All of you deserve nothing less.

  10. I would rather have a late Deluxe T&T than one which lacked for your contributions. I bet most or all of the backers feel the same. Take your time. And take pneumonia dead seriously, it can and does kill. Though it sounds like you’re past the point where we would have lost you if we were going to.

  11. I hope you recover soon, Liz. I wish I could offer any helpful advice except crash wherever you’re comfortable, sleep when you need to for as long as you can, and keep up on your meds while eating whenever you can. Having suffered through 5 pneumonias in 7 months in 2008/2009, I can well sympathize. I lost 15 lbs in one week on #4, not a weight loss method which I approve or endorse. When I heard you had walking pneumonia, I thought you might be able to shake it pretty soon. Very sorry to hear it went full-blown.

    Keep in mind that recurrent pneumonia is having it more than once in a two year period. If that happens, talk to me and I’ll give you some more info on what to demand of your doctors.

    1. Thank you Wayne. Rick said “walking pneumonia” in the Kickstarter update, not realizing there was a difference, I believe. I sure hope I don’t come down with anything like this EVER again, because I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

  12. What everyone else has been saying, Liz: your health is more important to us than getting a game book sooner rather than later. Focus on healing now. dT&T can wait, and so can we.

  13. I know it is so frustrating to feel poorly and have so much time be unproductive, not to mention its not a lot of fun just existing. Do take the time you need and focus on getting yourself healed, please. Take care.

  14. Liz, dT&T is only a game. You are a wonderful person and much more important. Concentrate on getting well. The rest will be there for you when you recover.

  15. hiya Liz – we already chatted. Be good, get well, sending strong wellness thoughts your way.

    -ashley aka roo

  16. I hope you are continuing to feel better, you are an incredible person, and please take care of yourself. Get better soon!

    1. Thank you! I’ve started working a bit more but still sleeping more than usual as well. I hope to update the blog this weekend too! I appreciate the kind wishes, more than you can know. 😉

  17. I’m so happy that you are doing better; please continue to do so. You’ve given so much of yourself, it is time for the fans (especially this one) to give back in some small way (I tells ya!) Take care!

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