PROGRESS   11 comments

As of yesterday I’m out of the brace! Off meds. Sleeping better. Now to work on pain control and regaining strength. (The latter a year’s project, no doubt.)

Posted July 18, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


In response to my report on withdrawing from morphine, a friend sent me this link by e-mail. For anyone who cares about the problems with the war on drugs, the terrible effects of over-incarceration, the targeting of the vulnerable, this TED TAlK is worth the time.

By the way, my terrible withdrawal experience is over. Into the next phase of recovery.

Posted July 15, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

SICK AS A DOG – GOOD   13 comments

I know my situation is as nothing compared to the tragedies all around me. Still, I wanted to share the latest in the recovery after my crash.

I’ve missed some important things from Facebook in these last few days, like Sally Smith’s birthday, and Chris Anderson’s freedom from his cast. Wow, Chris, you’ve been through a lot, with such grace.

Anyway, the good/bad news is that I’ve been really sick beginning this past Monday. I mean, flu-like symptoms to the third power. Misery.

But I’ve been happy about it, because it’s withdrawal from the morphine I’ve been taking for pain since sometime in May. (Before that I was prescribed Oxycodone).

The really happy part is I stopped taking the morphine because the pain stopped calling for it. Besides, I’m on the tail end now, so this latest phase of recovery is almost over. It seems like Ibuprofen may be my friend for a while, though, and maybe Tylenol PM to help catch up on the sleepless days and nights.

A dear friend discovered the BRAT diet that helps with part of the problem. It stands for something like: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Now, when it came to eating, I felt like a dog with rabies, totally hydrophobic, but she provided and I did what I was told. Today the food tastes good. Progress.

Now maybe I can get back to the project begun before my April 15th event – writing discussion questions to accompany “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” for book groups that might like to adopt it.

And, of course, “My Father’s House.”

Posted July 9, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized



Recently I mailed a letter to a friend of mine in prison. In it I described the details of my April 15 accident and enclosed a picture of my poor car.

Today I received it back from the prison, opened and returned. I also received the following note from my friend.

“I received notice from our mailroom that you tried to send me a letter with pictures. However, the mailroom in its infinite wisdom decided I could not have it because pictures and letter were contained in the same envelope.

I am allowed to have both, just not if they come in the same envelope. So you should be receiving everything back in a separate mailing. What you will need to do is put the picture (no larger than 8×10) in one envelope, and your letter in another envelope. If they are in 2 separate envelopes, I will be allowed to have them.

Gotta love [the system].”



Of course I have two envelopes ready to mail. No other comment.

Posted July 5, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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I’m back. Still not enough energy to do all I want to do. Napping as much as I’m awake. I guess that’s an important part of healing, but it does take time away from writing. Anyway, I felt the urge today to share with you one minor product of my recent participation in a writing course — the conversation with my crash.

From June 14th through the 19th I attended a superb writing course at the Madeline Island School of the Arts. The staff made it possible for me to attend by finding ways to accommodate some of my special needs. On top of that kindness, everyone was wonderful in every way possible.

It was also the beginning of my walking outside for any distance. It was the only way to get from my room to the location of the food and classes. And that was really good for me.

Of course, then, as now, I spent a lot of time sleeping. But there was plenty of room as well to write. By choice I focused on “My Father’s House.”

All in all, I learned a lot, got to spend time with some bright, energetic, and lovely fellow students, to say nothing of the instructor, Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew.

Among other things, Elizabeth had us doing some writing exercises, and that’s what I want to share with you today. One assignment was to visualize an important image, and then to spend a few minutes writing a dialog with that image. Even though I promised to focus on “My Father’s House,” the image that came up was the noise of my car rolling around as it flipped into total destruction on April 15. So I wrote a conversation between “The Crash,” and “Me.” I think I learned a lesson for myself in the process of reading through it.

What I’m presenting here is the pure, unedited dialog I wrote in the five or so minutes we were allotted.


CRASH: Hear me! What a racket I can make. Have you ever heard such a cacophony? I mean – really, a cacophony.

ME: Hear? Oh … Oh My God! I …, Oh My God! … I … really – you thought I’d have something to say? Oh My God.

CRASH: Hear me. I’m rattling, banging, crashing, squeaking, squealing. I mean – have you ever heard such a noise?

ME: I know. You are totally beyond my control. Too late to find the brake. Oh My God! What are you doing? You’re falling apart. But you’re banging together. Oh My God! Who am I kidding? I don’t have time to say any of these words.

CRASH: Gotcha! I silenced you. Now your words do you no good. I’m nothing but noise, noise, noise.

ME: And you’re fascinating. Oh My God! Wow! What can I say?

CRASH: That’s the point! You can’t say anything. Whoopee! Hear me. I really have your attention, don’t I?

ME: OK, OK. Will you stop? Please stop!

CRASH: Crash, jingle, jangle, rattle, steam. What about the nice, black sound I’m making …?

ME No, you’re wrong. It’s not black, it’s gray, or purple, or blue? Or white? But heavy.

CRASH: No. “heavy” isn’t a color.

ME: But it is black. Oh hiss – no. I’m not swearing. It’s hissing.

CRASH: Just settling, my dear.

ME: I’m not doing anything. Just let them take care of me. Whew!


Posted June 27, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

GOOD TO BE HOME   12 comments

Thanks to all the wonderful people who helped in the prep, I’m home nice and safe and comfy.

Having trouble, though, catching up with the messy pile of stuff to do –including working on ways to encourage sale of my books. I certainly could use some royalties when the bills start rolling in. Suggestions?

And then there’s the constant urge to nap. I assume that’s an important part of the healing process.

I’m not encouraging lots of visitors, but it would be nice to have some here on the blog.

Things are moving in the right direction.

Posted June 3, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


Yesterday was Xray and talk-to-the-Doctor’s-rep-day. I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, but I also feel much better because I know precisely where I stand, making it possible to work at solutions.

First off, I had already discovered that health insurance covers treatment requiring care by a licensed professional, including Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. It doesn’t cover things provided by talented aides –all the things that help with the practical aspects of living with this brace, for example.

As for the Xray, things “are looking the way they are supposed to look.”

I also learned that the brace definitely must stay on for a total of three months – two more to go. And it must always be on whenever I am upright. So there’s no license to get up without it in the middle of the night for a pit stop, for example.

Then I was taught how to put it on and remove it myself, with the hope that I can get to the point of doing it quickly when I need to get up. Besides that, it’s clear that I am not the only person experiencing this brace thing and people have learned various ways of living with it. For example, some people choose to sleep in it.

All that information left me feeling good, because problems can be solved when the facts are clear. Since I’m planning to leave rehab on June first, I have this week to practice proficiency in putting it on and off. I’ll have the opportunity to try sleeping in it. And I’ll be able to set up the bed situation to make it all work at home. Plus I’ll call on friends to help me set up my house to deal with these temporary requirements.

As has been the case all along here, I have learned so much more practical understanding of the situation for others, especially for those with long-range problems, so much more serious than mine.

All of which adds to the powerful sense of gratitude I’ve experienced ever since finding myself still alive after the “event” of April 15.



Posted May 23, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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