Pike Talk: Recovery

PIKE here. Sorry I haven’t written in over a week. I’ve run into a problem. Normally I’d talk to a handful of people about it, but since I’ve begun to chat with my fans on Facebook — YOU guys — I feel a responsibility to explain what’s happening in my life.

Last Tuesday, on Oct 30th, I had surgery for a health problem that needed fixed, and which couldn’t wait. The surgery was long but the procedure itself was in no way life threatening and I’m fine. I’m going to be fine — there’s no danger of me dying or anything dramatic like that.

But the recovery has been awful. I would have spoken about what I was going through earlier — especially with a national book tour coming up — but I kept hoping I’d be able to do the tour. I thought, “What the hell, I don’t care if I feel bad, I owe it to my fans.” The last thing I wanted to do was let you guys down. So, yes, I could have written this letter a week ago, but I kept postponing it with the hope that I could do everything Simon & Schuster had planned to help launch Witch World. Unfortunately, reality has caught up with me.
I can’t do the book tour.
I need more time to recover.
The tour is off. It’s definitely off.
The last two weeks have been insane. I’ve been caught between a rock and hard place. Every morning I’d wake up and think, “I’ve got to let people know I might not make it to their city.” At the same time I’d think, “I should give it another two days, see how I feel. Maybe I can make it.”
The fact I have been taking pain meds has not helped the situation. Drugs are great at getting rid of pain, but let’s face it, they make you dumb. Writing this note, I feel like I’m working with a 65 IQ — 20 IQ points below my normal level.
I was raised by a great father, but he was a strong man. He wanted his sons to be tough. I was taught never to show weakness, to suck it up, to do what had to be done.
That attitude served me well in the past. But it hasn’t helped in this situation. My girlfriend and sisters told me right after the surgery to cancel the tour. They told me I was crazy to postpone the decision. Naturally, the big worry has been to drag people from their homes and have them drive for hours to see me at a bookstore or convention and….I’m not even there.
I had pressure from several directions to do the tour. But I’m not blaming anyone else. In all of this, Simon & Schuster has been great, very understanding. I could have stopped the pressure by giving a definitive no a lot sooner. But I kept hoping, you know, I’ll feel better tomorrow. And I have been getting better each day — slowly. The problem is I’ve run out of days.
I’m repeating myself, I think it’s the drugs talking. I never take drugs. I don’t take Tylenol or drink alcohol. I’m not a purist, I just feel better being who I am. Yet, I must admit, after the surgery, I thanked God every time I was able to reach for the bottle of pills. I thanked God they were there. Such tiny blue pills, but they kept me from jumping off a cliff.
I write weird books. A lot of people think I must have a weird mind. But I don’t, not really, I’m a pretty normal guy. I rediscovered how normal — or how helpless I was — when I was wheeled into surgery. It’s a freaky experience. Many of you been there. We all watch these show: ER, Gray’s Anatomy. They make for great drama. I grew up wanting to be a doctor and these shows always rekindle that desire. But being on the other side, being a REAL patient — it’s light years away from what’s on TV.
I don’t know if our brains are built to comprehend the idea of lying on a table for five hours and being cut open and repaired. Intellectually, I knew what was happening, why it was happening, and how I’d feel afterwards. But the truth is I knew nothing.
Before I went under, I chatted with the people in the operating room, trying to act cool. The ridiculously pretty nurse who was going to hook me up to a catheter the second I was out. The surgeon who was going to fix me. The anesthesiologist who was going to keep me under and keep me alive. I told him to tell me exactly when he was going to put me out. At some point he said it was time. I asked what the drug he was using was called. It had some long name. Then I asked — thinking of the old sodium pentothal — if it could be used as a truth serum. He said no, and that was the last thing I remembered.
I didn’t have a cool out of body experience. Whatever they use nowadays to knock people out — it works. It was like I was dead.
When I woke up in the recovery room I felt a WALL of pain. I realize many of you have experienced this but for me it was all new. It was horrible. It was worse than the stuff I put my heroes through in my books. I wished it was just a story. Pain is so humbling. I felt like an infant. It makes me wonder how I’ll write about pain in the future. I’ll probably treat it with more respect. For sure, I have a much better understanding of what people must go through who suffer chronic pain.
I was looking forward to this tour more than I wanted to admit. I’d come on Facebook and try to psyche you guys up about it because I was so psyched. I haven’t done any publicity in twenty years, and I loved the idea of promoting Witch World. I love the book. That’s another reason why I kept trying to postpone this decision.
My girlfriend told me in the recovery room I had to cancel the tour. A memorable event inspired her. I woke up feeling like I had to pee real bad. Unknown to me a catheter can do that. Thirty minutes after the ridiculously pretty nurse removed it, another nurse helped me into a bathroom that was missing three walls. It was there I experienced what it was like to piss liquid fire — a common side effect of catheters that someone forgot to warn me about. I think it was my scream that tipped off my girlfriend that the tour wasn’t happening.
All kidding aside, I should have listened to her.
I should have warned you guys earlier.
I’m going to do the mass book signing of Witch World. It will be easier to do now that I’m staying home. I’ll post all the details next week. I’m going to try to post each day. So many people wrote about my thoughts on writing. Talking about writing excites me, and I have the deepest and most profound admiration for all you crazy people out there who think you can write and publish a book. Because I’m one of you .
I hope the Christopher Pike fan page can grow into a place where writers, and fans of all types of books, can get together and talk about what makes a novel work and what makes I fail. It’s fascinating to explore the elusive Ingredient X — that quality that makes it impossible to put down a book.
I’ve felt like hell the last few days but, even though I’m not fit to go on the tour, I’m ready to put all this behind me. I want to forget about the doctors and the nurses, particularly the one who almost ruined me for life.
Forgive me for rambling.
It’s probably just the pain medication talking.
I did just take another blue pill.
From “Christopher Pike Books” on Facebook

3 Responses to “Pike Talk: Recovery”

  1. I’m so sorry you went through that. I hope you get well.

  2. I like your honesty & sense of humor & that you can maintain it in the face of adversity! I have greatly enjoyed reading all of your posts & hope you continue again soon 🙂

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