A series of posts dedicated to the journey of writing my first book, Unsecurity: Information security is failing. Breaches are epidemic. How can we fix this broken industry?
This is the seventh article in the series. The others:
- The Idea
- Back Home/Kidney Stones
- 1st Draft Done! (next)
See here for the full list of articles, including those that are yet to be written for this series.
You already know what’s coming in this article. My titles in this series aren’t very creative, are they?
It was good to be back home. The only thing that sucked was the weather. In Cancun it was sunny most days and the temperature was in the mid-to-upper 70s. At home, it was below zero and snowing. The good news was I wouldn’t be tempted to go outside much. Good writing weather!
Cancun was mostly a success, minus the first week drama. The score at the beginning of the Cancun trip was; 76 days to go before my self-imposed deadline and zero words written (sort of). I came back with a score of 62 days to go and 21,672 words written. Seemed good to me at the time. Remember though, I was a naive newbie writer, and I had no clue how long these books are supposed to be or what they’re supposed to look like.
While I was away, I had few interruptions. At the office, I was interrupted constantly. I love being an accessible leader who’s genuinely interested in every employee who works at FRSecure and SecurityStudio. Between my need to be with our employees, the phone calls, meetings, and emails, there was no time to write anything between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm.
I wanted to avoid writing at home because knew it would dominate family time. Something had to give. I needed to find writing time somewhere.
The solution… I’ll get up every morning at 3:00am, get to the office by 4:00am, and write from 4:00am to 8:00am. Brilliant. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do this every morning, but I would try anyway. If I couldn’t find the energy some mornings to get out of bed, I would just reset the alarm and find an hour or two somewhere else in the day.
Week one was essentially shot because I hadn’t figured out what I was going to do yet. It was a struggle to catch up with emails, let alone write anything. Score: 54 days to go and maybe 22,000 words done. I felt like I was starting to fall behind, but I was sure I had a solution.
Week two, Monday morning, I’m up and raring to go! Good writing session. Tuesday, same thing. Wednesday, starting to drag a little. Thursday, nope. Friday, somehow managed to get in early, but could not write anything. My brain was not having it. The 3:00am thing is going to be a real turd. Maybe I’ll try 4:00am instead.
Turns out the 4:00am each morning did the trick. Some days were better writing days than others. I tracked my progress each day by how many words I wrote. Some days I wrote 1,200(ish) words and some days I struggled to write 250 words. Here’s what I learned…
How many words you write each day doesn’t matter as much as writing each day.
Life was good, and I was trucking along, until one morning I didn’t feel right. I wasn’t sure why, but I felt like I needed to use the restroom really bad. No problem, to the restroom I would go. At this time it’s probably 5:30am, and there’s nobody else in the office yet. I didn’t feel right, but there was no reason to panic.
I tried writing, but it was a struggle because I couldn’t concentrate. I constantly felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, yet every time I went to the bathroom, nothing happened. There was no urine or bowel movement, just an unusually pronounced feeling that I needed to excrete something. As time went on, the feeling got worse, bit by bit. The time was now 9:30, and I’m getting a little more concerned.
Things progressed much faster, and by 11:00am, I’m laying on the bathroom floor. Wasn’t panicking before, that’s changed. Something is seriously wrong. Thankfully my wife was in the office at the time, so I told her about my problem. I told her that I need to go to the doctor right away. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I know that it hurts like a sumbich. She knows I have a high pain tolerance, so this is very unusual. She immediately gets the car while I get my jacket.
We’re in the car on the way to the nearest clinic, 15 minutes away. She keeps asking me if I’m OK, and I don’t want to talk. I want the pain to go away, and I’m in full on “GIVE ME ANYTHING TO TAKE THIS PAIN AWAY RIGHT NOW” mode. After an eternity, we arrive at the clinic. We get in to see a doctor quickly and the doctor starts asking me a bunch of questions. I don’t want to answer any questions! The pain is unbearable, and I want her to 1) give me something to make me feel better or 2) shoot me. She tells us she thinks I have a kidney stone, and that I have to go to a hospital.
That’s it?! No drugs? No gun?! Just go to a damn hospital?! Useless. I’m pissed. I’m angry. I feel like an alien is going to come popping out of my stomach or my ass or my back at anytime (I can’t tell which). I’m obviously dying, and now I’m told to get back into a car and endure another 20 minutes of hell before I eventually get to the emergency room. Fine. Whatever. I’ll do anything right now.
Another eternity passes. Two eternities in one day if your keeping score. We arrive at the emergency room, and more questions! The nurses want to ask me questions, and I don’t want to talk to anyone. I want drugs or a bullet. That’s it. My wife intervenes (she’s an angel) and eventually I end up in a bed. Still dying, but dying harder now. How can I possibly be dying harder? This is crazy! Why God?! What did I do to deserve a living death like this?
We’re in this room with a curtain thing that separates my bare bottom in a scratchy gown from the rest of the world. A nurse or doctor (I can’t tell because I’m having trouble seeing now, I think) comes in and she wants to ask me questions too! Seriously, stop with the flipping questions already, and get down to business! I look at my wife in desperation. She tells the doctor I don’t want to talk and she answers for me. Out of all the questions that were asked, I heard one that I actually wanted to answer. The doctor asked what my pain level was on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the worst. I blurt out, “it’s a 20!”. Even that answer was hard to muster between my panting and dry heaving. Oh yeah, the pain is making me dry heave now.
Seriously, I’m dyyyyyyyiiiiiiiinnnnnnnggggggggg. The doctor leaves for some reason or another, an now I can’t lay down. I’m pacing the room, stopping to lean head first against a wall every now and then. While I’m pacing and trying to find some way to move in a manner that will give me some relief, I can overhear the nurses outside my shower curtain door talking about recipes for some whatever thing. I’m like, why?! Why do you let a good man die while you talk about tater tot hot dish recipes?! Life sucks. Seriously, is this the end?! Is this how I’m going out?
Finally, a nurse comes in to see me again. She wants me to pee in a cup. I want to shove the cup up her… No! I stop myself. It’s the pain talking. I did shout, “when can I get some drugs”? She stopped what she was doing and gives me a puzzled look. “Wait. Nobody has given you anything yet?”. I can’t say anything because I want to cry. My wife answers for me, and before long I get some morphine. Thank you Jesus!
The pain slowly eases, and I can talk better. Why do things like this always happen to me? For one, this mother of all pains, and then forgetting to give me some drugs? Double whammy of suck.
The morphine didn’t take the pain away entirely and it didn’t last very long either. My pain probably dropped to an 8 (which is a helluva lot better than 20). Seemed like thirty minutes later, and my pain started to inch up again. Next up, the doctor wants a CT scan. OK fine, just don’t forget the drugs. The whole CT scan thing was quick, and before I know it, I’m back in my room. The pain is getting really strong again, but the nurse gives me something in my IV right away. Within five minutes I’m feeling good. Like, what the hell just happened?! I asked the nurse what she just gave me, because I want that stuff on stand-by.
I was expecting the nurse to tell me the name of some super-narcotic, but no. She gave me ibuprofen in my IV. Ibu fricken profen?! Really?! Yep. I was too amazed and exhausted to ask them why we didn’t start with this an hour or two ago. The results from the CT scan were ready, and it turned out that I had a 7mm kidney stone. The doctor suggested that we let the stone pass. Skeptically, I agreed. She thought it would pass on its own and told me if the pain comes back, take more ibuprofen. Easy enough. I LOVE Ibuprofen (now).
Before the doctor left, she mentions one more thing on the way out. She requested that I come see her at the nurse’s station after I get dressed. I asked he why. She wanted to show me something on my CT scan. My wife and I looked at each other, and we could read what the other was thinking. Why? What do you want to show us? I quickly got dressed and scurried out to the nurse’s station where the doctor was waiting for me.
She showed us a grainy looking image. In the middle of the image was my kidney. The doctor pointed at the kidney, and focused out attention on a darker part of the image. She explained that she’s concerned about a “mass” on my kidney. Apparently the mass had a diameter of 55mm. She advised that I get a CT scan with contrast soon, and that was that. She wouldn’t answer any additional questions and just referred us to our family doctor for next steps.
That’s it… Writing wasn’t really on my mind anymore, at least not on this day.