In 1999, for the first time in my life I lost hope. Not as an author – but as a human being. To deal with it, I did what so many writers do –I buried myself in writing a new novel. But it was only when In Fidelity was finished did I realize that in writing it, I had also unburied something I’d lost.
In Fidelity is not a story about my life that year. It is a fictional story that explores the ties that bind us each to the other. It is suspenseful, a little bit sexy and very much one woman’s psychological adventure.
But I want to share with you what was going on in my life that fueled this novel.
In the fall of 1998, just as I was ending a twelve-month mourning period for my mother, Doug, the man I live with, went into the hospital for a routine out-patient kidney biopsy.
An hour later, his doctor came to the small, windowless waiting room to tell me something had gone dreadfully wrong and Doug was bleeding to death. They had fifteen minutes to save his life.
Doug survived and spent the next two weeks in intensive care. It was while I was sitting by his bed in Stamford Hospital, while he slowly came back to life, that the idea for In Fidelity was born.
Was I cold and heartless to be able to think about a book when the man who I was very much in love with lay there asleep, hooked up to monitors and machines? I don’t think so. It was how I survived. It was how I prayed.
A few weeks after Doug came out of intensive care he was back in the hospital to begin kidney dialysis. For the next year, this brilliant 41-year-old composer and musician lived a half-life of doctor’s visits and five-hour treatments three times a week. His work was no longer writing music it was staying alive. He was in and out of the hospital over thirty times in twelve months.
And I? When I was not being a caregiver – I wrote In Fidelity.
I did it to escape into a world I could control. I did it to hide. And I did it to prove to myself that there was life outside of the illness we were facing.
And then after a long year of hospitals and doctors and infections and waiting, we were given an amazing Christmas present. David, Doug’s brother decided to give him one his kidneys.
On December 30, at the Yale New Haven Hospital, Doug’s received a new kidney. On January 4th 2000 we came home. Doug was able to go back to work in less than a week and I was able to sit down at the computer and finally finish In Fidelity.
This novel has given me much more than I’ve given to it… it’s kept me company and kept me going. It has also helped me put into words what I have discovered about the powerful connections between people who care about each other – connections that neither time or deed can sever.
My wish is that you enjoy In Fidelity’s twists and turns and get completely caught up in it and can’t put it down.But I also wish that when you come to the end of the last page– you too will feel a little of what I felt writing it – hope.
I’d like to let you know that a part of the proceeds of In Fidelity will be going to the National Kidney Foundation in honor of Doug’s brother and the wonderful doctors at The Yale New Haven Transplant Center.
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