OT: Health report on some of my favorite authors

Three of my favorite authors have had serious health problems that has impaired their ability to write. One had an undisclosed but serious issue that put her in the hospital for several days. In videos that I’ve seen of her shortly before and since her illness, it took a toll on her. The other two have been very public about their situations.

Kelly Barnhill’s world was turned topsy-turvy when she fell down a flight of stairs and ended up with a traumatic brain injury. Barnhill writes books for children as well as adults. She shared this experience of the injury and her slow recovery with us in a NYTimes article.

Madeline Miller, the author of Song of Achilles and Circe, came down with COVID and was one of the unfortunate ones who developed Long COVID. She shares the disruptions to her writing and her life in this WaPo article.

More than three years later, I still have long covid. I still give my best hours to my children, and I still wear my N95. Thanks to relentless experimentation with treatments, I can write again, but my fatigue is worse. I recognize how fortunate I am: to have a caring partner and community, health insurance, good doctors (at last), a job I can do from home, a supportive publishing team, and wonderful readers who recommend my books. I’m grateful to all those who have accepted the new me without making me beg.

Some days, long covid feels manageable. Others, it feels like a crushing mountain on my chest. I yearn for the casual spontaneity and scope of my old life. I miss the friends and family who have moved on. I grieve those lost forever.

So how long am I going to do this? Until indoor air is safe for all, until vaccines prevent transmission, until there’s a cure for long covid. Until I’m not risking my family’s future on a grocery run. Because the truth is that however immortal we feel, we are all just one infection away from a new life.

I read our local paper today and COVID cases are on the rise again. Take care you all.


Arthur Hailey died in 2004. H G Wells died in 1946.