Tuesday, July 17, 2007

relief in sight

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real-Johnny Cash-Hurt

July 10, 2007. Int. Orthopedic surgeon’s office. I am sitting in a chair that feels like it has never been sat in before. The burnt orange vinyl is sticking to the back of my legs, and the copy of Sports Illustrated from 2004 is on my lap. My back and legs feel like I have been hit in the lower back with a baseball bat the size of a small Cadillac.

I get called into an office that could seriously use a professional organizer, or at least someone to take out the trash. There are folders stacked around the room. Some stacks are taller than I am, and leaning in such a way that I am amazed they are actually standing. The lady comes in and apologizes for keeping me waiting. She tells me that with the 4th of July holiday she is way behind. I want to tell her that is no excuse for not calling me back, or not answering her voicemails, but really I just want to get all the scheduling done for my surgery and get out of there.

So then she hits me all at once with, we have an opening in less than 2 weeks, so your booked then. The 23rd. She then rattles off 5 appointment date and times for me. 1 test with my regular physician for blood work and a physical. The last real physical I had was conducted by a Army doctor on my way to bootcamp. I am really hoping they don’t ask me to duck walk across the room this time, as I might have to give up. Luckily, they didn’t. The second appointment is for both Mrs. Ninjamunkey and myself with the surgeon and his assistant, going over what to expect during and after the procedure. I am also going to be fitted for a back brace that I assume I will have to wear for a while afterwards. That is coming up tomorrow. The final pre-surgery thing I have to do is give 2 pints of blood to be typed and cross matched so they have it on hand incase they need it.

So I leave the doctors office, fueled with the reality that this surgery is happening. And I started to panic a little bit. We are talking about my spine here, fusing the vertebra together near my hip bone, to allow better strength and pain management. At no point did I hear anything like “all the ice cream you can eat” so it’s a little scary.

My work knows I am going to be out for a while, and I have set up the short term disability paperwork, so I can at least have some money coming in. Of course I asked to use a few vacation days the Saturday and Sunday before surgery so I can spend some time with my family and get things in order, but they could only spare me on Sunday.

My friends have been supportive, asking how they can help, what they can do, what did I need and stuff like that. Sadly, I have a hard time asking for help. Should I be moving, I might ask for assistance after the sofa has fallen off the truck and and is wedged on my head.

So there you have it. I am going under the knife in less than a week. I have spared you the stories of my panic attacks, the anxiety over what might or might not happen, and the tale of how the hair on my legs has suddenly started falling out, which may or may not be due to poor circulation, or medications, or stress. Those are tales for the days that I have coming up. I will spare you the gory details of the surgery and the afterwards, unless requests are made.

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