We frequently hear the adage, “I am writing for myself”. In this case, dear readers, it is true. The following post is not so much a public announcement as it is a making sense and order out of the chaos I have experienced in the last 4+ years.
In the past 53 months, I have experienced:
2 car accidents, 2 spinal surgeries within 6 weeks, 2 other major surgeries – one which required 9 days of around the clock Vicodin, career loss at 48, new career at 51, 2nd career loss at almost 52, the loss of many friends and a support network, countless blood draws and x-rays, steroid injections, steroid treatments which made me insanely ravenous and aggressive, 7 MRIs, 2 EKGs, came close to a full on anaphylactic shock, an EVIL painful test on my vertebral disc, an EVIL painful biopsy, vertigo, loss of balance, difficulty processing information, loss of memory, migraines, tinnitus, a 55 dB hearing loss in one ear which resolved after many weeks (a sign language interpreter who can’t hear is a really bad thing), massive narcotics, fasting and 2X bowel cleanses before surgeries, being intubated 4 times, massive chronic pain and nerve tingling, 1 trip to the ER and 3 cancer scares.
In that time, I have had dealings with: a sports medicine Dr, spinal specialists, a nasty neurologist, a fabulous orthopedic surgeon, 3 attorneys, countless nurses, front desk people and insurance folks who ranged from stellar to nasty, a Mt Everest of paperwork, an internist, endocrinologist, otolaryngologist, oncologist, radiologist, dermatologist, gastroenterologist, gynecological surgeon, immunologist, audiologist, a stellar physical therapist and a stellar psychologist.
I would gladly repeat all that if I could UN-DO the worst:
Having to call the police in another state to find my brother’s dead body
Spending 14 hours on the phone informing and consoling relatives around the planet
Flying 10 hours solo cross-country wanting to scream and cry but having to stifle that in public.
You would think the grand conclusion would be obvious but I finally formulated it this week. The most effective torture with prisoners is pain, fear, isolation and massive uncertainty. Obvious things, like getting one’s neck sliced open, are NOT the challenge. The grandest soul-crusher is despair; the daily grinding down through “death by a thousand flea bites”, as Pete famously says.
The grand conclusion is that I just came back from my own war zone; with all due respect to the military, my own Vietnam or Afghanistan. Methinks it’s time to throw myself a ticker tape parade! *Looking for my tiara and practicing my parade wave. Time to trade in the camouflage outfit for my LONG lost sparkly gown.*