January 20, 2011
Enough is enough. The sick get sicker and wonder why. My anger flares. I did not ask for this latest siege and feel I have put up with plenty already. My dues are paid in full. The impact of piggy-backing illnesses is cumulative, and there are only so many bricks I can carry up the mountain.
Almost four decades and three conditions, in addition to the attendant complications that can be laid to constant stress on my body from MS keep me constantly close to the edge. I am weary, tired of the struggle, the fight in me waning. My frequently offered Faustian bargain: I will deal with what I’ve got. Just do not add to the burden, holds no sway with the powers that be. Bastards.
“The MRI and X-rays are clear. You need a lumbar fusion. These two vertebrae are hitting each other and a nerve is caught between them. We have to separate them to stop the pain.” I blankly stared at these complicated photos hanging over lights on his wall. I visualized the doctor playing with an Erector set and screwing his contraption to my bones.
“When do you want to do it,” he asked, fiddling with his stethoscope. His hammer probably was in his tool kit. Tonight, I answered. The pain was getting to me. Of course I did not want to get splayed that night or any other. I had been dumped on cold slabs in too many over-air conditioned operating rooms already. Surgery had become my recurring nightmare. I wanted to run, but I could barely walk.
The chronically healthy do not understand that sometimes the rest of us are weary to the bone. I had endured back surgery once already. I knew the razor sharp pain, the bayonet in the back. This I knew: I do not want this. But pain was my constant companion, anyway. The thought of the post-op journey to the bathroom or down to the kitchen made me want to cry. No. I cannot do this again.
I had to. I knew that, also. The alternative would be a life sentence of pain. Make your peace, I told myself. It would not be easy.
I hate hospitals. I fear then and avoid incarceration there at all costs. Nothing much good comes from a stay in the hospital, only the probability of leaving sicker than when I arrived.
After too much hospital time, fighting my battles with multiple sclerosis and colon cancer through the years, I had casually announced to Meredith that the next time I planned to enter one of those horrid institutions, my life would have to be hanging from a thread, such as after getting run over by an eighteen wheeler.
But back from the future. The challenge of enduring this spinal surgery came down to what kind of a life I want to live. I struggle every day with limitations enough from years of living with MS. Do I want to add to those weights around my neck? It does take discipline to summon the resolve to embark on a course no part of you wants to take.