Friday, February 20, 2015

"That Doesn't Hurt" Part 1. My Journey with Chronic Pain

The doctor was finally able to see me. I'd been waiting a good forty-five minutes to hear my fate. He called me in and before I even had a chance to sit on the gushy table he directed my attention to the cat scan already hanging before its light.
"Something is wrong," my gut had been telling me for months now.
I had thrown my back out carrying a supremely heavy laundry basket up the stairs of our house. They did a simple x-ray which alarmed my primary care physician that next day. She found what looked like a puffy white cloud inside my left rib-cage. It alarmed her enough to make me want to get a cat scan with a thoracic surgeon. The crazy thing was I had absolutely no symptoms. No pain. No signs that anything could be wrong with me. Except that horrible feeling in my gut.
"The type of hernia that you have..." the thoracic surgeon started saying... then his words became nothing but vacant mumbles uttering nothing I could possibly understand. He told me what was wrong with me like he was giving a U.S. History lesson with no emotion, no shock nor special consideration. To this day I still can't believe I didn't shed a tear as he told me my looming uncontrollable fate.
"We'll need to do the surgery asap. There's a chance the hernia could reach up and strangle your heart and you'd only have six hours to live," his words become a little clearer now since I was moving past my initial shock.
We were short-selling our house in a rapidly declining real-estate market in Las Vegas. The worst it had ever seen. We were planning to move to Oklahoma City to be closer to my parents. But now the unknown was upon us and I wasn't sure if we'd be moving at all. Now my entire world was at a stand-still. My life was on the line.
The secretary of the surgeon was trying to book the date and time of my surgery but all I could hear is the blood pounding in my ears.
"Next week?" she asked me.
"Oh I don't know..." I muttered, "I'll have to call you later."
My feet somehow made it to the elevator, out the lobby to the parking lot and into my car. But it was there, that against all the resistant strength I could possibly muster, I broke down. A flood of emotions burst forth like a fire hydrant on its last legs. The pressure was insurmountable and all it can do is gush out powerful water drenching all its surroundings. I was vulnerable to my body. It had swallowed my soul whole. A mix of anger and sheer disappointment raged through me.
My shaking hands found my cellphone. Dialed my husband's number. All he could hear were my sobs. I couldn't get out one word.
"I'm coming to get you."
It felt like forever before he arrived. I collapsed in his arms. At a complete loss of how to break him the news. But I did, and to his immense credit, his remarkable courage and bravery would get me through the worst thing that ever happened to me.

To be continued....