Despite how much logically and emotionally I know that my health is not my fault, I feel like shit. I feel like everything I do has failed and everything I have tried is not as good as it could be or not good at all. I recognize this all and I see them as subjective extensions of my disability. I can’t do much to fix my health but rot away and wait for good news.
Last week, I was asked by a security guard before my doctor’s appointment: “How many legs you got there” / “How many legs do you have?” I don’t remember the exact verbiage, but I can tell you that I was mad and it wasn’t funny. I filled out a survey and emailed the office manager. Today I received a response about this “recent unfortunate event.” I replied by saying that disabled people are often treated poorly.
I’ve been feeling terrible for the past few days. There’s the physical and mental stress of enduring constant pain, without relief. There’s worrying about whether medical relief will intervene to relieve the pain long enough to get into better health. There’s societal pressures regarding doing things to maintain sociability – not socializing, but being societal. There’s the constant, never-ending, feeling of wanting to do more than I can. There’s all that, but I’m feeling better now.
Compared to yesterday, I had zero spine flare-ups, but compared to a baseline average, I had plenty of physical opposition from my lower back, tailbone, and left leg for dominance of my consciousness. I had purposefully decided to take today off, but I half-figured, if my health were in a decent condition, I might try to do at least something. The most I could do is cook food for myself and mentally prepare for tomorrow.
I consider each time my spine pain gets really bad to be a spine flare-up. Months ago, one was enough to knock me out for the day. Today, I had three. Even writing this, my tailbone is flaring up, so if you wanted to count empirically, how many flare-ups did I have today? How many dozens or hundreds of times did my spine steal my focus, reduce my quality of life or physicality with pain?
“How many legs you got there?” I was stunned by the question the security guard greeted me with after I used my crutches to get up the ramp into the clinic of my new[est] doctor’s office. I was too tired from the act of moving my broken body from my apartment, down the stairs from my second-floor apartment, and, hesitant against arguing with an authority figure, I just stuttered, stammered, and ignored the ignorant question.
itterama and I had a casual chat about pain, the worst topic of ’em all. The comedic punch of that does not pass by me as I think about how much we gave to the world today. Sure, we’re both not medically trained in pain medicine to a formal degree, but itty’s dealt with pain since May 2010 and I’ve dealt with pain since April 2020. We might be more experts than academic-only doctors guessing about pain.
By this essay’s publication, it will have been one year since my surgery. I am writing this essay in mid-July, and, the surgery that promised to cure what ailed me still has not kicked in. I’ve been fighting against an apathetic series of doctors for so long that today, when I talked to a doctor, not only was he optimistic over the challenge of taking on my case, but he also suggested a possible diagnosis.
I didn’t have the mental or physical endurance for five healthcare calls yesterday, at almost one and a half hours of wading through a series of people passing the buck from one group to another, but, I was able to get a 30-minute phone call scheduled with a new primary care physician next week! 15-minute pre-appointment check-in and a 15-minute chat with the doctor, but better than waiting for weeks or months for treatment options.
Today I was to call about health insurance assistance, but I did not, because the thought of going through all the trauma I experienced as a patient of the American Healthcare System is not something I felt emotionally equipped to handle. Will I feel more like it tomorrow? I honestly slept through most of the day, partially because I wasn’t feeling physically well, and partially for the emotional sensation of banging my head against healthcare.