It is just before 2am. I will be leaving at 4:30am to get to the hospital before 5:20am as directed to be admitted for my 7:30am surgery. The surgery is an open decompression of the thoracic/lumbar in two levels and is estimated to take 3 hours and 30 minutes, during which I’ll be sedated under anesthesia. When I awake, the two discs that are pinching nerves in my spine will be removed. This pain should be subsided.
As of late August, I’ve had two COVID-19 tests. One was an at-home nasal swab test, which came back negative, and one was a deeper nasal swab test at a hospital a few days before my spine surgery, which came back negative? I’m not sure. The results I found when I logged in to see my records gave me cryptic information. They said they’d call if I had COVID-19, so I guess I don’t, then?
Years ago, I went into a hospital to do some routine bloodwork, and after five attempts on one arm to draw blood and three on the other, they told me to come back again later. I’ve had blood drawn and injections of various medical sorts since then, which each one having that somewhat anxious memory. Every nurse I’ve told this story to over the years has said something similar: learning to do bloodwork is difficult.
My surgery is days away, yet I barely feel like I can make it. Objectively, yes, I can wait the two days before I’m in the hospital getting the final preparations for surgery. Subjectively, however, I feel exhausted. I don’t have the energy I did even a week ago. While it’s good this will be done because I can’t go a day without my spine overwhelming all of my senses, I’m still having trouble fighting.
There have been moments throughout this process of spinal degradation where I’ve slept well enough or rested long enough to where I feel like I’m able to take on what I once could even four months ago. The need to fulfill an errand. The desire to clean up around the apartment-mansion. These thoughts are deceptive because while I might be able to get partway there, when my body invariably tears, I’ll be left aloft, unfair.
I just woke up from overwhelming spinal pain. How do I feel now? My body mostly feels numb, but I prefer this feeling over what forced me away from consciousness for a few hours. Being trapped here, in a sense, in this body that is so numb and yet with the occasional fury of pain, beats any furious outright pain. I expect pain after surgery, but it shouldn’t be anywhere as life-draining as this pain.
The most painful thing about float tanks, perhaps, might be exploring those less comfortable areas of the mind. I’ve never had any significant problems with this, but I’ve talked to others that were apprehensive about the experience for that, or other reasons that were rooted in that unknown. Taking the time to float through traumatic, dramatic, or otherwise painful events in one’s life doesn’t seem terribly pleasurable, but I’ve found it’s helped me achieve serenity.
I hung up on an insurance representative today for not listening to me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my career in technical support, it’s that training is unevenly applied, at best. At one contract, I was told to speak to customers before being trained on introducing myself. It’s not “yeah, what’d’ya want?” So despite my insurance company dressing up representatives as “Concierges,” if they’re bad, I’ll start hanging up, then trying back later.
Recently, I wrote about how the assistant that would help with my surgery was out of network, which meant their services would be my financial responsibility rather than my insurance’s. I’m not sure how many calls I made in total. I could check, but it’s too many, especially when one person said one thing, then another person said contradictory information. Although it took days of contacting various companies, I finally have a rather simple solution.
I’ve been more physically isolated than perhaps necessary during COVID due to the staircase outside my apartment-mansion. These stairs were a trivial exercise that now requires logistical planning, careful thought during each step, and at times an improvised cane. When I don’t do this by walking up or down the stairs too quickly, the impact force at even the mildest of paces can and almost always does cause me to hurt for hours or days.