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.
It no longer feels like I’m having “good spine days.”
It’s more like “good spine hours” with the remainder of the time being spent in some degree of severe pain or another. The most frustrating part of all of this how much time it’s taken. The healthcare company that controls my healthcare doesn’t care. The insurance company is a mixed bag of people that aggressively disregard me as a person and those who, probably because of that stark contrast, automatically seem to be customer service saints by comparison. If they had been more responsible about my healthcare, I might have had the surgery some days ago, rather than waiting some days, still.
It’s a harmful thing to consider these “what-ifs.”
What it’s rooted in is a deep dissatisfaction for the current moment. Although I am happy for some things – I finally have doctors that care about my healthcare, I don’t have to keep fighting to say that I’m in pain, and I have enough conscious time to still write as I enjoy – I would rather this all ends sooner rather than later. I know the post-surgery time will introduce new pain and logistical problems to my physicality. I know that because of this four-plus-month journey through pain, it won’t be a simple matter of surgical recovery then getting back to work. It will take time, and I will be in pain, but my hope is that a majority of the pressure that’s causing the pain currently will get relieved during my three-and-a-half-hour surgery on Monday morning. Sure, some of that pain could get replaced, but my hope is that a majority of that pain will quickly go away.
I know the human body has a tremendous ability to tolerate pain.
I’ve been doing that for four-plus-months now without much relief. I’ve had some temporary relief on occasion but nothing substantial. It’s been a physical drain. I’ve lost 30 pounds. It’s been a psychological drain. After dealing with that much pain for so long, many things in life lose their luster. It will, then, be nice to return to a condition in which I don’t feel exhausted for existing. I’ve been using every tool in my toolkit to work through this pain and reward myself when I’ve made progress toward relieving this pain, but this is reason why these essays are in the Sober Living category: there’s only so much fight one can offer before the temptations of insobriety start to seep in.
It starts off innocently with thinking of having a drink or whatever.
If over 90% of the medication I’ve received has been less effective than alcohol in numbing my pain, why do I keep going with the medication these doctors prescribe? If it weren’t for my insurance, which if it weren’t for my job providing me this healthcare in the first place I might not have been through all of this mess, then I don’t know what I would do. All of this would be costing significantly more. My bank account might have even been wiped out over all of this. Although the funny number in the bank account means only one thing – what money I can use – that money shouldn’t be entirely used to maintain my health.
That’s the major injustice of the American Healthcare System.
Unless you have healthcare insurance, then you can’t afford to go to a doctor to get better, and let’s say you go to a doctor but get one of the many uncaring doctors that I got. Your luck’s run out. You spent more money than you have between taking the time off and the bills to get misdiagnosed and you’re possibly in worse shape than before. I haven’t spent the time to research the various pros and cons of other healthcare systems, but for me, I live in an area where our taxes are already higher than other parts of America. What bother would it be to me to pay a percentage or two more in taxes to get some basic medical assistance tended to without concerns over expenses? I suppose the counterargument, and like I say this is not rooted in research, is that some would take advantage of this system.
I’ll just be happy not to be a Victim of the American Healthcare System.
I continue to write these essays exploring the many thoughts I’ve had throughout this process because there is nothing else that I can do but write about these experiences. I wouldn’t feel right in writing about mostly-insignificant topics. I can still do that, of course, but if I’m experiencing substantial, “life-altering” pain, then I should write about it. Maybe these essays will help others understand what I experienced? Maybe others can use these essays as an empathy point where they can say “I, too, experienced this,” and share it with others? Maybe these essays can serve as a sort of lightning rod? Maybe we – collectively – will consider how we can do better? Let’s say many of us had the same sorts of experiences I’m sharing, but no one expressed it. Who would know how common these experiences are in the healthcare systems of not just America but Worldwide? When I tell people about my experiences, invariably, the response isn’t “wow, that’s fucked up, I’ve never heard of that before.” No, increasingly, I’m finding more people that tell me similar stories about how they ran into this problem or that in what should be simple procedures.
I guess this means I have much more energy for fighting than I thought; it’s just drained.
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: Summoning the energy to fight takes time.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2020 August 29 [6am to 6:28am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 29 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|