[Tripping On…] Hours Before Surgery

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.

I was watching a video before I began writing and felt uncomfortable throughout.

It was an urban exploration video without any spine-tingling events. Nothing especially acrobatic or athletic that might make my spine cringe. Just the mere fact of being conscious for more than a few hours causes my spine to begin its steady decay into pain. The way it usually works will be that when I’m awake, my spine is at its calmest. I can focus on my writing, or whatever, without issue. It’s almost like my body is feeling fine.

Now, however, that I’ve been awake for 9 hours, my spine is feeling restless.

I am tired because my spine is hurting. As part of the pre-surgery process, I was told not to eat any food “after midnight” or drink anything other than some water, since patients that had drunk water prior to surgery typically did better than those who hadn’t, so I’ve been fasting for almost 8 hours now. The thing about chronic pain is that you typically don’t get hungry, so I’m used to this, however, actively trying to eat as much as I can has revived that hunger sensation. I feel tired and want to sleep.

Every step of my past few weeks has been constantly considering the surgery.

Were it not for my body’s constant nagging, I might second-guess whether surgery is the right option. Maybe things will heal on their own? The doctor who will do the surgery today and I thought that my spine could heal two months ago, and we were not being overly optimistically, but more acquiescing to my uncaring healthcare and insurance companies. They weren’t concerned that my physicality was decreasing nor that a nerve going to my left leg could sever and cause permanent disability. They only cared about proceeding through the process at their pace. I had sharp words for them, which might have helped speed up the process by a week.

Over this past week, my health has not been in the best of shape.

How much worse would it have gone had I let these companies with their Bad Actors continue to perform at their pace? I am hours away from finding the relief to let me return back to a normal life. While they wouldn’t directly wish harm on me, because they did not act in my best interest by seeing how they could expedite the second opinion that reviewed my charts and determined that information gathered almost three months ago was worth acting on, they certainly are not people that I would entrust with my health. If this continued for another week or month, how much worse would it have gone?

I, fortunately, will never need to know for myself.

Others, however, are not so lucky. Sure, I was assigned the nice 7:30am slot, which someone else might have gotten, but I have also had to fight through various companies for my right to exist with good health. Do I deserve it more than anyone else? I don’t fully believe that my surgery prevented someone else from getting their surgery. Sure, my spine doctor will be working on my spine today rather than potentially someone else’s, but he can do that work again later today, tomorrow, or another day. If they see it as an urgent need, then they can make other arrangements. 7:30am today is my time to restore my health.

My left leg has felt awful for the past few weeks.

There are parts of it that feel like the nerves are on fire. It’s uncomfortable. I know that these are sensations caused by my spine, which is feeling OK except for the upper-middle part of my spine, which tingles with pains that have been new over the past week. Although this four-plus-month journey has involved me complaining to as many people that won’t care until I find some people that do, it feels nice to finally have people that have taken my pain seriously, and are willing to help. I could only scream for so long and I felt my voice growing hoarse. How much pain could the human body tolerate? I was finding out, but now, I will get my relief.

I know the post-surgery recovery time will be full of pain.

However, I should see some immediate results, I would hope. I’ll know more in that window between when I’m admitted and my surgery time, then more after the surgery with what I’ll need to do to recover my health and get back into living life. If I can move my left leg around without needing to intentionally focus on it and without it being as stiff as it is now, then I will consider the surgery a success, even if I have to endure different pains on my road to recovery. I feel sorry for those who haven’t lucked out as much as me.

I’ve only had to deal with this for four months.

How about those who have had to deal with this for months, or even years, more than me? I might still have a chance of living without any spinal pain. Although I will need to be cautious throughout the rest of my life, I do have certain shortcuts now with having spine and pain specialists I can reach out to if my spine acts up, and may need to just to keep things maintained. I should even be able to continue with my physical projects that I had planned to do before this all started.

I’ll find out later today.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I thought of including a note in here at the bottom post-surgery. However, in the spirit of writing ‘in the moment’ and, as readers that can fully experience how it’s like for me, well, you’re just going to have to wait until tomorrow evening’s essay. You can assume it all turns out if there’s no note saying I passed away during the operation, I suppose.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 August 31 [1:53am to 2:20am]
Last Edited: 2020 August 31 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.