I Wish I Could . . .

op report

I wish I could go back to January 2009. Back to when I first started having neck and back pain, and numbness and tingling in my arm. When I thought I’d just slept funny. Before the four cervical spine surgeries, the countless therapies, medications, procedures, and hospitalizations. But I want to go back with the knowledge of what nerve pain and a massive herniated disc feels like, and that ignoring it won’t help. I want to go back to before I had about three seconds to choose a neurosurgeon, to before I assumed that being the Chair of Neurosurgery at a large hospital meant you always made good decisions. (No one does.) Back to when I thought short-term and long-term disability insurance were just like car insurance: you choose the best one, you have a wreck, and they pay (not even close). Then I thought if someone was truly physically disabled they got proof from doctors and X-rays and test results and surgery reports. Nope. Not if you’re under fifty and live in Jefferson County, Kentucky, anyway.

I wish I’d known that having the Dave Ramsey-recommended amount in savings isn’t enough.  That having ten times that much in savings isn’t enough. That no matter how many forms you fill out or have your doctor fill out, no matter how many different specialists you see, you will need to declare bankruptcy after two years. Of course your average person doesn’t realize this until a few years later, when they’ve drained their retirement fund (never necessary) and borrowed large amounts from family members (quite ugly). Stress peaks, suicide is attempted, foreclosure begins. Why? Because your average person doesn’t know what to do in the case of disaster.

Well, in the case of a disability/financial catastrophe kind of disaster. We’re all ready for the zombie apocalypse. Maybe some network should create a show about someone with a medical crisis which will lead to a financial crisis and how to handle that. Oh, wait . . . that was Breaking Bad. Which was awesome, but I wasn’t that great in Chemistry, nor do I have the appropriate contacts (BITCH!)

And before someone contacts me to do a reality show, like they did after My Family is More Redneck Than Yours, I expect serious money. And you’d better be ready for a mind-numbingly boring show, as just taking a shower causes me enough pain that I need to medicate and lie down with an ice-pack for a while. But if you throw in a dog-trainer I might negotiate on the money. Oh, and a house-keeper. You don’t want people to confuse it with an episode of Hoarders.


I’m linking up to Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop, a great place to find a list of writing prompts every week – one of which is sure to speak to you!

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9 thoughts on “I Wish I Could . . .”

  1. 2009 brought a baby born prematurely because of me developing HELLP Syndrome and also my husband’s parish imploding. We didn’t get the high-risk infant screening done because we were trying to figure out what to do about my husband’s parish sitch. If we’d done the screening, we might have known that Daniel was seriously delayed and maybe we would have gotten help 6 months sooner and someone might have been able to tell me that my son’s failure to develop and failure to thrive were not my fault. I had serious guilt until he was evaluated at 18 months after we moved to California when the person evaluating him told me that his eating problems were normal for preemies who had been on ventilators and that none of this was my fault.

    1. There should be some sort of Disaster Helpline people could call. We could ramble for a few minutes, then a specially trained triage person could give us a couple of numbers, a couple of websites, and a couple of book suggestions. Then we wouldn’t spend two years wondering why we were “failing at life” when all we really needed was some simple information. Life’s too complicated these days to get by on being a nice person and reasonably intelligent – and there’s something wrong with that!

  2. I just realized that your 2009 self thought a LOT like my current 2015 self. I didn’t realize how destructive health issues can be outside of the health issue itself. You must feel absolutely overwhelmed!

    1. I’ve heard the same thing, but didn’t hear it until too late. I didn’t have a choice with the first surgery, but if I could go back I’d never have the second. The relatively small amount of pain I was living with then was nothing compared to how much pain I’ve been in since they “fixed” me.

  3. So many things about our healthcare system are ridiculous, especially the cost. My Mother is dealing with mounting medical bills with her husband. When she gets the statements and sees how much the hospital will settle for in regards to Medicare payments, it makes you wonder…how much do these procedures REALLY cost! I hope you feel well today. 🙂

    1. Exactly! And evidently in many cases it’s better financially to be uninsured rather than underinsured. Hospitals will give a break to uninsured patients, but not to patients who have insurance, but aren’t covered for that particular expense.

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