Routine Bullshit

So…here’s the thing.

First off. Thank you. I know you’re just trying to help.

I know they do these kinds of neck surgeries all the fucking time. And that they’ve done literally thousands of them.

I get that.

But dig….they don’t do it all the fucking time–on me. And they  haven’t done literally thousands of these operations to me.

It will be the second time in my life that someone has slit my throat on purpose.

Oh. Right. Perhaps I should give you some background as to why I don’t give a flying fuck how routine an operation is.

In 1997, I had open heart surgery. It was NOT routine. The thing they were fixing was. But the operation was new technology. Instead of splitting my chest open and cracking my ribs, they had a new method called the keyhole method. They slit under my right breast. They went around behind my rib cage and did what they needed to do. I was assured that the surgeon performing this had done this literally hundreds of times and that he was pioneering this method. I was convinced.

Only there were complications.

Because NOTHING about intentionally slicing someone open is fucking routine.

The complications involved pumping 5L of fluid from one lung….nearly dying of pneumonia…having another operation to rebuild my chest wall…and being minutes away from actually losing a lung.

So…while I do appreciate that you want to talk me off the ledge, you have to know that this isn’t some irrational bullshit I’ve come up with about going under the knife. It was a combined 15 days over 3 trips to the hospital in the Fall/Winter of 1997.

Logically I know what they are doing.

Logically I am able to process it.

Logically know that the recovery will likely not be anywhere as terrible as it’s being made out in the part of my mind that likes to make shit up to scare me.

Again. I get it.

Something else you might not know. That winter in 1997. When I spent all that time in the hospital the second time; my wife never came to see me. Not one time. My daughter was also sick. I saw my mother in law quite a bit. I saw a minister who was a friend of my brother’s. And I got to know the incredible family of a man dying of cancer (and finding out that his sons went to Westerville South with me).

But with few exceptions. I have never felt more alone in my life than I did those 3 weeks in December of 1997.

And yes..I know…I have an amazing network of friends who have all reached out for me.  And that’s all well and good. But I’m not going to feel the solitude then.

I’m feeling it now.

At 3 in the morning. When I wake up  and roll over and there’s nothing there but a wall.  I chose this. I know that better than any of you. But that doesn’t make it any easier sometimes.

I guess what it comes down to is…fuck man. I’m scared.

They are cutting my neck to fuck around with my spine.

Routine my ass.

50 years ago…hell 20 years ago, this shit was science fiction.

I’m holding on to the fact that, at this very moment, I cannot honestly remember what it feels like to wake up and not be in pain.  I’m holding on to the fact that I have people who love me and are going to check in on me and not let me wallow in whatever the fuck people wallow in after having their neck cut..

Those things are helping me fight through the fear. Helping me calm down and take a breath when I wake up alone. Letting me go back to sleep.

And that’s the life I’m living right now. Someday there might be a comforting hand on my shoulder, someone who brushes the sweat-matted hair from my eyes and kisses my forehead as I settle back in to slumber.

Someday maybe.

But for now there’s just the routine.


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