Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Slay WHAT?

Back from yet another doctor’s appointment in Richmond.

I really don’t know what I’d do without this, this place to write things out, to talk to all of you, in a place where I can speak my mind, think things out, and try not to feel like such an asshole while working things out in my own head.

To begin at the beginning, I had to go to another doctor’s appointment.

The last time I saw Dr. G., he was sticking lovely long lances in my spine in yet another attempt to slay the pain dragon that is slowly devouring my vertebrae and nerves (instead of the standard princess). Instead of these shots being my knight in shining armour, there to lance that damned dragon to death, they were instead more like a pest control guy putting out poisoned bait, but nowhere near enough. You see, the pest control guy thought he was dealing with rats, rather than a smoking, bad-tempered, fire-breathing, princess-eating dragon, so the bait just gave the dragon a tummy ache for a few days, after which he promptly awoke cranky and began gnawing on the princess-nerves even harder.

This appointment, we talked about something different. Yet another class of knight. This one is armed, not to slay the dragon, but the princess instead.

Not for good, only temporarily. Apparently, these princesses, like Prometheus' liver, grow back. And the dragon doesn’t go away. And the knight only has a chance, not a certainty of success.

The knight in this case is a process called RadiofrequencyAblation. It supposedly will burn the hell out of the nerves that transmit the pain from them being constantly ground up between my vertebrae. The idea is that this will give me a chance of having my pain lessened for 6 to 12 months, until the nerves grow back.

Pain lessened, not removed.

And the nerves WILL grow back.

The rest of the story is that it may not work in the first place, and I was told by another doctor (this past spring) about all the gory details should anything go wrong. Stuff like being completely paralyzed from the entry site down, damage to the sheath that encases the spinal cord (which can lead to all kinds of lovely things ending with a funeral), and all the other standard (and some exotic) warnings.

I jumped at the chance to do this.

Having been in ever increasing pain for the last seven years, having lost most of my mobility (including the ability to even sit comfortably, and don’t even mention walking for more than a few minutes). I desperately want relief. Of any kind, at any cost.

All I want is to be normal again.

But there’s the trouble, you see.

No matter what procedure is done, there is no more “normal” for me. Up until this point, I have done a lot of mental gymnastics to stay happy, affirmative, positive, optimistic, upbeat, la, la, la, la, etc, etc, BULLSHIT.

Life is never going to be normal for me again. I’ve said this to myself over and over, but this procedure, for some reason, made me entertain the false possibility that I could have my life back, even when the doctors say that won’t happen.

So, as realistic as I thought I’d been with myself, I find that I really wasn’t at all, that I’d still been hoping for a miracle, something that would return my life, my career, my hopes and my dreams. A miracle that would restore to me all that I had lost, my vitality, my ability, my joy in life.

But I was really just bullshitting myself. Not really a bad thing, because it made life as a cripple who’s lost everything and living in a camper easier to bear.

I now have to really come to terms with my new normal. I’m not getting my life back. I really won’t be able to live alone again. I won’t be able to take a neglected house and make it beautiful; I won’t be able to build a gorgeous garden, freely walk around all day at a market, go to a concert or a movie, throw a party, live without constant pain.

I’m now looking at the little things, trying to appreciate them every day. The sky as the sun comes up, the beauty in the set of a horse’s head; the way the air smells after the rain, the trust in the eyes of an aging dog.

So as the time comes nearer for the doctors to slay my princesses, I’ve got to come to terms with my dragon.

He’s not going anywhere.

Neither, apparently, am I.