It’s currently half past midnight and I’m lying wide awake in a dark hospital ward in the centre of Daegu, South Korea. 48 hours ago my plans for this week were very different but frustratingly life has a way of sneaking up and kicking you in the balls when your least expecting it (usually just as you think ‘ohh, this is nice. Things are going pretty well at the moment…’) BOOM! Right in the nuts!!
Existence’s most recent sneak attack happened on Tuesday morning when the alarm went off. On sitting up I felt that sharp, agonizing and sadly all too familiar pain shooting though my lower back and leg. Although in a effort to mix things up a bit, for the first time ever my left leg had decided to get in on the ‘here’s a shitload of pain for you’ action, rather than the traditional right leg and lower back. I should point out for those unfamiliar with my history that, due to a birth defect in my left leg, I suffered with a bent spine and chronic back and leg pain for 13 years from age 17 though to about 30 when I was finally able to get a surgical fix. So you can imagine my joy at my current predicament!
Anyway, I digress slightly but it’s relevant to the situation as the reason I’m in the hospital now is that tomorrow I’m going back under the knife for a second operation, this time on the left hand side of two disks slightly higher up my back than last time. Up until this point I’ve been relatively calm. It’s not a new situation for me so I know what to expect. However therein lays the problem. I know what’s coming. When I came out of surgery 10 years back, I came round and all I could say was ‘owwww’. I spent the next 6 hours staring at the wall, up to the eyeballs in morphine, trying to get my eyes to focus. Then there’s the longer recovery, staring with the simplest tasks being either impossible or taking do long to achieve you start to forget what you were doing in the first place!! Putting socks on? Not a chance! Going for a pee? Scratch off the next 30-40 minutes cause you’re not exactly sprinting there! And number 2? With a sit down and a stand up?? Better off just not eating for a few days than approach that rigmarole!
Finally there’s the favours. I’ve made a lot of good friends in my time here so far but surgery had a way of stealing away your independence and you have to ask for help so often that it gets to the point of embarrassment. And for really simple things. “Could you pass me that?” “Would you mind getting me this” “Can you pick that up for me?” etc. It all ads up and eventually (at least I feel) even good friends will at best get a bit annoyed and at worst straight up resent you for being such a burden.
So it’s a testing time. Don’t get me wrong, I need this surgery. Despite being hooked directly into a painkiller IV line I’m still very uncomfortable and the catastrophic nature of the disc failures mean this is the only resolution but as I say, I know what’s coming. And for the time being, it’s certainly not sleep 😦