"I know it's a lot to think about because it's the first time we've met. I don't blame you if you wanted to runaway or go home and think about it before making a decision. Maybe get a second opinion-"
This is my second opinion, third, fourth, and fifth if you count the others that have been consulted.
He's talking and explaining the risks, complications, the limited success rate that this procedure has, blah blah blah. I'm scared, I don't know how I will manage, and I wish that my mother could be with me. I think that I may have to move to Florida after all but I'm not so sure I want to do this. I give him my full attention when he tells me that open surgery will offer me a much higher success rate then arthroscopic surgery. I knew it would come down to open surgery- I heard it before. This is going to leave a visible scar on a part of me that isn't already scarred. I feel vain.
"There's no rush right now, you can think about it overnight, look at your options and give us a call so we can look at what you want to do, or not do, and look at dates."
I feel like he's expecting an answer but I feel tongue tied and a little disoriented. I guess I wasn't expecting to hear this same information from a new surgeon. I feel my mouth open but am not sure what's going to come out. At the same time I'm thinking of the scar, how much my insurance company must hate me, and that I'd be stuck in a hospital for a week. I hear myself tell him that this was my second opinion and that I just want to be normal again.
He tells me that it will never be the same; it will always be different even when it's repaired. It's something that I didn't expect to hear and metaphorically, I feel doors slam shut in my chest. Isn't that fabulous.
Of course, any surgery poses risks of complications from anesthesia, and in that instant, I look out the window and imagine myself laying on a cold, sterile stainless steel table. There is a pervasive thought that those last few minutes of consciousness and lucid dreaming could be my last and then, without even knowing it, that would be it. I instantly redirect my thoughts.
There was a split second between his talking about complications and my thoughts above. I think of the two radar traps I avoided on the way to the city and how pissed off I got when a construction vehicle pulled right out in front of me. Albeit fleetingly, I wondered if I should have just let him hit me or if the instinctive act of swerving and hitting the brakes had been the best option. I feel incredibly sad and very guilty for the casual way I disregard being alive.
I understand there are risks of complications, nerve damage, infection and whatever else but I cannot, admittedly, live with this pain any longer. I suppose it's somewhat ironic that I don't handle chronic pain very well but I don't. I tried several different narcotic pain killers and while I can take them in small dosages, for me to reach a therapeutic level, I become deathly ill with all of them. I've learned what I can and cannot do and can mostly compensate for things I have to do with my working shoulder but sleeping without pain is something I will never ever take for granted again. I cry at the thought of how much it hurts to sleep even when I'm awake.
It was early in May and I was carrying my clean laundry upstairs to my apartment. I tripped and did whatever I had to in a desperate attempt to not drop my laundry or fall backwards down the stairs. I can't even tell you what happened because I can't remember exactly but I managed not to fall backwards or drop my laundry basket. I did manage to dislocate my shoulder and break my shoulder socket in half. Oww is an understatement.
He tells me I have one of those cases that doctors show each other. I find humor in this because my cardiac history is also "one of those cases that doctors show each other". As he draws a diagram of how he will reconstruct my shoulder by sawing off a piece of my existing clavicle and screwing it in somewhere else, I'm realizing that I'm all I really have and this is up to me. There is no magic wand to make it go away or other way around it and no one is going to tell me what to do. It's a waste of time trying to find another solution that doesn't involve surgery because there are none. In those few seconds between his sentences and my response, all of these thoughts got in my way and I knew I had to write about it. If not to process what happened today, then to capture a moment that seemed to say so much more than I could have ever thought it could. It's been awhile since I've thought about writing or listened enough to myself to even try. But today I did.