We All Fall Down

Greetings from Cancun!

Just kidding. I’m not in Mexico. Far from it. Instead, I’m rekindling an unhealthy, yet symbiotic relationship with Relaxor, my sexy leather recliner I got last Christmas. Since my last post, Relaxor and I have become good buddies…sorority sisters, even. I wish I could say this was because I’ve struck a magnificent balance with the universe, one in which I reward the efforts of a fantastically challenging job with the sweet, sweet release of a glass of pinot while kicking my feet up at the end of a long, hard week.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to keep off my feet for other reasons. The long and skinny is this: I’ve got some serious knee problems (see this post from 100 years ago…). I’ve been diagnosed with chondromalacia, or cartilage damage, in both knees due to a patella malalignment / tilt. It’s fairly common, but if you leave it untreated it can get pretty bad. When I say “bad,” I don’t mean like pop-an-ibuprofen-for-menstrual-cramps type of bad. I mean end-each-day-bawling-in-the-bathtub-praying-for-relief-from-this-misery-even-though-you-never-pray type of thing. It’s dark, and I just went there, but the truth hurts.

Only the crazies end up needing surgery, but leave it to me to put something off until I’m literally immobile. Yes, mobility and I (you know, that thing that allows you to get places) are in a serious tiff right now, two surgeries are on the docket before the end of the year, and morale in the Anderson household is basically a really shitty sin wave (trig? Anyone?)

Add to the situation the strict realities of the American health care system and I’m in the throes of a bona fide crisis. It’s an interesting testament to the fact that no matter how well-prepared, emotionally stable, and supported you are, no matter what level of OCD financial planning you regularly implement, no matter how much alcohol you consume, sometimes you just can’t prepare for these things.

So what can you do?

Well, ironically, I like to imagine the many ways it could be worse. I could have a kid, or be pregnant, or have no family, even. I could not have the type of career where I can cancel everything at the drop of a hat (“organize a surgery in less than 3 business days” – check). I could have a job where I have to be on my feet all the day, like the health care providers who are taking care of me (in which case, I’d be done). I could be terminally ill, or be taking care of someone close to me with a terminal illness. I could be a really bad person and people wouldn’t want to help me out. I could be uninsured. My health plan is pretty much a shit show, but after a week of crunching numbers, it appears that it’s not the worst option on the planet, which might be to be purely uninsured (although, I sincerely explored the option of traveling to a different country to have the procedures done, which would cost only marginally more than what I’m paying to have done in the states, except then I’d get a vacation out of it). Don’t get me wrong, though – by the time all this is over, I could have done a lot of other things with what we will have sunk into this nonsense. Things like paying off all of my husband’s student loans, or purchasing 5-8 new water heaters, or buying up all the flexible PVC tubing in the midwest so I can open up my own hoop-making business, or buying a lifetime supply of Chipotle burritos (with guacamole). You know, things that matter.

I also enjoy ruminating on the absolute fuck-up-ed-ness of the systems in which we place our trust, and how those systems pale in comparison to the actual human systems that are infinitely more likely to circle the wagons and pull you out of the well when you fall down. People have offered to do my laundry, walk my dogs, make me meals, and have donated to my recovery in ways that I wish I could say I didn’t need, but I do. I try not to let the fact that there are some straight-up unacceptable things happening in the American landscape get me down, and just appreciate the fact that when I can barely walk myself to the bathroom, my neighbor shows up to lend me his crutches indefinitely – and I kept it together enough not to cry in front of him.

Positivity is key, here. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not be in pain, so when the doctor told me I would be on the elliptical a week after the surgery, first I balked, then I realized how much I’ve accommodated my movement for far too long. Then I started belting my favorite songs at unacceptable hours of the day and devouring every cute animal video I run across on Facebook. Who wouldn’t love a clip of a dachshund licking a lion, I ask you? I’ve also started just accepting help. Relying on anyone other than myself or my husband is not my jam, but the Gods of Irony are in session, so I’m letting go and trusting that shit will get done. As it turns out, you can’t go it alone.

In the meantime, I’m crowdfunding my surgeries, because I’m savvy and that’s America. If you’re interested in hearing me compose a thank-you song and settling up any karmic debt, you can donate here.

If you donate, you may be privy to a hilariously inappropriate video of me singing Jason Robert Brown while the sweet lull of anesthesia pulls me under.

I’m thinking something along the lines of “Girl Sings I’m Not Afraid of Anything Before Surgery: You Won’t Believe What Happens Next” – the next clickbait viral youtube sensation? Only time will tell.

Until then…

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