Well, what’s left to say? I spent the day running last minute errands. My mom and I went to the Farmer’s Market to get mushy food in case I feel like I can’t put down the solid stuff. We got some sweet potatoes for mashing; lots of beans for pureeing; kale, bananas, berries, and parsley (forgot the celery) for smoothie-ing; soup for healing…
Yesterday I worked out the crazy medical bills that have started to come in and stress me out. I paid the $54.00 doctor bill which is separate from the hospital bill in that the doctor charges for the interpretation of the ultrasound and EKG while the $399.00 hospital bill is for the actual ultrasound performance. The $889.00 “this is not a bill” statement of charges that is being sent to my insurance is for the EKG and laboratory work that was done during my pre-op appointment – fortunately they did not have to re-do the pre-op or that would’ve been a really expensive cold I caught. I thought I was only going to be responsible for a little over $1,000 for the actual surgery, but after the second woman I spoke with and the varying ways different people code medical procedures, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to be facing financially. The good news is that two of the three people I’ve spoken to at the billing department of Emory University Hospital told me the something similar, which is that I can arrange a payment plan once I receive a bill and I don’t have to sort it out beforehand. So, I opened a tab with $399.00 which I will begin paying in May since I don’t work two weeks this month, and as I receive the next two, I can just call them up and have ’em put it on my tab. Gotta do what you gotta do, eh?
Earlier today, my surgeon’s secretary gave me a call to make sure we’re still on for surgery tomorrow. Not sure why she didn’t call the first time, but she did have heart surgery recently, so I’ll give her a pass on that one… She’s a sweet lady, a bit odd, but in a good way. While I had her on the phone, I asked her a question about something that has been concerning me. T.M.I. ALERT!! My period is due tomorrow. Of course that’s no guarantee that it will come, but the way things have been going, I figured I’d be in for it on surgery day. I know that when you have anesthesia, you have to remove all metal from your body – jewelry, piercings, etc., as it will burn you or something of the like. On top of that, on my first go-round, they told me to get completely undressed under my gown, under-roos and all. Since you never really know what goes into certain products, and if I were to use
an internal feminine hygiene device a tampon, what if there’s some metallic derivative, like how they use aluminum in antiperspirant, and I end up with third degree burns on my delicate lady walls? As ridiculous as that sounds, I’m not taking any chances. Maybe they have some kind of surgical menstrual diaper or something, how do I know? So she puts me on hold to ask the surgeon before I could protest, then comes back on the line and tells me “He said ‘you’ll be fine'”. Oh, good. I guess I’ll just ask tomorrow if circumstances call for it, like I should’ve just decided to do in the first place.
So, that’s what’s going on with me. A little more peace, a little more ease. I do still have a bit of the collywobbles. I had one angry outburst due to an upturned bowl of quinoa and broccoli, as well as a couple of stress dreams, but overall, doing much better than the first try. It’s really strange how this feels physically. The first time, I was so knotted up that a two hour massage couldn’t fix it. Then, after the post I wrote about the three poisons, where I realized I had the choice to let go or try to hold onto my metaphoric jello by squeezing it in my fist, I really did let go. I completely forgot about the knot in my shoulder, it just dissolved. What I’ve been feeling now is the very same feeling I felt in my body while getting ready for the seventh grade dance where I told my “boyfriend” I’d kiss him afterward; the very same feeling I had five minutes before the end of the school day in seventh grade as I prepared to speed-walk out to my bus while the six girls who bullied me daily chased after me, threatening to “kick my ass”, as was the popular phrase back then. Whether it was anticipating an exciting first experience or the fear of physical harm, it was the exact same feeling back then, and the chemicals running through my bloodstream are the exact same ones now. They transported me back to those moments instantly, like a smell that puts you in the most specific time and place. The fire in my belly makes me wonder if I’m excited, like I’d feel if I was moving to Paris, but the brain says “Holy shit, I’m about to jump off a ten story building and I’m not sure if that’s a regulation air mattress down below”.
I’m experiencing some unease, but I think that’s natural for anyone about to go under for any kind of surgery. The difference this time is that I’m breathing, thinking and feeling more positive, and absolutely ready to lift this heavy burden that I’ve carried for the last six years so that I can move forward with my life and do the things I’ve been wanting to do. I’m looking forward to not losing any more precious moments that would’ve been filled with laughter and joy, but instead were filled with self-consciousness and focused on ways to hide my neck. I think of how many more moments I could’ve enjoyed in my very special trip to Costa Rica, how many more pictures I would’ve participated in, how many more times I could’ve been truly present. I’m ready to participate in life instead of hiding from it, one step at a time.
I have to be to the hospital at 7:30 a.m. and surgery is scheduled for 9:30, but I’ve been told it will probably be at 10:30 since it’s not a normal surgery day. I anticipate returning home on Saturday morning. I will try to post about my experience as I recover and I also have some pictures that I might share. I also have a few episodes of An Idiot Abroad and Arrested Development to keep me smiling. Thank you to all of you who have wished me well over the course of the last few months. I feel surrounded by light and love, and I am smiling. Here goes…..