I would have preferred to have titled this post "How Retarded Are You?", but I don't wish to insult those with mental disabilities and challenges who have MORE compassion and understanding of tact and diplomacy than those Fucking Idiots I am about to strike out against.
Husband has to have surgery on his back. The long and short of it is this: when the baby was born, Husband took off two weeks of work. The day he returned to his physically demanding job, he broke himself. It seems that having gone JUST TWO WEEKS without lifting, bending or pulling caused his body to reject the idea of such labor when he returned to work. He was originally diagnosed with Spina Bifida years ago. His diagnosis at the time the baby was born was Sciatica. He endured 10 weeks of physical therapy, countless insults from his employer and a lot of regrets over not having gone to the Employee clinic when he first injured himself. (He thinks they are morons at the Clinic so he went to his Primary Care Physician, who is also a moron, but less so. We were in the process of changing his PCP, but he couldn't get in in a timely fashion - so now there's a lawsuit with Workers Comp, but I digress...)
Fast forward beyond PT and his new PCP refers him to a Back Specialist. Said Back Specialist tells him that he does NOT have Spina Bifida (as his original PCP diagnosed him with) and he does NOT have Sciatica (as his original AND more recent PCP diagnosed him with AND what the PT was treating), but that he has a Spinal Fracture/Degenerative Disc thing called Spondylolisthesis (Spondy for short) and will require surgery. At this point, our house is nearing the brink of foreclosure because he hasn't had a paycheck in 3 months and we're hiding our cars, just in case. Husband and I decide that the next move has to require him being doped up and returning to work. He gets his work release (Against Medical Advice)for March 5 and on March 2, his employer called him and told him to not worry about returning to work, there were layoffs and he was one of them (no, he was no longer protected by FMLA or Short Term Disability as his protection had lapsed with time and diagnoses). So, he began the unemployment process, and the No Worker Left Behind process. So, now we have time in our schedule to tackle the surgery, as if you really ever find time to have your life interrupted for months, reducing you to asking for help every time you drop something or need to carry anything heavier than 10 pounds.
Surgery to fuse his spine and insert rods is scheduled for the 21st of May and, as such, the topic keeps coming up. Here is just a sampling of responses to the news of his surgery:
a) You'll never be the same. Goodbye. There goes Tony. (SERIOUSLY! From his dad)
b) My "insert relation here" had that surgery and they were worse off after the fact (from any NUMBER of people)
c) Good luck with that (dripping with the sarcasm of someone who believes both a and b above)
d) My father died because of that surgery (a close friend of our family)
e) Ew. Better you than me. That's why I don't go to the doctor (Nameless)
f) My cousin is still in a wheelchair and he had the surgery 3 years ago (Random person who OVERHEARD me telling someone about the surgery)
f) My favorite waited until we were out of earshot and started telling my dad HORROR stories of ALL of the people she knew that had the surgery)
Thank you people. A big FUCKING thank you. Do you not believe that if we had a choice, we would CHOOSE to do this? My Husband cannot walk for long periods of time, cannot stand for long periods of time, cannot sleep well at night, cannot carry our son for more than ten minutes and CANNOT WORK. So, NO WE ARE NOT CHOOSING TO DO THIS BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE FUN. We are doing this in hopes that even if he is only 80% better, he will still be 80% better off! We are hoping that with this surgery comes relief from pain. That with this surgery will return a quality of life that has been missing for damned near 8 months! So FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING IGNORANCE AND YOUR FUCKING KNOW IT ALL-NESS THAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU HAVE ANY FUCKING PLACE IN OUR LIFE TO GIVE ANY SOLIDITY TO THE FEARS THAT ALREADY GO THROUGH OUR HEADS EVERY FUCKING DAY! HOW FUCKING INCONSIDERATE AND STUPID ARE YOU?
One would think that the resolution to this is to stop telling people, but since I have to arrange for care for our son, it does require telling some people. Also, people know that Husband isn't working and why and so every time we see them, they ask how he is doing and what happens next.
And so, we are left with trying to focus on the ONLY two positive responses, which, by the way, are the only ones we WANT to care about:
a) I hope things go smoothly and this chapter of your life seamlessly and positively comes to an end (my dad)
b) On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 4 on complexity of surgery. I can guarantee you will feel much better, at least 85% and, with your age, I think you will heal quickly and be able to return to work. You will be able to play football with your son and you will be able to do yard work and you could return to your previous position, but it would be non-sensible to do so. I have a lot of faith in this surgery. If it was going to cripple you or make things worse, I would tell you to wait 20 years for it. (his back surgeon, who, by the way, is one of the best in Michigan, if not the U.S. - He has authored numerous scientific articles and textbook chapters on surgery of the spine and has lectured extensively about spine trauma and reconstructive spinal surgery. In addition, he pursues research interests on spinal surgery and is a leading researcher on bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP’s) and cervical disc replacements. He instructs medical students, orthopaedic residents and spine fellows at Beaumont Hospital, is the Editor In Chief of the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedics AND leads clinical trials nationwide for FDA approval of processes for speeding the healing time and pain management of Spinal Surgeries.... so yeah, we trust him)
For the rest of you, just because you know someone that it happened to, doesn't make it interesting to us. It is not your job to "inform us of the risks" - we pay a very expensive doctor to do that for us, and if you were qualified to give such information, you wouldn't have so much time on your hands. So shut the fuck up and go torture someone else with all of your "knowledge" about medicine. I nominate you to take some courses on personality and empathy. Or better yet, I'll wait until you're scared shitless about something and return the favor by reinforcing your fears.
I can't wait!!