Seven more days until my surgery.
Everyone has been asking me if I am nervous. The answer is both yes and no.
I'm not nervous about the actual procedure or even the outcome. I'm not nervous about all the rehabilitation that I will have to do. Nor am I nervous about being in the hospital in general. I have the greatest faith in both my doctor and even in my own body to get through this.
However, this is the first time that I will be staying overnight in a hospital since I was born. Yes, I have been to the hospital for various issues (migraines, the time I sprained my foot in two places, for my hemorraghic ovarian cysts) but I have never had to stay over night. I have also had anesthesia before: when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. So I'm not nervous about that.
I am a little bit anxious about all the needles. I have my pre-op screening tomorrow and they will be drawing blood. Yay! *eyeroll*
I am also feeling a little bit anxious about the words "advanced directive." I mean, they are good to have for everyone. They leave no ambiguity as to your wishes in the instance that you are incapacitated. However, they just bring to mind my past. I have seen many of my family members become diminished or incapacitated to the point where other people need to step in and make some very hard decisions. I would like to save my family members from that by having my wishes commemorated in a legal document. And yet, when that form is in front of me, I feel so utterly unable to fill it out. It is so much easier for me to say what I do not want: I do not want to languish for a period of time with no expectation that my condition will improve (catastropic brain damage/brain death); I do not want to be trapped in my own body with full mental capacity and no physical ability (locked-in syndrome); and I do not want to be kept on life support for anything longer than 30 days.
Do I think that any of this will happen next week? No. But ever since witnessing my grandmother die (I was 8), I have had an acute sense of my own mortality. I think it is why I'm not afraid of having surgery or any of the serious complications that can happen.
And so, I'm not focusing so much on the day of the surgery though I'm counting it down, but I am trying to focus on what my life will look like the day after surgery: will the pain be gone?
I can handle being sore for a few days and even having to limit my range of motion until my vertebra begins to grow into the metal plates and is stable. What I cannot handle is if by the end of January I am NOT sleeping well, or I can't exercise. Then I will feel like the surgery was a wasted effort.
But for now, I am choosing to focus on the positives and especially that we are doing the surgery in a proactive manner, not a reactive one.
I am trying to think about all the things in my life that I have had to give up because my neck injury dictated it be so. I'm trying to think about being able to sleep through the night and feel well rested in the morning. I am trying to think about dating and not worrying about a man reaching behind my neck when he goes to kiss me. I am trying to think about being able to read a book and not getting a headache from the way my head is positioned to read it, etc.
So am I nervous? No. I am excited to get on with my life. It is waiting for me not in 7 days, but in 8 days.