Julie Andrews, in the guise of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music, would have you start at the very beginning. But I’m going to start at the very end, and go backwards, you might say.
I’m out of the hospital.
I’m in one piece and in one place. And I’m still not talking about pretzel thoughts.
But I’m home, after two long and boring nights in the hospital after CF insisted on taking me to the doctor when all I wanted to do was go shopping for interesting and silly items to Kris Kringlize for her oversize footwear hanging from our ersatz fireplace.
The doctor decided I needed to go to the E.R., which decided I needed to be admitted to the attached hospital because I had blood clots in my lungs as a result of the rotator cuff surgery I had had several weeks earlier.
The hospital decided I needed to be on blood thinners for the next six months, so they stuck needles with a blood thinner into my stomach until it turned black and blue all over. I would have howled like a dog with rabies, except I had a very nice roommate this time, not to mention my own television, which I kept turned off except for The Good Wife marathon I stumbled upon.
But now I have to take Warfarin every day and go to a special clinic all the time where they prick my finger and test my blood to make sure it is nice and thin so it doesn’t clot up again. Me and Hillary. La ti la ti la.
The shoulder surgery was quite successful, day surgery actually, no hospital stay involved, and it happened on November 20, 2012, as planned. I emerged from it wearing a flimsy little sling on my right arm and clutching a bottle of Vicodin in my left hand. The bottle of Vicodin was covered by my insurance, but the sling was not.
It was ordered by the surgeon from a company that is “out of network.” It is your basic cotton polyester sling, absolutely basic, one that even I with my substandard sewing skills could manage to make from a hunk of cloth. It is so insubstantial that the physical therapists laughed at it when they saw it. They laughed at it! In fact, they had to modify it to make it fit me properly. One of them looked it up online and found a similar one selling for about $10. Now, here is the kicker: the out-of-network company charged me $996 for it. My insurance company covers half of that. Cost to me: $498. So. Too much “Do.” We’ll see about that.
What with my arm in a sling and my ever-handy cane, I presented quite the sight this holiday season. All I needed was an eye patch to complete the picture. I kept thinking about buying one just for the effect, but for the first few weeks, before I was diagnosed with the blood clots, I was feeling worse and worse and really could only concentrate on trying to breathe and stay awake.
Blood clots on your lungs make you feel really glum and dull and depressed. I just wanted to sleep all the time. I couldn’t walk from one room to the next without losing my breath. CF thought it was asthma or allergies, and kept making me take puffs from an inhaler, which did no good, but I kept pretending it was a help, mostly because I am an idiot, but also because I didn’t want to know what was really going on, such as something scary like congestive heart failure or pneumonia or FA FA FA FA I’M NOT LISTENING ANYMORE.
So let us review, backwards of course. Blood clots on lungs, because of rotator cuff surgery, because of a torn tendon, because of a fall, one of many, because of a stroke, because of a bad reaction to medication, because of multiple sclerosis. Anyone want to play dominos?
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the holidays? They were quite lovely, albeit low key, except that I completely missed a dear friend’s birthday, was very late with my sister’s present, sent a bizarre gift to my nephew, struck out completely with my present to my mother, but managed to somehow pull it together enough to bring smiles to CF’s and NF’s faces. And I hear that the LL Bean mad bomber hats I sent to my niece and her husband were the hits of the day.
Thus we wobble into 2013, thinner in blood, stronger in spirit, shored up in shoulder. We vow before you to set these goals for the coming year: to clean our office; to resume our weekly blog; to read the Sunday New York Times before Tuesday. Modest goals, but goals nonetheless.
And as Julie Andrews, in the guise of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music would tell you, we must climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, ’til we find our dream.
My dream, modestly speaking, is a clean office, a weekly blog, and a fully-read Sunday New York Times.