Saturday, October 19, 2013

The I in Lie

i have no reason to
include this image other
than to prove I've been walking
I lied to a doctor yesterday. And I broke my diet.

I hate talking about real pain. Don't get me wrong. If I'm emotionally hurt, I will shout it from the rooftops. If Groom has to hear "Can we talk about what happened today?" one more time, he might actually punch me in the face. Ironically, that would shut me up.

Yes, I did just advocate domestic violence. But, it's only because I deserve it.

Oh my god, I'm so sorry. What a terrible way to start a blog post. If I start talking about date rape as an occupational hazard, I'll have to shut this down.

Let's start again. I don't like talking about real pain, the debilitating kind, the kind that hurts deep in your bones. I don't need to talk about it. I'd much rather quietly curl up on the bed for a couple of days with my laptop and binge every Netflix show I can find. (Please tell me you watch Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards--Kerry Washington's stupid quivering chin has nothing on that show.)

I just remembered, as I was typing the name of the show Orange Is the New Black, that when I was an associate editor for a magazine years ago, the editor in charge noted that someone on the team had copyedited an article headline and had asked the art department to change the "I" in "Is" to lowercase way late in the production schedule. The editor saw this in the final proof and went bananas, like Captain Queeg with the strawberries bananas.

I'm certain he thought I had done it, but he had no proof. So, he came at me from another angle, accusing me of getting too close to our advertisers, hugging colleagues inappropriately, and in one ballsy moment, implying I was published in another magazine because of my "special" relationship with the male editor. He read my copy so carefully I'm surprised he didn't blow out a disc in his neck. And, he never, ever gave me a compliment or any positive feedback in the seven years I worked there, four of which were under his, for lack of a better word, guidance. His go-to criticism for me? "Stop trying to be funny when you write." He would leave my office and I would think, "I'm not."

"Is" isn't the reason I left that place, but it "is" one of the reasons I abhor that man and will never think kindly of him.

The kicker? I have always known you capitalize the verbs in a headline. It's a proofreading pet peeve of mine. You always capitalize the verbs. Fucker. (Heh. Last word!)

Let's get back to this lie. I had a consult with Doogie Howser the surgeon yesterday about the ruptured disc in my back. Do you know what they do when you have a ruptured disc? The surgeon cuts your throat open and they do a reach-through, pushing the esophagus (gag) and all the throat bits to the side (heugh), and scrape out the (gag) disc bits (blech). Then they take a bone and sort of shove it in there, close you up, and it all fuses together.

My friend Noah had a similar surgery, except you have to replace my injury being a result of "aging degeneration of the spine" with his "wrestling with a bear or jumping off a cliff to save a beautiful heroine," and you have to replace my "should I get a second opinion (yes, by the way)" with his "interviewing 12 doctors before choosing the best one he could find in New York," and replace "some tingling in the arm" with "total paralysis down the entire left side of his body," and finally replace "fusing two vertebrae together" with "replacing the damaged disc with a super special cutting-edge synthetic disc."

Otherwise, same thing. But, he equated the tingling with sticking a 9-volt battery on your tongue. Yes. Nailed it. That's what it feels like. Like I'm constantly getting an electric jolt up my arm. The pain, I can deal with. The jolt, I need that to stop. So, I'm electing surgery. And, I'm likely going under the knife soon.

But, where did I lie? The doctor asked me a bunch of questions. It was like he was interviewing me for a job or more like we were on a first date. Where do you live? What do you do? What's your favorite color? Do have any pets? What's your sign? It was all very interesting. I think he was trying to see whether I favor my neck or my arm. I don't favor my neck, other than to have good posture...mostly. I do favor my arm.

The thing is, I was raised Irish. You hide that shit. Nobody should see your pain. Ever. And I am not stubborn about it. So shut up.

So, while I pushed hard on the tingling in my arm and made it very clear that I want this tingling to go away, I never really mentioned the pain. Lying through omission doesn't bother me (see "Irish" above), but when he asked whether I feel pain in my arm, I shrugged it off. Looking at my MRI pictures, he noted that the disc has ruptured on both sides and seems to be pushing on nerves on both sides.

"And, you don't have any symptoms on the right side?"

What I should have said was, "As a matter of fact, my arm does hurt, but it doesn't tingle. And my shoulder has been sore and weird."

What I did say was, "No."

I know why I said no. I didn't want to be all, "Well, now that I see that and you mention it, yeah, I totally feel pain there." (You have to read that statement in a falsetto voice.) And, yes, I know it's a valid response. Again, see "Irish" and "stubborn" above.

It doesn't really matter. When he slices me open, he's going to take it all out anyway and fuse it with bone.

And, yes, of course I asked where the bone is coming from. His response made me laugh. "We borrow it from someone."

In short, donate your body to medical science. It's a good thing. And, read Stiff if you really want to know what happens to cadavers. I just hope I don't get weird dreams or start experiencing someone else's memories

As for my vegan-ish-pecatarianism? I met some friends at Ports of Italy (It's closing for the season soon! I had to!) and had a delicious halibut snuggled into a blanket of pistachios and floating in a pool of butter and oil with a side of buttery vegetables. As I've said, I will order the best thing I can, but I'm not going to be strident. I did split a delicious baby octopus salad (little babies) in olive oil and balsamic, which was mostly safe except for the salty olives and capers, but I'll tell you what. I did not order the lobster ravioli in buttery sauce or the beef carpaccio or the caprese salad with all that yummy mozzarella. (Yes, I know I can eat around the cheese. But I won't.)

Today, I plan to venture to the farmers market to see if I can avoid the cheeses and meats and sweets and breads as I shop for vegetables. Then, I might try to take the blind dog for a walk. (Ah HA. There's the reason I included that picture of the dog above!) Then, I might hike ('s not a hike) Morse Mountain. I wonder whether I'll accomplish any of that.

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