Because I need somebody to talk too.
That’s the honest answer as to why I’m writing this. At least it's the latest honest answer. It almost was written several weeks ago under the title “I’m Scared”, ‘cause I was. Being just completely honest, I still am a little.
Just so you know and before you invest anymore time than it took to read that short paragraph, this is long. If you have no interest in medical issues, personal drama or just hearing about time kicking my ass, stop here. If your still there, bless ya. If ya ain’t….well \^_^/.
Without doing a complete medical history, just to give you an idea of where we are coming from, at my largest in my 20’s, I was 6’ 3 ¾” tall and weighed up to 297 lbs. At 52 yo when my back was getting past the point of reason, a trip to the spine specialist showed that I was then 6’ 1”. The average man can expect to lose as much as 2” of height by the time he is 80 yo. There's been no measuring since. Don’t even wanna know. But experience tells me that at least 2 more discs have gone since then. Just to cap off the list and fill in the picture a little more. Internal injuries as a child, broken arm, both knees surgically repaired, 6 fingers at least fractured 3 of them twice each, at least 3 broken toes. Arthritis has set into all those injuries as well as a shoulder, wrist and both thumbs.
If I was a retired semi-pro football player or professional wrestler, you'd have a pretty good idea of how banged up a person would be. The thing is, in both those situations, it is not (or at least should not and usually isn’t) the intention of your opponent to hurt you. Hell, wrestlers are doing their best not to injure (there's a big difference between hurt and injure) each other. Quick side story since we’re already here.
Shortly after moving out here I was called for jury duty for the one and only time in my life so far. The case was against someone who worked/had worked at Hiram Station. Apparently they had to throw somebody out and it got physical. The tossee must have taken out a warrant, I don’t know the details. Part of jury selection included the question “Have you ever had to physically defend yourself from an attack?” “If so, please raise your hand.” Keeping in mind that there are/were very few places I can go and not stick out like a sore thumb already, here we are in a room of maybe 60 to 80 people. Maybe a dozen have their hand up. Then the man says, “Please explain in as much detail as possible how and when this occurred”. And he starts going through each person and their telling their stories. The guys are matter of fact and a couple are a little puffy chested as they tell their stories, the ladies are all kind of embarrassed as they tell theirs and just trying to get thru it saying as little as possible. It may have been on purpose or not, but he saved me for last. When he got to me he kind of pointed and said in an almost comically hesitating voice “And …….you…..(pregnant pause)....... Sir. Every blessed head in the room turned, even the court employees and deputies, the judge actually looked up for one of the very few times during the proceeding. The only other time was when a smart ass young’un was obviously just trying to get out of jury duty and the judge dressed him down and threatened contempt. He had given me a good 10 to 15 minutes to think about how to say what I had to say and I gave it to him as succinctly as possible, “I was a bar room bouncer in redneck and biker bars for 12 years. It’s happened literally hundreds of times.” Didn’t get on that jury for some reason.
That little story was to point up the difference between the 2 previously mentioned avocations and what I did. One has injuries by accident during competition and the other during an exhibition. For 12 years those drunk jackasses were trying their best to hurt and injure me. Those 12 years were encompassed by a good 30 years of me being a dumbass, possibly pretty drunk myself. Amature wrestling, motocross riding and all the falls that go with the learning of that, a couple of pretty bad car accidents and a couple of really bad bike/car crashes. The last one ripping my right leg open to the bone.
The bottom line is that mobility was already a big issue and it was getting harder and harder to stay active. Activity was coming with steady increasing pain and the fact that the longer I was up and under load the deader I would go on my right side from the hip down. Eventually losing any support from my right leg. Sit, decompress everything and go again for a shorter time. You gotta do something or you start to waste. But it's to the point where sitting down for good is no longer an abstract thought for down the road somewhere. It’s a looming reality that you have to face.
That’s pretty scary right there, but it’s not why I’m writing this. If you’ve managed to slog thru some of my longer stories, you may have realized that I save the meaty stuff for the end as anybody interested enough to make it this far deserves to be the one to get the main point. So here we go. What scares somebody who has walked/worked thru places at night that most folks wouldn’t go into during the daytime? Somebody who has ran at the gun every time one has been pulled on him? Hell, I’ve had the crutch of a one legged man broken across my face.
On April 9th I woke up completely deaf on the left side except for a god awful ringing. Along with the deafness and ringing was dizziness and profound confusion. To the point that I absolutely couldn’t stand up. The worst of the dizziness lasted for about 10 days. After that I could get up but its still there and so is the confusion. The number of times I’ve closed my eyes in the shower and nearly fell out of it is amazing. There's never been anything in my life any harder than making it thru that first couple of weeks. Between not eating and throwing up from the nausea, I lost about 8 pounds. The ENT Specialist says that I have something called Labrynthitis. Yeah I thought it was made up when he said it too, but its not.
This doctor, I might add has the bedside manner of a rock. Just a dead eyed, non-comforting, matter of fact delivery of “Your hearing loss is most likely permanent and the dizziness can last from a few weeks to the rest of your life. We’re going to do an MRI on your brain. Heres your diagnosis written out so you can do research on it. Goodbye.” The nurse I think could see it even if he couldn’t, but between the confusion and this stone cold 45 second ending of life as I know it, I was pretty much in shock. Barely remember driving home. Yes, you’re absolutely right, I shouldn’t be/have been driving. Unless you’re volunteering to cart me around, save it.
So I do the research and that's even more scary. There are 4 possible causes. Bacterial, viral, tumor or stroke. So now I’m spending days waiting for the MRI and worrying. It finally comes and they tell me the results will be on line in a couple of business days and my doctor will go over them with me at my next appointment. This is a Thursday, and my appointment isn’t for another week. The next afternoon my phone rings and it’s the ENT’s office. Just about that time my heart jumps up thru my throat, ‘cause there ain’t no way this is a good thing. It’s been less than 24 hours since the MRI, what in the world could be urgent enough for the radiologist to have read the results and contacted the ENT who was now calling me this quick. So I answer and it’s him, not somebody from his office, it’s himself. I swear the strength went out of my legs and I barely made it to half fall onto the bed and actually said into the phone “Oh dear lord, this can’t be good.”
Well, that seemed to surprise the doctor, I’m telling you this guy is just numb to the world. His idea of where to go from there was to say that the MRI showed no cause for the sudden hearing loss. That was it. One sentence. No further comment on the fact that I’m half deaf and now walk and act like a confused octogenarian and up until about 2 seconds ago I was worried to death that I had a brain tumor. He immediately went on to start telling me that there was an ancillary finding that one of my sinuses showed up as completely opaque, the other as partially opaque and he wanted a CT to determine the cause and wants to operate on them. I’m trying to fight my way thru the fog in my head to understand him and all I can focus on is the deaf and dizzy and he’s just got nothing to say about it. I’ve finally come to understand that he expects me to accept this just as clinically as he does. That’s tough.
I’ve only said any part of this out loud once. The effect it had on me makes me believe that I’ve got to talk about this to try to make sense of where I am and what’s coming. Just living has never been harder. I swung my legs out of bed the other morning, stood up and nearly fell into the bathtub about 20’ away before I could stop myself. I’ve got to find a way thru this without letting it get in my head. Every time I look at 2 motorcycles sitting under covers that I may never ride again it gets harder. I know what I have to do, I have to live, I just don’t think I know how that’s gonna work.
I had a life plan. The plan worked, but it had a couple of holes in it. Now I’m in one of those holes.
Ladder? Never mind.........I'd fall off it anyway.