Sunday, January 28, 2018

Strategic Detachment

I talked about this concept with my late friend Jon Penner from work. He was in the military for many years before moving to a career as IT professional and a civilian life. We met through work, I was his HR Advisor. We just seemed to hit it off despite our very different backgrounds.

We talked about detachment the sense of consciously removing the emotional reactions from a situation to deal with the cold, hard reality. His was cancer, and he was trying to make preparations to go through his first round of chemo. Mine was my 5th or 6th shoulder surgery, and trying to cope with emotional turmoil that accompanied it.

I seem to be deploying a similar tactic for surgery #10. I've had pain in my shoulder for the past 4-5 months, and after two consultations with my surgeon and one with my neurologist, and no real ideas on the source of the pain, I'm having an(other) arthroscopic biopsy on February 14th to take samples and see if there is an infection. I'm not even sure what outcome I'm rooting for.

Door #1 holds at least two more surgeries with three months off work for each, a PIC line with IV antibiotics for weeks and the very real possibility that they may not be able to put me back together again.

Door #2 holds pain with no real source and no real path to determine the source. My surgeon looked stumped, and that's not a good thing. I see many more months of poorly contained pain and the possibility that the source may be ultimately elusive. And where does that leave me?

Neither of these options is particularly appealing. 

I've tried to tell myself I'm dealing with this well by taking it one step at a time, and not looking too far into the future. But I don't think I'm fooling anyone. I'm just putting off the avalanche of anger, frustration and fear that is coming. I can't plan any further than the end of February. That March break trip we were going to take? Nope, on hold. That business trip to our London, UK office? Nope, unknown if I'm going. 

My RA is not well controlled right now. My pain is not well controlled. My emotions are not surfacing. This can only spell trouble for someone as emotional as I am. There is most likely a shit storm of emotional upheaval in the making and I'm not looking forward to it surfacing. I've not even cried about the fact I'm having another surgery. I'ts like it was inevitable and I'm accepting it. I've detached myself from the upcoming surgery as a survival mechanism.

I've been listening to melancholy music to match my mood. This time it's Blue Rodeo and one of their classics from the 90s "Till I am Myself Again". I'm not feeling myself these days, but I know as the surgery date comes closer I'm sure this detachment will fade away and I'll be back to myself.

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