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My surgery was on June 15, right about when I thought it would be. I got to the hospital a little late, 1:15 instead of 1, and they took me pretty much right away—surgery was scheduled for 3pm but they had a cancellation. So that was good. I woke up around 5 I think, that part is blurry, and eventually they moved me up to my room. My roommate was mostly silent until they did anything to her, like touch her arm or try to get her to answer all the neuro questions—What is your name? Where are you? What city are we in? What state is that in?—and then she’d either just moan, or for variety’s sake sometimes she’d whine. They had to do stuff to her all the time, like at least once an hour, so it was not peaceful.

I had a really long night of no sleep. Got my x-ray around 4:30am. Listened to my roommate howl in pain and anger (although a lot of it was just drama, because at one point the doctor was saying “I haven’t even touched you yet, you need to calm down”) for about 30 minutes when they took out her chest tube around 8am. I had overheard some of the nurses talking about her and apparently she was detoxing and she’d had a stroke and some kind of accident and she was only in her early 20s so I felt bad for her but really, she was SO obnoxious that I lost that sympathy after a while. I even recorded some of her screaming because it was almost funny (“stop! That friggen hurts! Owwwwwwww!”). Was discharged around 11 and left around 12 when Patrick picked me up. Home, yay!

What was good about the whole experience was how instantly my pain was gone. I had a LOT of throat pain—to perform this surgery they go in through the front, shove over your esophagus and whatever other junk is in your neck, and carve up your back from the inside, so your esophagus hurts like a bitch for days. But my arm pain and back pain and neck pain was just all gone. I have occasional soreness in the surgical area—so deep inside my back, right between the top of my shoulders—but it feels like nothing compared to the nerve pain I had, so I barely pay attention to it. I can’t take ibuprofen/NSAIDs for 90 days after surgery, just Tylenol feh, so all my other aches like my knee and my lower back are really noticeable right now. But again, it’s all good comparatively. I’ve graduated out of PT as of today. I’m still seeing my massage therapist because why the fuck not? It’s awesome. And she’s helping with the lower back and leg issues so that’s good. No ibuprofen, just massage.

So I had a month off from work. To be completely honest, I probably could have gone back easily at the two week mark. If I desperately had to, I probably could have worked at the one week mark. But the extra two weeks allowed me to get extra sleep and to be able to lie down whenever I wanted when I got kind of tired. It also helped because partway through my recovery I had to suddenly find a nursing home for my aunt. So she finally had a feeding tube inserted in her abdomen at the end of June. She had some respiratory issues, however, so the hospital kept her for a week or so. On the Thursday before the holiday weekend (July 4th) we got contacted by the hospital that my aunt couldn’t be moved back to her former facility because she no longer qualified for that level of care. It was a hard core rehab place and now that she had the feeding tube she could be moved to a skilled nursing facility and her insurance wanted that to happen STAT.

My cousin and I did some research and found a five star place on my street. Our thinking was that if we could move her near mother and me, we could really be involved in her care and see her a lot more often, etc. My cousin lives in CT and Mass Health wouldn’t cover an out of state facility, so we had to pick somewhere here. Makes sense. Anyway, she moved in, and we were pretty excited about the things they offered—lots of personalized care, lots of PT, more people around. Her transition wasn’t smooth. She seemed very unhappy that she wasn’t back at the previous place, but she was getting used to it. Then eight days after she moved in she died in the middle of the night. They told us they did a bed check, went back a couple hours later and she was gone. That seems ok to me; peaceful. No last minute rush to the hospital, no heroic efforts. She was 89 and was ready to go, so I’m glad she finally did.

We used the same funeral home as we used for my Dad. They’re (of course) really nice there. We had her cremated, then had a private graveside burial ceremony a few weeks later because the majority of the family could be there then. We had a lunch afterward at a restaurant near the cemetery and it was very nice. I’ve been pretty exhausted since then. Stress, I guess. My aunt’s property and estate all needs to still be sorted out, as her will named her dead brother as her executor and my aunt with Alzheimer’s as his backup, so we need a new executor named and they need to start working on the problem. Thank god that it won’t be me. I did my part, though. I notified everyone (pension, insurance, trust, condo, cell phone, credit cards, charities, etc.), so at least nothing urgent is pending. I just wish the family would get it together and get the probate filed. Whatever, not my problem! I have three cousins who went to law school. One of them can deal. One of them isn’t even working right now, and is living in NH until December, so he’d be the perfect choice. And his mother is the one named in the will as executor, so that would seem to be perfect. Just don’t know what all the delay is about.

So that’s what’s been going on. Good and bad. Anyway, I am going to take a couple of days off and head out to Western Mass towards the end of this month. Get away from everything, eat some good food, go to a museum or two, hang with Suzanne. Should be good and should give me some quality relaxing.

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