As I visited my sister, brother-in-law, and their new born son in the hospital yesterday, I was in tears.
I had just left the chiropractor, which I go to every other week at this point, having been in the worst back pain I’ve had since it really began three years ago. I told him this. He expressed concern. He’s sending me for a steroid shot to help until I can get an MRI done to hopefully see what is causing me to get worse instead of better.
While I’m grateful for the action being taken, I’m overwhelmed.
I don’t have “real insurance.” I can’t afford it. I am part of a co-op that helps with the big things, but most of the little things are left to me. I guess if you think about it, the difference might all come out in the wash for the rates I’d pay for actual insurance versus what I pay for the help I get. But I also don’t have a deductible to meet, so I don’t have to pay $6,000-$8,000 before expensive insurance even kicks in, and I don’t have to worry about being in network. I at least have enough connections to get me referrals to places I need to go. For that, I am grateful.
As I sat on the pull out bed my brother-in-law has been sleeping on and told my sister about my appointment, my brother-in-law asked me, “What did he say about you dancing?”
I laughed, and it broke my heart when I realized that was my reaction.
After the split second, I told him, “I can’t dance anymore. Not full classes. Teaching is okay, but I can’t make it through classes. And he’s okay with that.”
I’ve made an appointment for next Thursday to get the shot of steroids. My chiropractor was concerned when I told him that I’ve been getting worse, not better, and immediately suggested the referral to see what’s going on. I’m going to speak to my rhuematologist to see about an orthopedic specialist like she had originally suggested, but this way I’ll already have the MRI done and can bring them with me.
I put it off initially, thinking maybe it was just because I hadn’t been dancing. That I went from dancing so much to practically nothing so fast that maybe it caused the pain I was feeling. After all, it was around the same time. But then, going to dance didn’t help. The pain didn’t go away. So now I’m going to bite the bullet. Maybe it’ll be an expensive way of telling myself that I’m fine, but maybe it’s not. And if it’s not, if there really is something wrong, I should find out sooner rather than later. Especially since the pain is now starting to impinge on my every day life, making it harder to just ignore.
I cried when I left the chiropractor, knowing that this would be expensive, that things are getting worse. I cried when I called about the steroids to hopefully help, hearing the amount she quoted me as a self-pay patient. I’m sure I’ll cry when I get the call for the MRI referral.
I try my best to stay positive. Not because I’m this person that craps rainbows and sunshine, but really because of the opposite. I know if I let it all get to me, I’ll end up in a dark place I don’t need to be. I know it’s easier to take a moment to make myself pick out positives than it is to come back from being in a dark place. I know what I’m prone to, and I try to avoid it. But I also know the importance of embracing reality–I am sick. I am not getting better right now. Avoiding it will only make things worse later. My credit cards aren’t maxed out yet, I have some side income coming to me in the fall, I do have a co-op that should be able to help with the big MRI expense.
I try not to replay the fear I felt making that call to get the steroids. A fear that is difficult to explain unless you’ve experienced it. The unknown of how the call will turn out and if you’ll get shut down before you can even make the appointment. How I tried to convince myself I can do without it to save some money. I’m prone to reliving difficult situations, but letting myself do that won’t help the situation. I have to focus on getting through the next 8 days until I can even get the shot. Of telling myself that I can cancel up to Wednesday if I need to. That I see the chiropractor again on Tuesday. That things improving isn’t yet out of the question, and if they don’t I do have an appointment that will help me.
The whole time, I just hear this little voice in my head saying, “It’ll get worse before it gets better.” And if this is the “getting worse” then I just have to look for the “gets better” bit and hold to that with an iron grip.
Until then, I think of friends I have made through being sick. Friends that can’t walk, friends that pay thousands for each dose of medication they have to take just to stay alive, people who’s bodies are rejecting treatment. I think of the things I’m losing as paling in comparison. If they can do this, if they can endure, if they can find a way to wake up in the morning, then so can I.
If I can do it, so can you.