It’s been a long year.
This is gonna be a whiny post, I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong, Dagmar and I both feel profoundly privileged in many ways — we can afford food and shelter, we live in a fantastic nation, we have good family and friends, we have a LOT to be thankful for and we know it.
The first thing that happened was that I decided to get fixed so Dagmar and I could do the whoopty-thing without worries. For so many years she’d battled ovarian cysts and various goofy infections that it seemed a good thing to do.
Little did I expect that I would be the one in a hundred that ends up with a swollen… um, well, when I woke up my right one was about the size of one of those dried gourds you see in stores sometimes. Anyway, what was supposed to be a minor financial burden and a day off work ended up being a substantial problem as I ended up being off work for nearly a week with my swollen and painful… um… pride.
A few months later Dagmar found a doctor that would do the operation she’s been needing (a full hysterectomy, but a complicated one due to scar tissue from previous surgeries — we couldn’t find a doctor who would do it) for the past four or five years. Fantastic! We planned ahead, scheduled her vacation, I grabbed as much freelance work as I could on top of my day job, we planned it down to the penny. And it worked! Dagmar’s operation was a success and our money lasted exactly as long as we needed it to last. By the time Dagmar went back to work we had no savings or vacation time left, but we were healthy!
That’s about the time I quit my day job and started freelancing full-time. I’d been making more money “on the side” than at my job, so it seemed a good move. Until two days later when our neighbors broke our sewer line and the city threatened to tear our house down if we didn’t get it fixed right away. (“You’d better move on this fast, like this afternoon,” the guy told me on the phone, “or I’ll be forced to red-tag your house.”) At first they were talking eight to ten thousand dollars to do the job, but we found a contractor who did it for four thousand, and Dagmar’s mother let us live in her basement while the work was being done. We’re very grateful for that! But I was still in the awkward position of standing in front of the banker, hat in hand, begging for money while admitting that yes, I’m technically unemployed at the moment…
The week we moved back into our house Dagmar started taking ill again. A different kind of sickness, a general malaise…
A few days ago she finally went to the doctor. They did some tests. The doctor sent her straight to the hospital for some more tests. They did x-rays, MRI’s, bloodwork, the whole schmear. “I’m sorry,” the radiologist told Dagmar, “I hate to tell you this, but you have a cyst the size of an orange on your left ovary.”
“Um, I don’t have a left ovary,” Dagmar said. “I had a hysterectomy tree months ago, und dey took my left vun five years ago.”
There was dead silence, followed by a very small “uh oh.”
So Dagmar has a growth. Well, sh*t. For a day we prayed, planned, worried, fretted, panicked, and cried. Then the doctor called again. “We think it’s just a blood clot from your last operation,” he said. “It should go away by itself.”
Oh thank God!
But why is she still sick? Why has she been ill since about a month after her last operation? Is this blood clot making her ill? What gives?
A second doctor told us that he agrees with our family practitioner, that the growth is a blood clot. But he said to Dagmar, “You know, it looks like you never did heal properly from your last operation. It seems like your abdominal wall didn’t close properly, and a loop of intestine has slipped through… You’ll need to get that fixed as soon as you can. I’m surprised you’re not feeling worse than you are. This needs to be taken care of surgically as soon as possible…”
So that’s what we’re looking at. They say it’s not such an invasive procedure, but it’s still a surgical procedure with all the inherent risks and costs. We’re hoping to get it done by the end of the year so we can ride our deductible, otherwise we’ll never be able to afford it…
And, oddly enough, the results of my sleep study a few weeks ago? Deviated septum. “You’ll need to get that nose of yours operated on…” I was hoping to get that done this December as well, but with this new wrinkle in Dagmar’s situation I’m going to keep on being a mouth-breather for another year or so until we can afford it. I can live with breathing through my mouth and snoring a lot; Dagmar can’t live with a loop of bowel poking through her abdominal wall…
So anyway, as I said in the beginning of this post, we both feel VERY grateful for a lot of things. We have good friends, a roof over our heads… But golly things have been difficult the last year. They certainly could have been worse! Don’t get me wrong. But sometimes it just seems like one thing after another without stop.