Just about exactly 20 years after a “Skinhead brawl” put my roommate into a grave and me into “stable condition with stab wounds on his left side” I might be seeing the end of the second chapter of the complications the incident on my life. While on the one hand it is easy, and true, to blame the aleopathic approach of treating symptoms in my situation for it coming back to haunt me 20 years later I am also feeling pretty thankful for planning ahead on this situation.
I have always been committed to not living “life as usual” from fighting Nazis as a young man, to rejecting the nuclear family (and relationship), and the life of criminal boredom (read: career) I’ve made choices that made some sense to me even though there have been consequences. The primary consequence, one I usually share with 40 million other residents of this country, is a habitual lack of health insurance. I survived the initial stabbing because of a California program around “victims of violent crime” but as my old wound began to herniate I wouldn’t have such honor. I’d either have to suck up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills (probably six figures due to the complications) or get a job with seriously good health insurance. This I did and continue to be trapped in until I am fully recovered from this second chapter.
As you can read in my old blog (which I am going to migrate to here one of these days) the first part of this chapter didn’t go so well. Perhaps I’ll do an equivalent of Bad Medicine in a pamphlet form with some of this material. BTW if you haven’t read the Spring 2010 The Match there is a fantastic (quality) and terrifying (in content) article on hernia surgery that coupled with my story should put the Fear into all men.
But I believe that this time the surgery went well. The massive distention I’ve had in my belly the past 6 months is gone. I can imagine a non-mutant future for myself. I think I will heal. Last time I wasn’t so sure.
That said today was the first time I really examined myself without bandages and materiel. I am going to be a very different creature emerging from this whole situation. My belly, still stapled, shaved, and pasty from my hospital visit also has a kind of un-living characteristic that I am really disturbed by. It is flatter but I can feel the sides of the surgical material under my skin still not integrated into my body. I will survive but I will be beyond scarred. I will be transformed. The new me will be physically weaker (no more Muay Thai for me!). I will have to slowly strengthen my core to achieve baseline. I am, on some level, middle aged before my time. I am not ready.
I am about to hit 40. I am going to have a funny birthday party where people I have made fun of get to respond in kind. I am ready for the next stage of life but not quite for the implications of being not just not-young but actually old. I figured I would be able to fake it, on some level, for another 5-10 years. It just isn’t true. I have some thinking to do about how few peers I have, about how that isn’t going to change anytime soon, and how about my body isn’t going to win me any medals at any future derby. I will have to make do with the steel trap inside my head. Obviously I am going to be just fine but the illusion, the imagination, is gone. Regards.