I told the surgeon he’d better not sneeze while rooting around in my neck—he was briskly honking into a Kleenex when I went back to the examining room this morning. He laughed and assured me he wouldn’t. I saw the neurosurgeon for a second opinion yesterday. She looked over my MRI images and ran some basic function tests and told me that not only did I need one level fused, she’d recommend going ahead and fusing two. So I rescheduled the postponed surgery, got the preoperative blood work redone this afternoon, and then went out and had eleven inches cut from my hair, and the remainder shaped into a shroom-like bob. Given that I won’t be able to wash my hair after surgery for several days, I wanted something low-maintenance. And light—my sister had speculated that my neck problems might have been exacerbated by the fact that for most of my life I had very long, heavy hair. Too, I was starting to look sort of scraggly, skanky even, with my (shorter) longer hair: greying wisps flying out all over, and thinning at the ends. Getting a chin-length cut was my concession to the fact of middle age and middling health. I feel much bouncier already, and responses of friends and family to my new look have been entirely positive.
I got a horrifyingly large bill from the Virginia Hospital Center for my Valentine’s Day MRI—over $3500, after the insurance-negotiated discount. I am going to see if I can get some financial help with this, as paying that would wipe out my whole several years of savings in one go, not to mention the other, smaller bills that are coming due to the urgent care clinic, the pre-op center, the orthopedic surgeon, the neurosurgeon and the hospital (never mind the anesthesiologist and other people involved in the surgery)! I had decided on a $5000 deductible for my health insurance a couple of years ago because I knew I was basically healthy, poor (so I couldn’t afford to pay much more out of pocket for the premium), and if something happened to me it would probably be catastrophic and then $5000 would be the least of my payment worries (I was betting on a car accident). Well, I didn’t figure on being mildly disabled for no external reason, out of work for three weeks at a stretch, still having the usual living expenses of rent and groceries and electricity and life in addition to the challenge of coming up with $5000 in cash for the medical expenses. It’s a challenge.
The little hairs at the back of my neck where it was shaved are itching. It feels like horsehair upholstery.