Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chiefly personal . . . .

Not your usual post . . .

Tomorrow morning (possibly after many of you read this), my wife will be undergoing major back surgery: a fairly rare three-disc fusion. She's been suffering with increasing back pain from two torn discs for the past 2 1/2 years, and when we were going for the more conventional surgical remedy we discovered a third disk going bad.

If everything works out as planned there will be a 12-week convalescence followed by another 9 months to complete recovery, which means some loss of mobility, but hopefully a complete loss of pain.

We did not come to this decision lightly, and I don't think most people do. It's always a scary prospect to see your love and life-partner disappear into the hands of the anesthesiologist while you wait--pretend to read, wander around, avoid calling anyone (since they will want news you haven't got), and wait and worry and maybe pray....

My wife has been through surgery seven other times in the past seventeen years, and I honestly don't think it gets any easier for anyone. We picked our surgeon in good, old-fashioned Libertarian fashion (just kidding, but he was the subject of a massive bidding war between Temple and Penn last year to see who got his services), but there are always imponderables, always the things that you hate yourself for hoping will only happen to other people.

It has been a tough last three years in many, many ways. My son was diagnosed last November with adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome (wherein "syndrome" means they barely know how to identify it, much less to treat it). My eldest daughter is struggling to find full-time work and succeed as a single mother. The economy goes up, it goes down, and no matter how much money there is, there is never enough. Debts mount and your bones ache.

I started Delaware Libertarian last year partly as a diversion, and partly because I wanted to get some pragmatic Libertarian ideas out there in ways I was not seeing them. I also wanted to make a difference in the political dialogue in my state, my nation, and throughout the world. What I did not anticipate was that it would allow me to make friends out of people who agree with me, disagree with me, or just like passing by. I've gotten back in touch with Waldo (a friend for well over thirty years) in a way neither of us, I think, expected to happen again. I've exchanged barbs and kudos with Dana, philosophized about civility with Shirley, and got an unsolicited heartfelt inquiry from Liberalgeek when he heard about the surgery.

I value you all, readers and lurkers, fans and critics alike, and knowing that you are somewhere out there in the cyber-ether is a calming influence on the night before one of the longest mornings of my life.

I'll check back in sometime tomorrow--God willing--and let you know how it has all come out. After that, for at least four or five days most of the load will fall on Brian (although I suspect I won't be silent), until she is out of the hospital and back at home. Maybe, Duffy, that NASDAQ ticker effect will slow down, and people can take some time to browse the unread riches in the archives.

I know that what I'm about to undergo is hardly unique; in fact, I know that many people face more extensive treatments and surgeries at longer odds, executed by people they trust far less than I trust our own surgeon. I know all that cerebrally, of course, but in my gut it is hardly comforting knowledge.

Signing off for day, then, but I will be back sometime late tomorrow, probably live-blogging from a hospital room.

In the meantime, thanks for having dropped by.


Delaware Watch said...


I hope everything goes well. I'm confident it will.

My stepfather had the same operation many years ago and is fine today. I'm sure they have refined the procedure since then and your wife's convalescence will go smoother.

Still, I know it is very serious surgery with not inconsiderable pain afterwards.

I'll be looking forward to your report tomorrow night.

Also, if there is anything you need I can provide, please don't hesitate to ask.

Take care.


Waldo said...

Waldo has put his typewriter aside for a while to keep the Newtons fully in mind.

Brian said...

Steve if you need anything at all, call me. In the meantime, you will all be in my prayers.

Shirley Vandever said...

My thoughts are with you and your family.

I had a disc fusion quite a few years ago (1968), and if its any consolationn the technology is quite a bit better now !

I am pulling for you and your wife with all the vibes I can muster.

Hube said...

Thoughts and prayers are with you, Steve! Best of luck!

Brian Shields said...

Wish you both a speedy recovery, and my wife's and my thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

Duffy said...

Thoughts and prayers from me as well.