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Scenes From My Anxiety Closet

I never really de-constucted the phrase “scared shitless” until this morning following a compelling dream about crap that clearly had everything to do with fear.

After a year and two months of intractable back pain, I am days away from deploying the BS-bomb, namely back surgery. For those of you who aren’t regular readers of my blog, I am extravagantly afraid of medical interventions, especially needles.

Luckily for me, now that I have suffered enough, my attitude has changed dramatically and I have gone from being an echinacea swallowing tree hugger to a surgery loving future oxy addict.

Despite the fact that while I am awake and conscious, I can face up to the gnarly reality of what awaits me with complete equanimity, my subconscious has been having a wild rumpus for the past several nights.

Kicking off last night was a happy dream, a dream in which I awoke to find that my symptoms were completely gone and my mobility was restored. “We got it!”, my surgeon said triumphantly once I regained consciousness.

“Really?” I asked weakly. “What was it?”

This kewpie doll was pressing on my sciatic nerve.

“Just look!” She crowed, holding up the offending object “I  had no idea we would find this because it didn’t show up at all on your MRI.”

Following that revelation, the rest of the dream was devoted to discussing with my surgeon how a kewpie doll came to be lodged between L4 and L5. Eventually, it was decided that I must have eaten the kewpie doll when I was very young. Or possibly stuck it up my butt.

Next up in the dream extravaganza was one of my favorite anxiety dream themes: Needing to go to the bathroom and being thwarted.

In last night’s variation, to reach a restroom, I had to cross a vast expanse of parking lot and was waylaid by the sudden appearance of a very chatty friend who detained me for quite some time before accidentally knocking me to the ground and disappearing.

Because I was completely spherical, my legs, arms and head could not make contact with the pavement so I flopped around on my back like a beetle. A beetle who had a powerful need to find and use a toilet.

Eventually, I was back on my feet and bursting through the doors of The Belmont Market where I knew salvation awaited. Except the toilets had been converted to musty, slot-shaped  showers, impassable for a completely sphere-shaped human. After frantically flinging open one stall door after another, I finally located a stall with a toilet.

Introducing the first ever electric powered portable plastic flush toilet as seen in Belmont Market.

Limp with relief, I stepped inside, only to discover that the toilet was just a cheap portable electric potty.  You know the kind. I’m not sure where the water was supposed to go when you flushed, since it wasn’t a real toilet, but that was not one of my concerns.

Satisfied that, yes, I had finally found a place where I could relieve myself, and neatly dispatch with the evidence, I gratefully reached for the stall door and noticed for the first time that it was made of window glass. Damn it to bloody hell!

The dreams are upsetting enough but not nearly as bad as reality. Yesterday I learned that I could not wear lotion, makeup, perfume or toenail polish. “No toenail polish?” I whined. “I just re-did my toes today, and just reaching my toes is so friggin’ hard. I can’t bend, remember?  I can’t believe you’re making me remove the nail polish. Why????”

The answer was a surprising one. Toenail polish is flammable. So, apparently my toes could burst into flames on the operating table. “It’s vary rare”, the nurse reassured me, “but it could happen, nothing to worry about.”

I later found out that my throat looks really good for sticking a tube down (I’d always kind of suspected that), and that I have nice veins. The good news is that if I can get through the next few nights at home, there will be all kinds of pleasant, memory erasing pharmaceuticals awaiting my arrival, so that the entire experience will seem like nothing more than a dream.

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