I do not want to die. I really don’t. I just cannot keep living like this. I was injured. Bad. I should start by saying I am a very sensitive and empathetic person, maybe too much so, but to me people just seemed cruel, and so growing up I preferred the company of animals. I turned my empathy into a wonderful career, saving endangered species in very remote locations of the world, with very little interaction with people. It was perfect for me, and I loved it. Unfortunately, it is also very dangerous work. I did it long enough that my number finally got punched. I was impaled and thrown, my back broken in a bunch of places, a damaged spinal cord, other bones broken, a lung collapsed, your basic body smashed up situation. I had to fight so hard to survive. At one point I tried to give up, but just was not brave enough to quit fighting and accept my fate. It took days of a bleeding, arduous journey to reach a hospital.
That was many years ago. I recovered as best I could. Everything in my body works, just not very well. I have a bunch of hardware and replacement parts in my back. I put it behind me, I found love, started a family, and began a new, exciting chapter in my life. Sadly though, eventually my youth and strength passed. My ability to deal with the constant pain began to wane. The last surgery did not go well, and I almost lost a leg. Ironically, it did not even fix the problem I was having the surgery for. I awoke to buzzing and bleating in the ICU. I was so close. It would have been so easy, so merciful if they had just let me go. People here should know, modern medicine is very good at keeping your body alive. It never, ever, considers doing anything less. No matter how you feel about it. The best you can do is fill out a do not resuscitate request for your medical records. My body hurts to bend, it hurts to try and twist. It hurts when I sit down, and it hurts when I try to get back up. Basically, it hurts to live. I was so used to being fast and strong. I have track records that have stood for decades, but now I can’t even put on shoes or socks. All day, everyday, 365 days of they year, I am in pain. Sometimes irritating, sometimes debilitating, but always there. I can’t lay in one position for very long, so I have not slept much more than about an hour at one time since the accident. Sleep is something that happens for an hour more or less, until pain wakes me, and have to reposition myself again. Every. Single. Night. Eventually you learn to live with it, but you rarely ever feel rested. I got fat. I quit eating, because I got fat, but then pain wakes me in the middle of the night. Hungry, in pain, and weak and useless, I go and stuff my fat face to try and feel better. I married a hard charger. A wonderful, intelligent woman who is way to good for me. The thing about marrying someone like that is that they are so vested in their career, they really don’t have time to notice when their spouse is not doing well. I think that being successful and empathetic rarely go together. Its hard to get ahead if you are being distracted by the weak people around you. Maybe she married me because she respected the empathy I had that seemed to have largly eluded her? I try to hide how much pain I am in from my wife and kid. I think I do it very well, although these days I just want to cry out to them for help. When I fear breaking down in front of them, I hide myself away in my study and pretend to be mad so they leave me alone. There is nothing left for me in life. All the things that brought me joy, I can no longer do. I need several more surgeries, but I just don’t have the strength or will to face them. I hate the smell. That horrible odor of the surgical mask they put over your face. Alcohol and disinfectant. They strap you down, because after you are put under, they flip the table to get to your back. Flipped, like a hamburger on a grill. Just the memory of that smell makes me want to blow my head off. The cold, detached surgical staff rushes about checking readouts and settings, the coy beating of the heart monitor, all the while you lie there ignored, quiet but raging inside. That’s when you just want to scream out, “Please for the love of God just kill me, don’t make me go through this again, you have everything you need right here, just double, triple the medication you use to put me under, and I can finally know peace”. If I was a dog, I would have been put down years ago. In fact, people would wonder how any dog owner would allow their pet to needlessly suffer. Why is it the complete opposite for humans? Do I somehow feel less pain then a dog? What point is there to me living the next year, ten years, forty years? Is it just to discover how much pain a man can endure? Well, its a lot, now can I please die? I have ignored the calls from the surgeons office. They can’t force me schedule the surgeries, but its just a matter of time. I can’t keep hiding how much I hurt, and how little I can do. I “live” shuffling back and forth between a couple of comfortable chairs and my bed. I use to do 6k push ups and sit ups a week. No lie. At the top of every hour I did a hundred pushups, at bottom of every hour I did a hundred sit ups. For ten hours a day, six days a week. Sundays were for recovery. That was how I kept in shape being in the middle of nowhere. Now, I can barely take the trash out. My poor wife, she got stuck with a real lemon. I was still pretty capable when we got married, now I avoid going to any of her work events because I don’t want to embarrass her in front of her colleagues. It’s been a big, heaping helping of humility on top of everything else. Looking mostly normal, but being as weak as kitten. Other than the scars of course. There are none on my face, but scars cover my whole body. It is a tapestry of horror and pain. I have been cut open from the front, the back, the side, everywhere. Neat, straight ones from the surgeons scalpel, jagged, raised, random ones from where metal has tore my flesh open. I am a hideous fat mound of scar tissue, pain and weakness. I am completely, and utterly useless. The rub is, I could never do anything to hurt the people in my life. No matter how you try to explain it to them, the only way to understand the crushing weight of living for years like this, is to experience it. The saddest part of the tale of my life is not that I almost died, its that I just keep on living. Uncle.
I wish I could donate what time I have left to some poor kid with cancer. Why is it we have a bunch of boner pills but not that?