I promised myself I wouldn't do this. Really, I did. No formative blogging about my meeting with Therbo. Just one big, summative post at the end of this whole robotic endeavor (I really hope someone Googles 'robotic endeavor,' btw, and comes across this blog)....capturing, pithily, the whole thing. It will give me time to process and to reflect before documenting the experience. But, I've been telling myself over the past few minutes, if you don't blog now, then you may not remember the whole experience. You might leave out REALLY important nuances. You might not capture it all. Plus, your plane has WiFi, and you have nothing (that you want) to do for the next two hours. So, here I am, blogging in the air. This is a first for me, but it sure beats looking at the Sky Mall booklet more than once.
I woke up today with a sort of uneasy anticipation about going to Florida. I've felt it before, but I can't exactly pinpoint when. The emotion is not really anxiety, but I don't know what to call it. Maybe I'll figure it out by the end of this post. Have to keep you reading somehow. Anyway--I got up much later than I should have, which is my usual (mis)behavior. I had 20 minutes to get myself ready, Amelia ready/fed, Rowan up, car packed, eat breakfast myself, and get out the door. I really wanted to spend more time with Tim and the kids this morning, but I slept too long. I was able to cuddle them all, and it made me incredibly sad. Amelia probably won't even notice I'm gone, as she's very busy and into her own stuff. I know Tim will miss me, but he'll be okay. I'll probably miss him more. Rowan? I'm not sure. We're together all the time, so I know he'll recognize my absence. In truth, he'll probably go on playing, eating, sputtering, and pooping just as though I'd never left. But it was definitely hard to leave them all knowing I wouldn't see them again until Sunday.
I taught this morning, and I was on edge. Again, I don't really know why. It was nothing my students did. They were all there and all very attentive. I also don't think they were aware that anything was going on with me (I wonder if any of them have caught wind of this blog?). I gave them a quiz and then lectured. We actually finished early, and I headed up to the airport with plenty of time.
Apparently, a lot of people are still on spring break. Because they're all parked at the airport. Once I finally got a parking spot, I made my way to this little shelter where the bus comes and picks you up to take you to the front of the airport. There's a little button that says "Push for Heat." It was snowing (yes, snowing) and windy, and as I'm not taking a warm jacket to Florida, I was cold. I pushed the button. It didn't work. I pushed it again. And again. It still wouldn't work. I became angry at this button. WHY would there be a sign saying "Push for Heat" if there IS NO HEAT? I felt myself about to cry. I was devastated that the friggin' button would not work. Seriously, Wendy, over this? I tell you this anecdote not because I think it's overly interesting. Frankly, it's embarrassing. I report it here because it illustrates what this whole ordeal has done to me emotionally. This may be the first time I've cried over a dysfunctional airport shuttle shelter button, but it's not the first time (since all this started) that I've nearly lost it over something utterly trivial. I am emotionally drained. My mind has been in overdrive trying to figure out how to get myself fixed for many months. I have put considerable work/labor into this process, and I'm exhausted.
So, with my little outburst out of the way, I continued on. Made it through security, etc. and sat at my gate. I still felt uneasy. I know--I felt guilty. I felt, sitting there, as though I was doing something I shouldn't. Like I'm in the midst of executing some form of betrayal. I felt almost ashamed. I still cannot wrap my head around this emotion. I mean I acknowledge that I'm sad about leaving my family for a few days, but I don't feel (consciously) guilty about it. I don't know what it is, but that's how I felt.
As I was waiting, an older man sat next to me. He was very talkative. He asked me why I was traveling to Florida. Okay, so how do I answer that a) with any brevity and b) without sounding insane? How do you explain that you're going to see a robot who can help you run? "I, uh, well, I'm getting some treatment done. Some medical treatment." "Oh, I'm sorry you're sick, that's awful." "Well, no, I'm not really sick, I'm..." "Oh, you mean mental health treatment." "No, no. I don't need mental health treatment (actually that's not a bad idea at this point), but I have a condition, a thing with my abdomen." "Well I hope you get it worked out." I could tell he wasn't really satisfied with my answer, and that he wanted to know more but didn't want to seem rude. I ended up telling him the whole story. He was fascinated. He (of course) has never heard of such a thing. He remarked about how cruel it was. I gave him my blog address so that he can follow up. So, hello nice-man-from-the-airport if you're reading.
I finally got on the plane, and as I buckled my seat belt I felt a wave of alarm. What are you doing? What the HELL are you doing? You're spending a bunch of money to go to Florida BY YOURSELF to meet with some guy so that he can put you under a robot for 16 hours so that you can MAYBE run pain free? What if it doesn't work? Then what? THEN WHAT? And my mind went on and on like that. Okay, if this doesn't work, what's the next step? Where do we go next? I wanted to call Wes or Tim, but I couldn't. I worked out that most of my alarm was due to the latter part of my thought process up there. What if this doesn't work? What other option do I possibly have? I thought about when I had compartment syndrome, and when I went in for the surgery. We definitely knew what I had, and the surgery for it is 99% effective. In other words, it required surgery, but we knew it was going to work. With this? No one can say "Oh, yeah, that's what that is and here's how we fix it." That, my friends, drives me insane.
I have my first treatment day tomorrow beginning at 8 am. I'll be with Therbo until 5 pm, at which point I'm going for a 10 mile run. I'm hoping for tears of joy.