My Annus Horribilis
In 1992, Queen Elizabeth II had what she referred to as her annus horribilis (that's Latin for horrible year). Windsor Castle had almost burned to the ground, two of her children had divorced and Charles and Diana were a hot mess. I can't quite compete with her woes, but when comes to my own health, frankly my dear, this year sucked. I'm not looking for sympathy, because I have a number of friends who are facing much greater challenges, but since October of last year, I've been on a not-so-merry-go-round of illnesses, surgeries, procedures, doctor's appointments, tests, etc.
Between October and June, I had four rounds of the flu, apparently setting a record for my doctor's busy practice. In between, surgery removed a large bone spur from my shoulder, followed by weeks of PT. The veins in my left leg went kerflooey, necessitating three procedures to keep my foot from ballooning. Then, hustling grandson Noah into preschool, my rubber-soled shoe stopped and I didn't, crashing to the pavement and breaking three bones in my hand.
Capping off this thirteen-month-long medical saga, I learned there was a pouch in my esophagus, colorfully named Zenker's diverticulum. Trouble swallowing and a couple of scary choking episodes got me referred to a specialist at Baylor Hospital. First, an endoscopy (asleep, thankfully) to take a look, then a meeting with a thoracic surgeon. Now the fun part began. First I had three days of a full liquid diet (Cream of Wheat, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.) then three days of clear liquids (tea, broth, Jello, etc.) Down five pounds by the day of surgery. Two days in the hospital, getting excellent nursing care. Now I'm reversing the process, three clear, three full liquid and then onto soft foods - whoopee!
Swallowing is still a challenge due to swelling and I won't see meat, bread, vegetables or cheese for a while, but I look forward to eating normally and bringing an end to this ongoing medical drama. Hopefully, 2020 will bring healthier days, otherwise my health insurance company may divorce me.
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I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.