I was supposed to wrangle physical copies of my most recent MRIs into the hands of the local teaching hospital’s Neurosurgery Dept for second opinion purposes (actually third—my Pain Management doc ordered the films and was like “OMG THIS IS NOT PAIN YOU MANAGE UR SPINE IS IMPLODING AND GROWING FANGS AND BITING ITSELF, LIKE. YOU SEE WHERE THE RADIOLOGIST SAID MASS EFFECT? GET YOU SOME SURGERY!”—obviously I’m paraphrasing but that’s pretty much the physics of the situation as I understand them—and the neurosurgeon he shares office space with will have had a look by then but surgery on my spine is like an ancient Jewish funeral—I need a full minyan if only to comfort the chief mourner), return an unneeded musical instrument, go to a job interview, and drive today.
Instead I drove for two hours and couldn’t stop crying over how mad I am at life and how much everything freaking hurts right now. I went home and worked the problem and decided that if a child of mine was acting this way I’d take their temperature and see if Tylenol would make them human again. And I did in fact have a highish fever but the most recently-needled part of my spine isn’t red or hot or anything so I think I’m just regular-sick, which is actually GOOD news, so I blew it all off because who even cares.
I guess at some point I have to tell you that we never did end up in custody court but my two boys now live with their father. He wanted it, they wanted it, I think it will lead to heartbreak all around, but thanks to the magnetizing spark of a narcissist and a well-played long game of methodically incentivized dehumanization of me and alienation of the children from me, it became the only option once my health failed. My ex is so damn impossible to deal with as a coparent even healthy, ablebodied, and not surrounded by angry, confused teens that it is impractical to even attempt visitation (if anyone even wanted that right now—neither of them want go see me because they’re so eager to please their dad and both mad at me for not letting them go sooner and also mad at me for letting then go, and I can’t keep letting myself get as upset as they make me for entirely different reasons right now). In a way I think a clean break is better. I...still can’t quite sell myself on this, it’s all horse shit, but sometimes bad guys win.
Boys, if you’re out there now or ever reading this blog, which may be as much of an intellectual legacy as I manage to leave, the single most important piece of life-advice I would give you if you would listen is never to marry someone before you’ve seen how they behave when they are angry.
I would really like to wake up from this fucked-up fever dream now, please.