On June 10th, I’m going in for major abdominal surgery. I’m not in pain and it’s not life-threatening, but the surgery is necessary and I’ll be much happier once it’s over and I’m on the road to recovery.
I’ve known about the surgery for a month and have taken steps to re-shape my life for it. Because it will take me a few weeks to recover enough for work, and then a few months before I can lift boxes of books again, I resigned from my part-time job at the Lambda Literary Foundation. I had been planning to do it later in the summer, but this timing made it important to do sooner, so that the LLF could get a replacement in as soon as possible.
My plan was to take June “off” for surgery and recovery, then begin life as a full-time freelancer and writer in July. And, in some ways, that’s still the plan. Except…
Last week, after we returned from Wiscon, an incident occurred in the apartment above ours, and our condo was flooded with water for about an hour. We did our best to mitigate the damage, but it was still extensive. Since then, we’ve been fighting with insurance and trying to handle our tiny condo being ripped apart — floors, ceilings, and walls.
The condo is unlivable. Most of it is ripped down, and the industrial dehumidifiers have run the interior temperatures into the 100s. I have taken the three cats and fled to a guest room at my mother’s partner’s house. I’m now about 3 hours away from my doctor’s office and the hospital where I’ll be having the surgery.
Everything is now complicated, frustrating, expensive, and downright difficult. I spent most of last week alternating between trying to take control of the situation and breaking down in tears. Chris and I are both still employed and trying to keep up with our jobs (LLF’s big Lammy Awards Ceremony is tonight!). I’m waiting to hear from the insurance about whether they’ll cover our claim, or if we have to hire a lawyer and make them cover it. And then there’s the process of hiring people to rebuild our condo when the water restoration part is done.
But despite everything — despite my ruined plans for stress-free surgery and a few weeks of quiet recovery where I got to watch TV, read comics, and listen to audiobooks — we have been buoyed by the incredible outpouring of sympathy and support from our friends and family. The number of people who have offered us living space, legal advice, help of all sorts, and even money… it’s been stunning and humbling in the best possible way.
Life is messier than ever, and yet I feel as if I’ve got an army at my back.
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