I’m in the hospital right now. Again. I write this from my cell phone.
I can’t help but compare my time at the Cleveland Clinic to my time in Las Vegas. Giant sprawling buildings, valet parking, exotic cars driven by wealthy doctors. Food courts full of obese and elderly.
Gambling, of course, just at higher stakes. Will the insurance cover this? Will I be able to afford this operation? Will my health hold? Will the tests be positive? Will my loved one live?
No limit, indeed.
Some of the folks here have addiction problems. Some are regulars. Some have roamed these gambling halls their whole life.
The house takes in a lot of money, courts the best talent, offers package rates. Makes promises of rewarding, life changing experiences…
And, thanks to HIPPA, what happens here stays here… Unless you’re like me: too gabby for your own good.
In 2010 they told me it would be a simple surgery… When my entire upper right side started to malfunction afterward–though tests showed nothing–they told me it was all in my head. “You’re depressed, talk to your shrink about this…”
I did. Pain killers, anti-inflammatories, steroid patches, sleepless nights, scans, needles, physical and mental therapy, paranoia and unemployment. It doesn’t seem so simple anymore.
When the athlete breaks, he breaks just like the non-athlete. At first he worries if he’ll ever make it back to things he loves. Soon after he realizes how short sighted that thinking is. Instead he wonders if he’ll ever make it back the the quality of life he once had, to the little bets he once made.
“It could have been worse…” echoes the hubris of the optimistic. Yes, and it could have been better, too.
The injury left scars on my shoulder, but it’s the ones on my soul that sting. Expectations versus results that didn’t match. Like a thorn in my flesh they torture me daily.
I miss the game from time to time, but I miss pain free days everyday. Everyday.