This story has been hard to tell. I haven’t made piece with my lot yet. I’m trying but I’m not there yet so it’s a bit raw. I’ve also seemed to have triggered a flare up and I am super sucks, one eye open, ref lipstick sore. I’m trying to spend as much time with my smalls as possible and family visits, putting down my phone and making contact. The result is a very boring blog and very boring Instagram feed. But happy kids, lol! I’m sure I’m not alone in this, every time I go to write, someone needs something, or two someone’s are stuck in a giant pink donut, or three someone’s are not going to bed, again!!!!!!…….Continuing…….
(If you missed the last post you can refresh here: The Story of Kate
I receive a phone call from the base hospital to discuss my MRI results with the Nurse Practitioner. To all my NP’s I’m sorry, I love you and take no offence here because I have the greatest respect. The Greatest! But… with respect to the base hospital and being a Pilot I generally (always/only) deal with a Flight Surgeon. This was the NP versus the Flight Surgeon so I immediately thought this was a protocol to go over the results with me. I think I actually bickered with the person booking the appointment as I didn’t want to waste my time or theirs. I’m trying to upgrade to Aircraft Captain after coming off maternity leave. I’m already paying what some of us women affectionately call the post maternity return “mommy tax” (where you realize you’re equal but….maybe not so equal. Another story completely). I lost the argument and booked a time slot.
When I showed up for that appointment I had no idea what I was walking into. As far as I recall this is how it went: I don’t remember a hello, I don’t remember an introduction, I didn’t know this woman at all. We had had no previous interactions at all. As far as I knew I was 30 something pilot in excellent health, mother of three littles and my arm injury was cycling but I was taking it easy and it seemed to be healing. We walk in the room and sit down and she says something about the flight surgeon being away but wanted to get the results to me. That bit is the bit of a blur because next she laid it all on me. I had serious neck injuries, I would need surgery, I would be in pain for the rest of my life, I would be released from the military I would never fly again and oh maybe she should just ground me right now . …………Blank……I can still remember sitting there just blank faced, slow blinking trying to absorb of the words she was saying. I’m still trying to absorb them today. What I did get was mad. How dare you tell me this. How could you be so insensitive? I don’t think she heard or cared. I didn’t get grounded and I left.
That night was a date that night for husband and I. I remember we went to a Jets game, I told Husband on the car ride. I wasn’t going to tell him, I thought about just keeping it a secret. We were in a bit of a rocky stage of our marriage and this was so unexpected that maybe I should just put a pin in it for a while. I made it all the way to the car ride, I made a little awkward small talk and then blurted. It’s funny I remember all that but I don’t remember his reaction at all. What I told him was according to my MRI I had degenerative changes that are worse at this C4-5 and C5–6 levels and a mild indentation of the left anterolateral cord at the C4-5 level. There is moderate to severe left neuroforaminal narrowing with suspected moderate compression of the existing left C5 nerve root.’ So that’s fun!
I honestly don’t remember how I felt at that point physically I mean. When I look at the paperwork it says pilot/numbness down/index finger pain radiating left arm. But I’m blurry when the pain was really bad, I don’t even know if I knew I was in pain. It was so insidious as it worsened I became used to it. I was so focussed on getting back to work after three babies. I wanted to keep up an image of not being a ‘chick pilot’ and was trying fitting in to an all male unit, some of whom had never flown with a woman before. I just wanted to fit in, I just wanted my aircraft upgrade, (to be an aircraft captain), to drink coffee and fly around, train students and be joyful. I wanted to be selfish and stamp my foot, I didn’t want to be in pain, I didn’t want to miss work for doctors appointments, I didn’t want it to hurt when I reached for the buttons, I just wanted life to be easy, just for a minute.
So on I went. I did see a Flight Surgeon who assured me that’s he had seen many people much worse than me who recovered without surgery. That made us feel about better. I was then expedited through the wait lists for specialists, I skipped the 18 month wait list at the pain clinic, I was front of the line everywhere I went. Somewhere along the line I had become the “Female Jet pilot”. It didn’t matter that I flew a Dash-8, somewhere in there I had become the young mother of three/Jet Pilot and people were a little in love with the idea of fixing me. At first I’d try to explain that I didn’t fly a jet and in honest only ever flew a little baby jet for a short period of time. I learned quickly that people didn’t care and that it worked in my favour so I just let it slide. I did want to go back to training pilots and that would involve getting me back into an ejection seat, so I thought let them help.
I’m going to have to leave it here. The children are a hot mess all over me. I signed them up for summer camp, the one which we adore. We still adore it but they adore me more. I’ve been trying to write this for four days and every time I pick up an electronic device it’s an explosion of children on me like a fat kid on a Smartie. I’m half happy that they love me so much, but I need a little break and I want to get some things done. It would be glorious if they would all go to camp and give this mama a little break.
Have an amazing beautiful day. P.S. I can still tell you all about the pain clinic and weird procedures I’ve had done, my surgery, recovery, drugs, if you’re interested.