2009 was, for me, a year of pain. In fact, by far the most painful year of my life. On the first day of the year, my 50th birthday, I slipped on an icy hill and suffered a double compound fracture of my right humerus. Surgery, a metal plate, and eight days in the hospital are a lousy way to start a year, trust me.
On January 23rd, my Mother passed away. For those who never new my Mom, she was a character of almost mythological proportions. She called herself a "faded flower-child" but she was tougher than the average nail. Although she battled cancer for 16 years, she was still riding her Harley a few weeks before she died. The last thing she said to me was "I'm not old enough to have a child your age." Spending the last days by her bedside, I went through more emotional pain than I could have imagined.
And the plate in my shoulder/arm worked loose. So I got to have a second surgery, and gained a second plate. Also, a lump was discovered in my right lung. It was non-cancerous, but having it removed was another surgery, and caused another painful process.
Are you sensing a theme here? I spent my spring in extensive physical therapy, which is supposed to be good for you but feels like a violation of the Geneva Conventions, three times a week.
By June, I thought my shoulder had recovered enough to attempt a small river trip. It hadn't. I ended up with an inflamed labrum in my rotator cuff. Six more weeks of serious pain.
Just to insure that the year finished in pain, I developed an Inguinal Hernia (actually, two. But only one hurt prior to surgery). So earlier this month, I had Bi-Lateral Inguinal Hernia repair surgery. I'm rehabbing steadily, but it still hurts to move.
And I still need surgery on my right knee sometime in the future. I think I'll hold off as long as possible.
Throughout all of this I've had prescription pain medications available, but I don't like taking pain pills because I like pain medications way too much for my own good. I've gone through addiction in my past, and I refuse to go back. So I'm willing to live with a certain level of pain. It's the better alternative, even though the plates in my arm are an effective barometer.
I did have some good times in 2009. River trips in June, July, and October; multiple concerts by Widespread Panic, Stockholm Syndrome, Jerry Joseph and more; good friends (and I do have some of the greatest friends imaginable) and gaining a silly little bird (she thinks she's important). I shouldn't whine; my life is full, and mostly happy.
So I'm happy to say 'goodbye' to 2009, a year that had way too much pain.