Today, I went to see my friend, Heather, who is recovering from major back surgery. And when I say "major", I mean MAJOR. I mean a 12-hour, neck to crack incision, "the doctor has his mother effin' hands on your spinal column" kind of surgery.
And I have to tell you, since she decided to go forward with the surgery several weeks ago, it has been as if a troop of vindictive Boy Scouts grabbed hold of my intestines and used them to practice for their knot-tying merit badge. I feel better now that I've laid eyes on her and heard her smartass retorts to nearly every question. (Except those questions regarding her pain medication -- those answers are devastatingly sweet and kind. She's a smartass but certainly not a dumbass.)
After only about 15 hours of recovery, she'd already sat up in a chair. Twenty hours later, she was walking with a walker. Today, less than 48 hours later, she choked down half a piece of elementary school pizza and put a couple of nurses in their place. And, according to Dr. Magic Hands, she's way ahead of pace in comparison to others who've had the same surgery.
I'll take "Things That DON'T Shock Me at All" for $200, Alex.
Because this is who Heather is. She's stubborn and tough and not willing to back down. Ever. She throws up her middle finger to the world that tells her something can't be done. If there's a challenge, she's usually up for it. When she was nervous about the surgery, it sent me to the edge of "Ima break into CVS and steal some Xanax" kind of nervous. Mainly because she's never nervous. Yet, here she is, shocking the doctors and nurses, and steadily climbing her way up - even without the help of her lovable and much-missed pain pump. Although I wouldn't classify myself as "shocked", it's still pretty damn amazing.
I'm a fairly timid person. I'm wishy-washy and a self-proclaimed crybaby. I have trouble standing up for myself and saying what needs to be said when I need to say it. I'm sensitive and sentimental, and I'm easily hurt by others. And then I tend to forgive even the worst hurt that people inflict upon me because I'm a people-pleaser to the core, and I can't stand to have someone mad at me. I'm the Queen of Apologizing For Shit That's Not Even My Fault. I hate all of these portions of myself. Fifteen years ago, I would have described my own self as spineless.
Then I met Heather.
Heather taught me how to have a backbone. She taught me how to stand up for myself, and she coaches me when I am nervous about standing up to someone. And when I can't handle that confrontation, she's more than willing to give that someone an ass-kicking for me. When I won't let her, she instead just describes the imaginary beatdown, play-by-play style, in order to make me laugh and give me a little courage. She has little tolerance for stupidity and has no trouble letting someone know when they're dabbling in it. But she's my friend, one of my very best friends, and she's never about to let anyone else crush my spirit. All my friends protect and support me, but Heather will flat-out kick the fool out of someone that hurts me (or any of her friends, for that matter).
I don't think anyone would ever dare describe that girl as spineless.
To see her there, lying in the hospital bed, recovering from a surgery that will hopefully make her spine a little straighter and stronger, I can only tell you one thing: Watch out. She was already pretty hell on wheels pre-surgically repaired backbone, so I'm not sure the world is ready for the new and improved assault on anyone and everyone who pisses her off. But I'm certainly glad to have her in my corner.