Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Killing My Inner Collector

My surgery went as well as it could have. I mean, I was passed out, so I'm guessing, but considering that I'm still here and seem to be healing I'm going to give my doctor at KU Med two thumbs up. They have apparently removed all of the cancerous lymph nodes that were present on my PET scan which is excellent. I mean, I HOPE they got them all, I'm just guessing there too. But the pathology report said they got six and the scan showed five so there you go. The trouble now is that I need another radioactive iodine treatment to go in and mop up any microscopic thyroid tissue remaining in my neck. This isn't a huge deal, and I expected another one of these would be necessary. The low iodine diet and going off of my thyroid hormone medicine is a drag and being isolated from my family for a week is heartbreaking but it beats chemo (which, hey, if this doesn't get everything in order, there is a chemo treatment for thyroid cancer and I'm not taking it off the table because, the way this has been going, I'm up for anything at this point).

The real trouble is that, since I had a CT scan with iodine contrast, I have to wait at least three months before the radioactive iodine is viable. We waited four months last time just to be sure. Three months would put treatment on December 28th, but I don't think that's going to happen. I think we're going to wait, which pushes this into the next calendar year and another deductible and out of pocket maximum to be met (which, hey guess what, just went up a thousand dollars this year hooray!). I apparently did a shitty job of timing all of this, but alas, here we are. If anyone tries to convince you that socialized healthcare is a bad idea for this country go to your nearest hardware store, purchase a pitchfork, and run them out of town for me will you?

I was able to cover my last two out of pocket maximums via selling off bits and pieces of my record collection. That would have been unthinkable a couple years ago and here I am this morning, making another sweep through my already pretty tight LP collection finding more stuff to list on Discogs.

Abel Tasmans? I was keeping that to add some flavor to my collection but flavor is a luxury and hey I have the MP3s anyway and I'll take $35 if I can get it.

Low? Do I keep Trust or Things I Lost in the Fire? I think I go with the latter. It's not like this is a Sophie's Choice situation or anything.

Do I really need New Order on vinyl? Or the Magnetic Fields The Charm of the Highway Strip? Will I ever listen to these or am I just holding onto them because they represent the part of me that loves these records. They're like tokens of fandom. Why do I have four Talking Heads records? I like the Talking Heads just fine but I can't tell you a single track from Remain in Light? Is that the one is "Girlfriend is Better"? See, I don't even know.

Collecting anything is inherently weird to me now because my eyes have been replaced by those cartoon eyes with the dollar signs in them. Debt is large, money is short, and I have become obsessed with optimizing our family's finances. I think the main reason I hang onto some of these records is because I want Rosie to grow up around them and inherit them. She probably won't even care and, more likely, she will end up destroying some of them. I didn't really have any records to inherit and by the time she's old enough to appreciate this carefully and painstakingly crafted and curated collection they won't even make turntables anymore.

Here I am, going full anti-collector, because I have to convince myself that it is a meaningless endeavor in order to do something very difficult. Sitting in a hospital room staring at a wall, all stitched up and out of my mind on painkillers with drains hanging out of holes in my neck, really helped me grasp the existential qualities of life. I have limited motion in my neck and feel like a golem sulking around the house. I can't pick up my kid, I can't really do anything but sit around. I'm mobile enough this week to flip through my records and try to make them meaningless even though each and every one has a story, or was a miracle find, or was a personal treasure at one point. Anything I think will appreciate over the years I keep, but those are few and far between and the logic reverts back to: Do I really need every Silver Jews record? I only really like a couple songs on Starlite Walker. Why do I have seven Bruce Springsteen records when the only ones I will ever listen to again are Nebraska and Tunnel of Love?

Sometimes life is hard. And sometimes you have to reevaluate the way you live to make it better for the people around you. But hey, at least I got this sick scar!