I met with the surgeon on 9/19 and was scheduled initially for 9/27 at my local general hospital, but that hospital is out of network for me so my insurance said no. That meant I would have to have it at New England Baptist, an orthopedic/neuro specialty hospital in Boston. It's, again, one of the best hospitals in the country, so after conferring with the surgeon's office they cautioned me the surgery would be delayed into October. I figured I could accept a few more weeks of pain. Fast forward to 9/26, when I'm out at the Big E (fair) enjoying livestock, draft horses, and ghastly fair food, when NEBH calls. "Hi, this is prescreening, you have a surgery tomorrow." "I have a what?" called the surgeon's office, in the rain, at the fairgrounds, they confirm: yep, 9/27, at NEBH. So I ended up doing my prescreen call in the arena at the fairgrounds between draft classes, danced around the fair in pain, went home and hardly slept. I know the kind of strings my surgeon pulled, and I will be eternally grateful. He's actually part of a group that performs free and low cost spinal surgery in areas with little to no access to these surgeries otherwise, and said the hospital thinks he's kind of nuts for insisting he doesn't care about the money.
I feel better every day, even while my brain is still wired to anticipate pain, so it's been a peculiar recovery in that way. I'm well enough that I get antsy on the days I don't do things, looking forward to getting back to my professional job in a few weeks and kicking the rust off my riding. I actually hadn't ridden Toby in longer than 9 weeks - closer to 3 months or more, because he was off for his back soreness and I was riding Jasper. So it was really nice to hop on and feel like he and I were pretty much where we'd been before, he only briefly questioned going to the round pen (vs the trail), but he capitulated quick enough, listened to me otherwise, only wanted to stop when it was pretty dark (which is a smart request - "hey, we can't see, let's go in now"). I'm glad my trainer let us work alone - not just the trust in me and him, but it was sort of, you might say a personal experience and something that was better to be just the two of us. If that makes sense.