Superstore's Ben Feldman Wrote a Will Before Undergoing Spinal Surgery: 'It Was Horrifying'
"When I was 24, I was shooting a movie in Toronto, was in like a hotel gym and I was like, 'I feel a pain in my back.' But I'm 24, so obviously, that will go away soon. And then, it just never did. And then, I had all of these back problems forever," the actor, now 41, said.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Feldman's wife, Michelle Mulitz, pushed him to finally go to a doctor to look at his back.
"He was like, 'Oh, God, your discs between five and six, and six and seven in your neck are really bad,' " Feldman said, but the doctor "basically said that I don't need to do something right away, but also don't get into a car accident or go skiing or anything like that."
Then last summer, when some COVID-19 restrictions lifted, Mulitz sent him back for more imaging "and the doctor goes, 'Oh, wait, never mind, this is immediate. Even your window for getting the surgery is closing.' And it was like, the fluid around my spinal cord … was just gone. It was just bone to cord."
Hearing that was "horrifying," Feldman said, and as he readied for surgery in July 2020 he decided to write a will.
"I wrote a will on a napkin in a hotel," he said. "I'm concerned I'm going to die, so I wrote a will."
The surgery, which required cutting in through the front of his neck, moving his esophagus, drilling out the calcified discs and putting in artificial ones, turned out to be pretty "easy," Feldman said.
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"After I got the surgery, it was so easy that I was bummed because I wanted people to be like, 'Oh, my god, I'm so sorry, Ben, that must have been awful,' " he joked. "So I talk it up. I talked about the fear that I had, because I can't talk about the actual procedure, which was two hours and then a couple of drugs and then about two weeks of watching Love Island U.K. in bed with my wife and then it was fine."
Feldman joked that he's "the opposite of a hypochondriac" and always "just assumed that everything will fix itself eventually," but this experience taught him not to ignore his pain.
"My takeaway was, go to doctors more," he said. "Because if I had ignored this, and had someone had bumped into me going skiing or whatever, I wouldn't be able to pee correctly anymore."