Monday, January 30, 2012

At least I shaved my legs

It can be very frustrating to have pain that you can't exactly locate.  Your body tells you that something isn't right, but, doesn't tell you just what isn't right, or where.  So, you visit a doctor.

The nurses and a doctor ask all kinds of questions, you tell your story at least five times in an hour.  They have you pee in a cup.  Good news, you're not pregnant!  Didn't take a lab to tell me that.

The doctor lifts your leg, moves it around, presses here and there.  Does this hurt?  Does that hurt?  Well it's obviously not a break.  He returns your leg to the bed, under the stylish gown and warmed blanket the friendly nurse had given you earlier.

That's when you realize - I didn't shave my legs.

The doctor wants a picture.  The first picture they take looks a little strange, something isn't right, so let's get another picture.  This one's going to be better.

Oh, sure, it's safe.  I'll just be in the other room behind a steel wall and triple pane window.  Here's a button to hold, push it if you need me.

A strange music fills the room.  It's calming in a way.  Purging thoughts of panic, you try to rest while the machine images your innermost structure. 

Well, the MRI looks good!  There's nothing broken, we're gonna send you home.  The discharge nurse will be in in a bit.

You learn from the discharge nurse about the orthopaedic surgeon.  He tells you that you can call today and get in soon.  He seems brighter than the doctor.

You try to manage as you heal, eventually able to walk without tears.  

Pain takes a back seat to hope. 

You finally get to see that orthopaedic doctor the discharge nurse told you to call.  The day has come.  You hope for answers.

You arrive at the appointment 30 minutes early, as suggested by the clerical expert on the phone four days earlier who thought you were someone else, and had to be convinced you are not that other person.

After signing a stack of papers and giving your date of birth at least seven times on three pages, you wait.  And you wait.  Finally, you give in and get a magazine from the rack.  You read about how to organize your kitchen, your office, your life!  You learn about how someone reorganized Paula Deen's kitchen and took all kinds of before and after pictures of it.  You try to find the differences in the pictures, thinking this must be one of those puzzles you play on Yahoo! or something.   

After reading about a local runner who ran 40 races for his 40th birthday year, you think, 

"I'm going to be 40 this year.  I can get 40 races in this year!"

You wildly calculate how many days are left in the year, and how many races that would be per week for the next 11 months. 

You put the magazines down.  You wait some more.  You check your phone for the time.  You've now been in the semi-uncomfortable chair for one full hour.
Finally.  They call your name.
You look up and see the nurse, her ratty blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, 2-pack a day leathery skin, and snarky look on her face.  Looking at the novel you've just written, she comments,
So, you don't know how it happened, huh?  You're just hobblin' around....

And you think {but don't speak}:

That's right, bitch.  When's the last time you ran anywhere 
but to the bathroom or the tanning bed?

Said nurse walks you to a stark exam room, goes to a cabinet, and tells you she's going to have you put on a pair of shorts.  You put your coat on a chair, and she tells you that you can hang it on the hook {points to hook}, and close the door behind you, and before you can turn to decline the hook for your coat and thank her, she's disappeared out the other door to the room.  
You check out the "shorts" that the nurse left on the counter for you.  A novel take on summer attire.  You oblige and put them on.
And you wait.
And you wait.
You read a magazine.  You learn about seven "new" ways to make mac and cheese.  The recipes don't make you hungry, they make you wonder why this made six pages of a magazine.
And you wait.
And you wonder why the hell you got here over 60 minutes ago.

The doctor arrives.  He's a busy man, apparently.  He shakes your hand and asks what's going on.  You repeat your story.  Again.  He is too busy to look at you.  He's busy darting his eyes about the room.

He asks if you have this or that, is this numb or is that painful, do you feel this here or that there...?  Nope.  He looks confused by the answer.  He asks what could have happened to make it hurt.  Nothing.  He looks frustrated.  He asks if you're taking anything and if the pain is better.  No, and yes.  Now he's determined.  

A few more questions, he makes assumptions, you can lay down on this table with crinkly paper and sad excuse for a pillow.

Oh, you're still a bit sore.
He must be a face mind reader.
He moves the leg this way and that, presses here and there, you wince once, he tells you to lift your leg, you do but it isn't comfortable, he nods his head a few times.  He lays your leg back on the crinkly paper. 

I want you back in a week, don't run on it for now, here's a script for a 6-day steroid.  Thanks.

Trying to engage the doctor, you ask if it could possibly be this or that.  Sure, it could.  He wants to call it this.  This drug will do this.  You should be better next week.  If you feel this or that before a week, call me.  He doesn't pick up on your curiosity and quest for answers.

You tell him you didn't fill the script from the hospital, maybe you should have?

Maybe, but this one will stop the pain.  See you in a week.

Extends his hand to shake yours, and before you know it, he's out the door and you can take off the stylish shorts you're sporting and return to your day job clothes.  Your head is spinning from the whirlwind that just left the room, because of the 90 minutes you've been there, you spent less than 5 with the guy who makes as much in a year as your home is currently worth in today's market.

You're angry.  You're disappointed.  You're stubborn and want to try to just run home.  Or run when you get home.

Adductor strain.  Take a steroid and see me in a week.  Thanks.  I missed dinner with my family for that.

Should I fill the script and take the steroid?  Should I rest 'til Saturday and return to my regular schedule, but slowly?  Should I even make the return appointment for one week?

You think better of telling the woman behind the sliding glass window that if you come back, you have to be home in 30 minutes.  What good would that do?  Nearly seething, you leave.  More than 90 minutes after you first arrived.

And you think: 
At least I shaved my legs.