Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why Visiting the Doctor is Among my Favorite Activities

The cackling latin lady in the next office was going berzerk. Then she told us all how funny it was. According to her she couldn't breath.
Wish that were true.

I'm pretty sure if she wasn't breathing then that sound wouldn't have been there.

Anyway I better explain my doctor's visit just now.
I got there ten minutes late. The shady kid in front of me wearing a camouflage shoplifting coat says he's here for the same doctor I'm seeing. The receptionist twinkles a happy, "I'll get you checked in." and the kid skulks to a chair. 
I walk up to say I'm also here for that doctor.
She doesn't twinkle. I can sit over there. Preferably in the garbage can.

I don't know if there's a lot of paperwork that has to be done, or if someone has to drive to his house and remind him he's seeing patients today but it always takes a long time. I thought maybe by getting there late, they'd be waiting for me and I could just get rushed in since they were planning on seeing me ten minutes ago.
I pick up a magazine to thumb some pages and find out there are people out there making horse magazines. Kind of interesting if you want to know which splint to buy this season in case one of your thoroughbreds gets a sprain. I put it down to entertain myself with the wallpaper and ceiling tiles.

After another twenty minutes, the nurse comes out and asks for the shady character. He shuffles back with her with a suspicious look on his face as if he might have some of the magazines packed away in that coat. I sit for an arcane amount of time before she finally returns for me. Then its the weigh-in, and the temperature, and the blood pressure and the pulse oximeter. Finally she finishes and leaves me in the little exam room to wait another half hour or so by myself while the doctor gets a cappuccino or something.

My doctor is from Israel. But leave the joy stained imagery of Fiddler on the Roof out of it. This particular visit is one of the last two I will have to endure.

As a sidenote, I'd better backstory this a little. I was in a big accident three months ago. Broke my neck. Had a post op infection and got re operated on and the fun of having a PICC Line installed. If you're a doctor and I used the wrong number of letters somewhere in there, don't correct me, I don't care. I know more about PICC lines than you will ever know even though you went to school for umpteen years so you could do something frivolous like save lives.

No. A PICC line simply means you get the joy of playing hospital every eight hours for the rest of your life or until they take it out, whichever comes first. The way mine was going I thought it might be the first choice. Anyway, during the ten weeks I'm playing hospital I get to meet with this doctor every week to bolster my confidence and cheer me along the way. Oh and get stabbed weekly by a nursing student.
Enough background.

I'm sitting there somewhat elated that before too much longer I won't be seeing this doctor again or get stabbed, when he tells me once I'm done taking antibiotics, I'll still have a high risk of the infection coming back because all they really do is suppress infection. Since I have permanent hardware in my neck, "It has maybe..." he wrinkles his face trying for optimism,
"fifty fifty chance of returning with hardware."

He grins.

"In that case, if spine has fused, we take hardware out and repeat treatment." His eyes glint hopefully.

"If it hasn't fused then you'll be in a cast for..." he pauses to soak up the joy of conveying such news, "six months... sometimes longer." I stare back blankly, unwilling to give him the shock and amazement he's hoping for.

"A full body cast then?" I ask.
He nods vigorously. I feel my neck.
"That'd be inconvenient."

"Oh yes! I remember I was finishing medical school back in the late 70's. I used to moonlight as a... a nurse."

I nod.

"Two schoolmates of mine; they were from my high school in Israel, got into a car crash and both had to wear spine casts in the ward I was working."
He smiles, deeply satisfied by the memory and the thought that one day soon he might relish the same satisfaction seeing me in such a cast.

"Was very embarrassing for them." He chuckles. "They shouldn't have crashed their car."
Wise man. I bet they never thought of that.

Reassured that my weekly doctor visits might not actually be coming to an end, I skipped happily to the lab to get stabbed once more by a young lady of almost steady-handedness who I assumed knew what she was doing.

After-all, she was wearing pink pajamas. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh Ben! This is funny! It sure made me laugh. Now I know where those faces you sculpt come from. You really have that cranky old man lurking on your shoulder! Tell that doctor when you see him next week your mom says Thank you so very very much. I am so grateful!