Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nancy, Prepare the Needle Room!

So, say you've slept roughly 7 hours in the past 4 days, the (delicious) Triple O Hamburger you ate the night before on the ferry is sitting like a lump of molten lava in your G.I. tract and your emotions are racheted up to the highest power by wedding-induced "I-believe-again-in-the-power-of-love-but-worry-I-will-end-up-living-with-500-cats-who-will-eat-my-face-when-I-die"-ness. What's the best remedy? The Post-Wedding Medical Professional Triathlon!

And so, instead of sleeping in and recharging my batteries before I once again board the wedding train, I got up at 7 a.m. for three medical appointments in a row. First up: physio! This was uneventful. I managed to get through the session, even though I nodded off briefly during my "try to touch your ass with your heel" exercise, because I have been going to physio so long that I could do my exercises after a lobotomy.

Second stop: a neurologist appointment. Now, my neurologist is a nice-enough guy, but every time I see him I wind up lying on a bed while he pokes electrified needles into various sensitive parts of my anatomy, making me feel more than a little like Frankenstein (as if the lurching around wasn't enough). I wasn't expecting to get jabbed, since I was hoping that the neurologist would just pat me on the back, give me a gold star and send me on my way. Yeah, not so much. Instead, the doctor examined me and said the five little words I was hoping not to hear: "Nancy, prepare the needle room." You'd think they would call it something nicer. Like, "Nancy, prepare the fuzzy kittens and hot fudge sundae room." Or even, "Nancy, prepare the room where bad things will happen briefly but then will be mercifully over." Fast forward to the doctor plunging his needle up and down vigorously into my hip (it sounds sexier than it was) saying, "Well, that's interesting," which incidentally are the other words you never want to hear out of a doctor's mouth. "Huh. That's certainly interesting."
"What?" I asked.
"It's hard to tell," he said. "Can you flip over? This is really interesting."
Which is how I wound up on my stomach with my underwear down around my ankles with the doctor putting his electric shock needle repeatedly into my ass, which was also not as sexy as it sounds. You know what? My poor ass. This blog may be about my hip replacement, but my poor anti-ass has really been through the ringer these days: getting bruised on hard chairs and stationary bicycles, getting vigorously massaged, and now, getting jabbed repeatedly with a needle that conducts an electric current through your nerves so you can hear them like whale song. What a little trooper.

According to the neurologist, he can now see signs of damage on my hip flexors, though it's difficult to tell whether it's old or new damage, and it could turn out to be nothing at all. Or, you know, it could turn out to be nerve damage and I'll never walk properly again. The neurologist ordered more tests.
"You know, you really have to make sure you do the exercises," he said. "You really have to be dedicated. Are you sure you're doing the exercises every day?"
What I wanted to say was: "Right. Dedicated. Do you know what I was doing at 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning? I was in the B.C. Ferries lineup leaning over the hood of my car as if I'd just been arrested, thrusting my leg out behind me repeatedly, while hundreds of people stared slack-jawed at me while they shuffled off to get their coffee, because even though I'd pulled an all-nighter, and even though I was out in public, I wanted to get my damn exercises in. And do you know where I was at 11:30 p.m. of that same night, even though I was so tired that I was literally going cross-eyed and I hadn't slept for 41 hours? Right. I was doing my exercises. Even though I was so fucking exhausted I could barely remember my own name, I was still doing my clamshells and pillow squeezes. I have a fucking PhD in Dedication with a certificate in Not Getting So Frustrated That I Throw My Cane Through a Plate-Glass Window. Do not even start with me or I will cut you."
What I said was: "Yeah."
"Because you have to do them every day," he said.
"I do them," I said. "I'm not keen to walk around like the Phantom of the Opera for the rest of my life."
He stared at me for a few seconds, then patted my leg reassuringly and left the room.

Next stop: my G.P. My appointment was for 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m. (two hours and five magazines later) he finally poked his head in the door. After hearing that I might have nerve damage, his suggestion was to send me to a physiatrist, which I mistook for a psychiatrist when he first said it.
"No," he said. "A physiatrist specializes in broken, damaged bodies like yours. Their job is to make the best of terrible situations where the patient is never going to get better. They come in after all the rest of the doctors have given up hope and tell you how to get the best out of your broken, damaged body, even though it will never be the same."
Well, thanks so much. Now I feel a whole lot better. At least someone knows what to do with my scrap-heap of a skeletal system. Do you think he counsels other people this way? "Don't worry Little Johnny. A dermatologist will be able to cure that digusting mess on your face that looks like someone dumped bacon grease all over the rotting remains of some lasagna and then lit it on fire repeatedly. I mean, by the time he's done, your face will be so pitted that most women will still throw up a little in their mouths when they see you but, hey, let's make the best of a bad situation."

Yeah, screw the physiatrist. All my broken, damaged body needs is a fifth of whiskey (why do I keep talking about drinking when there are nuns who drink more than I do?) and the Collected Works of Sylvia Plath.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, don't knock the Physiatrist. I like to think of them as the most brilliant of doctors that are able to connect different areas of medicine better than others who specialize in said different areas. I went to one when my leg started fing with my back. My dad's best friend is one. They rock. They're freakishly smart. Go!