Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You: The Highly Anticipated Sequel

Yesterday, I wrote about waiting around for my surgeon to call. He had promised that he would "definitely" call by Tuesday...or Wednesday "at the very latest." Has he called? Not unless he was the guy who phoned earlier offering to save me hundreds on my cable bill each month. If my relationship with my surgeon was a romantic comedy, it would star Jennifer Aniston and be called "He's Just Not That Into You"... except instead of the "falling in love and living happily ever after" ending, substitute the ending of "The Castle." (If you're saying to yourself, "But, Arley, Kafka died without finishing "The Castle" and it therefore has no ending," then give yourself a pat on the back and an honorary master's degree in English Literature because that is exactly the point). The ending of "Waiting For Godot" would also work.

Patience has never been a strong suit of mine and with each day that I wake up still walking like a 50-year-old retired WWE wrestler who's been hit on the back with a fold-up chair one too many times, I have less and less of it. A. had suggested that I just march down to his office and stage a little sit-in until I get some answers. I could bring my guitar and change the words to protest folk songs. For example, instead of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," I could sing "Like a Fucked-Up Gnome" to describe my walking abilities and instead of "There Is Power in a Union," I could sing "There is Power in a Lawsuit" (just kidding, doctor!) I decided, however, that all this would get me was arrested.

I tried a less-extreme measure. After lunch, I phoned the surgeon's office to see if I couldn't light a little fire under him. I, of course, got the answering machine, so I left a nice, decidedly non-bitchy message: "Hey, Dr. ____. It's Arley. I know you said that you'd give me a call by today, so I'm just calling to see if there's been any progress on getting my MRI report...and if you'd had a chance to talk to the neurologist...So if you could give me a call back, that would be great. Have a nice day!..." Non-bitchy, right? Perfectly normal, yes? Well, I should have amped up the bitch factor because homeboy did not give me a call back. Access. Denied.

Now, it could be that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this. Maybe the neurologist is away at a My Little Pony Collector's Convention (though I don't take my neurologist for a "My Little Pony" type). Maybe someone else is staging a sit-in and my surgeon is a little tied up right now. Maybe the MRI report isn't ready because the radiologist saw the image of the Virgin Mary in my scans and they're being sold on Ebay for hundreds of dollars after being blessed by the Pope. Maybe my surgeon accidentally got his Hippocratic Oath mixed up with one of those "treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen" How to Make Vulnerable Woman Find You Attractive dating manuals. Who knows? Anything could have happened!

What I do know, however, is that I am not asking for a Louis Vitton cane-cover or a diamond-studded sock aid. How much effort does it cost to give me a call and say, "Hey, this is Dr. ___. Just checking to make sure that the magic hip-replacement fairies haven't descended from on high to restore your powers of ambulation. No? Well, hang in there. I called today about the MRI report but it's not ready yet, so I'm sorry to say that you'll have to wait a few more days. Thanks for your patience!" One minute, tops. He could even get his secretary to do it. Then, I would sit back, relax and trust him to do his job. See, at the end of the day, I don't think my surgeon is a bad guy. I respect the fact that he's busy and when you're busy things slip your mind. I hope, however, that "gee, my 26-year-old patient is walking worse than she was before I operated on her 4 months ago and is not improving. Perhaps I should investigate this" might stay on his radar for more than 24 hours. Perhaps Thanksgiving turkey has "Men in Black" memory-erasing properties.

Okay, Dr. ___. You won this round, but tomorrow is another day. And that day will involve speed dial.

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