Well, it's Thanksgiving in Canada and you know what that means: look for me in roughly 5 hours face down in a plate of gravy, suffering from some kind of sugar coma induced by eating three bags of candy corn and some cheesecake and some pie and some....God, I love eating. Thanksgiving also means that I will have that line from a Pavement song that goes "my heart is made of gray! Vee!" stuck in my head for the next three weeks. (What? You don't associate a day of thanks with an 80's indie rock band?)
Anyhow, despite all of the various medical melodramas in my life, I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm thankful for my family who have put up with me and only occasionally (okay, daily) make fun of me for my walk by calling me "Igor," for my friends who have tolerated the fact that I'm rarely in one place, for A., who continues to provide a good home for Mika. I'm thankful for the physios who are working to help me walk again. I'm thankful for the fact that my parents just paid hundreds of dollars to take our poor old kitty Mr. Chubbz to the emergency vet since he's come down with a bad case of the kitty 'flu. I'm thankful to L-Cro who taught me last night how to mix catfood with warm water and feed Mr. Chubbz via oral syringe when he was at death's door (though, frankly, I could have done without watery cat food all over my pants and claw marks all up my thighs because Mr. Chubbz, even when he's too weak to raise his head, is never too weak to cut a bitch down). I am the luckiest six-foot-two, crazy-haired, tip-toe-shuffling Canadian who ever shuffled this earth.
And, of course, I am also thankful for the fact that I'm Canadian (even if it means that I will never fulfill my dream of living in Berkeley). I'm incredibly lucky that being born a mere 30-minute drive on the right side of the border means that I'm not filing for medical bankruptcy, that I'm not wracked with guilt as my parents figure out a way to pay for my bills, and that I'm not having to decide "do I REALLY need that nerve test? Do I REALLY need that MRI?" After all, the only thing worse than getting electrified needles jabbed in your ass is paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of getting electrified needles jabbed in your ass.
I have actually had a lot of experience with doctors on both sides of the border. I've seen some great American doctors; (anyone who has avascular necrosis should see Dr. Mont in Baltimore. I've been to dozens of surgeons and Dr. Mont is the only one who actually viewed me as a whole person, as opposed to just a bad hip). I have, however, waited months and paid hundreds of dollars to see an awful surgeon (who shall remain nameless) who refused to look at my X-rays or MRIs and even told me that I didn't have avascular necrosis ("no, sweetheart. *pat pat* You have arthritis") because he knew I wasn't a straightforward "give the 50-year-old lawyer a new hip, improve his golf game and collect your $60,000" case.
This time last year, I was complaining about the fact that I had to pay both Canadian and American taxes on the paltry $15,000 I was making as a grad student. Well, those taxes were a good investment because I've enjoyed some fantastic medical care since I had my hip replaced and I didn't have to take a job I hate just for medical coverage or refinance my home to get it. Whatever happens with my hip, at least I won't have a case of buyer's remorse because, hey, you can't really complain about something you got for free.