While International Arley Appreciation Day is still a couple of weeks away (Nov. 15th, mark your calendars), today is another important milestone: "Young and Hip" turns 3 months old. If my blog was a human being, it would be able to recognize people by face and scent (I can't do that some days), squeal, gurgle, coo and do a "mini pushup" (something I also probably can't do). When "Young and Hip" first started, I promised A. that my blogging career would not last longer than a few weeks, since I would quickly get better and be back on my feet in no time (after all, I started "Young and Hip" when I was about 6 weeks post-surgery, which is about the time it takes 90-year-olds to start doing laps around me in physio) and run out of stuff to write about. Clearly, I was not anticipating my own ability to write 500 words about monkey slippers, or the fact that...well...I would be 19 weeks post-surgery and still walking like Rush Limbaugh after too many Vicodin cocktails.
And what am I getting "Young and Hip" for its birthday? A visit to Dr. SecondOpinion. Yes, tomorrow I will finally see an orthopedic surgeon. (Granted, not the one I've been trying to see for the past few weeks, but a surgeon all the same). And, believe me, I am taking this shit seriously. I'm a motherfucking general when it comes to preparing for doctor's appointments. I pretty much make D-Day look like a flashmob event. So, yes, I've written out a list of questions and typed up key symptoms and a rough timeline of the problem's history and prepared a file with my MRI CDs and the MRI report. Dr. SecondOpinion, I'll see your Type A personality and raise you a touch of OCD caused by 19 weeks of ass bruising and frustration. I am ready to fucking go.
Basically, I work from the assumption that my doctor is going to assume I'm an idiot and it's my job to at least pretend that I'm a competent giver of medical testimony. Nothing ruins your credibility like forgetting how many weeks post-surgery you are or whether your or not your grandmother had cancer (in my defense, when you hear the word "colostomy bag," you tend to tune out pretty quickly). I'm also working from the assumption that Dr. SecondOpinion and Dr. ____ are buddies and that Dr. SecondOpinion will side with his fellow colleague. (I picture them in a room with dark wood paneling and the stuffed heads of various jungle predators mounted on the walls, smoking cigars and talking about the Empire).
A delicate touch is therefore needed (and, if you haven't noticed, "delicate" and "Arley" are not often found together, hence the need for planning). It's an issue of balance. I want to be polite but also somehow answer the question, "So, what does your original surgeon think of this problem?" truthfully without saying, "he doesn't seem to give a fuck." I must be be empathetic but firm. I must respect his authority while still demanding answers. Perhaps I will say, "I know I'm not ordering food from McDonalds here and that a thorough diagnosis takes time, but..." Perhaps I will smile and be appropriately dressed and reference my Master's degree and Paralympic bronze medal and the fact that I'm only 26 a few times. Above all, however, I will be cheerful and open-minded. I've actually been seen by Dr. SecondOpinion when I was 16 and we didn't get along so well, though I'm fully willing to admit that I didn't get along with most people when I was 16. (I was listening to a lot of Hole and Bad Religion at the time). I have, however, heard from a lot of people that he's actually a nice guy and that he's one of the most respected surgeons in Vancouver, so I've decided to go into this appointment with a clean-slate mentality. My goal is to seem so mature yet so filled with youthful vim and vigor that he will forget the surly 16-year-old I was.
After all, I only get one shot at this. My biggest concern is that Dr. SecondOpinion will give me the old, "Oh, you don't walk that badly. Just start working at some surgeon's office who specializes in post-polio syndrome and you'll fit right in!" The phrase "give it some more time" or "these things usually take care of themselves" will absolutely devastate me. I have given this hip 19 weeks of time, which is roughly double the length of a Hollywood marriage. These things are not taking care of themselves. I know that surgeons are not miracle workers, but my hope is to come out of the appointment with a clear course of action and the knowledge of whether or not I can pop down to Illinois for a few weeks.
So, yes, tomorrow I will be rallying my mental troops and preparing for my Freaky Cyborg Hip's big day. What's that saying? Hope for the best but prepare for the worst? Bring it on, life. I'm prepared. (Just wait: my next blog post will be titled "Okay, Maybe Not"). And, now, I am off to go knock on some wood.