Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Belly of the Beast

On May 3rd, I had an on-the-job accident. My Manager's husband left the Skidsteer (mini-tractor. REALLY fun to drive! I want one when I win the Lotto. Whaddya mean ya gotta actually buy tickets to win? What kinda deal is THAT?) out overnight in the rain, and the bucket was slick as cat spit. My first sale of the day was fir bark, which was covered by big sheets of plastic. I climbed out on the bucket, climbed up onto the big concrete bin walls, and pulled the plastic back so I could scoop the fir out. As I was climbing back down, my foot slipped off the edge of the bucket, and I did the backwards splits into the bucket, and came down hard on both knees onto the edge of the bucket.

I filled out an incident report, and included the customer's name who witnessed my Olympic-style dismount. I waited until June 3rd to go to the Doctor's, because I kept thinking it would get better. It didn't. So I have been going to a Physical Therapist twice a week since June. My little town has the BEST darn Doctor, (Dr. Rick Orth) and the BEST PT(Bryan Sundahl) in all the world. I'm not kidding, Par Excellance, bar none. I feel so fortunate that if I HAD to slip and fall at work, 1) I didn't do it in California, where I would probably STILL be waiting for a first appointment to see a doctor, and 2) that I live here, where medicine is still handled the Olde Fashioned Way: with Humanity, with Humor, and with Empathy. This would have been a long dark nightmare elsewise.

After a couple of months' worth of PT, and the derned hip was NOT improving as it should have, we had X-Rays done, which told us a couple things: 1) I have arthritis, and 2) I didn't break any bones when I fell. But I am still having to take anti-inflammatories and pain pills, and nighttime pills so I can sleep without waking up crippled up. I have pain. Yes, Virginia, and it is a living thing which gnaws and gibbers. And which I hold at bay with pills. So then I had to take an MRI last week. It's a special type of hell, a check for a lateral tear in my hip. Or the soft tissue around it. It's where they take a needle around 8" long, and gradually stick you with it. First prick stings, and then they pump the hip with novacaine-ish numbness, which creates a pressure not unlike having a tooth extracted, only it presses IN not OUT. They then take another needle full of dye, and slide it (and they do a generously kind job, as good as can be expected) under the cartilage --the "shower cap"-- which covers the ball socket of your femur, or somewhere in the immediate vicinity anyways... and inject it. You can see the skin rising, like in a good Rick Baker special effect.

Unfortunately for me, I get terribly stressed with needles. Bless them, and they are quite right, they told me "It will be alot easier on you if you can just relax." But if I knew how to manipulate that "OFF" switch from inside here ....well, *tap*tap* Is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me; Is there anyone home? And I'm a big weenie when it comes to needles. Break my bones, break my noggin, I is strong like bull. Threaten me with a needle poke, I is weak like lamb. So I, of course, cried. And couldn't quite stop. Just these annoying leakages oozing from my tear ducts. *bleh* What a weenie.

First they sterilize the area. Everyone is quite concerned with following protocol, so I have front- and back-wards cotton robes, or what one can loosely call a "robe", or in Hospital-lingo, "The Very latest in French Fashion Statements." A covering. Disposable lap-coverings. The Lady receptionist is there throughout the procedure, and actually, I was grateful for her comfort and presence.

But I remember being slightly annoyed at how "careful" they were all being to me, and feeling resentful of the extra time it was taking, this polite dance of political correctness and protocol. And rather wistful about the changing times which could force patient and doctor to engage in such an awkward tap dance around each other.

But that is for another tale, for another generation, for their children to scoff at. Besides, I quite felt that my annoyance was ill-placed. So I bit it. And bit it back to boot.

Once the anaesthesia began to almost-work, they put me in a short metal donut where they marked the injection site with a felt pen, after they centered in on the spot with what looked like a Fro Pik. OK, now, all of you who actually KNOW what that is, raise your hands, and then we shall all *giggle* together. Now, as the narrow cot slides through the donut, there is air shooting in a line across my body, as if following a light beam. But I didn't KNOW it was just air. What it FELT like, was every single hair on my rather hairless body, (being human, with a VERY meager coat, you know. All my critturs laugh at me behind my back) being raised up straight. Like static electricity was being played across my skin. Or like that creepy feeling which raises the hair off the nape of your neck?? It felt.. frighteningly sensuous.

And then here comes the object of my doom and despair: the miles' long needle. It hurts a great deal. It's not just pressure, although there is that, it's also sharp, and my body half rises off the cot, which worries the poor doctor something fierce, since any major movement will screw up the picture. We do not want this. Nay! I say, verily nay we dinna!!

Then I walk around to give the dye the ability to leak out and paint the surrounding areas of my hip if there is any tear. Then it's off to the "Magnet", the actual tube, where I lie upon yet another cot, and get slowly inserted within. With just my head sticking out. There are moments where I briefly feel the damp, cold touch of claustrophia pricking me, but I shrug that bony hand off my heart, and breathe through it. They set me up with a pair of headphones, and tune it to Kink Radio not to be confused with any OTHER Kinkish junk, which, to my dismay, there's a lot of. (KINK's a great radio station, by the way! Locally owned and operated, they are true to the music. It's just not Corporate. It's what FM Radio used to be in the early 70's. There's little looping, lots of great old classics, lots of great new music, lots of live music, they have lots of artists drop in and give acoustic performances on-air, and they give new artists a great venue for exposure...OOOPS! off track there, Me's's got! But check 'em out!)

This is very quite sweet of them, since this magnetic camera is REALLY NOISY! We drown most of it with some great rock. It takes about an hour to garner all the images, and I drift in and out of conscienceness, abruptly yanked out of DreamTime by mundane things like the jerking of my legs--luckily not a noticeable action which could bollux up the MRI-- or a burst of musical riff. And once, I drifted back to conscienceness with the feel of my lover's hand sweeping the hair back from my face, and the sweet smell of him leaning over me. A strange feeling to be both in and out of reality.

The following week, both my Doctor and my Physical Therapist ooooh and ahhh and grimace and frown over the report. It doesn't look good. There's a cyst in there somewhere. There's a tear. There's damage on the socket. Doc Orth has referred me to an Orthopedic Specialist in Portland, so I await a call from them for the next stage. I may have to have surgery. There may be other things which will be needful. I will find out soon.

But I'm still hobbling about! Still on the up side of the grass! and still gardening! I wonder if I'll wind up bionic? *Gee* I could set off all the metal detectors in the airport!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!


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