Over the last month and a half I have watched my self retreat from life’s pleasures. It began with the morning I awoke with a balloon where my left foot had been. The affliction stayed and so, lacking a personal physician, I drove down to the emergency room at 7:30 Thursday morning. I lucked into an empty waiting room, a circumstance I had dared to hope for with my early arrival. I was ushered quickly into my own room where the doctor believed it might be gout until my blood test indicated otherwise. He was an oriental sort of guy and dove right into my complaint. He ordered X-Rays and then connected me to an intravenous anti-inflammatory drug bolstered by anti-biotic in case it was an infection. Five hours later I was free to go and the deflated foot felt fine enough that I took the boys and their friends to Blue Springs and had a great time swimming and snorkeling. I began the course of prescription antibiotic that night yet by morning the foot was back looking like a balloon-animal rooster, my toes as the comb.
I hobbled back in the next morning but not early enough and a bad choice of days. Progress was slow, the triage nurse informed me, because on Friday people don’t come to work. Many people who arrived after me went in ahead of me, I was told because they didn’t require a room. Six hours later I was beckoned through the swinging doors of hope to wait with a personable therapist of some sort who finally said, “I’m going to go get the man. This guy knows everything.”
He returned a half hour later with a dumpy guy in a doctor suit who looked at my foot from a comfortable distance and admitted he didn’t know what was wrong with it. Then they let me go with advice to keep it up and iced.
It has been a month with my left foot up and regularly iced. At first the pain was like having a kidney stone in my foot but that eased. The boys’ mother, not a terribly solicitous person by nature, treated me kindly at first, even bringing me food. This lasted a few days. After that my constant presence on the couch was tolerated with no thick veil of impatience. Sympathy also drained from the boys and my inert state became a source of amusement for them. Many times I rose to hobble to the bathroom, a dreaded and painful move at best, only to find one crutch shorter than the other. Rare was the morning I did not awake with a penis drawn on my forehead. Disabused of any chance at retaliation, I was poked, prodded, squirted and farted upon with clear similarities to the wolf pack when the leader has gone down. I could easily imagine the affectionate tricks they would play on me if I were attached to a breathing tube. And I saw plainly what fun they will have with my body should I chance to die. I also knew with a certainty that when I go to my grave it will be as a dickhead. This will be the last sight of me on earth and how I will be remembered. Of this I am sure.
I paid another visit to the Emergency Room to complain of my malingering. It was early and not a Friday and I got right in. This doctor was a middle age woman who called me “kid” as if she were Bogart and I Bacall. This had the intended effect of showing me things weren’t so serious after all and I felt immediately at ease.
“How ya doin kid?”
She held my foot. “This isn’t you, kid. You’re too healthy for this kind of thing. This is for diabetics and overweight people.”
She looked at the X-Rays which indicated arthritis to her so she ordered a cat-scan for greater detail. The cat-scan showed her that my foot and ankle bones are perfect and arthritis free. This result didn’t help her diagnosis so she gave up although she did opine that the earlier antibiotic had been pointless. Humphrey prescribed more anti-inflammatory drugs. I suspect I’ll be back with a kidney problem.
I spend my recumbent days now plotting revenge on the children, should I ever again be capable of it. In the meantime my left leg has atrophied practically to a skin covered series of bones, an almost unending source of hilarity for my loving offspring.
I have gone to the Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic and been examined by a doctor who specializes in ankles. At last I must get my answer. He tries to twist my ankle, compares it to the right one which he can twist, pokes and finds the tender spots, makes me try to stand on my toes, views cat scan, X-Ray and blood test and at the end of it says he doesn’t know what’s causing my problem though he’s sure it isn’t gout; but I should take some more anti-inflammatory drugs and he gave me a prescription for a five hundred dollar ankle brace.
I’ve decided I’m just going to walk on the damn thing how it is, come what may, because I may never get another chance.