Friday, June 17, 2011

paging the doctor, you have a patient.

hello, my name is emily, and i'm addicted to being too busy.

addicted isn't the right word.

it's more like... i'm just constantly busy. i could call it superwoman syndrome if i wanted, because i tell myself that i can do everything. like be a resident assistant, be on the swim team, take ALL of my classes on mondays, wednesdays and fridays, manage to watch chuck and criminal minds, have forty hours of placement in alma's public high school, get all of my school work done, spend my mandatory six hours in the library a week, and still manage to sleep.

i can do that. i think.

so superwoman syndrome has gotten me into the busiest summer of my life. i struggled and struggled until my father brought home a GIGANTIC planner from our credit union and said, "happy belated birthday."

there is something written down for every single day in june. most days have four or five things.

for today, june seventeenth, i have written down "jacob comes at 7:30!!! coach's meeting 10 am. ONE appointment 1:30 pm."

that last thing is what this blog is really about. possibly. maybe. it's going to try to be. i think i can manage to stay on topic.

at my first ONE appointment for my back, they gave me a back brace, three prescription pills, and a number to call for physical therapy. before i left, i managed to get the guy molding the plaster of my brace to sign his kids up for my swim team. i felt productive.

i was assigned to see dr. jenkinson. the guy i talked to for almost half an hour about my agonizing back pain was a man named kevin something or other, and the entire appointment, i thought he was dr. jenkinson. i realized i was wrong later while i was waiting for my back brace to be ready when the actual dr. jenkinson came in, tried to shake my hand, and told me that i didn't have to sleep in my brace. then he left.

today, at one thirty, was my follow up appointment. i had high hopes for this appointment. i always have really high hopes for doctor's appointments. not so much with the dentist, but i expect a decent amount out of a serious appointment like this one.

in the waiting room, i tried not to stare at the kid who had a cast from his wrist to his shoulder. i didn't want to contemplate exactly what he'd broken and how much it had hurt, and exactly how long he was going to be in physical therapy to have it work right again, if it ever did. i focused on the television and how terrible we are with closed captioning. CNN's story of the day: conspiracy theories about whether president obama is building a golf course behind the white house.

i kid you not.

i waited a painstakingly long time alone in patient room one. even with a back brace, if i'm sitting in a chair that doesn't have a back, my back is not strong enough to support itself for long. i couldn't lean against the wall because there was a gigantic framed poster of knee injuries. and because my back is beautiful and always in pain, i didn't even have the luxury of twisting around to look at it and be fascinated by the mechanics of the knee and what i could do to it to render me incapable of walking for a long time.

i was visited by kevin something or other again. he told me that i could get an MRI and some gigantic needle put in my back, or we could wait for another six weeks to see what happened. with my fear of needles, you can guess which option i chose. besides, MRI's are expensive, noisy, and claustrophobic. the one i had on my feet when i was seventeen was bad enough.

kevin something or other told me that i did not need a special x-ray like my physical therapist had suggested to me the other day. i suspect she won't be happy when i alert her of this at my next appointment. tonight, it's very possible i'm going to lie in bed and have an terrific vision of her and kevin something or other yelling over the phone about whether or not i have spondylolisthesis (say that five times fast). i feel like my physical therapist is going to win. she's pretty hardcore.

after kevin something or other left after telling me that he'd see me again in six weeks to see where my back was, i was escorted to check out by a nice lady who had a chart with my name on it. the lady behind the check out counter was even nicer, gave me a gigantic calendar to look at so i could figure out when my appointment would be, and how i could work it into my entirely too busy summer. we picked a date. it's written down in my gigantic planner.

halfway home, while i was sitting at a red light, i realized i didn't see dr. jenkinson at all.

i reported this to my father, who frowned and voiced exactly what i had been thinking the rest of the drive home: what exactly do orthopaedic doctor's do if they don't see patients?

i really think i'm one of those people who expects too much out of an appointment. i was extremely disappointed that i'm stuck in the back brace for another six weeks (it ruins cute sundresses and is extremely hot during my outside job), but i figured that i wasn't out of the woods with it yet. i was disappointed that i had to keep taking my scary drugs that induce my rather psychedelic dreams, and i was terrifically disappointed that i had not seen my actual orthopaedic doctor.

i'm not sure what he looks like. if i remember correctly, it's possible that he's bald.

dr. jenkinson, if you're out there, you have a patient named emily hollenberg with back pain and a back brace who'd like to meet you.

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