Saturday, June 30, 2012

Walk-In Clinics, the Folly of Walking Upright, and The Good Typist Takes Back the Power of the “C” Word

So I have this injury from years back where a cyst burst in my left knee during a dance class, and it turned out I had been walking around with a torn meniscus for years and didn’t know it. The cyst had built up because of fluid leaking through the tear. After an MRI, a cortisone shot, and two rounds of physical therapy, the constant pain improved, but it never really went away completely, and all attempts since then to get a doctor to treat it are met with a half-hearted shrug and vague advice to “avoid straining it.” Whenever I start working out with any regularity, the pain comes back in force, and I’ve been dealing with it again ever since my new health kick started. But I’m awesome at denying physical pain and looming health problems, so I just ignored the hell out it and carried on. 

Until today, when I almost collapsed in Sephora from severe shooting pains screaming up my left leg when I put weight on it in just the wrong way. I limped out (but don’t worry--I still managed to purchase my overpriced “microbead technology” liquid foundation!) Then on the way up the escalator to the bathroom, it happened again. And then again on the way to the car. So when I got home, Mr. Typist made me up an ice pack and had me call the nurse hotline, who advised, “stay off your feet, ice it, wrap it in an Ace bandage, and go to a doctor within 24 hours.” Mr. Typist dutifully drove me to the walk-in clinic. Where we waited…and waited…and waited. Two and a half hours later, I finally got in to see the over-worked doctor, who, after I gave him the run-down, just shrugged and said, “Well, that’s what happens. Humans being were never meant to walk upright, you know.” He went on to espouse his philosophy about humans wearing shoes, (don’t), women wearing high heels, (vain and foolish), and how if humanity had never been so arrogant as to evolve past crawling on all fours, I wouldn’t be having these problems. 

I gently prodded: Cortisone shot? (No good for a meniscus tear.) Laproscopic surgery? (Huge risk of infection and won’t help anyway.) Anti-inflammatory? (Causes bleeding ulcers.) Another round of physical therapy? (Won’t work long-term.) The final verdict? Stay off my feet, ice it, and wrap it in an Ace bandage. After accusing me of falsely advertising that I'd visited Ireland because I was wearing an Ireland hoodie that I actually purchased in Ocean Shores, he ushered me out the door, and that was that. 

When it comes to visiting doctors when you’re in your 40’s, I think the brilliant Louis CK sums it up best:

There are No Bad Words…Only Bad Context

The real reason I was at the mall today was not actually to buy foundation, but to have some private time to sob to my friend on the phone in the parking lot about a very difficult personal situation. At some point, (probably at what felt like about seven hours in) she finally said, “Sweetie, listen to me. You need to stop being so damn nice about it, and start being a full-on Dragon Cunt.” At which point all I could imagine was a giant, enraged, fire breathing vagina reigning wrath down upon the universe. And I started laughing uncontrollably, and then crying again because I’m so glad I have friend who can come up with a moniker as awesome and hilarious as “Dragon Cunt.” It’s a goddess and a superhero all in one! And while I didn’t need to actually invoke Dragon Cunt in this particular situation—it turns out just plain old honest communication was enough to get things back on track--I'm glad to know that the spirit of the Dragon Cunt will be always waiting in the wings, ready to spring into action on my behalf if need be. Lesson learned? The “C” word is whatever we choose to make of it. 

--Kristen McHenry


Steven Cain said...

Stupid joints. I got a bit manly the other day at the squat rack and something cut loose in my right knee, swelling it to double its normal size in a flash. My god, the pain. I'm riding it out though. Screw the doctors. Mom says give it six months and the body will heal damn near anything on its own. So far, good advice.

That was a whole lot of the C word.

I absolutely must aquire a girlfriend, platonic or otherwise, who comes up with such delicious monikers.

Steven Cain said...

Oh... sorry about your knee.

risaden said...

I don't always comment, but I always enjoy. Sad truth about what medicine has to offer. You could probably talk an orthopod into doing a knee replacement (even though they will sayyou are too young), which of all the heroic orthopedic surgeries (many of which make people worse) knee replacements are often awesomely successful. Best wishes for healing.