Medical (Ghostly) Mishaps

I knew I was in trouble the day I could no longer do a cartwheel. I was on the front lawn with Kate, about 10 years ago, on a beautiful summer day, and I decided to try and impress her by showing off my cartwheel skills. The next thing I knew, I was curled up in a ball in the grass, wondering what the hell had happened. And it’s been all downhill from there if this past week has been any indication:

1) The shoulder procedure that never happened

I have calcific tendonitis in my shoulder, and I’ve been waiting six months for a procedure using ultrasound and a very long needle to smash up the calcium. I finally got to the hospital and the surgeon (you may remember him from a previous post, the guy who had an issue with tattoos) took one look at the ultrasound and said, “There’s too much calcium. I can’t do it. I’m going to give you a cortisone shot instead.” I would have lost my sh*t and reminded him that I had an ultrasound in June that showed EXACTLY how much calcium—

(Okay, my house is definitely haunted. I’m sitting here writing after finally getting the dog settled and convincing him that there’s nothing upstairs when I just heard someone whistle. If I go into the other room and find Atlas staring and crying at the basement door again, I will run out of here screaming. And of course, Ken isn’t here—he’s following a miniature train around town collecting food for the Thanksgiving food drive. And now the dog is making woofing sounds under his breath from the other room and I don’t have a baseball bat or a hammer in my office, just a collection of oars and two tennis rackets, and yes, I know that’s a weird collection to have and probably ineffectual to attack a ghost with anyway.)

–I had in my shoulder and he might have let me know it was too much before I had to TAKE A DAY OFF WORK but I didn’t say anything because yet again, he had a giant needle stuck in my shoulder. Of course, the cortisone has already worn off, so I’m back to square one.

2) CAT scan for kidney stones

As far as I’m concerned, it should be common medical practice that there is a cat in the room when you have a CAT scan because a) it’s named after a cat and b) when they tell you mere moments before you go into the room that your scan will be done using intravenous dye, someone needs to give you a cat to hold so that you don’t freak out—

(Speaking of freaking out, the house is suddenly VERY quiet except for the clattering of my laptop keys and an intermittent thumping noise that seems to be coming from the basement…)

–especially when the information pamphlet they give you states that “very few people have ever died from this procedure and if you do have any issues, you are in a hospital and we are very equipped to handle medical emergencies.” And that is NOT as reassuring as they think it sounds.

I have scanned you and you look fine.

3) Emergency Ophthalmologist

On Monday morning I woke up and thought that I was having a migraine aura because I kept seeing flashing lights out of the corner of my eye. But then that stopped and then it seemed like I was looking through gauze so I called my optometrist. He thought it might be a retinal tear so he sent me to an emergency ophthalmologist. My appointment was for 3:10. The office was huge and full of people who kept arriving and being taken into exam rooms immediately while I just sat there. At 4:10, I asked the receptionist what was going on–

(and what’s going on here is that the dog just ran into the living room, jumped up on the couch and is now staring into the kitchen)

–and she said, “You’re an emergency case so you have to wait until all the other scheduled patients are seen.” Which is the most ludicrous statement I think I’ve ever heard and I don’t think she understands what ‘emergency’ means in this context. At 5 o’clock, one of the doctors turned the lights out in his exam room and ran past me, high-fiving HIMSELF and exclaiming, “It’s over! I’m outta here!” I finally saw someone close to 5:30 who diagnosed me with a posterior vitreous detachment–

(the dog is now in the kitchen growling at something and I am holding the smallest of the oars and typing with one hand)

–which isn’t as serious as a retinal detachment but still means that it seems like I’m looking through Vaseline in my left eye a lot of the time which is really annoying. The funniest thing about it is that my boss at work was horrified when I told him and asked, “So your eye could just FALL OUT?!” and I had to explain that it was a detachment INSIDE the eye, not the things that attach your eyeball to your skull or whatnot.

What are you staring at?!

And I don’t know whether I should just stay in here typing where it’s safe, or take my oar and go into the kitchen. Then again, after this week, how much more damage can a ghost do?..

Also, this is part of my insides. Apparently, I’m a Tesla.

It’s All Filler

(Ken: It takes a while for this post to get funny.
Me: But it DOES get funny. Do you think I need to add a warning or something?
Ken: Maybe. Also, you need a transition between the story and the Facebook ad.
Me: Oh stop.)

On Friday, I went to see my orthopedic surgeon. It was the first time I’d actually met him in person or even gone to his office, thanks to covid lockdown. But he seemed nice on the phone, and when I’d called recently, the very pleasant receptionist gave me an appointment within the month. And since things have been getting progressively worse and I’m in constant pain, I was pretty relieved.

But when I walked into the office, I was a bit baffled. It was attached to a gym (for physiotherapy I presume) and the waiting room was packed with people. But there were a couple of other doctors’ names listed on the receptionist’s window, so after checking in, I sat in the last chair available. My appointment was for 12:45, but by 1:00 there was no sign of anyone, which isn’t that unusual, but my family doctor is ALWAYS on time, so I guess I’m spoiled. “Looks like they’re running behind,” I said the woman next to me. “What time is your appointment?”

Woman: 12:30.
Me: Oh dang. I guess mine might be a while.
Other woman across the room: Mine’s at 12:30 too.
Man next to me: So’s mine.

And they were ALL with the same surgeon. Around 1:15, a bunch of people came out and the surgeon came to the door and called the next three people in. 20 minutes later, they all came out, and he called my name, along with two other people. We all tromped in, and after another 5 minutes, he came into my treatment room. “So what’s going on?” he asked. I explained the situation:

Me: And I think the issue is being exacerbated by sitting in front of a computer all day. But I’m retiring at the end of September, so I was hoping you could give me a cortisone shot, just to get me through the next month.
Surgeon: Yeah sure. Go into the next room. By the way, it’ll be 30 dollars.

But I didn’t care about the money—I’d gone through more than that amount in Advil in the last couple of weeks. So I followed him into another room, where he grabbed a big-ass needle, filled it up, pulled the sleeve of my top off my shoulder and jammed the needle in as far as it would go. “It might hurt for a couple of days. See you.” And with that, he was gone to the next patient.

When I got home, I told Ken about it.

Me: And then he just jammed the collagen into my shoulder.
Ken: You mean the cortisone?
Me: What did I say?
Ken: You said collagen.

And I realized that every time I thought about it in my head, I had said ‘collagen’ to myself instead of ‘cortisone’ and then I had a horrifying feeling that maybe I actually HAD asked for collagen. I mean, the place seemed like some back alley clinic you’d hear about on that show Botched, so what are odds that he had just pumped me up with filler? I could imagine him at home later, talking to his wife during their 5-minute dinner:

Surgeon: Weirdest case today. Woman wanted collagen in her shoulder.
Wife: That IS weird. Did you do it?
Surgeon: Thirty bucks is thirty bucks. Gotta go. Thanks for dinner, dessert and the sex.

And now I’m mad at myself for wasting a valuable opportunity. I mean, I could have had my cheeks done, my lips done, gotten rid of those fine lines around my mouth, but no—I had to say ‘shoulder’. No wonder it feels so puffy and still hurts. But it looks REALLY smooth.

Me: Ooh, I really like that chair.
Seller: Yes, it’s very stylish.
Chair: Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Me: What’s wrong with it?
Seller: Nothing. It’s just a little theatrical.
Me: Cool. I’ll take it.
Chair: I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Me: Awesome. Let’s go.
Chair: We can’t.
Me: Why not?
Chair: We’re waiting for Godot.
Me: Don’t be absurd.

Tested To My Limits

So last week, I had the MRI I was telling you about, and unfortunately, I didn’t sprout forklift arms. Not even fork hands, which would also have been cool, although somewhat of a step down. But I quickly got over it because this week, I had to have a CAT scan on my head to try and figure out why I haven’t been able to breathe out of my left nostril for a very long time. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do anything special for it, except for show up at the hospital early yesterday morning.

I was sitting in the waiting room when the radiologist came to get me. He called my name and introduced himself and my blood ran cold. “Yello,” he said. “My name is Sergei. I vill be doing your CAT scan. Come vis me.” Yes, he was Russian. Now, I have absolutely nothing against Russians, but several years ago, I almost caused an international incident with our Soviet comrades when I said the following as part of a post about giving up some of my organs to science:

“Just the other day, I read an article on an actual legitimate internet site about Russian researchers who are on the brink of being able to do a head transplant. They even have a patient lined up for the procedure, believe it or not. This, of course, led me to wonder though–under what possible circumstances would you EVER need a head transplant?! How the hell did you manage to get yourself decapitated in the first place? And if it were possible to re-attach a head to a body, wouldn’t you want your OWN head back? Where would you even find a body that had also lost its head so you could put the two of them together? Kate says that it’s for people who are quadriplegic, so that they can have more mobility, but in that case, wouldn’t it be a better use of medical research to figure out how to fix a spine, rather than aspire to be Dr. Frankenstein? Trust the Russians to do things the hard way—this is why they lost the war. Which war, you ask? Take your pick. I did some internet fact-checking because as we all know, historical accuracy isn’t one of my strengths, and it turns out that they lost almost every war they’ve ever been involved in. Sorry, Russia. They DID win the space race though, so hats off for that.”

Then a few days later, I was looking at my site statistics and realized that someone from Russia was reading my blog. So I did what any rational person would do under similar circumstances: I freaked out and called Ken:

Me: I think I’ve just caused an international incident.
Ken: What are you talking about?
Me: Remember last week when I was dissing the Russians for losing a lot of wars? Well, someone from Russia is reading my blog. What if it’s the KGB? What if they want my head?!
Ken: HAHAHAHA
Me: It’s not funny. If I go out for groceries and never come back, you’ll know why.
Ken: I’m sure no one is coming all the way from Russia to kidnap you and steal your head just because you said they were bad at war.
Me: YOU DON’T KNOW THAT, KEN!

So I spent several months afterwards worrying constantly about being reprimanded by Justin Trudeau for violating some kind of peace treaty, as one does, or having my head affixed atop a figure skater. I finally stopped thinking about it and assumed the Russians had forgiven me. But just when I thought that I had nicely dodged not only an international incident AND potential decapitation, I found myself at the mercy of Sergei, as he directed me to lie down on the bed and commanded “Tip your chin up, pliz.” I was just on the verge of yelling out, “No one is going to want my head—my mind is like a cross between a Monty Python sketch and a jukebox that never stops playing! It will make whoever you donate it to go crazy! Also, I said ALMOST all the wars–I’m sure you’ve won a couple, but history is not my strong suit!”—when I heard Sergei’s voice in the speaker above my head: “You’re all finished,” he said. “Have a nice day.”

“Spasibo,” I answered, just to be on the safe side.

I’m including the picture below because I know a lot of people have been feeling down lately, and after I took it, I said, “This looks like a beacon of hope.” Of course, that could just be me all tired and sentimental after a week of medical testing, but you have to admit, it’s peaceful and pretty.