When it comes to the world of doctors, the prevailing wisdom is: be your own best advocate. But that premise presupposes some basic knowledge. We could begin with a diagnosis. If you don't have one, or it keeps changing like shards in a kaleidoscope, you lack Basic Knowledge 101. It's damned hard to ask the right questions or even google the right ones if you don't know where to begin.
I had high hopes for my first session of physical therapy for my leg. Those hopes were based on enough experience in PT to pass for a test doll. It's my contention that therapists know certainly far more about recovery than any doctor and possibly more about the workings of the human body. But they too need more than just my 1-10 pain standings.
It started out as a broken leg — although the radiologist who read the x-ray in Nantucket at first was unsure about that; he changed his mind when the physician's assistant who examined me was so sure it was a break. Hmmm. Who should have been listening to whom here? Then the orthopedist in Concord said she thought it was not broken but might be a torn ligament. Then the MRI report (the one lost for a week) indicated, the orthopod informed me, a muscle tear. All this hemming and hawing, saying with authority the injury is this, then with equal authority saying it is that, well, it just does not inspire confidence.
My therapist, a young woman whose first language is not English (a flaw when explanations get complicated), said words I've come to fear in medical exams of all sorts: "You are very interesting." That always means they haven't a clue what to do with me and my woe-of-the-moment. Maybe at my next appointment, she offered, she will be able to tell me more, after, that is, she consults with her boss.
The good news is I'm to hobble around the house without the boot, work to loosen up my ankle that has been immobilized for three weeks and do some calf stretches. I can even try some swimming (if I can figure out how to get to the pool without my feet flying out from under me on the wet surfaces).
On Monday I'm to bring my x-ray, my MRI and a second shoe (oh, happy day! two shoes at one time!). Maybe in another week's time, after her boss has a chance to review those test images, I'll know those critical basics — what is actually wrong with my leg, how long will it take to recover, when can I start to ramp up my activity level? On the other hand, maybe not.
My kingdom, tiny realm that it is, for an answer, and from that answer, a plan.
Truffle: Secretariat. Not the movie so much — I knew how it was going to come out, after all — as the thrill of the race, the pounding of hooves, those big beautiful bodies flying across the track.
Quote of the day: "Be your own palace, or the world is your jail." (John Donne)