Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recovery II: A Touch of Paranoia and a Hint of Hypochondria

Suddenly yesterday, I became convinced that I had a screw loose.  In my ankle.  Maybe I bumped my left food against something as I was passing by.  I stopped and wiggled my foot.  It seemed wiggly-wobbly.  More wobbly than it's been since the surgery.  Oh, oh.  I wiggled it again.  It was definitely wiggle-wobbling.  Shit.

It was late morning and I sat on the couch, contemplating my options.  What were my options?  Do the rational thing -- nothing -- as there was no significant traumatic event that could have loosened a piece of hardware in my ankle?  Or fret and worry and wiggle my foot constantly, paying attention to the smallest jiggle down there and wonder if there real is a problem?  And the more we wonder about these things, the more we convince ourselves that something must be wrong, very wrong.

It didn't take long to convince myself that, indeed, something was wrong.  I followed the self-prescribed plan of periodic foot wiggling.  Obediently, it wiggled side to side.  It didn't help that my boot is strapped loosely (I hate tight wraps) and my foot also wiggled inside the boot.  I decided to tell Jessica that I needed to go to ER.  This could wait an hour, however, and, since Sophie had a short day at school, the three of us went out to lunch.  I sat at the table, picking at Prawns in Black Bean Sauce Luncheon Special with little appetite, turning over in my brain having to go through surgery for screw reattachment, going back on pain meds, dealing with swelling, and resetting my recovery clock by at least two weeks.  These happy thoughts had me pretty depressed.

Lunch finally over, Jessica dropped me off at ER for my sixth (!) visit to Kaiser in three weeks since I broke the ankle.  (I'm proving to be quite a high-maintenance patient.)  I hobbled in.  Security guard (yes, you have to go through a metal detector; I imagine gang members occasionally try to come in to finish the unfinished business) waived me in, as I didn't seem to pose a risk.  I registered and sat in the reception area, awaiting my fate.  In little time, a nurse summoned me in, took my history -- two days' worth -- and hustled me over to the x-ray room.  A very friendly x-ray tech named Hung (I have no funny comments here, insert your own) with a wonderful x-ray table manner took the usual three exposures of the ankle (front, outside, then inside).  He had pulled up x-rays taken the previous day and compared them with the ones he was taking.  "Hmm," he kept saying, "this looks pretty much like the earlier one."  He said that about front and outside exposures immediately after he took them, but there was a significant pause after he took the third, inside exposure.  "Oh, oh," I thought.  But no, again, he said it looked the same.  I was elated.  He said he wanted a doctor to look at the films to confirm what he saw, which was fine with me.

I hobbled to an examination room and sat waiting for a doctor.  She came in a few minutes later and asked what happened and why I was there.  I explained about the initial injury, surgery, casts, the wobble.  She asked whether I had other health problems and I admitted to a touch of paranoia and a bit of hypochondria.  She said, "Nothing wrong with that," and was very understanding and sympathetic, adding that she went through a similar experience with a broken leg.  She looked at my x-rays and said everything looks fine, but she added that she wanted a podiatrist to confirm what she saw.  She called podiatry, where the head of the department looked at the films and agreed with her opinion.  I was set free.  Free from ER and free from my worries...

For the time being...


1 comment:

Gunnar Berg said...

A "touch" of hypochondria?