Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I got a lot out of physical therapy, because I went to appointments. The reason I could go is that I did not take the pain killers. Physical therapy hurts; pain is taboo, so folks don't show up for their PT sessions. Sitting in front of the TV stoned on Oxy is not taboo, it's ghetto fabulous. Folks seem to dig that. I just really wanted to be able to feed and groom myself (and the other thing), so I bit my lip and took it like a wincing, whining man.
The physical therapists were the first people to tell me I could recover. That I could build muscle to do the work of bone. The wheelchair and narcotics, even amputation were the alternatives. So the effort seemed well worth it. Here, I began to get the feeling that I was alone. Other patients were rolling home to get stoned and here I was trying to stand unaided. Why? Why wont anyone cosign my bullshit?
Luckily, I worked with some fine individuals, I trusted them. Once, a PT lifted my leg up to a forty five degree angle as I lay supine. I lost consciousness from the pain. I came to in a split second. The PT was concerned. She said she couldn't work with me if I was in that much pain. We had discussed this before, Hospital policy demands your pain survey shows improvement, or the insurance cuts you off from further visits.
So I lied. Although I was sober, I said I had a rough night, that it was a bachelor party; and I had just dozed off. She knew it was a lie, but continued for me. (Thanks)
My Doctor was hesitant to give me a referral to a specialist. As yet, I still had no diagnosis and my prognosis was poor. I wanted more information, but there were bureaucratic obstacles to my health care. After months of demanding I was reduced to begging. Why couldn't I see another Doctor? Public health insurance wouldn't pay for it? Why not?
The Primary Care Physician is a gate keeper, to open the gate, I needed to supply her with a question to be answered by the specialist. A question that would satisfy the paperwork for bureaucracy and justify the referral.
The Physical therapist believed in the possibility of my complete recovery; I asked her to help me phrase the question. A sexy fire of indignation glowed in her dark eyes. Across an entire page of her office stationary she wrote in felt tip.
"WHY CAN'T MR FAY WALK?"
I was misdirected to search for a more clinical question. The stark simplicity of her query pleased me. Her rebellious gleam turned me on. I was going to have to fight wasn't I? This wasn't like a Doctor show on cable at all, this was a Russian novel. I always admired dissidents. Now was my chance, not to be an enemy of the State, but the State health-care machine.
I had my question to bring to my Doctor for the referral to a specialist.
I learned a lot in physical therapy, sometimes good things hurt.
Posted by Hank Fay at 9:56 AM