Saturday, March 10, 2012

Running headlong into modern medicine

There are three things I swore I would never have: a torn rotator cuff, a root canal, and surgery on my feet or hands. My record is not very good. I tore my rotator cuff so long ago that by the time it was diagnosed the shoulder specialist said the muscles were atrophied and there was nothing to repair. That sound he heard was a long sigh of relief from me, because I've heard it's a horrible surgery. My shoulder works fine, and I keep it limber by doing yoga, etc., because I know a frozen shoulder requires treatment even worse than repairing the torn rotator cuff. No, I cannot lift a stack of plates onto a high shelf with my right arm--but my right arm can help my left arm, and we all get along just fine.
Then I had a bad toothache--root canal called for. All I can say is that it was one of the longest, most unpleasant mornings in my life, and the tooth is a tad sensitive to this day. I know better now than to swear I'll never have it again--but I am talking to the Lord about it a lot and asking his preventive help. I'm not sure dedicated dental hygiene helps--I think the need for root canals is just visited on  you willy-nilly.
But Monday I am having minor foot surgery--voluntarily. It's funny how once you commit to this, telling yourself it's no big deal, it's on your mind all the time. I found myself thinking about it a lot today, marking time by before and after. It truly is no big deal--arthoplasty on two hammer toes, and not major toes--the third and fourth. The podiatrist will do an office procedure under local anesthesia, and he says to think of it like having a tooth pulled. Not sure that is comforting. But I have heard horror stories of earlier repairs--a tourniquet around your leg, which subsequently causes serious blood clots,  breaking the adjoining toes to straighten all together, etc.My doctor assures me none of that is true today--he will pop out a bit of the joint; discomfort for a couple of days, an orthopedic shoe for a month--so fashionable. These toes have caused me a lot of pain and confined me to tennis shoes--talk about fashionable--for some time. And, as the doctor said, they're not getting magically better. It' time.
Ever faithful Betty will take me, Greg will clean the dog poop from the yard (he told me I put my request so delicately), several people will check on me, and I may just play this to the hilt. But still a bit--okay a large bit of me--is nervous about the actual procedure. I tell myself it will soon be over and I'll be on the other side.
I hope not to concentrate on it all day tomorrow. What can you do to help? Make me laugh, please.

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