It was to be a regular checkup, three weeks after breaking the fibula in my leg. The date I was first diagnosed, they set up the appointment for yesterday.
So, yesterday, I grabbed my cane and hobbled my way to the hospital. I didn’t see the point of favouring my leg. It seemed fine. A week earlier I had asked my regular doctor about it.
“Doc, how long did you say bones heal? I mean, it doesn’t hurt that much.”
She can be forgiven for glaring at me as this wasn’t the first time or even second time I’d asked her this question.
“It takes a minimum of six weeks for bones to heal.” She stressed the word “minimum” in hopes that I would stop bugging her.
My face fell at the news. Took me about a half hour to find it and place it back on my head, what with all the stumbling around with my cane.
Yesterday I congregated with the rest of the gimps in the fracture room at the hospital.
“Mason” mumbled the medical assistant. “Wolf”, he added. I perked up my ears.
“Please follow me to x-ray”. So we did.
Mason was hobbling just as I was. I didn’t want to hobble. Didn’t feel like it. But my good doctor had told me I must. That I had to favour the leg, and not put weight on it. I’m an obedient wolf.
I looked at Mason. “Hey. I’ll race you to x-ray”
He looked over and smirked. “Maybe later.” Then: “so what did you do?”
I shrugged. “Well I was assembling my sex swing and…” I grinned as he laughed. “Actually I broke my leg while getting on a bus.” Then: “…while trying to read my iPhone.”
We hobbled on for a few moments.
I looked at the medical assistant. (Let’s call him “Joe.” “Medical assistant” is too much and I’m lazy). “Hey bud. We have a problem with our legs here. How much further is the x-ray? Do we have time to stop for a coffee or picnic or something?”
Joe didn’t look back. “Not much further.”
I looked over at Mason “so how did you mess yourself up?”
His face was a mask of pain. “I twisted my ankle playing soccer.”
“I guess that will get you a lot more of the female vote than someone who hurt himself using his iPhone”
Mason grinned. “I guess so. I’m getting my fair share of attention, for sure.”
We walked for another half and hour and finally Joe said “Mason, you go here and sit down.” Mason, obedient to a fault (and probably tired of hobbling in pain) did just that, while Joe and I continued on.
Three days later we made it to the x-ray department. Joe said “Wolf, you sit here. Sit. Stay. Good boy”
A very pretty little Japanese girl came out and said something to the hallway.
I looked at her. “I’m sorry. Were you talking to me?”
She smiled shyly. “Yes sir. You’re Wolf?”
“Yes, I am.” I gave her my best Hank Moody grin.
“Hi Wolf. I’m Michelle and I’m an x-ray technician in training.”
“You are? Where are your wheels?”
Her blank look confirmed what they all say about my humour. “Never mind. Sorry. Am I up?”
“Is it my turn?”
“Sorry. Yes it is. Could you come this way please?”
I followed her into the x-ray theatre. I don’t know if they call it that. Theatre. It’s a place where people view someone and someone is there to be viewed.
There was a heavyset woman in there who was coaching her. “Sir, you’ll need to remove your pants and sock so we can get a good picture.” Then she said to Michelle “you can get him a gown over there.”
I shrugged. “I don’t think I need one. I’m wearing boxers.”
The heavyset woman (let’s call her Jane) said “oh good. That’s fine. That’ll work.”
I began unbuckling my pants. It was a fairly dim room but I’m pretty sure Michelle blushed. She ducked her head and mumbled “I don’t know where to look”. Jane ignored her.
After crawling up on to the x-ray altar, Michelle came over and started moving the x-ray machine around. It looked heavy. An ironic thought pushed its way into the thoughts crowding my head. What if that thing came crashing down on my legs? How painful would that be?
Michelle did her thing. Under micro-direction from Jane, she placed a triangular cushion on the altar, and had me turn onto my side and launch my good leg over top of it. Despite wearing boxers I worried briefly (ha!) about stuff falling out. Maybe I should have taken the offer of a peekaboo gown, for safety’s sake.
After they had bathed my body in x-ray radiation they shooed me back to the fracture clinic, there to be seen by the doctor.
“Did you hurt your leg a while ago? Like maybe a few months ago or something?”
I sifted through the flotsam of my brain. Nothing. “Not that I can recall”
Of course I’m always hurting myself on something or falling down. I’m not an entirely graceful wolf. It comes from just not paying attention. (Man. Childhood memories start to crowd in, with teachers and parents parroting the same phrase. “Wolf you just need to pay attention. You never pay attention.”)
“No I’m pretty sure I didn’t”. I’m always aware when I hurt myself because usually there’s a big old bruise to go with it. Although there were a few bruises I can’t to this day explain. Maybe I’m a self-wolf-beater who goes to town on himself during the sleepy-time hours. Oh God. That didn’t sound right at all.
“Well I just don’t get it” said the doc. “You obviously did break your fibula. The x-ray confirms it. But the thing is: it’s completely healed.”
I looked at him. “It is?”
“Come look at the x-ray”
We walked over to the x-ray viewer thing on the wall.
“See here?” He pointed at the white on black picture. “That’s where new bone has grown in and overlapped.”
I looked at it and took his word for it. “So tell me: did I break it all the way through?”
He seemed excited. “No! You didn’t. See here?” and he pointed to some obscure line on the picture. “The fracture happened but it didn’t make it over to this side.” I looked at the blur. The blur looked back.
“Right then. So I guess that’s that.”
I picked up my cane. “So I guess I don’t need to use this anymore?”
He shook his head. “But,” he said “you can’t go running for a while. Just ease into it.”
I almost laughed. I never run.
“How about the elliptical machine? How soon can I get back on that?”
He thought for a second. “You could probably start that this week.”
Slowly a feeling of joy, the joy of movement dawned in my heart. Either that or it was gas.
“I suppose trampolining is out”
“Yes, you can’t do that.”
“What about having a three-legged race? Line-dancing? Pogo-sticking? Kick-boxing?”
He chuckled. “No, you can’t do any of that for at least another three or four weeks.
It would be a lot longer before I did any of that. I’d never done any of it before and had no intention of starting.
“Well thanks doctor.”
“You’re welcome. Take care.” Having said that, he rushed off.
So that’s it. I’m healed. Don’t have to look for elevators when I want to go anywhere. Don’t have to hobble slowly while the rest of Toronto steps around me on its way to the store, or the theatre.
I can kick ass.
Well maybe not kick ass.
I am so jazzed right now.