Tag Archives: doctors

Rescue & Reunion

I’m uncomfortable asking people if I can take a picture of them for my blog.  This is why I usually just take candid shots of folks in action. Most at the guan are accustomed to having their pictures plastered across the web, either on the school’s website or on its Facebook page.  So they simply raise an eyebrow at me and go about their business.  That’s how I got this one of “Pooh”…

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…and this one of Siheng Steve.

 

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But what to do about the ones who deserve to be commemorated that I would have to ask?

“Larry!” I said Thursday morning, mustering the right balance between middle-aged composure and the teenaged enthusiasm I felt.  He raised his hand high in the air and swooped it down to dramatically grab mine and shake it.  “Congratulations on baby number three,” I added.  “How old now?”

He answered eight months, confirming that it had been more than a year since I’d last seen him.  The shots I was given over the winter for my lower back problems eliminated any need to see my orthopedist and the physician assistant of hers who practically took my hand off saying hello.  So Larry and I had a lot to of catching up to do.

As he checked out the shoulder pain from my staff practice that’s impeding my sleep, we chatted about his kids, my new kung fu forms, his new house, my old job, the abandonment of his training as a runner, where I am in my kung fu teaching life, and so on.  By the time my x-rays returned to tell us that nothing’s broken or floating around in my socket, I felt like I’d been out to lunch with a college roommate instead of freezing my buns off in a doctor’s office.

I had once been near tears in his examination room, less than a month after my fifth knee scope, listening to him tell me that his boss, my surgeon, was not likely to authorize any additional cortisone shots to the knee (I’d already had my two for the year).  I knew that I probably couldn’t tough it through the end of black sash testing without mitigating the pain for my battered, arthritic, reconstructed joints. He knew it, too.  And he rescued me.

He chose the replacement synthetic cartilage shot that would get me to and through the final test, when the regular one suddenly stopped working.   To complete test number three with a little less angst and a little more skill, he squeezed me into his schedule on a day that the waiting room was overrun and extracted excess fluid from a swollen knee that was almost incapacitating.  Each of the three times I saw him from the last surgery to the award of my sash, he asked for the date of my final black sash test.  And after doing the math for the countdown, he told himself aloud how many more weeks he needed to keep my legs working, then reaffirmed to me that he’d do his best to get me to the finish line.

I love Larry.  I couldn’t thank him fast enough after it was all over.  One of these days, I’m going to have to get a picture of him.

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No Coffee, No Contract

Can anyone out there tell me why oh why it takes two and half hours to get two completely healthy adolescents, with no issues or questions, through an annual physical?  That was the pressing inquiry of a high-stress day that included the following: a thirty-two dollar ticket for inadvertently parking in a “passenger loading zone” outside the doctor’s office; giving my daughter the breakfast I’d been carrying around for myself for four hours to replace the school lunch she missed while waiting for her pediatrician to finish with her brother and two other patients; hydroplaning my way down Interstate 95 in a rain storm to get into the control room in time for a two o’clock taping of our weekly program; and a complete and total absence of coffee through all of it – perhaps the most ill-advised component of the whole morning.

The first third of the day did hold a few smiles, though.  I watched small children in a surprisingly overcrowded waiting room become entranced by a mural that it turns out was painted by some of the doctors attending them.  I thought that was a nice touch.

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I also received an email from the slow-moving members of gym management asking if I have any objection to becoming an employee (rather than a contract worker).  I’m so beyond-anxious to get started teaching the kids’ kung fu class that I answered without asking what drawbacks there might be for me.  I’m fairly certain that if there are any, they’re financial.  In most industries, contract employees tend to be paid a higher hourly wage.

Of course, I couldn’t care less about the money – which is exactly why I told them I didn’t mind employee status.  It’s also why I know it’s what I should be doing with my time.

This sign was already on the door of the Kids Club the first time I set foot in the gym back in March.  It’s like they knew I was coming. 🙂

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Pondering Gratitude

I have an employer that offers a stellar comprehensive insurance plan at a reasonable cost to me.  Far too many people are not as lucky.  I’m very grateful. Were it not for my employer’s generosity, I probably couldn’t have stayed with kung fu long enough to become maniacally crazy about it.  The cost of patching up my legs three times would have been too high.

This is what I was thinking at eight o’clock in the morning, as I sat in the waiting room of the doctor my internist sent me to in the hopes he could do something about the lower back pain and sporadic sciatica that my orthopedist doesn’t treat.  I had a considerable amount of time to ponder my gratitude – an hour to be exact – because the woman who signed in five seconds before me, with an appointment time thirty minutes after mine, was erroneously seen first.  I couldn’t help but ask the receptionist: “Then what’s the point of having appointments if you just have to walk in first?”  I received neither a response nor an apology. That seriously muted my gratitude.  But I digress.

The flip side of appreciating the quality medical care I receive (and believe all should have) is anxiety.  What happens to my kung fu life if I lose this level of care?  It most likely goes away.

I realize that’s an upper Northwest kind of problem, as a D.C. native would say (i.e. high class), particularly when the question for many others is: what happens to life itself without healthcare?  But it would most definitely be a problem, on so many levels, were it to happen.  So chronic pain and long waits aside, I remain indisputably grateful that I continue to be patched up… and that the price of the patching is one I can still afford.