Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Crazy Bones
You know when your doctor refers you to an orthopedic surgeon
it is only for one thing. I must have been mentally blocking
out the word.
I put it off as long as I could but my arm and neck were
hurting, and so I finally relented and made the appointment.
"You need to see the arm specialist," said the
appointment clerk, who apparently had a medical degree.
"Your doctor only does necks and backs."
"I think the pain is coming from my neck," I said,
and then I played my trump, "I was referred to him by my
I guess she didn't want to match her degree against that of a
real doctor, so she made the appointment. When I arrived,
however, it was a doctor's assistant who saw me. After
questions, x-rays, and tapping my joints with a rubber mallet,
she decided that I needed an MRI before seeing the real
I call an MRI the chamber of horrors. Needless to say, I've
been in that machine before. I went to the appointment and
dutifully allowed the technician to zap me like a wiener in
The doctor's office didn't call me back, which was a good
excuse not to follow up. Eventually, however, pain again drove
me to make an appointment. Maybe this time I would actually
see a doctor. The nurse came in and pulled up my MRI on the
screen of a monitor. I waited for an eternity and finally the
elusive orthopedist appeared.
He went straight to the monitor with the MRI like a moth to
the light. Then he proceeded to explain what was wrong,
sparing no details. I felt a little dizzy as he pointed out my
all too obvious bone deficiencies and explained all the
screws, saws, plates and bolts it would require to fix me.
"You don't have any choice, you have to have
surgery." Oh, yeah, and you might have to chain me
to the operating table, I thought. "Your neck is about as
bad as it can get."
He went on and on telling me about the danger of operating so
close to my spinal cord and what might happen without surgery.
Even though the nurse had her back toward me as she took
notes, I could see her cringe. I wonder if anyone ever fainted
before or if I would be the first.
I really didn't want to know what he was going to do it or how
he was going to do. When I fly on an airplane, I do not
want to know how high we are going to fly, what our speed will
be, or what we are flying over. I just want to know that we
will end up landing safely in the city printed on the ticket.
He went on to tell me that it would actually require two
operations to fix me, one from the back and one from the
front. I imagined him flipping me over on the operating table
like a pancake. He explained how he had been in practice for
over 20 years. In fact, he had written papers and taught this
procedure to medical students.
"That's good." I said. Really, really good, I
"The hard part will be getting your insurance to approve
it." He then told me about another patient whose
insurance would not approve surgery until he finally showed up
in the emergency room unable to walk. I didn't want to hear
"How long will I be in the hospital?" I asked.
He is going to cut off my head and reattach it and I will be
in the hospital only three days? Well, maybe it will not
be so bad after all. I just hope it gets it back on frontwards.