Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Mom and the Orthopod
When I arrive at your house, you're impectably dressed and waiting. You know we are going somewhere but you ask me five time from the livingroom and five times in the car where we are headed, and why.
I answer you factually eight times and impatiently twice, but not impatiently enough that you tell me I'm not being nice, so I guess you don't notice my slips.
We have made this appointment for your knees because it's obvious you can't maneuver stairs without using a banister to pull yourself up, and lately you've asked if you can get a cortisone shot. But today you do not remember any of that, and you tell me your knees are pretty good.
We don't know this doctor. Dr. R recommended him and I am glad because the other knee guy, Dr. H, was too rote. This doctor has looked at your x-rays before we arrive (good sign) and asks you to tell him what about your knees bothers you. You say, "The weather".
He says, "No, I mean, can you walk a mile? What can't you do?"
I am amazed he asks my 90 year old mother if she walks a mile. She answers directly, "No doctor, but I never could walk a mile". She and I smile. He continues.
He tells my mother, "Your knees are bone on bone. You could have surgery but I doubt you want that". My mother agrees. He continues, "You should be fine as long as you avoid stairs".
You say, "I can't--my laundry is in the cellar".
He says, "You have to find someone to do your laundry then. You shouldn't do stairs".
You smile. I know this is going right over your proud defiant head.
He tells you again. This time you act surprised. "Oh", you say, "I can't use the stairs?"
He says, "Are you in the same room as me?"
Normally I would find a way to tell him politely but clearly to be more respectful and civil, but my mother does not let on she cannot remember from minute to minute and he is trying his best to make a point.
When you again do not hear, he says, "Look, your knees are not stable. If you continue to use the cellar stairs, you will fall and break your neck and die. Then you won't have to worry about your knees".
My mother smiles.
When we get home, I am determined to use this in-your-face medical appointment to wean you off stairs once and for all. I tell you the doctor has forbidden you to go down the cellar. You protest and refuse, "I am not going to stop doing my laundry". You are emphatic.
I become more forceful, to which you finally say, "kj, you're making me feel like I'm a hundred years old........."