Friday, February 03, 2012

I had an appointment with a podiatrist today. Prior to my appointment, I was scheduled to stop by the hospital to have x-rays of my feet. I was taken back fairly quickly. The radiology tech finally questioned me about any possibility of pregnancy just a split second before pushing the “irradiate” button. It was exactly as if it were an after thought, as if she was thinking to herself, “She’s going to the podiatrist. Stranger things have happened so I guess I’ll ask. But not likely.” It was kind of a foreshadowing for the rest of the afternoon.

I remember reading an ad in the paper about the hospital encouraging women to come in for mammograms. They were offering a chance to win a free oil change with every mammogram. You know, it’s a small town. Things are a little different here. I’m pretty sure you might have a shot at a tire rotation if you get a colonoscopy. Evidently feet aren’t a big market. There wasn’t even a paid raffle anywhere to be seen. I finished up and gleefully made my way to the nearby building, the only thing keeping me from skipping was my painful feet.

It was the first time that I had ever seen a podiatrist but, boy, was I excited. I wish that I could say that I am exaggerating that but I’m not. I was worked up like an old lady on her way to a Furr’s Cafeteria*. My feet have been hurting that bad.

When I arrived at the office, I had no idea where I was going. I think I parked on the wrong side of the building in a gravel lot. It was raining and I really didn’t want to walk around looking for the real entrance. I saw a door marked simply “north entrance” that looked like it was most likely just for deliveries. I opened the steel door and was on a landing with stairs going both up and down. The sign on the lower lever door said “Hospice”. The upstairs had the name of the podiatrist that I was so anxious to meet.

As it turns out, I was at the back door of one-stop-shopping for old people.

I checked in with the receptionist, took my paperwork and was directed to the tiny waiting room filled with walkers and their owner’s sitting nearby. I squeezed through to make my way to a chair at the end of the narrow aisle and quickly filled out my health history. After returning to the desk to hand in the forms, I asked the receptionist how long it might be.

Receptionist- “Oh, not long. Maybe ten or fifteen minutes.”
Me, glancing nervously back at the walker crowd- “Liar!”

No, not really. Instead I just said “Ok” in a meek voice. Then, I once again ran the gauntlet of aluminum adorned with tennis balls to make my way to a seat. The magazine selection did not look terribly promising so I opened up ‘Word” and took some notes on my phone. Then I checked the clock. Followed by more “Word” and more clock checking. Then I developed a strange little dry cough, which I immediately blamed on the old people.

The old lady perfume was not only making me cough but it was making my eyes water as well. It turns out that I’m allergic to old people, which I did not know. Previously, I had just thought of them as a minor inconvenience.

Fortunately, one of the old ladies was called back and another left with an exiting patient. I was then alone, coughing in the waiting room, tempted to fan the air with a copy of “Modern Maturity.” I had a bad feeling that I was the only patient under seventy-five that had ever been in that office. Kind of like that scene in “Pillow Talk” when Rock Hudson was trying to see the doctor and unaware that it was actually an obstetrician.

The patient ahead of me didn’t take very long. I think she must have just been getting her toenails Dremmeled or something equally simple. I was eventually escorted back to the exam room.

While waiting for the doctor, I did what most patients presumably do. I took an inventory on the things left on the counters and the tray next to me, categorizing them as scary, not-so-scary and what-in-the-hell-is-that. I saw the Dremel with a grinder tip attachment that my vivid imagination just knew would be there and had a brief flash of “Dumb and Dumber.” Of course, that was when the thought of powers tools anywhere near my feet was just funny.

The (young) doctor then came in asked me questions and examined my feet. We went over the x-rays, agreed on my diagnosis (plantar fasciitis and heel spurs) and talked about treatment.

Dr. J., after hearing everything that I had already tried- “You could try an oral steroid but it’s not as likely to help as much as injecting the heel directly.”

Me- “I want the magic cure.”

Dr. J. –“Well, it’s not going to help overnight. It will still take some time.”

Me- “I want the magic cure.”

She had her assistant prepare the injections and sprayed the foot with a topical. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought. I managed to stay still through the injections to both feet and not even come close to losing consciousness. The injections also contained a local anesthetic so when I stood up, I was completely pain-free. So basically, I was conscious and it didn’t hurt anymore. Win-win. And she never even made a motion to pick up any power tools. All in all, a pretty good visit to the podiatrist.

Things old people like (in no particular order):

3.Backing up without looking (maybe it's not so much that they like it, maybe after a certain age they just decide it's unnecessary)
4.Early bird specials
5.Three-bean salad

*Just in case you are not down with the oldster’s, there are benefits to the cafeteria vs. buffet. In a cafeteria, you only pay for the items you place on your tray. Therefore, if you can make a meal out of a dish of green jello, a cup of chicken broth and a baked potato, then that is all you pay for. It kind of does away with the patent leather purse lined with Zip-Lock baggies. And you all know what a mess that can be.

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