18 February 2009
Purple Passion of Procedures
Yesterday was one of those marvelous days in modern life when I got to spend from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the company of the medical profession. There I was doing my normal round of blogs and blather when I stood to take a break and happened to notice that one of my feet was progressing through various shades from mauve to eggplant. Having nothing genetically in common with Barney, a trip to the local clinic seemed in order.
A little less than three score years ago, a child jumped off of a teeter totter the way children sometimes do, giving the one suspended in air a rapid trip to earth courtesy of gravity. These see saws were also built out of iron and were very very heavy so the trip was extremely fast, and if a leg swung under all that metal, this could result in a severe injury. Because it happened to me, the circulation in one leg has always been somewhat dicey with semi regular swelling or need to wear elastic bandages for a period of time. What I was looking at was much more extreme.
The clinic nurse took one look and said, "can you drive to the hospital?". Now Tacoma General is a wonderful hospital. They are a teaching hospital so there are scads of very sweet, pretty things being brightly cheerful as they assist you into a stylish hospital gown, extract various and sundry fluids, and then deposit you on a gurney watching the passing parade that watches you waiting for some mysterious "upstairs" to be ready to make an even more mysterious machine go whirrrrr. Just to keep you entertained, they poke things in your mouth to produce a number, tighten a constricting torture object to produce more numbers, and stick gluey things with electric wires resembling "Old Sparky" to make sure you are still among the living.
Every once in a while a nice on duty intern drops by to ask, "have you been upstairs yet?". A negative answer gets a reassuring pat as he lifts the blanket to see that the offending limb has not taken on any more ominous colors. Fortunately, someone had left behind the book "Slumdog Millionaire" (the source for the Oscar nominated movie), so laying out like a left over salami became rather entertaining. I was almost upset when fetched to go "upstairs".
Another cheerful, sweet thing proceeded to slather on gel and compressing flesh several times with a more than twinge producing grip that would have put King Kong to shame. After which I was dispensed once more to downstairs and the hall.
Final outcome after a decade of hours: No blood clot, prescription for a blood thinning drug whose price you don't want to know your tax dollars are covering about 2/3 of the cost, and an order to not sit or stand for long periods of time. Nothing like being told to loll around with your feet up and given another bliss making little pill to encourage being lazy. Therefore, all is well and semi back in working order. I now have to buy my own copy of Slumdog Millionaire to finish the story, and Barney can keep his purple feet to himself.