Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Sense of Humerus

Hospitals have a strange, twisted sense of humour. I was reminded of this (yet again). It appears to be the Year of Hospitals for my family. After my dad’s tryst with the medical fraternity, it is now my mum’s turn.

My mum has always been quite adventurous. When Scion and I were kids, she’d spend a good amount of time with us climbing peach trees, catching tadpoles from the pond, touching touch-me-nots, collecting ants for my ant stations and whatnot. Age has done nothing to slow her down.

So, she claims she was “walking down a steep path”. I suspect she was playing hopscotch. Whatever the truth may be, she is now in a cast, nursing a fractured ankle. (Note: I would normally say fractured “fibula”, but NG got the old knickers in a bunch when I once said someone fractured an “ulna” – apparently, “normal people” use the word “arm” when referring to such things.)

Since medical facilities are quite pathetic in the boonies we call home – where eight large whiskeys are called anesthesia, brandy is a cure for rheumatism (also erectile dysfunction, incontinence etc) and three large rums give the power of x-ray vision – Mum is now literally putting her foot up in the city.

Mum, or Dr Quack, decided that she had completely healed in three weeks. To ascertain this belief (and put our arguments to rest), we walked into a hospital to consult a real orthopaedic doctor. “Go straight and take a left” they told us at the front desk.

Here’s how they really should have given directions:

“Walk straight down the corridor. Then you have a choice. You can either hobble down a flight of stairs that has a railing for support on one side only or you can slippery slide down the steep wheelchair ramp. If you happen to be in a wheelchair, you can burn rubber down the ramp before either crashing headlong into a water cooler, a plastic basin and some chairs strategically placed right at the end of the ramp.

If you choose to veer off the ramp before you reach the end, you have no choice but to tumble off the side and free fall for about three feet. In the process, you could damage your femur, tibia, fibula and/or your humerus, scapula, radius, ulna and others. But hey! No worries, you can crawl right into the doc’s room on your bruised patellas and phalanges!”

As if this wasn’t enough, there was a swinging gate that divided the outpatient and inpatient areas outside the doc’s office. When opened wide, the gate would rebound so quickly, I noticed more than one unsuspecting person being winded with a swift whack to the solar plexus or stumbling forward with a sure shot to the gluteus maximus.

The technician in the x-ray room only made life more interesting. He patted a table that was about five feet above the ground and told my one-legged mother to “climb up”. He's lucky she had only the one working leg. It saved him a quick kick in his special place. I forgave him though. Constant exposure to those x-rays must have had some adverse impact on the few grey cells bumming around in his cranium.

In fact, I forgave them all. In fact, I have a new found respect for them. After all, we are all born ignorant. It takes hard work to remain stupid.