At Least You Have Your Health…

What an odd sentiment. It’s vague, unhelpful with a dash of shame, and a stark reminder that no one wants to hear your problems. Which is, of course, exactly why I’m going to tell you mine.
I suffer from “F” disease. Female. Fat. Fifty. The “F” disease is fatal. Eventually. My physical problems are made more challenging by extra pounds while each of them in their own unique way makes it difficult to lose the extra pounds. When mobility is an issue, even simple exercise can be a challenge. I’ve spent most of 2018 with a cast on my right leg.
I’ve been advised to take naproxen or ibuprofen and drink plenty of water. Prescription pain meds might as well be Bit Coin. I’d like to know where the hell the doctors are who abuse pain med privileges, because my doctors are always sure I can just “tough” it out with aspirin and ice packs. You know, because what I really have is “F” disease.
I was delighted when my cast was finally removed and I was upgraded to “walking” cast. And it was with that ugly, bulky appliance that I made my way to the hospital for an MRI image of the offending leg. I purposely chose a hospital satellite location that had plenty of good parking and 24-hour service for this procedure.
I arrived on time, sans any metal objects, and ready to get to the root of the problem. As I was called back for the MRI, I was informed of two unsettling facts. The building was under construction (rendering the behind-scenes area a dusty maze of plastic draped corridors), and that the MRI machine had experienced what my escort characterized as a “hiccup” that morning. I was led to a small (teeny-tiny) room with two changing closets and a row of lockers, told to remove ALL my clothing and my walking cast, put on a hospital gown, have seat and wait to be called. All of which I did because I’m nothing if not obedient.
Waiting in that very small room, feeling as vulnerable as one can feel while wearing an ill-fitting hospital gown, I was surprised when another patient was led into the room. A male patient, already in hospital gown, took the seat directly across from me while his escort scampered off without a word. Did I mention it was a small room? We were sitting knee to knee. He did the thing. The man s-p-r-e-a-d thing with knees about as far apart as he could get them to make room for what must have been a gigantic ball sack.
I had zero desire to see his dusty old scrotum so I averted my eyes as far as I could without physically snatching them out of my head. I was so relieved when my name was called I jumped up, completely forgetting that I couldn’t bear weight on my leg, and I lurched from the room. I limped down the hallway, through and around the construction zone, never once being offered any assistance. At the end of the trail I discovered that the MRI that would be used was actually located in the back of a semi-tractor trailer out in the parking lot. I wish I was kidding.
Aha, the “hiccup” explained. We had to use the mobile unit. Did I forget to mention it was freezing cold that day? Grabbing the walls for support I made my way over the gap between building and truck, over the metal gangway and into the cargo area for my MRI. I was shivering with cold, everything smelled of diesel and exhaust fumes, and I just wanted to get it over with.
Thirty-eight torturous minutes later, I shimmied off the table, limped back over the gangway into the building and was confronted by an angry old man. I know he was angry because he was yelling that his appointment was “TEN MINUTES AGO” and how dare they keep him waiting. He was wearing a hospital gown but there was no escort with him, he was just there. And angry. And yelling.
Thank goodness I was sufficiently although somewhat immodestly covered. This man (not the same dusty scrotum guy) DEMANDED attention and he got it. Not only did my escort abandon me, his escort came running down the hall. Still without my walking cast, still not offered any mobility assistance at all, I was directed to return to clothes closet, get dressed, and show myself out.
That’s what it’s like to have the “F” disease.

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