Bad tidings

More rain today. There is always a shift in weather sometime in August, but usually not this early. What? Fall already? The ferns are already turning brown and some leaves are turning yellow, oh no, I am not done with summer; we are off to Maine in a few days for 2 weeks off the grid.

It was the perfect day for going to one of our countless doctors’ appointments. Is this what old age is about? We go together to have four ears and two sources of questions. But we were not in luck with this doc, a physiatrist, a specialty most people haven’t even heard off. We asked him to explain what training a physiatrist goes through and his answer should have tipped me of. “I am trained like any other doctor, I am an MD, I went to medical school,” he said, as if we had insulted him and questioned his credentials. He did not seem to be able to distinguish between curiosity questions and an interrogation.

His answers were so short and void of any human emotion that he could have been a robot. Maybe he is very good technically, we hope he is, but in the interpersonal relations domain he was definitely lacking. He was checking on Axel’s neuropathy in his feet, the tight muscles in his legs and his back pain to see if there are connections. The news was not so good. The foot muscles have atrophied. When I asked if this could be turned around he said ‘no.’  That’s all, just ‘no.’ I cursed him quietly, between my teeth. Didn’t he get it that we are anxious about all this, nerve, spine and muscle business and wondering what now, what next? Most of the time he worked on testing the nerves with a big frown, as if he found all sorts of bad things, but he didn’t say a word. And when he did say anything he spiked it with words I didn’t understand and couldn’t reproduce.

The only time he smiled and joked a little is when we shook hands to leave. Maybe he is one of these people that find human interaction a nuisance. He did refer us to another doctor, and so the chain continues, forward we hope, but deeper into medics land and incurring the kind of costs that would have brought us to the brink of bankruptcy had we been uninsured.

His advice to Axel was to ‘be a couch potato,’ and ‘not lift anything heavier than a carton of milk.’  This surprised us as we have never in our life heard a doctor give this kind of advice.  It felt like a poor choice of words, this couch potato business – an image that is so connected with poor health and poor habits. Our couch is not suited for potatoes anyways so we will sit in straight back chairs and walk (light walking only). No kayaking, no lobstering, no shed demolition, no Faro lifting, no help with Tessa and Steve’s move. We went to Barnes and Nobles, afterwards for a Starbuck coffee and then we bought books – couch potato books for our vacation in Maine.

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