Sunday, 8 April 2012

Making some bones about it…

I have recently switched to barefoot running as my faithful would have followed from my Blogs. After my infamous episode of the encounter with the angry thorns, the swelling on my other foot refused to go. I made the ultimate sacrifice of staying off running for three days, but to no avail. Even though the X-ray showed everything in order, time to go to the bone merchants again. The Doctor pronounced a Bone scan and my conservative Doctor brother concurred. This was purportedly to rule out a stress fracture or a hairline as the knowledgeable call it. They assured me that the radiation exposure was less than what a normal X-ray gives. So I got one scheduled for the Good Friday. Hope was that all would turn well. Good news was that I need be on empty stomach for this test.

After a solid breakfast (I haven’t got to normal calories even after quitting running for the last three days), I left for the Scan centre. My wife offered to accompany, but, I manfully asked her to be with daughter who had come on a break from college. The building said Nuclear radiation center and looked spooky and right out of a Robin Cook novel. Only saving grace was the hustle and bustle outside complete with the South Indian snacks smells wafting from nearby Kamat Hotel. I walked in by the stairs and the ramp alongside reminded me of the serious cases which must be coming here. It was all deathly silent inside. One young man was assiduously cleaning the table top with a wet rag. I could hear the sound of a young child from inside the room. Note these two characters as both have a decent meaty role in this episode.

I went and showed the attendant (his name is Basavaraj as I found out later) the prescription from the Railway hospital. He politely asked me to sit and told me that the Doctor and Radiologist will come shortly. He told me to drink lots of water after the radio isotope injection. He seemed to be the Mr. Jeeves of the Scan center, he having completed wiping the table moved on to sweep the rooms. In the interim he carried on conversation with a young couple, the lady had come for suspected hyperthyroid. She had lot of doubts about the size of injection and whether it would be given on the neck (next to the thyroid). Basavaraj patiently explained the process, solicitously asking them if they have had breakfast. They said they had not, but, not wanting to lose their seniority in the waiting list they said they would break fast after the procedure. The husband was being quite frivolous about dismissing his wife’s concerns. I just thought how he would have behaved if it was him to have undergone the procedure instead. Men are sissies, and I accept it manfully. They however, like to appear manly and the wives humour them.

Shortly the doctor arrived at around 11 AM a full hour after my appointment, apologizing about her baby not being well. I told her she could see the serious ones, particularly the child, before me and I could wait. I was feeling guilty about competing with people who were there due to no fault of theirs while I was a case of masochism (as Bib-Bala would say). The Doctor was arguing with the parents of the young girl (must be less than a year old by the look of her) about their not having brought the child’s case papers (she had been referred from the Govt. hospital). Much about her later. While the lady with the suspected hyperthyroid was with the doctor, I gleaned some background from Basavaraj. He was a second year Arts dropout and was very much interested in medicine. He had joined this place recently and coming to know that I am from Railways, built bridges with me by claiming many uncles and cousins in various railway establishments in Hubli. He also stated that he was studying computers in evening classes. I wished God to ‘Lift Karade‘ him. The Doctor then called me. She was quite young and asked me to tell her as to how my foot got injured. I set off on ‘Barefoot running’, realizing that I would hold forth on this subject indefinitely, I told her the gist of (the interested may read my previous blog of my encounter with the angry thorns) my injury to my left heel and my overcompensating with my right foot. She showed polite interest in my barefoot experiment and sought the reason for going barefoot. I told her the gist that it is easier on the body (except the soles) and more importantly the pocket.

She explained that I will be given a small injection containing a radioactive isotope and a short scan will be taken immediately to be followed by a longish scan session after three hours. I entered the room, the radiologist was sitting in front of a computer with a very complicated looking radiation unit. He was looking like Dr. Spock about to get the room to fly into space. He looked at me and barely acknowledged me. She gave me a very small injection ( I now knew the hyperthyroid lady would have felt silly). Dr. Spock and the Doctor (the Old and the young, a la ‘Final Diagnosis’) had an argument about whether I should sit or lie down while my feet were scanned. I showed them both the poses and said I am comfortable either way. The lady won. I was asked to lie down while the robotic ring like apparatus hovered over my feet under instructions from Dr. Spock. The scan done I was bid bye to report at 2:30 PM. The Doctor said that she may not come in the afternoon and repeated that I should drink lots of water. She told me that the report would be ready at 11:30 AM on the next day.

I came back and hit the bottles (now don’t get me wrong, I meant cold water bottles from the refrigerator). After having consumed four bottles (1 ltr more than prescribed 2 ltr). I then had a good lunch and after a small nap and after emptying of the bladder reached the scan center at the appointed hour only to find no Dr. Spock. Basavaraj welcomed me with a smile and informed me that Dr. Spock had gone for lunch. My session started at 3:00 PM. After asking me about the water intake, he asked me to lie on the gurney. Basavaraj helped Dr. Spock strap me up to the table. He went to his console and the robotic arm came over me much as Biscuit (my four yr old Labrador to the uninitiated) sniffs me after I come back from office. The arm seems to be doing a thorough scan and was in no hurry. A full holiday meal to top a bladder full of water and the AC room put me to sleep. As soon as my head nodded off to the side. Dr. Spock walked up put my face straight again, much as a barber does while ministering to the short hair on the neck. I apologized and woke up. I asked him if he found the funny bone in the scan so far. He was not amused. Such fainting episodes happened thrice in the one hour scan, but, Dr. Spock was nice about it. Just when the cold room and full bladder was about to force me to ask for a biological break, he on his own asked me to empty my bladder and come back for further interrogation. After having scanned me from head to toe he pored over my feet inordinately. I could not decide whether Dr. Spock had a foot fetish or was he contemplating resorting to third degree to find out if I had a stress fracture. The machine got bored after some time and Dr. Spock decided that sufficient images of my inner secrets had been captured for the Doctor and let me off for good behaviour. I asked him if he found anything wrong with my foot. He said there is some concentration of the dye in both my feet, the right one more and cautioned me that the Doctor would have the final say. I came back none the wiser and the repeated phone calls from well wishers only made it worse. One thing was sure, I could not run on Saturday.

After paying my LIC premium (with a late fee to boot) I landed at the scan center promptly at 11:30 Am. The Doctor and Dr. Spock were going through my inner secrets only. She called me in. I shot the question, am I cracked? Much to my relief she said there is no fracture and that it was only trauma and would go away with rest and fomentation. I could have hugged her. She then got to talking about this and that. She explained that she could have got my report ready on Friday evening itself but for the longish procedure of talking to the referring Doctor of the General Hospital for the baby girl’s case. I asked her what was wrong with her. She told me that the child was born with severe jaundice and that her liver was badly damaged. The General Hospital Doctor had told the parents that the child would not survive. Not satisfied the parents had insisted on being referred to this place. The Doctor said that she also confirmed the diagnosis of the Government hospital only. Why I am telling this story is, the parents looked quite poor and for them the bill of Rs. 2,500(I checked up while coming out of the hospital from the rate list displayed at the reception) would be a lifetime’s saving. My heart went out to the parents. In this day and age when we hear stories of Baby Falak and abandoned girl children, the episode brought me a warm if sad feeling. May their tribe increase! It turned out that Dr. Spock's brother was a Station Master in the Railways. It's a small world! I got his name but still cannot remember it. Dr. Spock suits better. I entreated with the Doctor to be kind to Basavaraj and give him opportunities to study. She said he was a bright boy and had picked up work beyond his normal duties in a short time. I told her he would make a good receptionist and the center should encourage and help him work towards it.

I came back and reported to my Ortho that the report is clear, after going through the report he asked me to change my shoes. How do I tell him that I cannot, I was wearing the original equipment of the manufacturer, Gods own boots!

I am eagerly waiting to hit the road the next day, my way of celebrating Easter Sunday.

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