Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That Time My Knee Solved a Mystery

This week, the orthopedic surgeon's office called to tell me the results of my knee MRI had come in, and I needed to be seen as soon as possible.  I explained to the woman that my dog was having an emergency surgery and everything was kind of up in the air, so I had no idea when I'd be able to make the appointment.  Instead of the understanding reply I expected, the extremely huffy response I received was something along the lines of, "Well, I guess I can tell the doctor that, but you still have to come in if you want to get your results.  This is very serious."

I wanted to tell her that I was so overwhelmed I hadn't been very good at doing anything useful in the last week, including things like sleeping or eating regularly.  What I have been good at is crying, worrying, feeling insanely guilty, and cleaning obsessively.  (Obsessive cleaning means nit-picking my way through cabinets and drawers, item by item, for hours, when dishes may be left un-washed next to the sink.  It's less useful and more of a cleaning obfuscation.)  I couldn't explain any of this, though, because I knew she didn't have any compassion and because I was so far past my stress threshold that I was afraid anything I said would come out in a strangled half-sob, half-maniacal guffaw worthy of a Batman villain.

Actually, now that I think about it, if Ben Affleck can play Batman, I think I could make a pretty good villain.  So if any big, important movie casting directors are reading this, have your people contact my people.  I'd make a pretty good PenGwyn, seeing as I can bring my own personal flair to the name.  But, I probably can't be Catwoman because I'm allergic to cats.  Bummer, right?  Well, I'm sure we could still work something out.

And now, back to my point.

The next day, I got another phone call from the same woman.  She started out with, "Okay, so the doctor said I can read the report to you, but you're going to have to make an appointment if you want it explained."  Okay.  I get it.  I need to make an appointment. 

As soon as she said there were four points on the report, I knew I was going to have to write it all down.  This may seem less than helpful until you recall that Google's most important feature is allowing all of us to ensure we are actually dying of the worst possible diseases before we even step foot into a doctor's office.  Your knee hurts because of a car wreck?  Actually, no.  You have cancer AND ebola.  That's some pretty crap luck. (Obviously, I had a fun evening planned.)

To be extra considerate, the woman on the phone was spelling certain words for me to be sure I got them all down correctly, except I began to notice that she was spelling out normal words like l-a-t-e-r-a-l and skipping the medical terms, as if she thought I was some kind of idiot savant.  So you're going to spell out joint, but you're leaving popliteal up to me?  Gee.  Thanks.

And then she got to the part I couldn't understand at all.

Lady:  Number four is *mumbles* fat pad edema....
Me:  I didn't catch that word in front of fat pad.  Did you say Hoss, like Bonanza?
Lady:  No, *mumbles*
Me:  Okay, can we spell it out?  Hostas?
Lady:  Not essssessss, effffffs.
Me:  Oh, so Hoffa's fat pad?
Lady:  Yes.
Me:  I didn't know my knee had a fat pad.
Lady:  Well, I don't know what it means, either, so you're going to have to see the doctor.
Me:  It would be nice to know the hows and whys of the gangster's abode in my knee.  Who would have thought Jimmy Hoffa was in there all this time?
Lady:  That's why you're going to have to come in.

Clearly, she was done listening to me at that point.

And then I got some messages from my dad.

Dad:  What did the doctor's office say?
Me:  Well, there was some stuff about MCLs and cysts and unimportant stuff like that.  Oh, and I have a phat pad in my knee, and Jimmy Hoffa lives there.
Dad:  In other words, you didn't understand what they told you.
Me:  No, I wrote it all down.  Hoffa's fat pad edema.  I think it makes perfect sense.  Edema means swelling.  If you had a supposed-dead teamster hiding out in your fat pad, it would be swollen.  See?  I don't even need a doctor.  What I need is the FBI.
Dad:  Or maybe some sleep...?

I guess my dad could be right, but whenever I do get to go to the doctor, it would be nice if they could explain how a mob boss got into a fat pad when he died more than a decade before I was born.  Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is a Time Lord.

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