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Where the Hell Have You Been, Dave?

By Dave Fox
Seattle

I’ve been trying to tell my story, but it comes out sounding like an After School Special. I did not blog for the entire month of January because I have been dealing with high drama of the medical persuasion.

Back in November, I made the hard-hitting editorial decision not to blog anymore about my alleged foot fracture because, well, that gets about as tedious as people who blog ad nauseum about their children (who are better than your children). Oh, and also, I was convinced I was going to die, which is a challenging topic to work into a humor blog.

First there was the bone fracture diagnosis. It turned out to probably be wrong.

Then came the blood clot. It was in my calf, which is a pretty good place to have a blood clot.

“However,” my doctor told me, “if you have any chest pain or shortness of breath, you must go immediately to the emergency room. It could be a sign that the clot has moved into your lung, and the Dark Angel of Death is about to gobble you up.”

“Fine,” I told my doctor, “but I am a raving hypochondriac. If you tell me that, it is inevitable I will experience chest pain and shortness of breath, even if the Dark Angel of Death is actually a safe distance away in, say, Idaho or Turkmenistan.”

“That’s very interesting,” my doctor said. “Take an aspirin a day and call me in a month.”

I changed doctors.

My new doctor put me on Warfarin, which is both a blood thinner and rat poison. Seriously. You can look it up. So yes, as I type this, rat poison is coursing through my veins.

Let’s see… then there was the day I almost caused an emergency landing of an airplane, my visit to an emergency room in Las Vegas, my unplanned overnight in Las Vegas when I was supposed to be visiting my mother in Maryland, and my diagnosis three weeks ago with a scary sounding nerve disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

RSD is a strange condition in which your nerves go all wonky after a trauma to a foot or hand, and keep sending pain signals to your brain even after the injury has healed. Sometimes, with treatment, it goes away. Sometimes it doesn’t. The key to recovery is to ignore your pain and walk, thus convincing your pain receptors that everything’s okay and they can shut the hell up.

“I don’t mean to be melodramatic,” I said to doctor number four in this ordeal, “but will I ever walk again without crutches?”

“Your chances are excellent,” he said, “but I can’t promise anything.”

A simple “yes” would have sufficed. I refer you back to eight paragraphs ago -– the part about being a raving hypochondriac.

The doctor, a pain management specialist, continued. “If you’d like, there’s this procedure we can do where we shove a humongous needle in your spine. That might make you feel better.”

“What if it doesn’t work?” I asked.

“Then we can try it a few more times.”

I told him I needed to go home and think.

It was a bad weekend, three weekends ago. Then, four days later, things started to improve.

“Dave,” my physical therapist said, “you need to start putting weight on your foot. It’s the only way you’re going to get better.”

“But I can’t put weight on my foot. I’ve tried. It hurts like hell.”

“I know it does,” he said. “Now give me one of your crutches. You are going to walk with just one crutch right now.”

“No.”

“Give me a crutch, Dave.”

“No.”

“Give me a crutch.”

“Nope.”

“Give me a crutch!”

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

At that point, a tug-of-war began. My therapist won.

“Now walk,” he said.

“No.”

He gave me some instructions – where to put the crutch. Where to put my good foot. How to move my leg.

“No.”

“Okay. Then go get needles shoved into your spine.”

I decided to try to take a step.

It hurt.

A lot.

“Okay, now do that again,” my physical therapist said.

“No.”

“Follow through this time. You need smoother movements.”

“Smoother movements? Smoother movements?!?!! I’ll show you smoother movements you….”

But I did it. I walked into the next room with a single crutch and hopped onto the exercise bike I had been riding for the last couple of weeks to try to bring some muscle tone back to my atrophed thigh. It’s amazing what happens to your leg after two and a half months on crutches. I don’t know where your muscles go. Maybe Turkmenistan.

I could go on, but this is the part where the After School Special kicks in. Writing about how I pushed through the pain and learned to walk again, blah blah blah, comes out sounding irritating and self-absorbed. The point is, thanks to physical therapy and a strange but effective medication… I’m walking. (Okay hobbling.) I’m expected to make a full recovery… relatively soonish.

I’ve got stories to tell about my last two and a half months on crutches. You learn a lot of things about people when you can’t walk. But I’ve rambled long enough for now. I need to get back to my regular bloggy stupidity.

So that’s where I’ve been. I haven’t been in a blogging mood, but I’m back now. I’m playing catch-up on a slew of work projects I’ve fallen behind on, so my time here may still be limited. But stay tuned. I have exciting announcements and idiotic humor coming in February.

Published on Friday, February 1, 2008

2 Responses to “Where the Hell Have You Been, Dave?”

  1. February 2, 2008 at 3:12 AM

    Great post. I have this disorder, and the way you told this story made me laugh. Thanks! It sounds like you’re doing well. Those first steps can be the hardest.

  2. SilverLining
    February 3, 2008 at 10:36 PM

    Damned good thing you ain’t a rat, Dave! ;) :)

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