Becoming human

25th January 2023

Two minutes down the road from the clinic yesterday, I had actually remembered to turn my phone ringer back on and it promptly advised of an inbound call. It was the clinic. What had I neglected to do?

It was one of the nurses, calling to check up on my procedure, which they always do the following day. Bemused, I laughed and she said:

“Oh wait! You were just here!”

This morning the call came again and I was glad to say that everything was fine, as it always is and yes, I was very happy with how it all went.

This time though, the nurse told me that my doctor had been concerned whether the nerve ablation would help me. I’m not sure why. The injections and nerve ablations have always helped at least to some extent and often quite a lot.

The doctor is kind and quiet and I said to the nurse what a nice man he is. She agreed and to my surprise she remarked that he had said good things about me too.

This made me chuckle but I didn’t tell the nurse why.

These injections or ablations, are made using x-ray guidance and the area is numbed to avoid discomfort. It’s not a big deal.

However nerve pain, in my case anyway, roots straight to the “action” part of my brain, avoiding any input from reasoning which advises:

“Be still and silent!”

A nerve that was treated a few months ago sent off an unusually stern message. Luckily, Brain ignored the “squirm!” request which would not have been helpful.

But it failed to inhibit the utterance “Shit!” from passing my lips.

Quietly of course, though I know I heard a snicker.

Perhaps it made me seem more human.

So many patients are treated in that clinic, for so many different sorts of pain. The procedures are repeated over and over and I have often said I feel like a machine being processed through a factory.

It must get monotonous for the staff, asking the same questions again and again. Giving the same instructions and advice day in, day out.

It is monotonous to me, so how must it be for them? And yet they maintain their professional attitude and manage to be friendly and helpful.

It seems to me that many of the registration procedures are over-complicated, but all of that is related to insurance requirements and legalese. After all, this is the United States. People win law suits here when they burn themselves on hot coffee.

It’s a “cover your ass” society we live in.

Which must make life hell for anyone involved with medical care.

It certainly has de-humanized many of them.

So, I had come to accept that this was the way things were and complaining was pointless. I had given up on the idea of being listened to or treated as anything but my birth date which I recite over and over.

Perhaps I should have it tattooed on my forehead.

But over the past year, I decided that where I could, I would make my own decisions. This is often not possible with “managed” medical care. You see who you get sent to and too bad if you don’t like it.

The plan I have currently allows me to make my own choices which I did not do when I first came to live in the area, because I had not had time to make informed decisions.

After a few unhappy experiences, I made changes and I began using medical clinics based on whatever information I could acquire.

Things began to look up.

When I was told that my pain specialist had said good things about me, it was not the remark in itself that made me feel good.

It was the fact that a doctor who sees so very many patients, or to be precise, a small draped area of many patients into which he endlessly sticks needles, that this doctor actually knows who I am.

That he was concerned that the nerve ablation would help me, sufficiently so that he talked to the nurses about it.

Judging from what I saw and heard, I have the impression that nerve ablation is not often considered for carpal tunnel. I couldn’t find any references to it on YouTube.

Not that I feel like a test case, though I would be happy if my experience could help someone else.

Many years ago I had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists which was no drama, but a ten-minute nerve ablation was much simpler.

We wended our way home…

…admiring snow fields as we went

Spying a hawk, I yelled STOP!

But it became one of those “quickly, quickly, quickly!” moments and by the time I got the bird in focus he was off. Drat.

It should be a law in these parts, I think, that houses must be painted red. Or that particular yellow we see.

Mute gray, perhaps.

It seems to be an unwritten law.

How to make your horse stand out in a white background.

In each of our many more than four seasons, I sigh that it will soon be over and that I shall miss it so.

But then the next mini-season comes about

With its own sort of special.

Grant spotted the icicles on this house and stopped so I could lean across and attempt to capture them.

With a nano-second of time and an abbreviated space, I did the best I could.

Let’s say I was going for the log-pile.

Our all-season avenue of trees.

The Willows add colour and beauty in any season.

My little cat has a special name!

From a high vantage point

Our latest snowfall turned into cascades of rain overnight.

As it lashed against my window last night, I thought that I would find sheets of ice outside in the morning.

It made me loath to rise from my bed, but cats and birds must be fed.

Gingerly I stepped out onto the porch and heard a chorus from the Crows:

“She’s coming! Breakfast! Carkkk!”

They are dead cheeky.

As it turned out, the temperature had risen, so although there is still a lot of snow, this morning at least it it was just squishy underfoot and perfectly safe for old feet.

Tonight may be another story.

But I’ll worry about that tomorrow.

9 thoughts on “Becoming human

  1. The snow there is beautiful, and just the way I like it – through the eyes, and not underfoot. I do think your road crews seem to do a better job than ours in Missouri. Nice to be able to drive safely through the snow covered countryside!

  2. I am also impressed by how clear your roads are. When we get that much snow, our local roads remain treacherous for days on end, and make me worried about driving into town to the shops.
    It is nice to be treated well by a busy doctor. So many of them talk to you while looking at computer screens, I am sure they could never recall the faces of most of their patients.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Up here they used to get significant snow every winter so they have the clearing down pat. Not so good in other places I lived and getting to work was a nightmare. What you say about doctors is true which is why I was touched that this one actually knew me!

  3. I love your pictures of the snow, and your tales of your journeys in it….
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. I think I made my decision: Your winter photos are my favourite (though autumn is a close second)! Yes, it sometimes helps to see a situation from another perspective – like you did with the pain clinic – you are a very considerate patient (I would have loved to spent some time with you in my ‘hospital days’).

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