My shoulder has been bugging me lately. Actually, it’s been a pain for a long time. I don’t mean to kvetch about something so minor when I could be kvetching about having cancer, thereby garnering considerably more pity, but sometimes I lose sight of the bigger picture. I should be grateful all I have to complain about is a sore shoulder, right?
I likely exacerbate this pain by relentlessly adhering to my yoga regimen, but I’m not one to let any old ache or pain stop me from doing what I love to do. I need to work on my form for my plank pose–or is it my cobra?–since the pain seems to worsen with them.
I went to a physiotherapist for the problem once a few years back, but I told her I wouldn’t be giving up yoga, whatever intervention she suggested. Boy, was I ever the noncompliant patient that day. She should have fired me on the spot. I can’t imagine her being willing to see difficult me again.
I was thinking of going back to Dr. Family to address the problem with her, but I quickly reconsidered. The pain comes and goes unpredictably and I can live with it. And if surgery is the only option at this point, I can imagine the conversation with Dr. Knife because I’ve had it before with a variety of specialists. There was the ear, nose and throat doc (“Gee, that’s too bad you’re suffering from all those symptoms. Still, you don’t really think I’d be willing to risk fixing that deviated septum given all your medical problems, do you?”) and the hernia guy (“Wow, that’s quite the hole you’ve got there, but you’ll have to show up in the ER doubled over in pain before I’ll get anywhere near it.”)
Based on these previous experiences with surgeons, I imagine this is how my conversation with Dr. Knife would go:
Annie: My shoulder really hurts some days, and it seems to be getting worse.
Dr. Knife: Gee, that’s too bad. Do you have any other medical problems?
Annie: Yes, Dr. Knife, as a matter of fact, I have plenty. I have leukemia and polycythemia and a very ugly blood clot which makes my liver cranky. My chemotherapy suppresses my platelet count so I’m at risk of bleeding out. Oh, and I’m also prone to infection.
Dr. Knife: I see. Well, that’s unfortunate. We could do the surgery, but are you sure you want to take the risk? You could die of infection, or the anaesthesia could shut your liver down for good. Is it really worth it to you to go under the knife to alleviate a little pain?
Annie: I guess not. I’ll live with the discomfort. Thanks for
nothing your honesty.
So I’m saving my doctor the visit and deciding for myself that I will live with this transient pain because I’d rather that than die from surgery. Think of me like your old run-down car: at some point, you stop sinking money into it and drive it into the ground. Then you sell it for parts. I’ve signed my organ donor form to facilitate this process, although, sadly, some of my parts may not be of much use by then.