It was my foot, my left one. It was swollen and red and that niggling pain in it I had had since the previous weekend had not, as I had hoped, gone away, but in fact gotten very worse. My toes were fat and stiff and I could barely move them. Using the walls, I navigated my way round to my phone, and sent a text message out to complain.
I live alone. What you going to do?
Still, I figured, after I had done that, that a doctor was in order. Say what you will about me, but when using the walls of my hallway to help me move down it, I know it's time to seek some medical help. I'm smart like that.
I had no idea what I'd done, of course, and I resisted any urge to self diagnose, which unfortunately my friends didn't. It's broken. It's going to be amputated. It's frostbite. It's deep vein thrombosis. The list was huge. I left my phone at home, left the internet, and went up to my local doctor, wondering just how easy or difficult it would be to find one of those motorised scooters that old people ride around in. That'd be cool. I could ask my local doctor. Well, I could ask my local doctor, if he was there, but he wasn't.
No, no problem. There are two medical centres in my neighbourhood.
Two Six Day Medical Centres, as the sign proclaimed.
There should really be someone to drive me around for this shit, I thought, as I drove back home and stumbled my way back inside. There's something about acute pain that suggests that someone else should be around with you at the time, if only so they can look concerned and not suggest various wild theories on what you might have. There was a list of things I could have been bitten in my email when I returned. You know, in Australia, we really do have too many things that you can be bitten by. The White Tail Spider, for example. Though for future reference, necrosis in it's bite is merely suspected, and probably not true.
Still, not to be defeated by the lack of open doctors, I realised there was another medical centre up near some of the students I teach. Fortunately, really, because I have a lot of year eleven students right now, and they start exams next week, which is followed by holidays, so I was looking at a drop in cash for about a month, thanks to well timed exams and a lack of year 12 students this year. I had been rather enjoying the fact that I wouldn't be losing half my students in October, so I guess that showed me, though I still think that at the end of the year, I'll be better off. Next month is cheap living, though. Anyhow: this information is important, not because I like everyone to understand my financial situation or concerns, but to impress upon you this thought when I went to the first medical centre, and was told that they don't bulk bill.
"A consultation fee is sixty seven dollars," the woman told me. "You should get around forty back from Medicare. Oh, and our X-Ray Machine is not working today, so likely you'll have to come back tomorrow."
Yeah, I passed.
Instead, I hobbled up the road to the second medical centre, which was open. I suppose you can spot the more affluent neighbourhoods by their open medical centres and this one, which did bulk bill, had at least a two and a half hour wait. "Probably longer," the woman at the counter said.
My next student was within two hours--a gap made by a student whose grandmother had died, and he had gone to China for the funeral--and aware of the need for cash, I, yes, declined.
I was feeling pretty lousy by the time I got back to the car, lousy for a lot of things in general, but it was just that general lousy you get when you're limping round in pain and wondering how you can score something to dull the pain. Mostly, I just went home and distracted myself with TV and video games and reading till the next student, then did the same until I crashed that night.
This morning, I began the search for a doctor again.
My regular doctor appears to have gone to Sweden with his filthy doctor money, judging by the perpetually closed sign on his door, by the second medical centre was open, and I got to see someone there, and this doctor poked things, took blood pressure, and stole some blood.
He did that after he had poked around with my foot and told me that, no, I'd have to pass on the peg leg look, because I had gout.
I think I'd rather have broken my foot.
(Cross posted to benpeek.com)