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29 June 2003

Well, toss all of my plans and immediate goals out the window. I've had a private consultation with a physician and found out that I had all the wrong ideas.

Now I don't usually seek medical advice over hot dogs and crab dip, but when you come shuffling into a backyard barbecue with a swollen knee and your arm bound tightly to your waist, a physician--even a retired one--somehow notices and has opinions and advice.

The barbecue was the yearly gathering of the former Lamplighters tech crew. When the theatrical company started playing in union houses, the volunteer crew were out of jobs. San Francisco is a very strong union town and no matter how experienced and willing your crew is, you can't use volunteer labor; gotta employ the paid professionals.

So the old crew, which had worked together for many years, look for opportunities to get together, and this yearly dinner, hosted by the former technical director, has become a much anticipated event.

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Somewhat new (in the last five years or so) to the group, and not one of the former techies, but the partner of the revered "Sir Arthur," who has been with the Lamplighters since at least the 1960s, is Jim, who is a retired surgeon a couple of years older than myself.

He had all sorts of encouraging things to say about my dislocated shoulder and the subsequent fracture (and how the fracture was actually a GOOD thing because it gave room for the ligaments to move around--or some such thing. I didn't quite follow him, but he seemed to think that having the minor fracture was better for the ligaments than not having one. He certainly took more time to explain what was going on and the prognosis for recovery than the 1-1/2 minutes I saw the Kaiser orthopedist and his entourage.

(I also discovered how many other people at the BBQ had dislocated shoulders and had encouragement about recovery, and discouragement about length of time for physical therapy--and one guy who told me that he'd dislocated his shoulder three times.)

But Jim's main concern was for my knee. He was surprised that nobody had thought to tap it to release the fluid and said that if I had been his patient, he would have tapped it and bound it the first day, but that now too much time had passed and that it wouldn't do any good to try to release the fluid.

When I mentioned my plan to get on the exercise bike, he was adamant that I not do that until the knee is fully healed or I will risk permanent damage to the bursa. Nobody ever mentioned that--but then, everyone has treated the shoulder as the primary injury (except for the day Dr. G worried about the possibility of blood clot in the leg).

Anyway, Jim talked to me at length about the knee and I am convinced that I need to stay off the bike for now (dammit).

He also says, as Dr. G did, that I need to stay OFF my feet (and presumably out of the chair in front of the computer) and get the leg elevated so that it is above my heart. This is easier said than done around here, but I'm going to try to do that tonight and, since I have nowhere to go tomorrow, I'm going to once again play sloth and not move out of the recliner except for meals and bodily functions. He promises that if I keep the leg elevated, I will notice significant improvement in 2 days.

One final bit of advice was to soak the knee and see if I can't get the scab softened and to fall off and then keep the knee slathered with Neosporin. So that's on the agenda for tomorrow--finding a way to soak my knee, or at the very least keep sopping wet clothes on it until the scab softens and falls off ("DON'T PICK AT IT" he reminded me).

I don't think he's going to send me a bill--and he even gave me a bag of apricots and plums from trees on his ranch as we left.

Free medical advice, free fruit and no bill. Now THAT's a doctor I could easily like!


Good friends are good for your health.

~ Irwin Sarason

Today's Photo

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Would you take medical advice from this man?

1, 2, 3 Years Ago

not now...too complicated to set up one-handed

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