I went to the doctor to get a second cortisone shot. Why? Because the first shot wore off. Because I still have bursitis in my right hip. Because when I walk more than one block without a cane my hip gets stiff and feels inflamed and I get shooting pains down my leg. Because at night I flop around in bed trying to find a position that feels comfortable, and in the morning when the radio pops on with something swingin’ from Sinatra I open my eyes and feel like someone has poured cement into my joints.
So I went to get a shot.
In the exam room, I slipped into a pair of paper shorts that ballooned out like the Hindenburg. I paraded around in them, and then hoisted myself onto the exam table and waited for the doctor.
Instead, I got the doctor’s assistant, a woman with huge brown eyes who is skinnier than me, which I thought was an impossibility. No healthy grown woman could be skinnier than me. But there she was: a thin, healthy woman with huge brown eyes that protruded from their sockets, thrusting out a hand to shake.
Now. Before I continue this story, let me point out that there is a flyer posted on the wall that specifically states: we will wash our hands after entering the room, and if you don’t see us doing so, let us know. I saw no hand-washing after her entrance. I sat there, debating on whether to let someone know, decided against it, and shook her hand. But with the least amount of effort, as if to say…well, all right, but don’t expect me to like it.
Then she squirted antibacterial gel in her palms and rubbed them together.
Wait a minute.
Wasn’t she supposed to do that before she shook my hand?
And did she offer any gel to me?
I considered asking for a squirt, and let it go.
We made small talk about the possible ramifications of cortisone shots, and then I stretched out on the exam table and rolled onto my left side. She pressed her fingers onto my right hip bone and asked if it hurt. Nothing. She pressed her fingers above the hip bone and to the side of the hip bone and underneath the hip bone and in ever widening circles, and NOTHING. She suggested that I get up and walk around to see if I could feel the pain, and when that didn’t work she had me lie down again, and prodded all around the bone again, and then she tossed out the idea that since I wasn’t leaping in pain I might want to hold off on getting another cortisone shot.
We shook on it.
Then I drove home.
I figured the exercises that the orthopedic specialist had given me must be working. I figured as long as I continued icing it–maybe two or three times a day instead of just once–everything would be hunky dory.
Okay, I chickened out. I caved! I mean, who wants to get jabbed with a giant needle? Not that I actually saw the needle, but in my mind it was huge.
Two nights later, I didn’t care if it was the friggin’ Space Needle. I wanted that cortisone shot and I wanted it pronto.
And this time I’d be ready.
I marked the spot on my hip with a black ballpoint pen.