Fiddlesticks!

Spring 2011 #7

This article has been classified MA for a mature audience.  It contains nudity, adult themes and strong language. Rejoice! warns that reading may be disturbing or harmful for persons under forty nine and eleven twelfths.

“What we can tell you with confidence” the calm, dignified and heretofore quite likeable Professor intoned, “is it that it’s not nasty, and it’s not progressive.”

“Coughcoughbullsh*tcough” I said.  Inwardly at least.

I found his summary utterly ridiculous, and stealing a glance at some of the  doctors and students crowding my room I suspect some of them felt likewise.

Gathering my courage in the presence of the Professor and his entourage (isn’t it interesting how they surround themselves with a court of underlings to preserve dignity in moments of erudite silliness?) I typed:

I don’t understand what you mean when you say it’s not progressive. When I was here last year I was able to speak, and push myself around in a manual wheel chair.  (In point of fact I had just returned from a superb tour of the Gibson Desert).

“Yes, I have no explanation for that”

“Coughcoughbullsh*tcough” I said.  Inwardly at least.

“Anything else? …(nanosecond pause)… Good then.”

And he was gone.  A flurry of minions made a rather startled path for his urgent retreat, suggesting the parting of the red sea.  Thankfully one observant and compassionate nurse closed the door behind the gaggle, and remained at my side for the next half hour or so. Like many nurses she had a much more sensitive and infinitely more welcome approach, and some actual medical wisdom to share.   Thank God for her.

Every patient is given two ID wrist bands, just in case they rip you in half. But can they put you back together again?

Later in the day I asked to see what the doctors had written up in my hospital notes.  A single entry: Explained to patient that disease is not expected to progress. 

What absolute crap. 

It just defies all logic that a seven day week can be spent in tests and interviews and leave-your-dignity-at-the-door hospital showers (that’s the nudity; I hope you weren’t looking for more!) only to end with such brief, flimsy nonsense.  I can only conclude that the words Nasty and Progressive are not the English words I thought I recognised.  They must be part of a medical vocabulary, understood only by the nine-year-trained elite. It’s a wonder they weren’t in Latin. 

One of my objectives on this trip was to garner advice; and so I made a point of asking doctors and therapists to please give me some notion of what to expect next, and what practical steps they could reccomend.  Apparantly I am to expect the deterioration to halt round about now, on the train tonight perhaps?  Other than a reworking of a pain-medication schedule I will leave here with nothing at all, not a notion, not a suggestion nor a word of advice.  I guess that medically this all makes perfect sense, to me it is just absurd. 

But I don’t want to sound utterly dismissive of the hospital team.  The main focus of this visit seemed to be Neuropsychological and Pshchiatric assesment; and happily, wonderfully, the completley unfounded idea that my physical problems are psychogenic has been laid to rest.  I hope forever.  It was interseting to hear the hospital’s head of Psychiatry say, after reviewing my file from last year, that her department had always dissagreed with Neurology about this.   And I did meet some wonderful people.  Kind nurses, excellent cooks, fastidious cleaners, skilled and compassionate doctors, a hilariously funny consultant psychiatrist, and one extreeeeeemly ill-tempered OT who made it abundantly clear from her first breath that the last thing she intended to do in her ten minute visit was help. 

And now I am homeward bound, on the late night rattler, longing for my Favourite Wife’s smile, Little One’s hugs, a thorough inspection of progress on The Coliseum, and a good long look at my new bus shelter; doorway to the whole wide world!

Rejoice!

8 Responses to “Fiddlesticks!”


  1. 1 Julie C October 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Wow, how do you reply to that?

  2. 2 Andrew Tiffen October 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Hey it’s good to have you ‘home’! I liked the ending the most. Thats the stuff I appreciate most out of every day.

  3. 3 Sharon October 24, 2011 at 1:24 am

    This is the prize from your trip: ” the completley unfounded idea that my physical problems are psychogenic has been laid to rest.” Is there any chance now that you can get this is writing? So that you can start anew with another neurologist or doctor….so that you can get the help you need and deserve! Praying for this my friend.

  4. 4 anne iuliano October 24, 2011 at 4:09 am

    I so agree with Sharon! You’ve had a great outcome on one hand, but the other leaves me speechless too! Will keep praying!

  5. 5 Shirley Sanson October 24, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Typically Rod

    as one nursing unit manager said to me once, just because these medics have a high degree it doesn’t necessary come with common sense. Love Shirl.

  6. 6 norma chalmers October 24, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I feel for you and your disappointment Rod.You are a strong person so I know you will overcome that and take strength from the positives you received.My thoughts are with you ! Norma.

  7. 7 alanrosengarten October 24, 2011 at 9:08 am

    The doctors are right! Progressive??? You call what you’ve endured physically over the last twelve months progress???
    Your well-adjusted response to your physical hardships is a clarified definition of Catch 22 – if your condition hasn’t sent you mad, you must be mad and just making your condition up!
    Rod, your straightforward and positive outlook never ceases to amaze and inspire your many admirers and ‘followers’.

  8. 8 Neil & Deb October 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Ohhhh Roderick!! We stand and applaud you once again. You are such an inspiration & strong tower!!! I guess our answers can only be found in God – but a little letter from heaven would be appreciated wouldn’t it!! Love You Neil & Deb


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