It’s been years since I last went to see the doctor. The commonplace bouts with arthritic knees have never been enough reason to swing by the hospital and confide in a doc. During an episode, I’d just pop aspirin or Celebrex, hibernate in bed for half-a-day or so, and then I’d be good to go again in no time.
I can’t remember when the backpain started. It was on and off, irritating but bearable most times. Then one day last week the pain reached a different high; now the mere motion of bowing my head to watch my step while negotiating the MRT stairway became ridiculousy painful; the thoughtless sneeze and cough now sent painful echoes to my midsection.
Time to pay the doc a visit. So armed with my health card (never been used until then), I went to Clinica Manila in SM Megamall (don’t you love it that everything is in the mall now?) I was last on the list of patients that the orthopedic specialist would see for the day. The guy who went in before me, probably around my age, looked like he was in so much pain he even walked like C3PO, but not without an Amidala to support his unsteady gait. I swallowed hard. Lord, I hope my back problems don’t get that worse…but if it means I’ll have an Amidala to… nah.
The doc was a man in his early 50s. He hardly made eye contact, just tinkered with his laptop, and obviously enjoyed showing his patients the different muscle groups on the little monitor linked to his laptop. Never mind that his visual aids did not really make his explanation any clearer, just fancy. Never mind that his answers and subsequent pointing on the screen did not really directly satisfy the simple questions I posed. Okay, maybe I was just cranky because of the pain. But he was definitely in a hurry because it was late Saturday afternoon. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug and a muscle relaxant and told me he couldn’t make any diagnosis until after some tests, the first of which would be an x-ray of my back. He asked if I had heart problems. (Haha… I was tempted to let him in on my romantic woes, just for kicks.) Told him about my rheumatic fever history; he said he’ll be able to deduce some heart information from the x-ray. (Would it show a picture of my crush? Hahaha!).
“Sir, bihis po kayo dun, suot nyo yun. Sa likod po yung opening.” The speaker was the thirtyish woman on-duty at the x-ray section. “Dun” (“there”) was the bathroom in the x-ray room that apparently also served as the changing room. “Yun” (“that”) was–gasp!–a yellow hospital gown, and floral too. Her last sentence simply made sure that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself wearing the hospital garb like a button-down polo, with the opening in front. I’m sure x-rays aren’t hampered by clothing. Why do I have to get into that floral hospital gown that looks like it was tailored for a 12-year-old girl? I sized up the source of the instruction. She wasn’t joking and gave the impression that it’s the way it’s done. So I obeyed.
(Stopping for now. Time to take meds.)