Socialized Medicine: Part deux

Today was checkup day.  A return to the doctor, another x-ray, and a prognosis on what my next 2 months would look like.  Needless to say, I was hoping for a diagnosis of “my god, it’s totally healed!  Go scamper, young man.  Go!”

Yesterday introduced a bit of fly in that soup though.  You see, instead of wearing my giant black Walking Boot of Doom (WBOD) when I go to bed, I figure there’s very little chance of me putting weight on my foot while asleep, so I take it off before turning in.  Thursday morning I wake up because nature was informing me that I need to handle some business.  URGENTLY.

Now, the WBOD takes a few minutes to put on properly.  Plus, I’m right next to the three-year-old’s room (we’ll call him R-Monster), and I’m pretty clear that sleep is precious to working parents, so I’m loath to make any noise that will wake him up, which a stomping boot is likely to do.  Also, I’ve been walking around pretty well putting all weight on my heel all week, so I grab a crutch and silently, slowly, heel-crutch my way to the toilet.  I’m pretty happy as I take care of business, and I’m eager to get back into bed, when I feel a slight “click” in my foot, right where my 5th metatarsal is.  Right on the site of the break.  Crap.

The rest of the day I actually had pain in my foot, which I hadn’t had all week.  I had obviously done something bad.  Consulting with Fashion Athlete for her PT knowledge, she informed me that I had a Bad Break (bad enough that she showed my x-rays around to other people to say: “look, pretty bad, right?”), and she advised that the doctor may need to put me in a fiberglass cast for 6-8 weeks or even do surgery to pin the bones together (yikes).

So it was that I went to bed juggling the following thoughts:

  • Should I just book a trip home now?  It sounds like my days of galloping around Europe are pretty well shot.
  • Should I find a place to rent and do my recuperation in London?  I think over a week of being an invalid in a friend’s house is pushing the limits.  6-8 weeks is beyond any form of good manners.
  • I’ve paid in full my planned trip to the Arctic on July 19th.  Is there any way to salvage this?

I woke up today, put my walking boot on, and: Miracle of miracles!  No pain!  I’m walking around just as well as I have all week!  Yay!

Off to the doctor’s.  There a new doctor (not the one from last week) inspects my foot.  He seems okay with the slight swelling I still have around my ankle and happy with my range of motion for foot rotation, toe-wiggling, and general state of the foot.  He pushes in on the swelling at the breakage site and notes that it is pretty tender there still.  He sums up that it looks like things are going well, but he’d like to get the x-rays to be sure.

I arrive in the x-ray room in high spirits.  There are about 20 people waiting here this time, about 10 times what it was last week.  Note: early morning appointments are best.  After about 20 minutes of waiting, a nurse comes out and calls: “Mr. Krauskopf?”  I get up, and notice that to my left, a man in his late 70’s has also stood up.  We stare at each other for a moment an odd sort of stand-off, then at the nurse.  She checks her sheet: “Kordell Krauskopf?”

I boggle at the fact that I’ve encountered another Krauskopf in a waiting room in London.

The x-ray goes quickly, I wave my goodbye’s to the elderly Krauskopf couple waiting their turn, and return to the doctor’s office.  This time I get yet another doctor to do the follow up, as the earlier doctor has left.  He looks at the x-ray, then back at my foot, then back at the x-ray.  Then he shows me the x-ray, explaining that last week’s shot is on the right, and today’s is on the left.

picture008
My achey breaky bone. Wish the sequence was flipped so it looked like I was healing.

Now, I’m no doctor, but looks to me like the bone has moved, and the gap is larger than before.  My heart sinks, as do my hopes of continuing my journeys.

I say: “wow, that looks worse.”

he says: “yes, well, it does I think.”

Silence while we ponder the image.  He says “I’m going to go consult with my boss on this.”

He leaves me to contemplate my next steps.  Will it be cheaper to get surgery done here?  Should I head home to have it done where I have far more friends (and especially family: looking at you, Elder Wanker) to impose on?  How should I go about getting any kind of refund from the Arctic trip, the flights, etc?

After 15 minutes of my pondering, he comes back in and says: “Okay, you are all set to go.”

I boggle at him.  “Go where?”

“No, you are all set to go for the day, just be sure to wear your boot at all times, even to bed.  Prop it up on a pillow when you sleep.  Also, take vitamin D supplements, that will help.  I want to see you again in 4-5 weeks.  You should wear the boot the entire time.”

“But, the separation….”

“Yes, I confirmed with my boss.  The space between there is still well within tolerance for healing.  So just make sure you keep the boot wrapped snug, that will keep everything in place.  And put weight only on your heel.”

“And you think after another 4-5 weeks I might be able to be without the boot still?”

“Hopefully, but that’s what the follow-up will be for.  And for sure, if you feel anything like you did yesterday again, come back and see us immediately.”

Boggle.

“Okay, er, how much walking am I allowed to do on it per day?”

“Oh, as much as you can tolerate, as long as it’s all on your heel.  Listen to your body, and ease up if it’s telling you to.  Otherwise, the exercise and movement is good for you.”

Boggle yet again.

So, now I’m left with the following questions:

  1. Do I get a second opinion?  If so, how does that work in this country?  Something to ask around about.
  2. Given that I’m BEST CASE boot-ridden for 5 weeks, but I’m encouraged to get out and about on it, what to do about my travel plans?  Start being a tourist in London?  Get out to Germany like I’d planned?  Be the Hostel Gimp like I was in Spain?
  3. Do I gamble with the Arctic trip in the hopes I can still make it?  Or look for a refund starting now expecting that I’ll still be pretty well boot-ridden come late July.

So many questions.  Luckily, Baylor and I are going out to sample some fine British ales tonight at a local pub.  I’m sure everything will be much clearer after that.

In the meantime, I’ll retreat into writing more chapters for my novel.  At least that part is under my control.

7 thoughts on “Socialized Medicine: Part deux

  1. Maybe you DO have family in London. I think you should go stay with the other Krauskopf’s and make a right nuisance of yourself with them. ;o)

  2. Aw I was going to suggest the same thing! Stay with your long-lost relatives! (I keep seeing the scene from European Vacation playing in my mind…)

  3. Well a friend of mine is in the arctic … should I send you photos that he is sending me to help you make your decision????? I like the doctor that says take vitamin D supplements (and doesn’t try to write you a prescription).

    1. At this point I’m thinking I’ll do the arctic regardless. I’m sold. I gotta go. Still, photos to show me what I’m going to experience are always welcome!

  4. Sorry to read that your foot is not exactly better. As for answers to your questions: 1 – I have no idea. Sorry about that. 2 – I say you do all of those. Go out to Germany, be a hostel gimp! Just be -careful-, you’ll have great stories to tell along the way, just as you have had up to now. 3 – I’d say get the information now, just in case, but still plan to make the trip. You’ll have any information you need available and if need be you’ll be able to know when/if you -can- cancel the trip. Otherwise, you can still make it! Keeping up with your posts in hopes of your miracle healing coming along soon. Sending lots of love from Sevilla!

    1. I’m going to get another consultation today to cover more scenarios, so that will take the part of 2nd opinion. As for traveling, I think I may stay in London just so I’m close to hospitals that I am already familiar with and can be sure to not have a language barrier. But: I will probably get out to stay in the center of the city as well, so I’ll be back to being a hostel-gimp! Then in August: resume my wandering.

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