Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Orthopaedist

661 words

I haven't been to see a doctor for years (well, not true, I think I went to the dentist and ophtamologist once, but those don't really count as they're regular visits). In fact I haven't had any problems warranting such visits in the past two and a half years. Nice. I always planned to go and have a checkup, but never did.

Now I started having trouble with my foot. I couldn't walk properly anymore without pain. Strangely, I could still tiptoe and cycle without problem. The pain is only present when walking normally. After one friend recommended to not walk at all as this could be bad, and another one told me to walk a lot to make the pain go away, I thought it may be good to seek more educated advice on the problem. So I went to see an orthopaedist.

Little investigations with my colleague Annika resulted in one which only had an appointment next week. No good. so I tried her second choice who saw me an hour later. A nice practice indeed, with three doctors sharing a nice building they had renovated nicely. No grey linoleum and smell of disinfectant but rather colours, plants and everything being reasonably comforting for a doctors' practice. Slightly stylish even, but not classy.

They also had the receptionists to match. Most of them pretty good looking. Indeed, I learned later that this particular practice is known for their receptionists and people tend to go their just to see them.

After a little wait that they cleverly make seem shorter by letting you move from the waiting room to a seat right in front of the doctor's room and then again from that seat to a seat in the room (while the doctor is in his second room), I got my little 'verdict': Apparently the ligaments (hope that's the right work, working on a dictionary basis here…) in my feet are a bit weak, which causes the problem. They seem to be constantly stressed, which isn't strictly a problem as the actual work is done by the muscles – but things can go wrong. As it did now.

To demonstrate this, he showed me that I could bend my feet inwards by about 60°. Try that yourself. Apparently something around 45° is more usual for someone my age and weight. Apparently flexible ligaments also means weak ligaments. Or, as the doctor remarked with these feet you could be a dancer but will have a hard time training for a marathon, adding in the fact that when starting to run your cardiovascular system will train within months but everything else will take years to strengthen. While none of this was important for me now, it's interesting to know (as most medical things are as long as they don't involve blood or even opening people).

Anyway, the doctor prescribed some kind of bandage to support the foot while it's still stressed, so everything can go back to normal. I went to get it immediately. And found it hard to find a store for this kind of item that was open between 1 and 3. (Hint: If you want to lose my business, close during my lunch break, before 8 or before 4 on Saturdays.) Eventually I found one.

Upon entering I thought: Ooops, wrong generation as that place was wheelchairs, canes and other assistive devices galore. This was scary. Perhaps the way it feels when pensioners go to electronics or record stores? Anyway, I first enquired whether they could actually help me with my minor problem. I turned out they could and sold me whatever the doctor had prescribed. It's looks like some kind of reinforced sock, was hard to put on and terribly expensive. Those shops and companies must really be having a good time draining the health care system if they have the same profits on all the items. It's not like people can actually choose to use a wheelchair...

July 30, 2004, 1:52

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