abiona's health had long been plagued by bone issues, but over the years she grew accustomed to discomfort and usually thought very little of the problems her bone disease caused. And so it was that when she began experiencing sharp pains while walking, she disregarded this warning sign for about a week and a half.
On Thursday, that choice brought her much woe. As she aided others in loading and bricking up the kiln, the general level of discomfort in her left knee grew more persistent and a sensation of stiffness was blatant. It became very difficult to walk, and soon she could no longer fully straighten or bend her knee.
Irritated that she could not get the pain to subside, she went home to take a shower. It was then that she discovered that her joint had swollen to strange proportions. After consulting with one roommate, she lugged her troubled body over to Health Services.
On the way, she encountered the Cute Tenor. Despite looking rather haggard (or perhaps because she no longer cared how she appeared?), she introduced herself to him, and then continued limping on her way.
Abiona was aware that Health Services was in the midst of high staff turnover. But she fully intended to argue her way into an immediate appointment, going so far as to swear to puke on the carpet again if she had to.
Despite the new staff being in training, they had not yet reached the lesson on "shifts." Abiona discovered that every single doctor had gone on lunch break, and so there really was no point in arguing with the poor secretary. She contented herself with an appointment for the next morning, worked up her resolve, and dragged her bum leg back across campus.
The combined efforts of roommates eventually convinced her that she needed to go to the hospital to seek more immediate treatment. (That, and she was getting kind of tired of people staring at her as she limped to and fro.) They drove her to the emergency room of Hospital 1 approximately 6:00 p.m. that night, where she was ushered into "Room 14," which was really a dent in the wall with a curtain over the opening.
This is where the pants were truly lost, and she spent the rest of the night in little more than her shirt, underwear, and a strategically placed sheet.
When the first doctor came in to take a look at her knee, his eyebrows shot up to high heaven. Abiona had to explain quickly that three out of four lumps were "normal" products of her bone disease, and it was the final swelling which was the problem. The confused physician promptly announced that her case was "not normal," and went off ... to do something.
The minutes ticked by, though she was not very aware of this as the only clock in sight was on military time and placed behind the bed. She was wheeled off for a CAT scan, which she found quite interesting: the giant donut of a machine was made by General Electric, and the technician was hot. She was sent back to "Room 14." There she waited. Doctor Normal returned to tell her that there was some suspicious areas on the CAT scan that seemed perhaps like internal bleeding, though he wasn't really sure, and he was going to have to consult with some specialists.
All right, more waiting. A different doctor (Doctor Blood) came in to check her vascular functions. He determined that internal bleeding was most likely not the cause of the strange swelling and discomfort, but could not say much more. More time was spent on the high art of waiting. Doctor Normal returned, saying that Abiona would have to contact a specialist at Hospital 2 tomorrow morning and get scheduled for an MRI.
As an outpatient, she was outfitted with an "immobilizer" which prevented her from moving the knee in question, and a set of crutches. As her regular pants were unable to go over the brace, the hospital staff graciously bestowed upon Abiona a pair of paper pants. She wore these to Steak & Shake.
Abiona phoned Doctor Distant's office quite promptly the next morning, and was asked to come in for an MRI at 10:00 a.m. The office called back a few minutes later and asked her to pick up "films" of her CAT scan from the night before. This required visiting Hospital 1 before going to Hospital 2, and since the films were not ready yet, they were late at Hospital 2.
It didn't really matter, though, for Doctor Distant did not see her until about forty-five minutes later. He examined her knee, was displeased that Abiona did not have the time over Thanksgiving break to take care of the issue with her regular physician, and left, mentioning the MRI.
Hospital 2 was a strange place for Abiona and her roommate to find themselves in, as the dated facility retains a strong Catholic connection. They overheard quite a bit of conversation about the "lovely prayers" put on the meal trays, and a small sculpture of Jesus on the cross was to be found hanging in every room.
The nurse returned, saying that they would be able to squeeze Abiona in at 1:30 p.m. This was approximately an hour and a half away, leaving her and the tense roommate time to obtain lunch and to show the temporarily crippled Abiona as a reason why the roommate had missed class. "Remember," Abiona said, "use as many acronyms as possible."
They returned to Hospital 2 for the MRI at 1:00 p.m. There was more paperwork to fill out, which Abiona did without hesitation. At 1:30 p.m., she was wheeled away from the waiting area into a small, dimly lit side room with four or five changing chambers. A bronze Jesus overlooked a yellow warning sign, and Abiona had a brief conversation with a lady who had been in there for quite some time.
Once the aged wife had left, Abiona was left alone. There were no clocks, very few people passing by in the hallway outside. She had no idea how much time was passing, but after a while she got worried enough to haul her ass into a wheelchair and maneuver out into the hallway, in hopes of finding a person to help her. (It was calculated that Abiona had spent about an hour and a half alone in the side room.)
"Excuse me," she said to a nurse who was passing by. "I have a couple of questions. First, what time is it? And second, er ... have they forgotten about me?"
The nurse assured her that she had not been forgotten, and furthermore Abiona was indeed next in line for the MRI machine. Shortly thereafter, she was wheeled into the room where the MRI awaited. It was an even bigger donut than the CAT scan had been, and her leg was kept in place this time by various pads and plastic objects of strange shapes.
The staff handed her a pair of headphones, and Abiona lay down. Her glasses and other metal objects were removed. A nurse placed a washcloth over Abiona's eyes, said, "See you later!," and Abiona was slipped into the machine! She remained motionless in her ivory chamber for approximately half an hour.
And that, dear reader, is where the story currently stands. abiona has yet another appointment on Monday to discuss the results of the MRI, where hopefully she will find out just why the hell she can't walk. As she lacks upper arm and torso strength, she hates crutches with all her heart, and so she much prefers to limp very, very slowly around. Doubtless you all could overtake her current pace in a heartbeat.