"Please tell us your life story in 82 syllables or less"

Another bad back week; for some reason the last month has been a bit more rough than its predecessors. My theories are as follows: 1) The stress from school ending, work getting hectic, and my cat nearly croaking has caused some sort of strange pain increase that doesn't really make sense but hey, who am I to argue? Or 2) Aliens have begun to carefully harvest the muscles in and around my back during the night in order to create a duplicate of me on Mars so they may cultivate a new humanity with myself as the almighty and benevolent ruler. I'm thinking it must be one but secretly I'm rooting for two.

Of course, with my pain fluctuating so much recently my mom and I have begun to once again wonder where the heck our appointment for the pain clinic in Calgary is? I received the paper work for it way back in January and sent it in fairly promptly. When I called last month the obligatory irate secretary sounded completely miffed that I'd have the nerve to assume that three months was a long time to wait for an appointment. Naturally, after waiting around for back surgeries and specialists appointments, I've learned to take life slow, however I would assume that the impressive speed in which I was able to give them my life story and return it to them would somehow amaze them into bumping me to the top of the list. Also, my tears of pain staining the sheets ought to be a dead giveaway about how desperate I'm feeling.

But honestly, I understand that pain clinics need a solid background to ensure that they treat all the symptoms properly; still, part of me is convinced that I ought to be insulted that there was not an 'NA' option for the question regarding how sex affects my pain. If they had left a blank spot for me to write anything at all I probably would have put down "I am like a stallion, the orgasmic pleasure I feel during intimate moments with my multiple partners negates any pain I experience during the other 14 hours of my day." As it is, I had to leave that bubble blank.

It gets better though, because 90 pages of questions gives a person like me plenty of opportunities to be a smarmy loser, and trust me when I say each moment was taken for all its worth (I only regret now that I didn't draw a proper Groucho Marx face on the little 'indicate where your pain is' man on page 3.)

I can't help but wonder if perhaps first knowing what sort of underlying condition is causing the pain might have allowed them to drop, oh, I don't know, twenty three pages or so. There's no doubt in my mind that they have done everything in their power to cover every base in existence and because of that my mother and I were able to have a grand laugh when the tiny 2" by 4" box requested that I please list every x-ray I have had since my symptoms first began (Um, no. Firstly, there isn't enough paper in the world. Secondly, you are hooked into the same health network that hosts my x-rays, so you can find them yourself, okay?) I ended up jotting the ones I could remember down on scrap paper and stapling it to the form. Clearly, not personalized.

Then, abruptly, the form ceases inquiring as to my physical health, and begins to ask the most deeply personal questions it can think of. For instance:
"Do you feel you are a lesser person because of your condition?"
"Do you cry yourself to sleep at night?"
"Do you wish you were capable of more?"
"How many people has your condition caused you to murder in a fit of uncontrollable rage and sadness?" (Note, from the choices 'None at all' to 'Too many to count' I picked 'Quite a few.')

I understand that looking into the mental health is an important aspect of dealing with whatever condition is at the heart of the pain, but really, how does my lack of sense of identity have anything to do with it? And further more, if it has something to do with it, can this pain specialist fix it? And if he can fix it, then can I choose an entirely new identity, such as... Batman? Haha, let's not be silly. I'm a girl. Girl's can't be Batman... And that haunts me more than all the pain I experience on a daily basis.

I'm not complaining; I'm willing to do just about anything in order to solve this pain mystery, but when the easiest part of a 90 page questionnaire is the line that asks for my name, I have to think that maybe they're needlessly trying to complicate matters.

Of course they have to ask the important question "What do you hope to get out of your appointment with the pain specialist?" I had to answer quite honestly "To stop the pain." I mean, yes, it comes off as slightly smarmy, and perhaps I slightly intended that, but really, what else can you expect? I mean, it's not like he's a renaissance man, is he? I'm fairly certain in the 90 pages of questions we've been able to establish that I am going to see him primarily to solve my pain problems and not, say, debate the general politics of South Africa. What more could I want from him? Unless of course he's cute, single, and young. Then I could want more. But even then, let's keep it professional, right?

Finally, the last page. Glorious page 90 which, after answering 89 pages of bubbles and fill in the blanks, has only one single question on it.

"Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?"

My response as follows:

"I harbor a secret passion for Kiefer Sutherland."

Hey! It's not my fault they left the last question so ambiguous. I also wanted to tell them that I was convinced the neighbors across the street knew damn well I could see into their upstairs every night and yet insisted on keeping the blinds open during all moments, but that would just be entirely inappropriate.

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