Surgeon vs. 2.0

My mom and I were recalling some of our later experiences in the blood thirsty adventure that is the Alberta Health Care system, and a particular memory got me thinking more about my second surgeon. I figured I did an Ode to Dr. Elf (lord help me if any doctor ever stumbles upon this page), and now it's time to address the issue of Dr. Stoic.

When I hit the tragic age of 18 I was informed that I was no longer allowed to go to the Alberta Children's Hospital as I had exceeded their maximum height allowance. Also, last time they opened me up they counted my rings and discovered I was far older than appropriate for hanging around small children (apparently clowns can do it and no one makes a sound. Go figure.) So as I stated previously Dr. Elf and I laid out three potential surgeons. He patiently went through them one by one, giving a thorough explanation for each although suspiciously leaving out their criminal records which I request from anyone I spend more than five minutes with. I'm still waiting for that cashier at Zellers to give me her finger prints.

My first instinct was to actually pick someone else, when Dr. Elf mentioned that he knew Dr. Stoic personally and would be a character reference for him should I choose to hire the private detective I had been flirting with, I knew who I would go with. How could I not after trusting the Elf with my defective body for the last eight years? It's not like he'd set me up with some downer as a joke or anything, right? Right?

Uuh, okay, maybe not right. It's hard to say really. Mom and I have discussed it numerous times and have a variety of theories as to why Dr. Stoic is the way he is.

My first meeting with him was nothing like Dr. Elf. I was immediately struck by the lack of buzz or zazz or even grooviness. He was a stern fellow, with a downtrodden appearance that immediately made me feel both forlorn and piteous. By that point in my life I was getting into my more carefree mode of life. It wasn't that I was Ms Happy-Go-Lucky 24/7, but I was beginning to understand that the happier I pretended to be, the happier I felt, and that leaked very precisely onto anyone who would meet my eyes and see me smiling at them.

Not Dr. Stoic. He ordered X-rays, as per usual, discussed how the amount of x-rays I'd had to begin with was rather disturbing and how he wanted to avoid anymore if we possibly could. I don't remember much else except that I left the meeting feeling a bit discombobulated. This wasn't at all what I expected. Where the Children's Hospital was big and bright and splattered with primary colors everywhere you looked, the Foothills had low slung ceilings and despite, I'm sure, being adequately lit, my memories of it always seem darkened, as if the space were lit by the stereotypical horror movie neon lights.

I wanted to cry. At least at the Children's Hospital I knew that somewhere there was a person who desperately wanted to make the place as happy as possible. The Foothills felt like at it's core it was a bush covered in thorns, and suddenly I found myself caught amongst the ragged roots, turned around with no sense of how to escape.

"I hate this place."
"I know."
"It's no ACH"
"No, you're right, it's not."
"I think I'm going to be 17 again, okay? Let's go back to the Children's."
"Sounds good, dear."

I fumed about the miserable old miser that was Dr. Stoic while trying to maintain my composure. I don't know about the rest of you but every time I visit a hospital it can be guaranteed that once it's done I will, at some point in time, start to cry. It's the stress of the situation, and crying is an emotional release. While this time was no exception, only half my tears were because of stress. The other half were born out of just meeting a man in whom I would have to entrust my life, and not once did I see him smile.

Frustration turned to determination, and the next time we were to meet him I had prepped myself for the battle of the century. Of course the battle would have to wait because the Ortho area was so backed up. I really have nothing interesting to say about it at this point, except that I wrote what I believe to be a rather comical stanza that the man sitting next to me thoroughly enjoyed:

"Long live the porpoise!" The fishermen cried
As they pulled in their net from the blue.
"For because we hunt for tuna fish
This mammal will not do!"

Tell me that's not an awesome stanza. Anyways, that's beside the point. To make a long, long story short, I eventually got a smile out of him, although it took some of my best material and a lot of work. Usually when I'm trying to brighten someones day I really don't hold back at all. My mom swears that she saw the odd smile from him here and there although I missed most of them.

Dr. Stoic was so painfully depressed, it was bringing my own groove down. We considered buying him a four pack of Guinness just to try and lighten his mood. I then suggested a puppy, which I think would have been more effective than the stout because let's face it, the puppy is going to last a lot longer and you can train it not to give you a headache.

It was the last time I saw Dr. Stoic that I realized I'd finally gotten through to him. He was searching the newfangled computer system in search of my MRI results (which, incidentally, were not completed due to me nearly throwing up in the tube. Eew.) Complain about anything near me and you can guarantee that I'll join in. So really, Dr. Stoic was asking for it when he said:
"Technology, it's a blessing and a curse."
Unable to help myself I replied, "Until your toaster comes to life and kills you in the middle of the night... Then it's just a curse."
To which he swiftly replied. "I'm not afraid of no stinkin' toaster." Totally deadpan, the man didn't even flinch, and my mom and I were killing ourselves laughing because really, it's not even that he said something funny, it's the fact that he said it in such an Old Spaghetti Western sort of tone that made it hilarious.

Obviously I'm very pleased that I've entrusted my health to a man who does not fear his toaster (although I did not question him on the blender and let's face it, blenders are infinitely more dangerous than toasters.)

The moral of the story ladies and gentlemen? Be happy. It can be hard at times, no doubt about it. We all have days when we want to curl into a ball and let the world keep on moving around us. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure out that if even by forcing a smile you don't really believe in, and directing it at someone, that simple action can turn their day around, and by making them happy, you become happy as well. So don't be afraid to banter with your surgeons, and keeping working at it even if it looks hopeless. I still think Dr. Stoic needs a puppy (or a hug which is, to quote Pushing Daisies, like an emotional Heimlich), and I'm sure he probably does suffer from some sort of depression. But every once in a while I get to make him smile, and that can make all the time in the Ortho waiting area worth it.

Seriously though, a toaster! It was hilarious! Worthy of a real-life 'ROFL'!

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