Monday, June 22, 2015

Go Ahead, Be a Fire-Breathing Dragon

I just came back from my grandson's kindergarten graduation (which was probably the cutest thing I've even witnessed in my 48 years). The halls leading tot he gym were decorated with self-portraits all baring the common phrase “When I grow up I want to be...”

There were carefully-crafted creations of veterinarians, doctors, teachers and the odd pie-in-the-sky, field-afar NHL hockey players. But no, not my grandson. No, when Logan grows up, he want to be...(wait for it)...a fire-breathing dragon. There it was, blazed on the wall in full-crayoned glory.

Of course. Why let a little thing like reality get in the way of a dream? I mean, imagine if Marconi, Edison, Tessler, Banting, or the Wright brothers had bothered with reality? If you told someone 200 years ago that we would have an International Space Station floating around the earth, they would think you were psychotic and totally off your "rocket."

A couple of weeks ago I ventured—more like slunk—into my doctor's office. Apparently I hadn't been there for a little while. We can't be sure exactly what “a little while” is in Heather-years as the office switched to an electronic system quite a while back, and apparently my name reveals a blank slate. Nostradamus was probably predicting the end of my doctor appointments, not the end of the world, because it was certainly pre-2012. In reality, probably closer to 2010.

My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to walk out of that office with a requisition for an MRI on my right knee. End of. That's all I wanted from this visit. Total. Easy. Simple. Singular.

Maybe due my poor medical-office attendance, fear that I may never show up again for another five to ten years, or the fact that when asked about my parents I may have casually mentioned some sort of crazy autoimmune arthritic attack and the words “breast cancer,” I suddenly had requisitions flying at me from every corner of the room. I was getting everything from mammograms to bone density tests to blood work for lupus. My head was literally spinning.

“I see you aren't up to date on your whopping cough, tetanus, and....”

I didn't catch the third horrific disease.

He continued, “How do you feel about vaccinations?”

I think the question made him nervous. He didn't give me pause to answer. I think he was envisioning me as a staunch Jenny McCarthy follower. I may have mentioned plant-based diet earlier in the appointment. I mean, I looked the part of one of those. So, before I could pontificate on my philosophical and social outlook with regards to the topic of vaccination, the nurse was locked, loaded and administering me the needle. There is no doubt she certainly would be the last one standing in the Wild West.

Then came the real moment of panic. He mentioned the S-word. That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, so to speak. “When was the last time you had a smear?”

I don't know if it was because I was holding my freshly-jabbed arm so tightly or if the look of overwhelming fright on my face was, well, frightening or if my attempt to joke, “I've booked my 10-year physical for November. Can it wait until then?” tugged at his sense of decency, he took pity on me and stopped the madness. The S-word would be saved for another day. Flippantly, on the way out I asked if I could get my vitamin D levels checked. It was added to the blood work. I had been reading a lot about ideal levels for optimal health and was curious where I was on the spectrum. I was outside running a little bit with my daughter and occasionally supplementing, so being deficient in the sunshine vitamin was completely outside the realm of reality.

He also ordered the MRI for my right knee. In fact, I didn't even have to hint at it. It was his idea. Usually I go the doctor with a pre-determined outcome in my mind. But, today, he beat me to the punchline. He twisted my leg a certain way, I yelped and he may or may not have used the words “meniscus,” “knee,” and “replacement” in the same sentence. Actually, it's probably a fact that he used those three words in the same sentence. What's really in question is whether or not I heard them.

Probably not, because since our lovely get-together, I've run a race with my daughter and went on a beautiful trail run with Karen and Lyndsay last weekend. I can't remember the last time the three of us all ran together, but we need to do it more often.

It is therapeutic, rejuvenating and cleansing—even if performed without the luxury of knee cartilage. My doctor did mention that I have superior knee tendons by the way. Just saying. I do have something to brag about.

We're all dealing with “stuff”--family, work, loss. And, it is so nice to leave a piece of the pain behind on the run. With the information age, I'm finding it more and more difficult to find joy, and I don't see how in reality, the world's problems can be fixed: war, killing in the name of religion, racial inequality, shooting people in church, throwing baby chicks into a grinder, cruelly slaughtering pigs, caging calfs, cutting down rainforests for beef, destroying the planet, removing the oil from the earth, global warming, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modifying our food without our say, Bill C-51. People not seeing the irony of having a BBQ (of pork hotdogs) to raise money to save the lives of cats in a shelter? How bizarre, kill the pig to save the cat? Religion, racism, sexism—speciesm. This current reality is madness. Total madness. I'm told this is how it is. An intervention, Godly or human, seems necessary to alter this reality. I don't want to hear—no, I don't want to accept—this current reality as our future reality.

* * *

There is hope. I got a few of my medical test results back. And, so far, touch wood, the only problem is I am terribly deficient in Vitamin D. 

I rest my case. Reality isn't always as it appears and it can change.

So go ahead, be a fire-breathing dragon.

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