Chapter 20


when Brian and i got home from the ER it was 7:36 am, or at least that was the time it was when i first thot to check. he sunk into an armchair, and i lay on the couch, and we both simply passed out.

when i woke of course i had to pee and my trip to the bathroom was riddled with pain. crawling the walls, so to speak. inching along i suddenly switched to hopping, a quicker if more awkward way to go, each impact my good leg took resulting in pain for the bad one.

“get that old cane,”  Brian suggested, “rather than hopping, crazy girl!”

“the wedding cane?”

as a joke, or a prop, id had one of Brians groomsmen carry a cane down the aisle to hand me, should i need assistance, seeing how my wedding was the first time id tried on heels.

i sat on the toilet as Brian dug in the coat closet and came out with the wedding cane.

i hobbled to the couch, not clear on how to use the cane, and texted my boss: “hit by car last night, ER doc says i can work Tuesday.”

bruises could hurt, i learned, so i planned on icing and elevating till Tuesday. it was Sunday afternoon and i had all of Monday, yet, to repair.

“ok,” my boss texted back.

except, Monday morning the pain had worsened, not let. my hip, my knee were pomello and grapefruit, respectively. so fucking stiff and sore. pain radiated when i sat completely still.

my instincts kicked in, i dialed my doctor, at the clinic. they got me in immediately. on the way to the doctor we stopped at CVS for crutches. it took an eternity to fix the crutches to the suitable height.

the doc told me after poking and prodding i surely had broken something, if not multiple bones.

i explained my night at the ER and the x-rays showing i had not.

unfortunately he had no access to the x-rays, as id had them at the university clinic.

he replied, “if not breaks, then there are certainly tears. do NOT attempt to walk, continue on the crutches. have my nurse get you an appointment for an MRI ASAP, and an appointment with an orthopedic to read the film.”

he told me “ice.” “elevate.” “stay off your feet.” i told him, “i will,” and, “thanks.” and out to the front desk, where a seated woman offered me an MRI on July 19th.

it was JUNE 18th!!!!

“when is the soonest ortho appointment?”

“oh, i have one as early as July 1st.”

i explained that the doctor was certain i had breaks if not tears, or both, in my leg, knee and whatnot.

“i need something today, immediately!” i said.


“i mean, i can go elsewhere. get an MRI. a doctor from the clinic can read an outside MRI, right?”

“you are welcome to go outside the clinic,” she told me woodenly.

“you guys have like 70 outpatient clinics. i dont have to come here, to this building. i am willing to go anywhere in Ohio!” i exclaimed.

“what is the soonest MRI in the state of Ohio?”


the seated woman proceeded to call place after place. turns out there is not like, one big database displaying all open appointments. she rang and rang. occasionally shed place her hand on the receiver and throw out a date: “July 6?”

i shook my head.

“June 29?”

“thats eleven days. forget it,” i said, getting disgusted.

finally, “oooh, in Youngstown i have an ortho June 21st.”

“ill take it,” i told her.

Youngstown was about 50 minutes in good traffic. June 21st was three days away.

she got off the phone and i asked, “and where does that leave the earliest MRI?”

“lets see,” she consulted scrawled notes, “best we can do is July 17th.”

“i thot you said earlier you had a June 29th?”

“that was earlier,” the desk woman smiled, shaking her head, “they go fast.”

she clucked.

“so, i cant see an ortho till i have an MRI, right?”

“if you would like the orthopedic doctor to see the MRI,” she agreed.

i left the office with an ortho on June 21st, which was Thursday, and three days away, and no MRI to speak of.

when i got home i was about to call round to other hospitals and find an MRI before my appointment with the ortho. something told me call the clinic myself. i was immediately put on hold, and in turns music and recorded messages competed to drown out the pain in my leg.

every minute and a half or so, on a loop, a calm beaming womans voice came on and bragged about the clinics “famous same-day appointments.”

“is it after 12 pm?” the recording would boast, “ask about our next-day appointments.”

i was thinking how she may have misspoken. surely she meant ‘next-month’ appointments!

i got a (live) woman on the phone who had only July appointments for MRI.

“is there an MRI machine in the ER?” i asked her, figuring i might just go down there an get one at an exorbitant cost.

“im not sure,” she told me.

“can you find out???”

“i can give you some numbers to try,” she began.

“forget it. this is a crock.”

i began sobbing.

“its not supposed to be this hard.”

silence on the other line, i for one kept up my frenzy.

“i was hit by a car while walking  in a crosswalk, my knee is BROKEN and i cant get care for a month? what the fuck is with these so-called same-day appointments you guys brag about?”

then i changed tacts, more sweetly: “i apologize for speaking that way. can you please give me the number to the ombudsman?”

which got the woman, because she said through clenched teeth with her own brand of forced sweetness, “i can get you the number if you like, but would it make you feel better if i found you a more immediate appointment?”

“without a doubt it would,” i told her, “and will you call me back or should i be calling back, asking for you by name?”

“ill call you, Mrs. Bodnar.”

“you just sit tight.”

“oh thank you so much,” i said, weeping again, this time with relief.


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