eastern medicine,  western medicine

it’s the little things

Yesterday I was due for another round of prolotherapy. This was my fourth treatment, each scheduled six weeks apart, and it’s a two-hour car ride each way to get to my doctor’s office. The specifics of prolotherapy aren’t really important right now (but if you’d like to know more this is a good site to visit); all that’s really pertinent to this post is that because of the number of injections I have during each round of treatment I need someone drive me home.

Whether driving ten minutes away or taking a trip across the country, a good companion can make all the difference when you have a medical appointment / procedure / surgery. Because my hip pain started when I was still a minor my mom accompanied me to doctor visits. When things got a bit more serious in my undergrad days she felt it was important for her to be present when discussing options with my surgeon, and I was all too happy to have her!

Now I’m 29 years old and she still accompanies me to practically every orthopedic appointment. Sometimes it’s because I need someone to drive me home (as I did yesterday), but other times she simply knows that having her there going to make this painful or difficult day a little bit easier.

When we’re stuck in the waiting room she pulls out a book or magazine and convinces me she doesn’t mind that our appointment was scheduled for thirty minutes ago and that she’s perfectly content to sit there as long as it takes. (“Anne, this is what we came here for,” is what she always says.)  When we’re with the doctor she asks the questions that I would either forget or never think to ask. When driving me home we grab a coffee and she lets me control the radio. We spend the day catching up on what’s been going on, discuss important political issues and the reasons why J. Crew isn’t as good as it used to be, and always have a quick, yet thorough debriefing following the appointment.

Years of these four- to six-hour trips have evolved from necessities we just have to get through to fun days I actually look forward to (in spite of the fact that sentence rhymes it’s not a joke). I knew that getting prolotherapy was going to hurt, but I went to bed the night before thinking about the fun day ahead rather than the procedure.

It’s so important to have friends and / or family step up after the big surgeries when you are in pain and simply cannot do for yourself. I actually started typing out a thoughtful action performed by each member of my immediate family, but I had to stop because, let’s face it, there are eight of us and it was kind of dragging on. Hopefully I will one day have an opportunity to thank everyone in their own, individual blog post for how awesome they have been throughout the years. What they do for me is in no way less than what my mom does, it’s just that her thing is more relevant because it, like, just happened.

The people who step up for the big stuff know how important they are to me in that moment; it’s the in-between helpers, though, that often go unthanked. Those that cancel their plans and invite you to a movie when you’re bored but can’t do too much, or take you to lunch when you need a distraction. Those who don’t get upset when you snap at them, even when you totally deserve it, and give you second, third, and seventh chances. Those are the people who keep you sane, and as much as I like to think I don’t need anyone to get through the day, I’m completely kidding myself and rely on every last one of them.

As undeserving as I am to impart wisdom to anyone over the age of eight, this post has produced not one, but two take-home messages, and I’m going to obnoxiously spell them out for you just in case you  missed them. The first: don’t overlook those who are there for the “little” stuff. The second: you can make any day fun, no matter how much it might hurt, as long as you have the right person by your side.

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