I’ve managed to liberate my right hand for typing now that it’s been almost a week since Shinko chucked me off and ruined my shoulder. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t the chucking off that did my shoulder in. It was my desperation to not let him loose after the fact. But never mind, I wasn’t the first person nor will I be the last to make the mistake of trying to hang onto the reins in the futile attempt to stop a 550-kilogram thoroughbred from running off. One broken bridle and one ripped shoulder later, run off he did, having a merry canter down the pavement and kicking in a few cars on the way, just for fun. He’s fine. I’m still not sure when I’ll be fine.
There is absolutely wonderful medical care available in France, but one has to go on quite a scavenger hunt to find it. If, by chance, you have to be scraped off the pavement by the SAMU, or rescue squad, chances are you’ll be quite well taken care of. If, on the other hand, you have the misfortune of being ambulatory, your odyssey is just beginning. I avoid doctors, as a rule, but since I couldn’t raise my arm or grasp anything after the fall, I thought I’d better have an X-ray. I went to a reputable emergency room, but being that it was the Saturday of Easter weekend, the A-team evidently was not on duty. The wait wasn’t too long. I was X-rayed and put into a “box” to await a doctor. About 45 minutes later, an orderly came in with a sling. A man who I assumed to be the doctor looked over his shoulder and said “there’s no fracture. Probably a ligament. Put the sling on for 15 days and I’ll sign you off of work.” The doctor, if that’s what he was, did not come within five feet of me and certainly wasn’t interested in looking at my shoulder, much less touching it. They shuffled me out with some forms, including a prescription for some anti-inflammatories. I mentioned that this was actually a work accident, and not a pleasure ride. No one seemed bothered.
Just by chance, I had an appointment this week with a specialist to check out the carpal tunnel syndrome in my hands. Turns out it’s very bad, and yes, I should have surgery on the right one right away. Oh, yes, and by the way, you may have a torn rotator cuff. You should get a scan. You might need to operate on that, too. Right. So I tried to get an appointment for an MRI. I couldn’t find anyone to take me in less than two weeks’ time. By then, I figured, whatever it was would be well on its way to healing, for better or worse. Which made me think: What kind of problem that needs an MRI scan can wait two weeks? An MRI is used to diagnose soft tissue injuries and tumors, both of which strike me as somewhat urgent. Ah, but it’s who you know. We kept calling around, and my doctor knew someone who knew somebody else, and we found a cancellation to get the scan done this week. I was now on to my third doctor for the same injury. He did the scan. “There’s a rupture in the ligament that attaches your shoulder blade to the collar bone,” he said. “It will heal by itself, or you may need to have a pin put in – depends on what kind of life you lead.” I ride racehorses for a living, I said. “Hmm. You probably should have the pin put in. See your orthopedist.” Right. So I have an appointment in a week. I’m looking for a two-for-one deal. Since the shoulder is screwed up, I want the wrist surgery at the same time. What are the chances?