Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Waiting room of Gramercy MRI. There's the Asian woman with her wrist in an Ace bandage, the Hispanic woman with a scarf on her head, the black mother-daughter team. Asian woman is closest to the water cooler; I ask if she'll pour me a glass. She asks if I want hot or cold, and everyone in the room says “cold.”

Friday, May 1, 2009
A four-hour wait for Dr. Issack. My babysitter bill racks up like a taxi meter. No doubt more damage is being exacted on my injury from the wait than from the original injury. I eat a handful of chocolate chip cookies. Not great cookies but (we're on a diet) deceptively delicious.

A woman who arrived when I did is highly offended by the lost time. She's riding a go-cart wheelchair, the mini version Target offers its handicapped shoppers. All she wants is someone in the office to tell us the doctor isn't here yet and why he isn't here yet and that he'll probably be here soon. The longer this desire is not addressed, the more offended she becomes, the more she shares her complaint with us in the waiting room until a handful of people are speculating about the doctor's absence: He's sick. He's not coming in. He's operating on somebody. They should tell us something. Why doesn't anybody tell us anything? That's all I want: the information.

Our wheelchaired representative rolls out and then back and declares she's learned the truth: he's across the street at Methodist, performing an emergency knee reconstruction. So now, even with the information, she still needs—and still does not receive—a public explanation or apology from the office staff. At the four-hour mark she makes to skip her appointment and begins a slow-rolling huff toward the exit, until her four compatriots convince her to stay. And then Dr. Issack arrives.

• 1:00 pm
“Complete tear, proximal anterior cruciate ligament with anterior translation of the tibia and subchondral fractures, posterior medial and posterior lateral tibia with marrow edema. Partial tear, lateral collateral ligament. Medial meniscal tear.”

I've got what they call “The Terrible Triad.” Good news: it's a textbook injury and there seems to be no mystery to my situation. Bad news: my injury is “severe and substantial.” Summary: If the guy I collided with had said “I’m sorry” instead of “I didn't cross my side of the net,” I'd still be in the same condition.

Doc Issack spends quality time. Looks into his crystal ball of a cellphone and gives me June 8 for surgery, tells me to decide between autograft and allograft, gives me a prescription for more Vicodin and a Bledsoe knee brace that'll provide more support and confidence and eliminate war and poverty and hatred.

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