Mark Saw A New Doc, But I Wasn’t Impressed


My husband Mark has been suffering with back, knee and leg pain that is pretty high on the pain scale. It flares up whenever he has to stand for a prolonged period or is subjected to TV commercials with graphic illustrations of back, knee and leg pain.

Our daughter-in-law, Shelley, suggested we try a pain doctor.

“His office is in Broward County, but it’s worth the drive,” she enthused. “I had hurt my shoulder so badly I couldn’t raise my arm and, with one injection, I was completely cured. He’s fantastic!”

Mark liked the sound of this. One injection!

I did not. “One injection?” I asked. “One injection of what?”

“Whale sperm and marijuana extract? I don’t know,” Shelley said. “I didn’t care.”

“I’m going to go see him,” Mark said eagerly.

“One caution,” Shelley said. “He has a lousy bedside manner.”

Did he ever. We got to the office at 9 a.m. the next morning as instructed. It was a Monday, but Dr. Strangecure had taken our call at 3 p.m. on Sunday, on his personal cell phone. Shelley had mentioned he didn’t believe in receptionists.

That may be why he opened the door to his office at 10:30 a.m. (“He gets here when he wants to get here,” one of the four people waiting outside with us had said. “And he’s slower since his open heart surgery three weeks ago,” said the one who had flown in from New York to see him.)

The doctor looked rather gray. But if he’s up and working within three weeks of having his chest cut open, I suppose that’s understandable. At least he didn’t appear to be in any pain.

He took the first three patients out of order while Mark filled out the paperwork. The cases consisted of a knee, a hip and an ear. An ear! That seemed way different from muscle pain, I thought nervously.

But I chided myself for being an eternal skeptic and accompanied Mark to the back room. The doc took sort of an x-ray with a gigantic machine that projected an image of Mark’s back onto a screen almost immediately. (One of the other patients had told us the machine cost a million dollars.) Then Mark handed him a drawing where he had colored in all the parts that hurt.

“I can’t fix all this!” the doctor exclaimed. “Where does it hurt the most?”

“My kn-knees?” Mark stammered, trying to come up with an immediate answer.

“Not your knees! Your kneecaps!” The doctor chided. Then, accusingly, “How many surgeries have you had?”

“Four. I had some screws put in…”

“That’s your real problem! Surgery! Get those screws taken out!”

“What?” I gasped.

“You keep out of this,” the doctor said. “In fact, go sit in that chair.”

He pointed to a chair around a corner in a dark examination room filled with old files and broken lamps. I did as I was told but was horrified to hear Mark actually ask, “Can I have surgery to have the screws taken out?”

“Well, yes, of course! How else would you do it?”

Finally Mark was given “The Shot” and walked the eight feet out of the room. “Do I need to come back?” Mark asked.

“Well, how do you feel?”

“I’ve only walked eight feet…”

“No! You’re fine!”

And that was the end of that. Thank goodness. As for Mark’s back, knee and leg pain, it’s exactly as it was. And no one is getting any screws taken out. There’s a small foot growing out of his kneecap now, but other than that…

Kidding. Just kidding.