You’ve heard me talk about “island time” before – you know, the sort of “we’ll get there when we get there,” or, “we’ll do it…eventually,” kind of attitude? Being fully aware of this, I went to start the process of getting an x-ray today with low expectations.
After meeting with the doctor at the nearby walk-in clinic, I was shocked when, after about 30 seconds of explaining my situation, he sat down and started writing the order for the x-ray. But I was MOST shocked that he then said something like: “Okay, they don’t close until 2:30, so you should have plenty of time to get there.”
Me: “Oh, to the hospital? Today? Should I make an appointment?”
Dr: “No, it’s an x-ray medical clinic.”
He then proceeded to show me on a very simplified map how to get there.
Dr: “But go the French way, there will be less traffic.”
I then paid $30 for a 2 minute consultation and a piece of paper.
With this precious piece of paper in hand, I basically just hopped in my car, said a prayer, and drove the “French way,” as advised. (Note: this refers which direction to drive on the island, which is half-owned by the Dutch, and half-owned by the French. Since there is really just the one main road connecting the whole island, you can choose either way, and still end up where you want to be…mostly.)
Let me just tell you, miracles do happen! I drove the French way until I recognized one of the businesses pictured on my “map,” shown to be about across the street from where I wanted to be. After parking, I bumbled around the many other businesses in that approximate area, and only went into the wrong place one time. (It looked medical-ish, but turned out to be a cardiology office. Everyone looked at me weird for 1. speaking English and 2. asking for an x-ray.)
More French way: I was greeted with a “Bonjour,” and after replying with “Hello,” (because there’s no way I was gonna fake a “bonjour” back to her), I was grateful to find that the receptionist spoke English too. I handed her my $30 piece of paper that proved I needed an x-ray. I expected a long form to fill out, as with most medical establishments, but she instead asked me to write my name, IN ALL CAPS, (not sure why that was so important), and my date of birth on that same piece of paper.
After waiting a short time, an older man stepped through the side door wearing just jeans and a grubby, but collared, shirt. It was a mauve color, only because perhaps at one time it was more purple. He called out “Madame Lew,” but I only figured out he meant me because he looked right at me…and he may have also pointed. I don’t remember. Good thing he did. I’ve never even been called Mrs. Lew, how would I know I was a “madame?”
Madame Lew, sounds good right? The French way.
In the x-ray room, mauve-shirt-man didn’t say much. I understood I should put my bag on the chair and take off my shoes (flip flops). Then he pointed to the table and awkwardly tried to get my leg to bend right so my foot was positioned correctly for the x-ray, mostly complicated by the fact that he didn’t tell me where he wanted my foot and that he had very shaky hands. Don’t worry, it’s just an x-ray where positioning happens to be extremely important.
I seem to remember x-rays in the U.S. being: 1. In a dark room (am I right?) and 2. They have you wear some kind of heavy, protective apron. Eh, not the French. Or at least, the island-French. No big.
Picture one, done. Then he shaky-handed my foot onto it’s side and took another.
“Wait,” was all I got after that.
I took the time to notice the room. I saw a tall and skinny looking fire-extinguisher on the wall, and I thought, “Man, Americans even have fatter fire extinguishers,” (The French way). There were also huge crates and old suitcases in the corner that looked like they probably served as someone’s luggage in the 40’s.
Then I swung my dangling feet because he never told me to get off the x-ray table. And it’s extra fun if, as an adult, you find a place to sit and your feet don’t touch the floor so you can do this. That is probably not the French way to behave. I stopped in time when the man came back so that he didn’t catch me.
Mauve-shirt-man: “There is no fracture, and there is no sign of a previous one.”At least it was a whole sentence. I thought about asking him if he meant a normal fracture, or a stress fracture (and I would carefully stress the “stress” part), but I decided to pick my battles. I thanked him, went back to the receptionist, (who looked at the x-ray before handing it to me and also told me there was no fracture, so naturally I felt completely reassured), and paid $50 for these beautiful pictures of my feet. I like my feet. I admit, they look fracture-less to me too, but I’m no doctor (or receptionist). I also believe that stress fractures can be fickle about showing up on x-rays, but it’s been two months since I first noticed the pain, so I’m thinking there should at least be some calcium build up to see. In any case It was a wonderful adventure, and I was shocked at the un-island-like speed with which it took place. This blog was not speedy however, so if you made it to the end, thanks for coming the French way with me for this little recount of my x-ray! Sure, I still don’t know if I have or had a stress fracture, but the day’s events definitely amused me; hopefully you were amused a little too.