to make a long story short, the contusion on my foot turned out to be fractured bones at two locations, the cuboid and a lower metatarsal below the pinky toe. and here i was thinking i was nearly recovered. apparently the fun is just beginning. i might need a cast when i have my MGH orthopedic specialist appointment on wednesday afternoon. worst case scenario, i'm out of action for a few weeks. if anyone asks me what happened i tell them i shattered my foot in a motorcycle crash. in my story, the damage was so extensive, they had to x-ray my good foot just to have a map of where to put back the bones in the bad foot.
my story really started last night. the heat was getting to me and i had a hard time falling asleep. it was useless to open the windows since it was hotter outside than it was inside. i could feel myself sticking to the sheets. i searched frantically for cool spots on the bed. i slipped in and out of consciousness, never really getting a good night's rest.
i decided last night that i'd go back to MGH in the morning and get the foot x-ray. when i went to radiology on the 2nd floor of the wang center, the receptionist actually remembered me, "you're back!" i told her they x-rayed the wrong part and i was back for more. she checked the computer but there was no order for additional x-rays. "you'll have to go back upstairs and speak with your doctor," she told me. upstairs my doctor's receptionist recognized me as well since i called her earlier, trying to confirm the appointment (i left a message, she left a voicemail). she checked her computer and saw everything according to schedule. just to be sure however, she gave me a confirmation printout to show radiology.
radiology gave me an ID bracelet and told me to wait in the waiting room. minutes later they called me inside, to wait in the second waiting room, before finally going into the x-ray room. how many technicians does it take to operate a hospital x-ray machine? apparently 3. the worst part was the rolling table was still wet with sweat from the previous patient. i didn't say anything, figured the quicker i get this done, the sooner i could leave. by the time i got home in this hazy muggy heat, my shirt was completely soaked with sweat.
i called greater boston motorsports in arlington to ask about bike repairs. i figured i could just bring it in for an estimate, but called just in case they needed an appointment. turns out they're so busy the mechanics won't be able to see me until monday morning. i figured it wouldn't be too bad, gave me another week to recover from my injuries, and by next week i'd be 100% ready for riding again.
in the early afternoon my doctor called me. that should've been a warning sign. ever since i decided to get my foot looked at, i dealt with an urgent care doctor who wasn't my primary care physician, nurses, and the occasional receptionist. my normal doctor wasn't involved in any decision until now. "i have some news for you, chung," he said, soundily rather upbeat. i didn't like it that he calls me "chung," makes me feel he's just reading off the charts (i'll let him know next time). "you have two fractures in your foot," he told me. "two fractures in my foot?" i repeated, trying to make sure i heard him right. he told me i'd need to get casted right away and scheduled an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist. in the meantime i'm supposed to return to the hospital again and get a foot brace.
two things made this day very difficult: the fact that my foot was still hurting (more so now, after i realized there are actually broken bones) and this third day of the heat wave. so not only could i not really walk, but this unbearable hotness made me want to kill myself. plus, i looked like a mess, completely covered in sweat just minutes after stepping outside.
i paid a visit to my garden first, haven't watered it since friday. it's been less than a week since i put out those seed cups and already they've all sprouted: a moonflower, cucumbers, and cypress vines. the heat probably helped with their rapid germination. i need to sow my flower seeds within in the next few days as well (directly into the ground). also they finally put in the new fence, very fragrant of redwoods.
i returned to MGH, this time to the yawkey center. i went to their orthopedics department but once again ran into the same problem: my record wasn't in their system. so i waited in the waiting room until they called me back in (they finally cleared things up with my doctor). i didn't know what to expect, and earlier i watched as a man got his whole leg plastered. but the woman asked me for my shoe size and took out this flat-soled velcro slipper for me to wear AKA the frankenstein boot.
because i was wearing black shoes with my black socks, you didn't really notice i had on the frankenstein boot unless you were really looking or watched me limping. although the special shoe was supposed to help my foot, it actually hurt more for me to walk in them, maybe because i wasn't used to it yet.
from charles/MGH i grabbed the T to downtown crossing and walked to my favorite chinese takeout place in chinatown next to the tufts medical school. i ordered my favorite spicy fried pork cutlets with rice and ate it hungrily sitting in front of the wall-mounted oscillating fan. at 4pm, this was my first real meal of the day. i washed it all down with a cold can of pepsi. the experience gave me a china trip flashback. how often have i eaten by myself in some strange asian place, surrounded by people chatting in a language i don't speak (in this case cantonese, with the occasional mandarin which i do know). i can't say i was really enjoying my food (although it was delicious), it was more practical, just feeding the machine if you will.
with more than an hour to kill before 6pm (where i was meeting joel at the boston common theatre for a free screening of the new incredible hulk movie), i sat in the shade on a rock wall in boston common facing the theatre, sipping a flavored water drink. a trio of greenpeace volunteers in blue t-shirts were canvassing the area, trying to get people to donate money (i never saw them make an actual "sale"). a skinny man carrying a dufflebag sat nearby, smoking a cigarette. he looked like denis leary with a moustache. he made some comment about the rows of green flourishes on top of one of the historical buildings. "that's copper," he told me, pointing with his two cigaretted fingers, then tried to do the math on its street value. "what happened to your foot?" he asked. "motorcycle accident," i replied. "what do you ride?" he said. "a little honda cruiser," i replied. he scoffed, "harleys the way to go!"
we got to talking and suddenly my hour of waiting wasn't so boring anymore. billy o'reilly was his name, just came up here from new york city. he's into construction now, with the odd jobs here and there, but before that however, he was a NY police officer for more than 20 years. "i did a boo-boo though," he told me, pulling at the grass behind us and throwing it away. he lost everything (including his pension) when he was caught taking money from a drug dealer. they basically said, lose your job or go to jail. "prisons no good for a cop," he noted.
although i didn't realize it at first, i figured out soon enough that he was homeless. he looked into staying at shelters, but the better ones require advanced reservation and the bad ones are prone to theft. "besides," he told me in a whisper, "there's all those niggers." safety and racism aside, he seemed too proud to stay in those places anyway, and with the recent slew of nice weather, there are plenty of spots to take a nap. he told me he stays awake during the night for safety reasons and only sleeps during the day when he can. "guys come up to me all the time, asking if i want to buy crack, or if i want to go somewhere. i don't even know them!" the hardest part is finding a bathroom though, as most places don't let you use their facilities unless you're a paying customer. a security guard at tufts medical school let him use the employee shower one night, and he got all cleaned up and shaved, and smiled just thinking about that it.
things were starting to pick up for billy; he came back from a job interview today, doing some non-union factory work that paid just $8/hour but it was a start. the job began tomorrow at 5am but he wanted to get there early so he wouldn't be late.
sitting on the wall, we'd occasionally eye some beautiful girl walking down the street. "boston girls are hot, with their short skirts and their big titties," he told me, holding his hands out to his chest. looking at one of the greenpeace workers, he pointed with his chin and observed, "that guy must be a fag." i told him it was pride week and there was going to be a big parade this weekend. "no shit?" he exclaimed, laughing. he pulled out a folded piece of paper from his wallet and showed me his recent negative HIV test. he gets tested every 6 months because "you never know who has it. you're fine one day, but 3 months later your thing falls off, or you're 90 lbs with sores."
when i got up to leave i grabbed his shoulder and wished him good luck. "you couldn't spare a dollar, could you?" he asked. "sorry, no," i said, as i saw him shrug. when he was telling me his story, at one point i did think about giving him some money. but i wasn't sure if he'd even take it or maybe it'd hurt his feelings. but in the end when he asked me if i could spare some change, it sort of burst the bubble that we were just two regular guys chatting.
joel brought a posse of people with him when he showed up at the theatre, mostly people from work. by then their was so many people waiting for the screening i thought there might be a riot if folks were turned away. but in the end i think everyone got seats and no blood was shed.
the new incredible hulk was pretty satisfying, everything that the ang lee hulk was not. ang lee hulk was sensitive and smooth like a baby; the incredible hulk is always angry and rippled with bulging muscles. it'd be cool if every major director could have their own version of the hulk. imagine a tarantino hulk, or a scorsese hulk. how about a david lynch hulk? the incredible hulk scores on every possible thing you could want in a big summer movie. good actors? check. lots of action? check. special effects? check. hint of a love story (for the ladies)? check. inside jokes and references for the fanboys? check check check! i thought the incredible hulk had elements of king kong (hulk with betty) and superman 2 (hulk with abomination), amongst other scifi/fantasy classics.
by evening's end i grabbed the red line back to camberville with tim and shaun. i saw my upstairs had finally come home from the lights in their place. i wonder if they noticed i'd oiled the front steps? i'll have to write them a note. the temperature inside my house was sweltering. i immediately started opening as many windows as i could and went to take a shower.