Friday, September 7, 2012

Wonder and wondering

I took Dancer to a podiatrist today. Her infected toe was becoming an infected foot, and despite our no-insurance situation it was clear we needed to tend to this ASAP.

Dancer was heroic about the procedure used to drain and excise the yuckiness. She flinched a bit at times, but otherwise managed to look normal and pale. After she was disinfected and gauzed and given prescriptions and foot-care instructions, I took her to the waiting room and went to pay. She said she was okay, but a bit woozy.

She was the last patient of the day, and we went down in the elevator with the doctor. He looked at Dancer a bit curiously, and inquired how she was feeling. She said she was okay. Her foot didn't hurt much. She still looked pale.

We reached the ground floor, and as we came off the elevator Dancer suddenly reached for me and said, "I feel sick!" I stopped and put my arm around her. We moved carefully toward the front door. Outside, I looked for a cafe where she could sit down, but there were none nearby. She was sweaty and gray and clearly heading into shock. Then she said, "I think I'm going to pass out!" And there on the sidewalk of lower 5th Avenue in the middle of rush hour, she did.

I stood there, arms gripped around my insensible teenage daughter, thinking Hmmm. Never done this before! I looked around for a place to lie her down, but there was no bench or building ledge in sight. I didn't want an ambulance -- I already knew why she'd fainted -- so I stood there as if slow dancing. A woman passing by thought I was giving my daughter a hug and said, "Aw, how sweet!" It was such an incongruous comment that I almost laughed aloud.

As some point while wondering whether the faint would last longer than my arm muscles, I was able to rouse Dancer a bit. She'd been out cold for (I think) a bit less than a minute, and couldn't bear weight on her legs for another couple. When she was able to lean on me and move, we slo-mo'ed ourselves back into the building. We went back up to the doctor's office and I sat her down in the air conditioned waiting room. I don't think the receptionist quite got it when I told her what had happened. She showed me where to get water, but then went back to her work.

Dancer sipped the water and I wiped off her face. She slept/drowsed for half an hour. Her color returned. When she seemed stable we went around the corner to find some juice. And then we came home. Slowly.

There are many things in life that happen that you've never considered could be on your to-do list. Slow dancing with my daughter during rush hour certainly hadn't been an idea I'd knew was possible.

Oddly, it reminded me of an event on the train down to the doctor's office. Two ancient Chinese men got on and rather impishly said they'd like to "do their show". The one warbled in Chinese, while the other stomped his cane down the aisle, reaching out with his free hand as if to grab his way up from drowning, making tortured faces. It was oddly charming... and thoroughly entertaining. I've seen a lot of subway performances in my day, but never anything remotely like this. (Afterwards the singer launched into "My Old Kentucky Home".)

I wondered where the men had come from, and why they came to this city. I wondered about their wives and children and grandchildren. I wondered at the sharp sense of humor that led them to take a lead from the hip-hop dancers who fill the train with "showtime", and at whatever poverty it was they were trying to escape. I dearly wanted to take a picture of them, but didn't want to offend.

It's kind of marvelous when unusual things lead you to think, Hmmm. Never saw that before! And while I do hope that I don't ever have to do the Fainting Foxtrot on Fifth again, in truth it wasn't an utterly awful experience. Not nearly as bad as changing the bandage on Dancer's toe tonight. Urp!


  1. Oh, my! And maybe the receptionist knew herself that there wasn't really anything to worry about, but don't you wish they'd show a little more concern/communicate a little better?

    I always wonder what the situation is behind the Romany mother and daughter who hang out on my corner looking for handouts. They're not homeless, but they are habituated to living in a shack settlement by the river. What's it like to grow up in an unassimilated culture in which begging is not a stop-gap measure, but normal?

    And was this Dancer's first day of school? I hope she (and you) feel better soon!

    1. I really do think all the receptionist heard was the word water. It did occur to me to get up and see if they had any juice on hand, but Dancer's head was resting on my shoulder and I didn't want to get up and disturb her.

      Foot inflammation is down somewhat this a.m. Hallelujah!

  2. How awful for Dancer and for her Mom as well. After a 45 year career in health care I can say that most medical offices have some juice on hand and chocolate as well for those episodes of dizziness. Happens a lot in offices but most doctors let a patient sit for a while after a procedure to make sure they are stable to get up and walk. Glad that Dancer is ok, her inflammation is going down and that Mom survived.

  3. I hope she has a swift recovery!