Being Told I'm Complicated
And no - it’s not from that Avril Lavigne song.
It’s a sentence that you don’t expect to hear come out of a middle aged adult who seems to have more prestigious titles than Lord Sussex himself. Hands pulling at his thinning hair, and a bead of sweat dripping from his forehead.
“Shit. You’re complicated.” I take one look at my mother, whom I thought will either a) punch his lights out or b) make a snarky comment, which would be better than option a. The first reaction that came out of my mouth was a laugh. Because that’s what it seemed like, when deep down something was brewing inside me.
Now, I’m going to give you a little more context to what I’m blabbering on about. 8 months or so ago, I went to see my new surgeon about a pain I was having in my ankles. After being passed around like a hot potato, I was finally seen at The Royal Orthopaedics Hospital in London and being referred to the ‘top reconstructive surgeon in the UK’ - okay hun.
After waiting for him for about 25 minutes in his registrar’s room, a frantic Alan Rickman lookalike walked through the door in a blind panic. “I just don’t have time to see you right now… I’ve got this person in this room, another over here and - “ a pause. A glance over at my X-rays of both my legs were glowing on the screen. Metal pins, screws, hooks and hinges, a miniature B&Q basically. Then came the quote that set me on edge.
Never in my 24 years, have I ever been called complicated, maybe from my boyfriend once or twice but never from A TOP RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON. Like, come on hun, surely I’m not the worst case you’ve ever seen?! I mean if I am, I’m proud and I deserve a badge or at least a lolly.
It wasn’t just about my ankles, it was a never-ending list of problems that grew into insecurities and dread and after a lot of pulling and twisting my legs back to front, another cracking sentence was born. “I don’t really want to do the operation on you, whilst you’re okay, I’d rather you break your bones naturally and then fix you”. Yeah okay babe - let me just sit in the middle of the road and get hit by a car, bungee jump of Everest or play some rugby (that one was his suggestion). If it hasn’t occurred to you, I don’t put myself in situations where I see the outcome as BREAKAGE. What a stupid thing to say to someone with Brittle Bones.
His ‘offer’ was to break basically every bone down from my hips and start again, with the outcomes being - possibly never walking again, not healing, infections, pain and a bunch of common side effects to surgery. There was no promise that what he proposed, would actually help or work, and that’s where I became scared. I would be putting my life in someone’s hands who didn’t 1) seem sure and 2) didn’t want the job.
Of course, like the person I am, I sat there, making jokes and awkwardly laughing at the utter bollocks coming out of his mouth. I posed beautifully for a new set of X-rays, and after a few more pulling and pushing about, I was sent back for a final chat. The consultation ended with, “l’ll give you 6 months to think about what you want to do”.
It’s not often I complain about my health, but this not only got me angry about who I had been sent to, but also I walked out feeling like my shell was failing. It really hit me 24 hours after. I cried, like really cried. I looked in the mirror and said how much I hated my body, why couldn’t it be normal? Why are you faulty?
There’s still a lot to be answered and I’m currently going for scans and being referred to another doctor who specialises in people like myself, so the rest is on-going. On a brighter note: I have to realise that even through it all my body has pushed through the impossible and am thankful that it’s gotten me to where I am now. It’s allowed me to walk, to swim in oceans and to travel the world. Inside my skeleton is held together with the most robotic components, but that’s what makes it so beautiful. The scars are trophies and so what if I walk like a penguin for the rest of my life? Penguins are cute.