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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1850510
Phoenix eagerly awaits the fitting of his new ankle brace...
Today was the day.  Phoenix was going to have his new ankle brace fitted.  He had waited almost a month for this day.  First, though, he had a VA pre-op appointment to go to in the morning.  The pre-op appointment was for his upcoming ECT procedure.  Phoenix checked in about a half an hour early for the doctor's appointment.  He was not scheduled for a lab draw, but was certain they would want one, so he was fasting.  The time went by quickly as he engaged in conversation with another Veteran.  Soon, the nurse called his name and took him back to the scale.  The scale, Phoenix was sure, was about 15 pounds off, and not in the more flattering direction.  He knew he only weighed 195 pounds.  Yes, he needed to lose about 60 pounds, but he did not appreciate the scale adding any to the count, especially in the clinic where they track that kind of thing.  The doctor expressed that he had no reservations about the ECT procedures for Phoenix.  Phoenix respected this doctor.  He had a lot in common with him and the doctor told Phoenix about his struggle with cancer.  He was given a 30% chance of surviving the disease and was a young man with young children going through his residency at the time.  Here he was, though, talking to Phoenix, alive and well.  He told Phoenix that sometimes we take things for granted and that we have to look at the good things in our lives.  Phoenix thanked him for the encouragement and told him that he appreciated him.  "Well, thanks.  That makes me feel good," the doctor said as he shook Phoenix's hand.  Phoenix took a number at the lab and talked to the social worker while he waited for his number to come up.  The social worker was a friend and Phoenix appreciated her as well.  She had done a lot for Phoenix in the past.  They discussed Phoenix's psychiatrist in fond terms and then Phoenix heard the lab call his number.  After the blood draw and the urine sample, he was free.  It was only 1000.  His brace-fitting was not until 1430.  Phoenix was tired, though, and went home to eat a bowl of cereal and take a nap.

Phoenix woke up at 1300.  He did not feel particularly rested, but he felt more rested than he had that morning.  He patiently waited for his next appointment and decided to go over to the orthopedics building early.  Arriving at 1400, he had a half an hour to wait, but brought a book to read in the meantime.  Phoenix needed to get ahead on his graduate school reading and decided that would be the perfect time to do some.  He signed in and waited, trying somewhat unsuccessfully to block out the gameshow on the television while he read.  Finally, it was time.  They called his name and Phoenix walked back to the room with the orthopedist.  He enthusiastically took off his shoe and his old brace, expecting the latest and greatest brace that could be offered so that he could go back to walking and running and judo - oh, how he would love to go back to judo!  The orthopedist unveiled the brace, and it was...it was...the same brace as his primary doctor used to order for him.  Phoenix was not disappointed, however, because the orthopedist did show him how to properly adjust and wear the brace.  He was also relieved that he would not have to go through the specialist to get the brace.  He could simply have his regular doctor order it.  It was good to have a new brace.  It was good to have a proper fit, and to have the knowledge of how it was supposed to fit and be adjusted.  The best part about it, though, was that, although Phoenix's expectations had been off the mark, he could now move forward with many plans to get back into judo, fitness, and overall health.  The wait was over.
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