The next thing of any consequence in my life happened two and a half weeks later, when I went to the orthopedic clinic. I drove to the High Country Multi Discipline Clinic in Dobson. It was truly a one stop shop for the person with multi ailments. I only had one thing wrong with me, that I knew about, but it was an orthopedic nightmare.
Since I was running late, and I knew how doctor’s were in general, I stopped for take out coffee and a biscuit. It was from the drive thru window of a restaurant that was supposed to specialize in that kind of thing. That didn’t mean that it was good, just that they served the acceptable food all day.
“Hello, I’m Sylvia Porter. I have a 11:15 appointment,” I said to the receptionist who tried to look like a nurse. The clerk needed to wear a scrub suit, like I needed to wear the military garb, which I still wore.
“Hello Miss Porter, would you fill out these forms.” she said handing me a dollar store clipboard.
“Sure why not, I had to fill out those same forms while I was bleeding out in the emergency room,” I said with a smile. It wasn’t true it was just a joke. Since there was no one who knew enough about me to fill them out, the admitting lady had come to the treatment room of the ER to ask me the insurance type questions. Once they were sure payment was guaranteed, they backed off. I sat in one of the chairs, with an end table beside it, to eat my biscuit and drink my coffee while I filled out the forms.
I couldn’t answer all the questions, so when I returned the clip board, I explained about the insurance and the payment. I also explained they should have all the missing information, because treatment had been approved by someone before I scheduled the appointment.
“Yes Miss Porter, it is just a standard form. I think we have everything,” the receptionist said. Since she didn’t even look at the form, I assumed it was all bullshit.
“Very well,” I said. “Oh could you toss this out.” I handed the the bag, which contained the biscuit wrapper. I hadn’t finished the terrible coffee at that time.
Soon I finished the coffee. and needed more. Of course there was not way to get any before some other kind of assistant came for me. “Miss Porter,” she said from a hallway door. “Come with me please.” Then she led me to a treatment room. The room was white of course with a table where I guess I was supposed to sit. But I chose to sit on the doctor’s stool. Hell I was paying, I would sit where ever I wanted. At least until someone told different.
Well technically the assistant had said sit on the examining table. I had just ignored her, Yes I was acting out, but I had enough of doctors, and even lesser employees telling me what to do. I hated even more that they were being paid to order me around.
The doctor walk in holding my file. “Miss Porter?” he asked.
“Yes that’s me,” I said. “Any you are?”
“Doctor Harper,” he said. “Now let’s see what we have here.”
I held up my hand. “What I have is a fucked up hand. I have no idea what you have.”
“I have a patient with an attitude,” he said. He did smile thank god. “You really want to lose it. You don’t have the power here, this isn’t a adversarial situation.”
“And you don’t have a patient, who you can bully. So let’s try to work together,” I suggested.
“I don’t have a lot of patience with patients who want to show me how tough they are,” he said. “I did some time as a ER trauma surgeon during my residency.”
“Well, seems I have spent a lot of time in the ERs and I’m not in awe of the people who work in them,” I replied.
“So what do you need?” he asked.
“I need an evaluation of my progress, and a plan to get my LEC back,” I said.
“Well let’s take a look at you, so we can evaluate your progress,” He said. “Now if you will move to that chair, we keep for observers, we can begin.” After removing the bandage, he began an examination of my hand. He manipulated it till the movements were past painful then consulted the xrays.
“I can only give you an opinion. Nobody knows what will happen in a few years, but the LEC is not going to happen in the short term. I see you refused rehab, so whatever you are doing for rehab now, double down on it. You have made about the same progress, I would expect to see with rehab, so it is working.”
“Can I leave the splint off,” I asked. “I feel like my hand will benefit from normal use as well as the rehab exercises.”
“Do you have a rubber ball?” he asked. I nodded. “Squeeze it while you watch TV,” he added. “Wear the elastic bandage though. I don’t want you going without some support.”
“That’s what my mother said when I went braless for the first time,” I said.
“I notice you didn’t listen to her either. Well you need to listen to me. Those bones have knitted pretty well but holding them together a while longer can only help your rehab and that’s what we both want,” he said with a smile. “Use the hand for anything that isn’t painful. Remember that pain is a warning from your body to your brain. It is saying stop,”
“I got it doc. Well I guess this is enough for a while.” I would xray your hand again, but the insurance company wont pay, and it is pretty expensive for you to pay, just to confirm what we already know.”
“Fair enough, and thanks for putting up with the attitude,” I said.
“I knew you were going to be trouble from your case file. You are one tough lady,” he said smiling. “I would rather have you like me and listen to me. Than to wimp out and have you go do your own thing and have your hand heal wrong.”
“But you said my own thing worked,” I said.
“I didn’t know that before I examined you. Now go and sin no more,” he said with a grin.
“You know I can’t promise that,” I said with a less than girlish giggle.
“I would offer you something for the pain, but I would bet you are taking aspirin by now,” he said as I stood to leave the examining room.
“Aspirin makes me sick, I take Aleve and Tylenol. Hell sometimes at the same time,” I said,
“Well don’t drink at the same time, they are all bad for your liver,” he said.
“You really think I’ll live long enough for that to be an issue?” I asked.
“You just never know. Try to be careful with the hand at least for a couple of more months,. And wear the bandage as long as there is pain. Now get the hell out of here, I have really sick patients to see,” Dr Harper said.
“Thanks doc I’ll ask for you by name next time,” I said.
“Gee thanks,” he replied but he was smiling.
Well he had been honest. In the short term, meaning the next few years, I was going to have to find some other way to pass the time. Cop work was out damn it. Without the LEC I couldn’t even be a meter maid, even if I wanted to.
I called Mission when I got home. I was on the burn phone she had given me, when I left the safe house. She didn’t answer to I left a message. After trying Mission I decided that I would go out to dinner. Even though I had been to Dobson once that day for the my appointment at the High Country Clinic, I drove back to Dobson for dinner a few hours later
I was wearing a pair of black cargo pants, which were brand new to me, and a Russian commando tee shirt with a white men’s dress shirt over it all. Not exactly an outfit designed to pick up men. It just wasn’t girlie enough, unless I had plans to go where tough was acceptable.
First of all I had dinner at a family steak house. I just wasn’t dressed for the country club type places. I was dressed more for a run in the park. But the bandaged hand would hardly go with an evening gown, even if I owned one.
“So where is a good place in Dobson for me to go for a drink dressed like this?” I asked the waiter. Yes I knew, when I left home that I was dressed like a butch dyke. I just didn’t care. I could see the wheels in the waiters head turn.
“It’s a little dangerous, but there is the iron horse out on hwy 601. Then there is Lorilee’s downtown,” he said. “I just depends on whether you want hard men or soft women.” He said it as if he understood me completely.
“I assume the iron horse is for biker types?” I suggested.
“Oh yeah,” he said.
I just nodded. I could have a lipstick lez or a hog rider. I had the choice. I could decide to be in charge, or just go with the dangerous flow. Hell my life had been too calm lately. Not even Hugo and Helen had been anything but safe. That made it pretty certain that it would the Iron Horse.
The first thing I had to do was to get an address to put into my gps. I borrowed the phone book, after I paid my bill. I looked up the Iron Horse in the yellow pages and then when I got outside, I transferred that address to my gps, . It was 9PM and I still hadn’t heard from Mission, so I just turned off the phone. Since I had worn the .38 in a hip holster, inside my black cargo pants I just pulled the holster off and slid it under the seat. I might have left the pistol in the car, but I did not leave the box opener.
It took me about twenty minutes to get to the Iron Horse. It was outside of town and I got caught up in a crowd leaving a movie. Obviously movies were a big deal in Dobson on a Friday night. I found that the Iron horse had plenty of motorcycle parking space but not too many spaces left for cars. I found one that I could squeeze the Toyota into. Before I got out I counted the motorcycles. There were exactly twenty two of them and only three cars. I was scared shitless. But that was why I came. I needed that rush of fear to make me feel alive.
I got out of the car on wobbly legs and walked to the door. I pushed it open and stepped inside the renovated old style gas station. It seemed appropriate. They had even kept the grease pits. They just added a see through floor over the holes. The poles for the lifts were used for strippers, when they had them, I guessed Fortunately on Friday night they didn’t have any.
At the small bar which had once been the counter where you paid for your gas, I said, “Give me anything that’s cold.”
“You a lez?” I heard from behind me. I turned and saw a big assed guy. He was pretty overweight but some of it at least was muscle.
“You a fag?” I asked him. The two biker types with him laughed. Fat boy made like he was going to hit me, I just stood my ground with the box opener in my hand, inside my cargo pants pocket. My finger was on the button to open the blade. I had practiced it a hundred time, I felt sure that I could remove it from my pocket, and open the blade at the same time. My plan was to wait till he was committed, then pull the opener and open his jugular.