Had one of my typical, hectic Israeli trips yesterday while trying to find a physical therapist. I was “scheduled” for a 10 AM appointment, but I quickly found out that Gabbi (team manager) really had no idea where he was taking me. There was heavy rain throughout the drive, and we were stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. Both those things set an ominous tone for the morning. I was also coming off a night of 3 hours of sleep, so every irritation was amplified.
After a few phone calls to try to pin down an address we started to circle a particularly rundown building in the center of a city named Rishon. A couple U-Turns later Gabbi decided to let me out in the middle of the street and told me to “just go over there, it should be in there. Jay will meet you.” Great. I walk across the street and enter a dank, rundown, open air office building/mini mall. I find a spot where the water is not leaking through the ceiling and wait for J, the team trainer.
Brief recap of who Jay is and why I was standing in puddles of water waiting for someone to help me find a rehab specialist who appears to work out of a dilapidated former dentists office:
During a game on December 6th I was making a cut around a ballscreen when I felt a searing pain in my foot. It felt like my plantar fascia had ripped in half. I was able to finish the game but I was pretty sure something really bad had happened. Jay is the team trainer, the most recent in a long string of trainers I have not gotten along with. My first confrontation with him occurred the day after I suffered my injury. He was to assess the foot and give me some treatment. His assessment was “infection” and his treatment was 10 minutes of excruciatingly painful massage that was supposed to reduce the “swallow.” I asked if he thought it was sprained. “Well, well, ahh, eets an infection.” Good, glad we cleared that up.
I told Jay that I have dealt with injuries before and it did not seem like the best course of action to push, twist and generally antagonize the hurt area in the most agonizing way possible. He took offense to this and said that the pain was good. I disagreed, and we had a few words about it. When I came to practice the next day the coach informed me that Jay had told him I would be out for 1 week. That should have been encouraging news, but judging on how the foot felt and what I had gleaned about J’s physical therapy acumen, I was highly doubtful. Finally, a week later, after trying to suit up for a game and being unable to make simple cuts, they sent me to get an X Ray. A couple doctor visits and an MRI later and I was having surgery for a Lisfranc fracture by myself, in Israel, on Christmas Eve.
So that’s that, now back to the old ramshackle building. Jay leads me to a hallway on the second floor. We confidently enter an office only to find 3 very confused looking women sorting through some files. A lot of Hebrew is spoken, and we learn that the physical therapist has relocated. Fantastic. Back out into the rain and into Gabbi’s car, and we set off again to find the man who we supposedly have an appointment with but we don’t know his address or his phone number. Gabbi makes several calls. Eventually we figure out that he is operating out of a first division team’s facility nearby. Another rainy walk across a parking lot and we are finally in a respectable looking place. The facility is new and clean and the training tables look like they were purchased withing the last two decades. All positives. We go up to a bunch of people and ask them if they are Uri, and I realize that not only did we not know where this guy worked, no one had ever actually met him. It’s like they opened the phonebook at random and picked the first guy they saw.
Thankfully, Uri seemed professional, knowledgeable, and competent. I am actually looking forward to working with him. He didn’t even seem flustered that his requests for any of the notes from the doctors I saw or any official details on the surgery were met with blank stares. It couldn’t have helped that I told him the doctor said to not run for 2 months and Gabbi insisted that the doctor said it was only 1 month. But at least Gabbi said that part in English. The worst part about this whole process is when I have to sit there while people poke my foot and everyone speaks Hebrew. I can make out a few words here and there but not enough to know if they are saying “He’s a liar, the doctor told him he could play in 2 weeks, he could be faking the whole thing” or “Use your best judgement and take really, super awesome care of this guy.”
As we are set to go Jay makes one last push to convince me to work solely with him, out of our gym in Beer Yaakov, rather than travelling to Rishon to get my treatment. I tell him with absolute certainty that I am going to Rishon. I might have tried to be gentler about it had we not had a conversation a few days prior that went something like this:
“I think you back in one mahnth.”
“Well that would be great, but I am being cautious cause that is way ahead of the doctors timetable.”
“Doctors don’t always know what they doing.”
“I know, they haven’t always served me well in the past, but I want to be cautious with this.”
“You back in one mahnth.”
“I would be more inclined to listen to what you say if you had recommended I see a doctor when you first saw the injury rather than telling me I had an infection and I’d be back in a week.”
“I steeeel think you should not have dahhn surgery. Then you back in 2 weeks.”
“First, that is irrelevant, second even the most encouraging non-surgery estimates had me out for 6 weeks.”
“I see the MRI, did you see anything wrong?”
“No, but we aren’t doctors! What if an injury is small but still serious?!”
(Here he employs the tactic where you repeat a question until the other person has to say an answer that helps your argument, even if the person is just saying it to make you shut up. My mom is an expert at this. It never fails to infuriate me.)
“Do you know why the doctor want to operate? Do you? Do you? Do you? Do you? DO YOU???
“Ok, everyone needs to make money, but he is already wealthy and I like to think he has at least some ethical responsibility to his patients.”
“Doctors jahst want your mah-nee.”
Even though it has been a tough time, at this point I am just happy to be off crutches and under the care of someone who seems to know what he is doing. And maybe Jay will have the last laugh and I’ll be back in a month. I certainly hope so.