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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Friday, July 8, 2011

Making sure us subaliens get up to no 'arm

Well, I’m back. Ever heard of that famous phrase – forewarned is forearmed? My orthopedic specialist obviously hasn’t. Or rather his version goes something like “forewarned re forearms is revenue foregone”.

I’ve joked previously about how our sojourn in this planet could cost us an arm and a leg. I didn’t realise it actually would cost me the use of my all-important left arm for the best part of two months. And this wasn’t because in the end I forgot to mark my dodgy shoulder with indelible marker pen before I went in for the operation. Actually my very nice anaethestist who had just come back from 2 weeks’ holiday in Brazil did that for me after being the fifth person that morning to enquire whether it was the right or the left. Never a sensible question to put to me as Superalien will tell you after many years of wrong turns when relying on my navigation skills.

It’s not as if I hadn’t asked. In a former life I have posed as a journalist so I thought “What should I expect post-operation?” basically should have covered it.  There was a murmur about perhaps needing to take two weeks off work but of course, thanks to my subalien status, that was not an issue. Warnings of a little bit of discomfort and then my five-minute consultation was over. Perhaps I should have heard alarm bells when I checked again one week before the operation after Superalien discovered he had to head to new planets the night of the operation and was concerned about leaving me so soon.

The very nice female doctor looked a little doubtful but did impart what has proved to be crucial advice – to buy an all-important piece of ladies’ underwear best described as a front-loader and some very large front-buttoning shirts as I would be wearing a sling for a few days. A few days? It finally was put aside after five weeks. Not a good look when the weather is nearing 100 degrees – and the humidity likewise.

The key-hole surgery apparently went very well – or rather my specialist seems to be very pleased with himself every time I see him. I certainly enjoyed the few nano-seconds that I saw of it when I woke up half-way through and started asking about what I could see on the video screen. And the good news is that the pain level at night has gone down to just about the same as I was having before the operation – so that’s progress!

The other big bonus is that while someone else got to see the inner workings of my shoulder, I got to see the inner workings of the medical insurance system. The final statement from my healthcare company shows a billed amount in the tens of thousands. In contrast the company only actually paid a quarter of this to both my specialist and the hospital thanks to a system of agreed charges.

I’m not totally out of their grip. Apparently my specialist also forgot to mention the four months of physiotherapy that I supposedly need to get me back to high-fiving with gusto.  Here physio sessions last 90 minutes and involve all sorts of fancy stuff such as electrotherapy, ultrasound and specially-designed equipment such as my favourite, “The Stick” – it’s long and straight and would be a fun toy for dogs. I can’t imagine how long it took some medical specialist to come up with that one.

But it’s all helping and today I vacuumed the house for the first time in I’m not telling you how many weeks and typed my first blog since the start of May. And I’ve no idea what to cook for dinner. So everything’s back to normal. Give me a high five - or perhaps a low three might be better at the moment!
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