My Escape From Toronto
Toronto is a fabulous city with a European feel. The dining is extraordinary. The people are calmer and kinder than in the other 50 states, but some of them work that Canadian accent a little too hard, eh? It just sounds phony. I wasn’t buying it. I feel the same way about Australians.
By the end of our trip, Mr. Pennington was wanting to move to Toronto. Why not? Lots of tech jobs there. He is from Alaska. He likes real weather. He is an introvert, we could even say socially awkward, and fits in anywhere better than he does in Los Angeles, where you must be flashy like a betta fish to attract attention.
Look at me!!!!
The now deceased Princess Betta.
In Los Angeles, you had betta look fabulous, rich and most of all famous for anyone to look at you twice. Finding friends with depth is a real problem here. Should I admit this? I hit on women. If I meet one who has great style or something interesting to say, I force my contact info on her with a light, “Hey, wanna be friends?” After the humiliation and desperation of Ehlers-Danlos, this is not hard. Oh yes, kindly message me if you are local to Los Angeles and read books, have passionate interests, tolerate others’ opinions, eat everything, know a little about the world, and are able to discuss anything besides Ehlers-Danlos, as I would like to invite you to a dinner party. And for the love of God, please be difficult to offend! I forgot to mention that.
Some cultures value introversion. In French parts of the world, women hit on Mr. Pennington out of nowhere. I left him at the patio dining table in Brussels to use the Ladies, and when I came back, a très sexy French woman was trying to join him for dinner. Why not? His cute chapeau and collared shirt, his quiet dignity suggest he has something to say (he does not) or perhaps that he would be a well-mannered one night stand. Mr. Pennington speaks not one word of French and was truly embarrassed. I kept my distance and watched, near tears with laughter as he tried to deal with the situation.
While I am always looking for an adventure and there is so very much to hate about Los Angeles, I have my medical game on here. It takes so much effort to find doctors capable of understanding Ehlers-Danlos. Then I have to build relationships with them. Who has the time to start over? Besides, I only want to be where Dr. Plance is. He is my favorite person, and I have promised him I will stalk him if he ever retires. I know where he lives.
Dr. Plance is one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. He has x-ray vision in his hands. He is my first stop for evaluation of any and all of my joint issues, and being globally hypermobile, I need an opinion often. He has a remarkable capacity for spatial thinking. He can imagine how my flimsy body gave in this time, what is going on under there. He gives me advice that leads to relief. An intelligent physical therapist can be a source of great solutions, too. Do find yourself one. Sadly, there is only one Dr. Plance.
Other doctors rely on imaging, and after we have gone through the insurance pre-approval and then me lying in whatever scanning machine, they still don’t know how to advise me. Who has time for that? Guess I’d better stay in fabulous Los Angeles.
Dr. Plance does prolotherapy, a technique of injecting an irritant (sugar) into a tendon or ligament to cause healing and tightening. A normal person might only need one or two for an injury, but if I have a bad sprain I will need more than a few. They do work on me, but only when I am injecting ascorbic acid. Before I did that, prolotherapy never took on me. That was one thing we tried before we got around to injecting C: Dr. Plance gave me tons and tons of prolotherapy shots, everywhere, frequently, for a few months. Didn’t do a thing, but we had a lot of laughs and got to know each other better. He did not stop trying to help me have a better life.
Dr. Plance also does platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy, where plasma spun from your own blood is injected back into your own joint. Marvelous! The best donor for you is you. Plasma contains stem cells and growth factors. Dr. Plance charges a very fair price for them, unlike other doctors who think just because PRP can save you a joint surgery, they will charge you as much as a surgery. I shame those doctors by reminding them that we are using my own blood and that centrifuge is not an expensive machine! Believe me I would be more than happy to pay like a baller if I were one. But I have a very complicated condition I am managing here, it is a life-sentence, and I am going to need more PRP than a normal person would, so give! me! a! break! To this day, I have only had them from Dr. Plance. I have not successfully shamed any other doctor into giving me a discount. I will keep trying. I like to see them blush.
Dr. Plance is quite efficient and does not need to make it a big production out of PRP to justify a huge price tag. He lines us up like cattle on designated days of the week. No questions, no prescriptions, just PRP. The waiting room can take on a party atmosphere. He does not use ultrasound tech. No need, as he has x-ray vision in his hands. I would not let another doctor do them without ultrasound. I get them a few times a year in areas where I have arthritis, which is almost none now.
Meeting Dr. Plance was the only love-at-first-sight moment of my life. I don’t know how he does it, but no matter how bad my pain or Ehlers misery (and he was treating me at the worst of my disability), he always makes me feel happy and glad to be alive. He says I do that to him. So I don’t know who is to blame. On the very rare occasion that he’s in a grouchy mood and I can’t pull him out of it, I leave upset. I am very codependent that way.
On our last night in Toronto, Mr. Pennington and I made out in front of Cartoon Network Tower. We got caught in a torrential downpour. We tried to dry our clothes. We packed and slept a just few hours, up at 5:00 a.m. to catch a flight to Seattle.
Ruh-ro. Umbrella in hotel room.
That morning, Toronto Pearson International Airport was a disaster the likes of which I had never seen. The crowds, the confused staff, the ticket kiosks not working, endless lines at every step of the way, even to drop a bag. WTF? To slow us down more, you have to clear US customs in Canada as Canada is the 51st state. We were getting nowhere and I was near tears with anxiety that we might miss our flight and have sit at Toronto Pearson for another 12 hours waiting for the next direct flight to Seattle. No thanks!
In a move I freely admit was passive aggressive, I did my C shot in the TSA line. Obviously, this would gross people out. But being obnoxious made me feel better. So did the shot. Those suckers can hurt, best to do them while distracting oneself, such as in front of a captive audience, to the horror of Mr. Pennington who definitely did not want to take my pic. I often embarrass the shy, reserved Mr. Pennington. I blame the caffeine withdrawal, at least in part. I was dying for a coffee. My fabulous hair by last night’s squall, sleeping was a bigger priority than fixing it. Too bad we did not get the huddled masses in the pic.
My medical bag usually gets pulled aside, and of course it did this morning, as we were about to miss our flight due to the lack of organization at this airport. My used syringe for sure got that inspection done faster. Good thing I did my shot in full public view. Will remember that for the future. We had no time to lose. Our flight was minutes from takeoff when we finally got to enter the terminal, which was clean and pristine because it was empty. Everyone was stuck back there in line.
“Run!!!!!!!!” I yelled to Mr. Pennington
as I took off. I did not care if he followed. I did not care about my injured foot. Our gate was, unhappily, the furthest, perhaps 800 metres. I was intent on escaping Toronto with or without him, foot be damned. Later he pointed out he had my passport. I pointed out we were in US territory. My foot hurt for days. Oh well. Few things make you feel as good as an all-out life-or-death sprint. I won that Olympic event! We escaped.
Best. View. Ever.
(Better resolution in Squarespace if I put in pic like this.)
I snuggled up on the Air Canada plane, drank as much coffee (my favorite drug) as they would give me. Mr. Pennington and I split a breakfast sandwich. Airplane food. I’d rather go hungry, but we were starving. I watched a French movie with no resolution. What is better than not a happy ending? No ending at all. Life is a journey that makes little sense. Nothing happens for any reason. Shrug.
The service and the coffee on the flight were lovely. They obliged me with refill after refill of my thimble-sized cup, but alas, I could not get enough.
No matter. I got an IV hook-up at a Starbucks not far from SeaTac.