Friday, May 28, 2010
It has been a while since I have posted an update, so I thought I would make a brief progress report regarding my rehab. I finished the season with the symphony without collapsing on stage and MJ, Noah and I are up north trying to focus on one thing for me: heal. Noah just passed his tenth birthday and -- for a doggie just hours away from death two years ago with failing kidneys -- he remains a model for me in how your spirit and your will to live must form the basis for any recovery. He inspires me every day and that is not an understatement.
For the most part, I can only say things are pretty good with my health. My brain shocks, for example, have nearly vanished during the past two weeks. They have disappeared as mysteriously as they had arrived. Maybe the medication is finally helping. Or maybe the shocks went away for another reason. In another month I may stop the medication to see if there is any change for the worse. There is plenty of uncertainty, but in general I would have to say things are getting better each day. I am learning what my limits are as well as where I can push it. MJ follows my progress closely and, along with Noah, I would not be where I am today without her. She also inspires me every day and that also is not an understatement.
Just the other day, for example, she declared me fit for an errand into town where I would pick up two more outdoor cushions from one of the bargain home improvement stores.
"Sure," I said when she asked.
We had bought two on clearance a few days before that but now my mission was to drive back and get two more so we had a matching set of four.
The store had only one left.
I wandered through the store and finally flagged someone in a uniform who looked like he wanted to help.
"Hi," I said. "There was only one of these left. Is there another somewhere else in the store or is this it for the clearance items?"
"Let me go check," he replied.
I followed him.
He walked back to the original bin.
"Nope!" he said. "It looks like they're all gone."
"Well, I knew that," I said. "This is where I got the last one. Do you have any cushions like this in the back, or in another store?"
"Ah," he replied. "Follow me. We'll have to look it up on the computer."
I followed him.
We arrived at a desk in the middle of the store with a computer.
He clicked, tapped the keyboard and scanned with his eyes. I waited.
"Yup!" he said. "There are five more in the central warehouse. We might get one."
I said, "Or . . . or they might go to another store?"
"Is there any way to make sure one of the cushions comes to this store?"
"Hmm. Tell you what. When you check out at the cashier, tell them you want one more. Then the cashier will fill out a form that goes into the system, see? Once it's in thesystem it will generate a message -- called a 'do' command -- which comes to . . . well, actually that message will come right back to me. Then I'll make a request on the computer here to make sure one of those cushions comes to this store."
I took all of that in. Then I asked, "Why can't you do that right now? I'm telling you I want that cushion!"
"No, no. First it has to go into the system or I won't be able to do it."
I wandered around the store picking up a few more things we needed.
When I checked out I forgot to tell the cashier.
In the parking lot I realized my error and went back inside with my receipt.
"Hi," I said. "I just bought your last cushion on the clearance bin and I need one more to match it. The gentleman over there said to tell you so you can request another."
"You need to do that during the purchase," she said. "This is after."
I ignored that and said, "You have five cushions in your central warehouse. They are there right now. May I please have one of them?" I was miming karate chops with my hand to accentuate various words.
"Yes, I guess. I guess we could do that. But I'd have to make a special call."
I mention this funny vignette (which happened almost word for word) because, while driving home, it reminded me of some of the convoluted experiences I have had dealing with the grand beast that is a modern medical establishment. Though many of the roadblocks in medicine are organizational necessities, from a patient's perspective it can be frustrating from time to time to feel as if you need something that is right there and yet out of your grasp with just a little bit of red tape separating you from your proper care. Yet results are what count and I seem to have fared pretty well so far.
And I did drive back yesterday to get that other cushion.