Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm pretty good at complaining. Who am I kidding, I'm a world class complainer. When I feel the need to bitch, I'll bitch with the best of them. When people say "oh, I can't complain" I usually think they aren't really trying or they lack imagination. Over the past week, I've complained a lot. I've griped about the terrible timing of my injury, how I had to go and do this right before our long planned vacation. How only a buffoon like me could manage to tear up her knee swimming, I mean swimming is what they recommend for rehabbing bad knees for Christ's sake! I've complained that I'm uncomfortable. I've complained that I can't get up and do stuff for myself. I've complained that hopping into the bathroom made my iPhone jump out of my back pocket and into the toilet. If there is a complaint to be voiced, believe me I've voiced it. But I'm going to do something completely out of character now. As much as I like to complain, I've had some strong evidence lately that people don't suck. So I'm going to call some of those out now. Don't worry, I'm not going all Pollyanna Sunshine on you, this is a one time deal.

So, here I go:
When I went to the Emergency Room on Saturday, I did not have to wait to get a room. The nurse who took me to my bed made sure I had all of the pillows and supports I needed to be as comfortable as possible. He made sure the doctor got to me quickly so he could give me pain medication. He brought me magazines to read while I was waiting and checked back with me more than I think they usually do. I was impressed.

After being confined to my bed for two days a friend came by and brought me an ample supply of trashy magazines. She also brought chocolate and home made blackberry sorbet. She sat on my bed and talked to me, making me feel like a member of the real world again, not some crazy outcast on house arrest.

On Monday, when I got the the orthopedic surgeon's office, there had been a schedule mix up. Due to some appointment time shuffling my appointment was moved from one office to another office, several miles apart. I ended up going to the wrong place and having to turn around and go to the other office to be seen. Not only did the people involved take full responsibility for the mix up, they were sincerely apologetic about the inconvenience.

The orthopedic surgeon was a star. He continued to apologise about the appointment mix up, and didn't even make fun of my injury being swim related. I think he would have been well within his rights to have done so. When he gave me his initial diagnosis (that would be confirmed by the MRI) and I burst into tears, he listened sympathetically as I explained I had been harboring some slim sliver of hope that I'd be able to go on our planned vacation on Friday. He offered that I could go, and if surgery was required, that would be able to wait, but it was unlikely I'd feel any better. He never made me feel idiotic for the tears. He also promised he'd get me in for surgery this week if it was surgical so maybe I could just postpone the vacation slightly if that was what I wanted to do. He just really made me feel like he was on my side.

His office got my preauthorizations for both the MRI and surgery done in record time so I could get them both on the same day. Anyone who had dealt with Aetna knows this was no minor task. I think they only need two more miracles to become Catholic saints.

Yesterday after getting my diagnosis, the doctor fulfilled his promise to operate this week, but went even one step further to get me on his schedule that very afternoon. He had to shuffle a bit, but he did it and promised me I'd be up for the Peace Corps reunion in good working order. He actually cared about the commitments we might have had to miss. If you're in the market for a great orthopedic surgeon with an amazing bedside manner check our Dr. Watt at Seattle Orthopedic Center. The whole place kind of rocks.

We've had to postpone our vacation, and that means changing our plane tickets. Add even a modest change fee and ticket price increase and pretty quickly you're talking real money. So on an off chance, and mostly fueled with the "I'll try anything once" attitude that Vicodin can instill, I called the airline. I explained that I had to have surgery this week due to an injury and had to change my plans based on that. Would they be able to work with me at all on the ticket change fee? You know what they said? "Absolutely." I was more or less stunned silent, and if you knew how chatty Vicodin makes me, you'd think that was newsworthy. Turns out if I fax them my discharge papers or a note from my doctor, they'll credit me the change fee completely. And they were nice about it. No haggling, no stress, just, "fax it to this number, and I hope you feel better really soon. Take it easy, ok." Thank you Virgin America. You may have a new lifelong customer.

When I spent hours and hours complaining on Facebook friends came of the woodwork to say nice and encouraging things. People I work with were supportive in ways that co-workers aren't required to be and friends knew the right things to say to make me laugh at my own moronic injury. When I was worrying pre-surgery, the VP of my business unit even offered words to calm the crazy pre-op me.

Probably the saintliest of those I've encountered this week has been my husband. He has not once complained that I injured myself in a highly improbable circumstance. He has not balked at bringing me dinner in bed or wine. He has cleaned up my dishes and helped me put on my shoes. He's brought me medication, set me up with my laptop and phone and remote control so I can happily survive my confinement. He has played chauffeur to me and taken on the care and feeding of our children single handed. He has talked me out of my self pity and teased me out of my guilt. He has not complained once. He is amazing.

Anyhow, I'm impressed. Truly. I guess I can't hate people all that much after all. But I sure can complain. And I'll start again with that tomorrow.


geekymummy said...

Hey, Yuba (our dogs) orthopedic surgeon was also called Dr. Watt! I wonder if he is moonlighting and working on humans?! The dogs knees are in great shape, I hope yours will be too.

Mrs. F said...

Isn't it nice to have people on your side when you need it the most?! I am glad to hear that everything is not allllll bad for you right now!


Beth said...

Awwww! You are so sweet! I love when people find the silver linings.

Hope you are feeling better and better.

Corina said...

Wow. It is amazing what people are capable of when we least expect it. I always expect the worst. I hope you are up and about soon.

Buster's Momma said...

I'm glad that you are feeling better! It's always a relief when things come together like they should. Enjoy your well-deserved vacation!

Kaza said...

You deserve so much goodness, you know? (And I agree with the "I can't complain thing" -- they clearly aren't trying at all!)

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