Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In for a Penny, In for a Pound

Some days being around the 20-something crowd made me feel like a million bucks. I had more energy because I was trying to keep up and I could stay up past 10PM. Other days it was  like Barbarella interrupting the State of the Union. Full of intolerance and looks that I gave my grandma during high school. Today was the latter.

Just before leaving on our 10-day holiday in England, we'd moved to a new condo. That's wrong. WE didn't move. I moved us. Mitch had flown home, Grey wasn't back on the island yet and Jameson was in school. After I'd purged our belongings down to the necessities, I'd overstuffed our island hooptie several times a day to move.  Across the street.  Our new space was considerably smaller, had only one bathroom, lacked the modern appliances of  life at RBC and had no shortage of ants. I found it disappointing.  To emphasize my disappointment, I often used the word "rubbish" (which I'd picked up in the UK).  However, I found the 1500 dollars I was saving monthly uplifting.  Brilliant!

It was during one of my "brilliant" moments in our new condo that  I decided to walk over to RBC, our old haunt, to talk with my friend, Michelle. She wanted to hear about our trip to England and what the clinical sites were like.  I wanted to talk about the pubs, the food and the shopping.

Since our move, and since the crime rate was on the rise due to it being the tail end of low season, RBC had started using the gate on a regular basis. I parked it on the edge of the large planter outside the gates and waited  for Michelle to come down so the guards would give me the green light. Seated immediately to my right were two AUC students weighted down with backpacks larger than hobbits and circles under their eyes signifying late night studies (or just a night past 10PM).  I'd plopped down in the middle of a conversation about Disney movies.

"No, no. We should totally do something, like, I don't know. Like one of the classics. You know. Like,  an old movie," dirty bun, sunglasses girl said. 

"Cinderella?" Tie-dye shirt asks while popping gum. How does one pop gum AND talk at the same time? I remember Mrs. Tundidge doing this in middle school. I'd tried over the years and hadn't perfected it.

"No. I hate Drew Barrymore."

"Snow White?"

"Gawd, no! Bella Swan - hell no!"

"Wait. Toy Story - easy to watch and study."

Dirty bun and tie-dye nodded in agreement while continuing their discussion of Disney movies, white noise and pathology (or  some other -ology, they sounded alike to me). Had I really just overheard a discussion of classic Disney movies and they'd selected 'Toy Story' as the winner?  Growing up my mother had read Cinderella to me while I'd lain on top of my yellow hand-knit afghan in my floor length nightgown staring at Crayola drawings taped to the yellow wallpaper. Shit. Would these two even know what wallpaper was? That fad died a slow and painful death in the 80's.

I started chewing my bottom lip and knocking my heels on the wall of the planter to stop my overactive pity party. Oh, bollocks.  "To infinity and beyond."

Mental Checklist: where did the saying "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" originate? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The High Cost of Healthcare

I'd been laying on the couch with my foot elevated, wrapped and iced (on and off) for the past 7 hours when I heard Holly knocking on the front door.  "Got it," hollered Jameson.  Right. Thanks for clearing that up. I was totally going to jump up and run to the door.

I scooted up on the couch so I was sort of leaning against the arm and pulled the pillows closer so I could keep my foot up.  This morning at 1:30 when Jameson had come to bed after studying I'd gotten up to pee. On my way back to bed I'd wiped out bruising both my knees, my head, my elbows, my right foot and severely sprained my left.  At least I hoped it was a sprain. I hadn't let Jameson touch it enough to be sure. 

Mental Checklist:  opportunity is knocking. Your ass is big and you pee every night from too much chardonnay. Take the hint.

Holly and Jameson made their way into the room and Holly dropped  her bag on the kitchen island while giving me the once over.  "How do you feel?" she asked.  "You don't look that bad."

"Holl, your bedside is bullshit. I can read right through it. I haven't slept and I can't move  my toes."  Holly raised her eyebrows in response.

"I told you she was pissy," Ja nodded at Holly.

"Alright, what do we know?" Holly asked while she and Jameson both shuffled to stand over my foot. I felt like a zoo animal.

"Did a cursory exam at the time of the accident. Patient says foot hurts 'everywhere', difficult to determine exact location of injury. Based on that exam and what patient describes as areas of pain, I'd get an x-ray to determine breaks. I didn't feel any significant or obvious breaks at the time of the exam. But then, it's hard to be thorough when the patient slaps you in the face and vomits at your feet," Jameson finished and then laughed.

"Hey! It HURT! I can't help if I puked. I did warn you. And my name is Kelly, not 'patient'."

"OK, let's unwrap it and take a look" Holly said and began unwrapping my foot. At this point I was feeling more embarrassment than pain.  I needed a pedicure and to shave my legs. I apologized to Holly who assured me I was far better than 90% of the patients she and Jameson would come into contact with.

"Wife, we're going to have to touch your foot to determine if there are breaks. What do you need?"

Shit. I needed a solid week of drinking vodka to prepare myself for what I knew was going to be worse than labor.  "Just tell me when and where you're going to touch my foot. Oh, and can you grab the trashcan in case  I need to throw up again?"

Jameson pulled the trashcan from under the kitchen sink and sat it next to me. He and Holly exchanged looks and she said, "Can you point to where it hurts the most?"

I did some more adjusting on the couch and leaned forward to lightly touch just below my fourth toe and down to almost the middle of my foot. Damn. If it hurt to hover on it like that, I couldn't imagine what it would feel like when they were done. "And, it hurts in that same spot on the bottom," I sighed and then leaned back on the arm of the couch.

Jameson began, "It's localized. That's good. Last night you said the side of your foot hurt to the touch which is the sign of a break."

"If you didn't feel any obvious breaks last night, it's probably a severe sprain. We won't know how bad without a CT or MRI - which you're not getting on this floating trash heap," Holly replied then turned to me.  "OK, Jameson is going to pick up your foot with both of his hands and gently squeeze all three regions to determine if anything is really broken.  He'll start with your heel.  You ready?"

What I was ready for was a Catherine Tate marathon and some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but that wasn't happening anytime soon.  I grabbed one of the pillows behind my back, bit down and nodded my head.

As soon as Jameson lifted my foot, the tears started. He prodded and kneaded and then put my foot back down on the pillows. What was probably a 60-second exam felt like 60 minutes.  I took the pillow out of my mouth and gulped in oxygen. I was still crying, but there was no puking.  Winning.

"Wife, I don't think it's broken. I do think it's a severe sprain judging by swelling in the mid foot and the areas of pain. You need to keep the foot elevated, wrapped and iced on and off for the next 3 days.  You should keep it wrapped for a solid week.  No shoes. No walking, which shouldn't be an issue since you can't put weight on it, and try to stay on the couch for the next week so it has time  to rest."

Holly agreed with Ja's diagnosis and they both set off to find me some crutches, an ice pack (my Ziploc of ice cubes was getting annoying) and a proper wrap.  I realized that the cost of this medical advice was about 150 grand since both Holly and Ja had  taken out loans. One. Hundred. Fifty. Thousand. Dollars.  My mouth started to water, my back ached and I promptly turned to hurl in the trashcan. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Subject:  Beezy, stop sending me pics of shoes!

Taff -

Got your e-mail with the photos of A) your new Ferragamo shoes B) the before and after of your bathroom remodel and C) you and Lisa with your matching LV bags during happy hour drinking margarita's.  Call me crazy, but I do not feel bad the summer weather in Seattle "just isn't what you'd hoped". Need I remind you that you get to GO to happy hour wearing cute clothes and accessories that you wore INTO the office. The office - a magical place with a dress code which means you get ready in your NEW bathroom with granite counter tops and a dual head shower with floor to ceiling custom tile work.  Another reminder: I have one year left on this island and only 8 more client visits. This dramatically limits my wardrobe options and makes me seethe with jealousy of your day-to-day.  Because of said jealousy, I purchased the Legacy Weekend Tote from Coach. Right now I just carry it around this apartment wishing I could weekend in the States. It might be a crutch. Annnnnnndddd...  just because Max won't fly doesn't mean you can't. Come visit! Now! Miss you, bish-a-lish!


PS - included photos that I thought you'd enjoy!  XO!

1. Bathroom remodel island style. Love - or should we think of doing something more muted?

2.  My collection of shoes AKA my shoe tree. Lawdie, I miss my walk-in closet!  And wedges, and peep-toe pumps, and kitten heels... Intervention much? 

3.  No, this is not the future site of a Starbucks. Cupecoy Plaza is rumored to house a Dunkin' Donuts (the closest thing to a Krispy Kreme we'll get) when it opens. When is it opening? Long after I've succumbed to your nagging about botox and a boob lift.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yo Momma!

With one week left of "summer vacation", I was walking over to C.I.A. to drop off the receipt for Grey's tuition.  It took me three hours to pay the 2 grand deposit due to crappy traffic and because the line I waited in - for an hour - at the Winward Islands Bank was for island business owners, not mom's depositing kids tuition in the business account.  Even though I explained to the teller the school itself was a business, I wasn't the owner or an employee of said business. I resigned the conversation at that point and had moved over to the "Personal Transactions" line to wait. An hour. Again.

I'd had another call with Doc.Ginny, so I was trying to see things from a different perspective during the short walk from Rainbow to C.I.A. In blistering heat.  With blood-thirsty mosquitoes. OK, so my perspective was still a bit skewed but I recognized it as such. Wasn't that part of the process?

Stopping in front of the soon-to-be Cupecoy Plaza I looked over the concrete, re bar, chickens and littered trash wondering when this shopping depot would open. Probably not during my stay on the island, meaning there was no Dunkin' Donuts in my immediate future. Hmm, new perspective wasn't so hard. I accepted there would be no convenience to be had in this area and moved along on my walk.  My next stop was in front of B.B.'s, the local watering hole and home to AUC masses immediately following Block Exams.  Shaded in palm trees it looked welcoming and the 2 buck beers proved as much. But, I knew that if you spent $20 you'd be blitzed enough to order food in turn leaving B.B.'s with E.coli, salmonella and/or a pinch of botulism. 

I kept walking past B.B.'s, Fat Tony's open air eatery and stopped in the Campus Village parking lot because I'd lost my flip flop. After reading about hepatitis and suffering through my imagination induced anxiety, I wasn't walking any place sans shoes.  I hopped back toward my lost flopper and overheard a conversation between a group of students at the entrance to Sunset Village.

"No. Seriously. What do I get my mom? Like," girl in the AUC sweatshirt was asking, "what can I order? My mom's 45th is this Friday."  Her girlfriends eyes bugged out and mouth dropped open, but she didn't have an answer.

"45?!?" Shouted scrub wearing, water bottle swinging dude next to her.  "No clue.  Want me to call my mom and ask?"

My first thought: why the hell is this chic wearing a sweatshirt? It's over 85 outside and I'd been covered in a sheen of sweat as soon as I'd closed my front door.  Second thought: can I punch this asshat right now for shouting the number 45 like it was a death sentence?  Of course, I'd  probably break all of the bones in my hand if I punched him because of my age-induced osteoporosis.

I stood rooted in shock and scrutinized these kids. Was it possible Jameson and I were only a couple of years from 45? Was I actually old enough to have birthed a child who was in Basic Sciences? I realized that the discussion had stopped, largely due to me staring in utter disbelief.  I nodded politely, adjusted my flip flop and continued my walk to C.I.A.

Mental Checklist: once 4th semester starts, and after our vacation to England and all of it's pubs, Jameson and I needed to start working out and fighting age 'like a boss'.  That's right kiddies, SNL was popular in our generation first.  Oh, and research how to restore elasticity to skin. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Doctor is In

Following a suggestion from Taffi (and maybe a bit from Jameson, though I'd never admit it), I'd scheduled a Skype appointment with her therapist friend, Ginny.  We'd met at Taff's party in June just before I headed back to the island.  At the time I thought Ginny was a great listener.  Now, while sitting at my desk tapping  my heel and waiting for my appointment, I realized her listening was a covert operation to gain more patients.  Hmm... maybe my anxiety about the island, my workload and husband was getting to me. Shit. I needed this appointment. 

With a sigh, I fired up Skype and settled back into the chair to get as comfy as possible.  Jameson was at school, I had 2 hours free of meetings and Mitch was working at the dive shop.  This was as open as my schedule got.  As my Skype chirped with an incoming video call  from Doc.Ginny, I accepted the call and put on my game face.  We exchanged pleasantries, made sure the video  feed worked on both sides (while I thanked the gods for the lack of construction at Rainbow) and we got down to business.

"So, before we start, can I ask a quick question?"

"Kelly, you can ask me whatever you'd like. I want you to be comfortable," Ginny replied while setting down her pen and writing pad and crossing her hands on her lap.  I could see the corner of her home office and wondered how she'd set up her video feed since my video only showed  me from the shoulders up and windows behind me.

"Where is your camera? I feel like I'm in your office right now,"  I asked, not able to help myself.

"Oh. I've actually got a couple of feeds. My husband set it up so I can treat clients virtually while making them feel like there with me in the office.  Was that what you wanted to ask?"

"No, I actually wanted to know where you got the name Ginny."

"My parents, of course."

Quick witted and sassy - I  liked her already.

"Alright, Ginny, let's roll."

"Kelly, why don't you tell  me what you'd like to talk about.  I read through your e-mail and you mentioned stress with your job, the island, missing out on family functions, your husband's school.  Do any of these sound like a good place to start?"

I crossed my arms and looked  up wondering where to start. I only had 50 minutes, probably more like 40 at this point.  My immediate thought was to ask if Ginny had been to the new Starbucks in Redmond Town Center, but I figured that would go over like a lead balloon.

"Tell you what, why don't you talk to me about what you miss most about living in Washington?  Normally I'd limit an answer to one item, literally, but I'll give you some leeway."

"Easy. Convenience and reliability."

"You do know those things are not always synonymous?"

"Totally. But, I also know that at home if I want to run to Krispy Kreme to grab an old-fashioned, I'd take a left at the end of my block to hit the main road and I could be there in 6 minutes.Whereas here, depending on the time of day, I'd  take one of 3 different routes to get to the same place because A) there is no easy way to do anything on this island (I said while using my fingers to count and making sure she could see them in the camera) and B) if I'm going to sit in traffic to go pay a bill I may as well waste my entire afternoon by hitting the grocery store, Prime and the drugstore.  So yeah, I totally miss convenience and reliability."

"Are you familiar with the chaos theory?"

"Is that like Nordstrom on Black Friday? Because, yes, I am painfully familiar with that"

Laughing Ginny answered, "I guess in a round about way, yes it is. It's really how one choice, one action can have a larger impact than you'd expect. When you take route 1 on the island, that choice impacts the rest of your day as well as anyone else you come into contact with and people they see or interact with after the fact. So, even though nothing on the island is easy, as you say, what you do with your time on the island is important in the larger scheme of things."

"What? Like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?" 

We talked for the next 20 minutes about my choices and putting a different spin on them, trying to look at my life from a different vantage point and ways to reduce stress. In turn, I told her my story of how I'd e-mailed Starbucks no less than 8 times to suggest they open a store on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. This, to me, would be the fastest and easiest way to alleviate a lot of my stress.  Ginny disagreed and suggested I drink less coffee.

Wrapping up my Skype appointment, Ginny asked, "Kelly, this is the point in which I ask clients if they'd like to talk with me again.  I'm not going to ask you because I've gleaned you don't do anything you don't want to do.  However, I am going to suggest you think about it and then let me know."

"Soooo, are you telling me you'd see right through an answer of 'I'm not bovvered'?"

"Should I start calling you Lauren?"

"Got it. Look at my schedule and mail you back. Consider it done," I signed off to Doc.Ginny.

Mental checklist: apparently 8 years of med school and residency, combined with details provided by Taffi, were going to make these therapy sessions legit. Must tell Ginny to address me as M.C. Hammer during next session.