Thursday, February 07, 2008

Where the Day Takes You

Jess had another doctor appointment yestereday and came away with a shiny new purple cast. The only nice thing about the visit was Barry, the Physician's Assistant who sees her. Most of the people working the front desk are routinely rude and unhelpful.

Last week she left a form that needed to be filled out and faxed to her job for disability and when we walked in today, it hadn't been touched--despite several follow up calls during the week. Then they condescendingly announced that she should never give the form to the doctor, only to the front desk so it gets properly recorded etc. Like they couldn't have mentioned that any of the four times she called. Then they had the nerve to put a received stamp with today's date on it, though they've had the form for a week. We took our seats in the waiting room and resisted the urge to smite them.

She got called back fairly quickly and the casting room was filled to capacity--which is to say, there were two other women at the other bed--and older woman in a wheelchair who also had a broken wrist and another woman who was probably her daughter. The nurse came in to see them and the daughter explained that she had moved her mom in with her since she couldn't do anything for herself. Later Barry came in to see them and put on the cast. When the mom asked, "Well, do you think you can put up with me for six weeks?" the daughter touchingly replied, "It looks like I don't have a choice!"

We didn't even try to hold back our laughter. "Aw, honey, that's the same thing I said to you!" I joked.

The nurse came in for Jess and I watched nervously as she sawed off the cast. It was loud and messy and she nicked the arm once, despite her promise of "Don't worry, I won't get you with it." Jess didn't seem too disturbed but the whole process was creepy.

Jess asked if she could wash her arm while she waited to go to X-ray so the nurse got her some wipes with alcohol on them. Jess spent the next hour or so wiping her arm meticulously from every direction. I never understood how she could do floor nursing, with all the mess and bodily fluids involved, cause she's one of the cleanest people I know. I can't imagine how crazy-making it is to not be able to wash that arm for weeks on end. It looked so pale and puny outside the cast and she took great care not to bend it.

X-rays didn't take long and Barry came in with print outs. He said nothing seems to have moved and everything looks good. His plan is to put on a new cast for a couple more weeks and then go to a (REMOVABLE, YAY!) brace and start her on hand therapy. Barry is actually the only nice person in the office (which is good, since he's the one we see the most) and he was chatty today, even noticing Jess's new hair cut.

New castShe picked purple for the new cast and it looks great.

Next we went on our weekly trip to REI. For once I had no agenda but Jess was on a mission to get down slippers like the ones she got me for Christmas. My feet were freezing before then, but the slippers really are toasty and her circulation is much worse than mine so she really needed them. (See, this is how we end up with all the same stuff).

As soon as we walked in, she was off. "I'm going to check on my pants." These would be the cross country skiing pants she's had her eye on for a few weeks. We made a plan to meet upstairs and I left her to it and went to amuse myself in the snowboarding section. When I went upstairs, I didn't see her and couldn't spot her on the first floor, even with a bird's eye view. I walked back down and finally found her at the online kiosk, looking up the pants to see if she could get the REI Outlet discount. Her shoes were still untied from trying on the pants.

"You should tie my shoes, it's not safe."

I bent down to comply but said, "Aren't you just going upstairs to try on slippers?"

She looked confused. "What?"

I laughed. REI fever had gotten her! "Ha, you don't even remember your original mission!" I teased.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she sputtered and then went upstairs to the shoe section.

I decided to try on some snowboarding boots but it's the end of the season so there wasn't anything in my size. And besides, I probably should go back and make sure I'm not going to kill myself before I start buying my own equipment.

You know you spend too much time in a retail store when people start to recognize you. As we walked up to the counter, a black guy with dreads who's rung me up often said, "Hey, there you are, you two come here all the time!"

You don't get much more busted than that. As he rang Jess up, he let her know that the .83 sale starts on Friday (everything that ends in 83 cents is half price) so she could come back and get her discount. He noticed her cast of course, which sparked his show and tell of the chipped front tooth he's slowly having repaired. He was snowboarding and stopped to watch people go by and some kid ran into his face with a helmet. Ouch. Yes, I know, I still want to try again. Maybe I should wear a motorcycle helmet when I go.

We left REI with the cashier's "See you soon!" echoing in our ears and headed over to the Whole Foods neighborhood. We had a box and two bags of used music CDs to sell at Everyday Music. That's right, we're going digital baby.

Jess carried one bag while I labored with stops every few feet with the box and the other bag because I was too stubborn to make two trips. The guys at the counter seemed totally unfazed by our loot.

"Half an hour?" said one, and we made sure they knew who's was who's and then left. After many humiliating trips to Buffalo Exchange for the clothing version of this scenario, I was fully prepared to get most of the CDs back when we returned, with a polite but condescending, "We're going to pass on these—for now." as if there might be some hope that they'd take them next month.

Next, we walked over to AIP (Art Institute of Portland) so I could turn in some paperwork and pay my tuition deposit. The path is starting to feel real now. I have a meeting tomorrow with the financial aid adviser to see if I'm really going to be able to make this work and just how poor I'm going to be.

After that we stopped at Powells so I could look for a new moleskin calendar. They have an entire wall of nothing but moleskin books, but no calendar. I was wavering between a little reporter style flip up notebook and a little package of three 64 page book-style notebooks. Jess said I should get the pack of three. When I agreed with her, she got a mischievous grin and said, "Good, then I can have one."

That hadn't occurred to me and now I felt like a dork for being so easily had. "I'm just kidding, you don't have to give me one," she said. Well of course I didn't *have* to but since I'm whipped, I probably would. But I didn't say that.

We went back to EM to pick up our CDs. What we heard when we walked in left me with my jaw on the floor. "$70 for the box" and $34 for the bags."

"You're taking them all?" Jess asked, while I mentally gaped.

"Oh yeah," was the enthusiastic reply.

"Wow, this is so much better than Buffalo Exchange," I mused, while I pulled out my ID and signed my name and my new friend handed me thirty four shiny gold rocks. I was so happy, I barely complained that Jess was getting twice as much money for less music, although I did make a play to get the guy to hand me her cash, practically out of habit. He didn't take the bait. Since my collection included Another Bad Creation and at least one Celine Dion album, I felt it best not to delve too deeply into the payout formula.

On the way to the store, we had been discussing whether or not to go to Cacao, which was taunting us just across the street. I allowed as how I could probably resist just this once. But after things went so well with the CDs, I decided we had to celebrate with some chocolate.

"You know, if we go every time, then it's not going to seem like such a treat," Jess warned.

"You're right honey. You don't have to have any, I wouldn't want you to get bored with it." Somehow that answer didn't fly so we shared our usual large cup of the cinnamon drinking chocolate and a few salted caramels. Since Jess got twice as much for her music, I felt I should at least help her spend it. "My suger mama will pay," I said to the salesman, as I picked up our mug and carried it to a table.

It was probably good that we had a snack because our last stop was a big shopping trip at Whole Foods and it's no good to go in hungry. Since we were in the neighborhood anyway, we decided to use our WF coupon from the Chinook Book. We stuck to our list and our coupons and I picked out veggies while Jess chatted with a coworker from her old job that she ran into in the produce section. Seems like she's getting more popular every month.

It was weird shopping in a different store, not knowing where things were and not knowing the cashier personally, but we managed. And we had no trouble meeting the $50 spending requirement for our $10 off coupon. Since it was late, we also got lunch from the deli to take home. The curry chicken with currants and almonds was severely overpriced, but really good. Lately we're both in a phase where we're pretty much sick of all our regular foods, so the curry was a welcome change.

When we got home, I opened my pack of moleskins and handed one to Jess. She was very excited. "I get one? I get one!?"

"Of course you get one, honey."

"Ha, that's cause you're a sucker and you loooooooooooooooooove me!"

"Um yeah. You might want to leave off the 'sucker' part."

"What? I don't know what you're talking about," she said, eyes darting everywhere.

I smiled, in spite of the knowledge that I was, in fact, a sucker. "It's the shifty eyes that really make that so darn cute." I probably shouldn't tell her things like that but oh well.

We ended our evening by watching Shrek the Third (in one sitting even!) and eating too much popcorn and ice cream. After that, there was nothing to do, but sleep it off.


Tim said...

Has Jess by any chance been visiting the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center on 18th and Pettygrove (approximately)? I had a PA named Barry there when I broke my clavicle in December of '05 who was really one of the only bright spots of that place when it came to doctor-level staff. Just curious.

Kronda said...

Yup, that's the place. We find the front desk staff to be extra rude as well, except for one new lady. How'd you break your clavicle?

Mick said...

I didn't know Whole Foods has those coupons. I routinely use them at Lowes and generally have no difficulty meeting the $50 spending requirement.

Tim said...

I broke my clavicle attempting to spin off a park jump at Meadows while snowboarding. I caught my edge on the lip of the jump and landed upside down on my shoulder without even making the landing of the jump. An audible crack and some pretty serious pain ensued, and now I've got a misshapen collarbone. The front desk at the orthopedic place seemed to always be busy with something other than what I needed, as if I was a terrible inconvenience to them. Ah well, never again shall I return.