I’ve just been through a few more physically and emotionally exhausting days. On Friday, I accompanied my sister while she took care of some things related to her impending divorce, which is getting uglier by the minute. To add insult to injury, her boys are so desperate for their father's approval, they are stooping so low as to torture their mother just to score points with Daddy Dearest. It’s sickening, and so unfair, especially considering what the soon-to-be ex has done to his family.
Michele also took me to my doctor’s appointment on Friday. When I explained why I was there, the Physician’s Assistant expressed displeasure, and said it was ridiculous for the receptionist to have insisted that I needed an appointment just to get a note for work. I couldn’t agree more.
The PA ushered me to the front desk, and told a secretary to give me a note. I informed the secretary that I needed the note to cover my absences from February 5th. She said she couldn’t do that because I wasn’t seen until February 13th. I could feel my composure start to slip, but managed to maintain control.
I explained that I called the office on Monday, February 5th, but couldn’t get an appointment until the following Monday, February 12th. (Apparently, appointments for “new” patients are only scheduled on Mondays. I am considered “new” because I haven’t been seen in over three years.) That appointment was cancelled by their office, and rescheduled for February 13th. It’s not my fault I couldn’t get in until then. Finally, I got the secretary to agree to cover the appropriate dates for the work note.
While I was there, I asked about the approval for the MRI, Physical Therapy and Pain Management. The Worker’s Comp Insurance Company has not yet responded to the request for authorization. This delay in testing and treatment in turn delays my return to work. That’s not my fault, either. But, I will have to suffer the consequences, physically, emotionally, and financially. This whole thing is really wearing thin.
Witnessing my sister’s pain is also getting to me. After a good, strong start, she is starting to lose momentum. Because of an unfortunate series of negative events (including not getting the attorney she wanted due to a “conflict”), Michele was reduced to sobs. She made sounds that ripped my heart apart.
Her sons are adding to her misery by blaming her for the divorce. (Boy, do they have that wrong.) Not only are they siding with their father, but they are also reporting everything back to him, while they tell their mother that things they discuss with their father are “confidential.” Michele is being emotionally brutalized in her own home, and feels that everybody is against her. I’m trying to convince her to go for counseling, because she really needs an advocate.
On Saturday, my sisters, my mother and I went to lunch at Hudson House, a restaurant situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Cold Spring. I thoroughly enjoyed my salad with scallops, blue cheese and caramelized pecans.
After that, we headed for Garrison and the “That Nothing Be Lost” thrift shop at Graymoor, home of The Franciscan Sisters and The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.
Things were going nicely until we went to pay for our purchases. First, let me give you some background information. The thrift shop covers three floors. The top floor features clothing. One rack had a sign advertising that all items were $4.00 unless otherwise marked. Nearby, there was another sign that said all winter items were ½ off.
Michele found a blouse she liked. It didn’t have a price tag, so she asked one of the workers how much it cost. Since it wasn’t marked, the blouse was supposed to be $4.00, but the worker marked it down to $2.00, because it had long sleeves, and was therefore eligible to be considered a winter item. He was a really nice guy, joking and making us laugh. We appreciated his friendly attitude, and left the top floor in a cheerful mood.
After browsing around the other two floors, we headed for the checkout. The guy behind the counter misread the tag on Michele’s shirt as $12.00. Michele pointed out that the man upstairs had marked it as $2.00. The woman who runs the thrift shop overheard the conversation and butted in. She snapped that the shirt was indeed $12.00, and nastily went on to say that the sign in the clothing department very clearly stated that items on that rack were $4.00 unless otherwise marked (emphasis hers), and it was very easy to understand, sarcastically implying that we were idiots. She insisted that the blouse had a tag, so it didn’t qualify for the $4.00 price. This unpleasant woman then looked for the tag to triumphantly prove her point, but – lo and behold! There was no tag! (Other than the one the guy upstairs had marked, that is. Which meant that the shirt WAS supposed to be sold for $4.00.)
Instead of apologizing, the wench angrily announced that she was going to have a talk with the man in the clothing department about marking the item too low. She flew up the stairs, leaving us with astonished looks on our faces. When she came back down, she declared that the blouse wasn’t considered winter clothing because the sign said “winter wool half off.” That was a blatant lie. The sign said no such thing.
The woman could not be reasoned with, and my sister ended up paying $12.00 for a blouse that should have cost no more than $4.00 (and really should have been sold to her for the $2.00 as marked). Michele should have refused to buy it at that outrageous price. (This is a THRIFT SHOP! That blouse wouldn't have cost much more than $12.00 if it was brand new!) However, my sister prefers to avoid confrontational situations, and has a tendency to allow herself to be taken advantage of. I wish this had happened to me instead of her. Things would have ended differently. Michele is feeling pretty beaten down by life, and this experience sure didn’t help.
I was furious. Being last in line, my mother and sisters finished making their purchases before me. They went out to the car while I paid for my items. I remarked aloud that I had a letter to write when I got home. I asked the man behind the counter for the name of the bitchy woman. He didn’t know her last name, but told me her first name is Joan. (She was sneaking looks at me the whole time, and I glared at her as hard as I could.)
As I was leaving, another worker asked if I was interested in buying a raffle ticket. I loudly announced that I might have done so under different circumstances, but Joan’s rude behavior had left such a bad taste in my mouth, all I wanted to do was get out of there. Besides, I added, I was in a hurry to get home and compose my letter of complaint. To be treated that way, not to mention being ripped off, would be inexcusable in any situation, but for it to happen in a religious facility makes the experience even more distasteful. I think an apology and a refund of $10.00 are in order, but I won't hold my breath.
Today, I hung out with the boys – my father, my nephew, Danny, my brother, Mike, Frank the Plumber, and their friend, Joe. Believe it or not, we went to the World Fishing & Outdoor Expo at Rockland Community College in Suffern. I tagged along because I wanted to meet the owners of Crane’s Lochaven Wilderness Lodge.
Every year, the aforementioned guys head to the French River in Canada to spend a week fishing. Here are a couple pictures of my father. (The little girl is the daughter of the owners.) This is a shot of my nephew, Danny, with his five foot sturgeon. (It was the biggest fish caught that season.) My brother, Mike, is featured on the cover of the brochure.
Ed and Sue are wonderful people. They greeted us all with hugs and words of sympathy for our loss. Their kindness meant a lot to me. My father broke down – a common occurrence. He’s a broken man.
On the way home, we stopped for an early dinner at the restaurant where Rebecca works. She was so excited to serve us. Joe very generously picked up the tab, but Danny insisted on leaving the tip for his cousin. (His father had given him $100 spending money.) He was rewarded with a big hug from Rebecca.
Hanging out with the boys was an enlightening experience. They spent a lot of time talking about bodily functions, telling stupid jokes, and making lame puns. I had a blast. Seriously. Even though it was a physically gruelling day, and I was really hurting, my sides ached as much as my back from laughing so much and so hard.
After dinner, we went to Frank the Plumber’s house. He has the most gorgeous kitchen. Honestly, it’s the nicest I’ve ever seen. The rest of the house isn’t too shabby, either. Frank and his wife, Tina, worked hard for what they have, and I’m happy for them. They are such nice people.
Speaking of Tina, during the course of our conversation, she and I discovered that we both used to work for the same group of Orthopedic surgeons, although at different times. We had an interesting chat about the woman who was the office manager, and who was responsible for me submitting my resignation. Liz was a real shrew. Tina (who only lasted at that job for 8 months, while I was there for 8 years) made my day when she told me that Liz was fired a few years ago. It’s about time.
It’s also about time I ended this entry. Before I go, I’ll ask you to consider signing this petition “urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2005 (S 910/HR1849). The bill would allow a woman and her doctor to decide whether she should recuperate for at least 48 hours in the hospital or whether she has enough support to get quality care at home following this emotionally and physically difficult surgery.”