Sunday, October 11, 2009

The waiting room blues

It's getting colder all the time now, Sheila says the long range forecast is for snow flurries next Friday. I'd pack up and leave now, but...

It seems like every time I plan to leave, whether from Toronto to Nova Scotia, vice versa or anywhere else for that matter, all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden I have emergencies that must be taken care of right now and even involve postponing departure dates. Right now I have both medical and vehicular urgent matters---or so it seems---to take care of and I can't leave until I do.

As far as the vehicle goes, apparently I have a gas leak, but it is most likely not the gas tank but the hose from the gas lid to the tank. However they no longer make that hose, but the local gas tank repair guy has obtained one from the "after-market" (now, would that be the junk yard?) and can install it Wednesday. I also am taking the truck in to another garage on Tuesday to get the front end and brakes inspected. I think they're fine but don't want surprises on the road. Both garages are in small towns so there's not a lot to do while waiting, and usually they want a few hours at least, so it's a bit of a pain but what can you do.

The medical matter is more of a mystery, I suspect it is nothing but the doctor---a young guy---has taken the ball and run off with it, ordering up all kinds of tests and X-rays and CT scans and whatnot. He's at a walk-in clinic so I can't make an appointment, I have to show up and wait for at least an hour before I get to see him. I'm getting the immersion course in waiting room life (that would be a whole other blog posting!).

So far he has proposed several theories, each one necessitating yet another test, and I am on my second course of antibiotics even though there is very little evidence of any kind of infection. A kind of ruling-things-out-by-treatment: if the antibiotic doesn't fix it then it must not be an infection. And apparently each antibiotic is only good for certain things, so if the first one doesn't work then maybe it's another kind of infection.

I just looked up from my laptop to see a blue jay sitting on my windowsill, a few feet away. Cool!

The X-ray was supposed to be definitive, but it only raised yet more questions and more theories, so now he wants a CT scan. That is sure to be definitive! I went home Friday night quite discouraged, I am "sick and tired" of all this fuss over a relatively minor complaint that as near as I can tell does not indicate anything serious. So I went on the internet yesterday to look up CT scans, and while there are lots of benefits there are also some risks, it involves considerably more radiation than just an X-ray. The descriptions all say that the benefits far outweigh the risks, because the CT scan allows early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

My problem with that is that we're not talking cancer or any other life-threatening issues here, and the doctor's current theories either have no treatment or a "wait and see" treatment. So why run the risk for such little benefit? He says it could take as long as 3 weeks to get the CT scan, or I could get in as early as one week from making the appointment. And since I only saw him on Friday night after the clinic staff had left for the long weekend, that appointment won't get made until Tuesday, so we are talking at least a week and a half. Hence the discouragement.

So, I am thinking that I will get the truck taken care of and then see how I feel about taking a miss on the CT scan. I am pretty sure it will be even harder to get the CT scan in Toronto, and my current plan does not involve staying in Toronto for very long. I just bought myself a round-trip Westjet ticket to Vancouver for Christmas, leaving Toronto the end of November and returning early January. December has got to be one of the worst months weather-wise to be in Vancouver, and of course the same can be said for January to March in Toronto. I'm just a glutton for punishment!

I dislike flying in big airplanes to and from big airports, but Westjet is one of the better ones so I am kind of looking forward to that. Haven't flown with them in a while so they may not be as good as they used to be---we shall see---but I have good memories of them. If ever an airline believed in customer service, it would be Westjet.

One of my favourite memories is of an ill-fated flight during the winter from Toronto to Vancouver, with a stopover in Calgary. Departures were delayed by several hours, in both Toronto and Calgary, due to weather. Connections were missed. When we finally boarded the plane in Calgary it was clear that we would be arriving in Vancouver after closing time and we would be damn lucky to find taxis or buses there. But, when we were all seated and belted in, the pilot came on the intercom singing, "Six days on the road and we're gonna get you home tonight!" They've got the nicest people working on their airplanes!

They have no first class seating, it's all one class. They didn't used to serve meals so there were no food carts in the aisles and as soon as the seatbelt sign went off they encouraged you to get up and wander around. The flight attendants told jokes and played games. One game they used to play involved throwing rolls of toilet paper down the aisles! People brought their own food and shared with their neighbours, I had some really great meals on some of those flights. We used to compare flight jokes, to see who had the funniest flight. Unfortunately the airline now serves food so they do have the food carts in the aisles, and they have TV screens in the seatbacks so the flight attendants don't tell jokes or play games anymore. Too bad, it used to be a lot of fun.

One thing I discovered with Westjet though is that flights with stopovers are actually better than non-stop flights, they give you a chance to get out and stretch your legs and breathe real air. Westjet used to stop at some out-of-the-way places, so you ended up in tiny airports in parts of the country you never expected to see. Small airports are way better than the big ones.

Oh, one more thing. I got email from Lisa, the Festival Committee Chair of Deep Roots Music. She found my blog post on this year's festival and liked it, she was writing to ask permission to link to it from the Deep Roots website. I feel honoured!

And that's my rant for the day.


Barbara Anne said...

Huge hugs! I recommend taking food, kleenex, your knitting, music with earphones, and a book to all waiting rooms so you're ready and happy with any eventuality. Better yet, see if you and a friend can meet for lunch and a chat.

As for your health conundrum, if all seems okay enough, perhaps you should just hurry home to Toronto where you'll have about 6 weeks to feel better. You'll also have family downstairs and heat without hauling firewood, so those things are a plus if you're not feeling good. Wishing you well!

How cool that Deep Roots wants to link you to their site!!! Applause!

Healing hugs!

Wisewebwoman said...

What a bother for you but perhaps you are right in ignoring all these tests and booting back.
Porter is now flying to NL so I'll be soon on one and it flies directly into Toronto island. Not the best environmentally but none of it is.
Last time I was on Westjet (June) they all sang "Ode to Newfoundland" before we landed. It always makes me cry so I was a mess.
They are something else.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Annie said...

Hi Barbara Anne, it's not that I dislike waiting rooms or can't keep myself occupied there, it's that I really would rather spend my last week or two saying goodbye to friends than doing this. And I feel fine, I am not sick. Being poked and prodded and asked to swallow various concoctions that make me feel less fine just seems wrong.

WWW, when the truck is ready to go I will assess the situation and see whether it's worth it to skip out on all this bother. How nice that they sang Ode to Newfoundland for you! I haven't tried Porter, but I guess flying to Toronto Island is worth it all by itself.