Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Here's How It Got Worse

It has not been a restful weekend. If you haven’t read the previous post, do it now and catch up. I’m not going to explain twice. Like I said, it’s been stressful.

Friday morning I took the car in. By Friday afternoon, “my” service guy - the one doing paperwork, not mechanical work - called me. They’d found some other things needing attention. Now, most of what happened immediately after that wouldn’t have were I not already stressed. “Couldda been worse” is not the same as “just fine, thank you.” It’s the kind of stress that ruins my sleep. It was about to get even more ruined.

The first thing was rocker arms. The rubber was wearing out and they should be replaced before Just a tad under $600.  Well, not so bad, brings it back to about what I had originally expected, not that that's a reason to pad the bill. But I wasn't thinking all that straight just that moment.

How was my timing belt? They looked at my odometer and reminded me it was recommended to change it every 65,000 miles.  Umm, yeah. My driving, belts tend to last a bit longer because age doesn't get a chance to deteriorate the rubber. I'm used to that being a fairly inexpensive repair, and agreed to having it done.  That's when he shot their price at me: $525. Holy cow! Platinum or just gold plated?

Once I hung up, I started regretting the conversation. Especially the part about paying for the extras. I checked with my regular mechanic on when the belt had last been replaced. It still had a good 20-30,000 miles on it. So I called the dealership back. Or tried to. The receptionist put me through to voicemail. It claimed that their work load was so busy that they had to call back, and promised they would as soon as they could.

Uh huh.

I left my message with "my" guy's name, explained I had found out the belt didn't need replacing, and requested him to call me back to verify receiving the message.

I called again the next morning - Saturday - and left another message. Late Saturday afternoon he finally called. First, my message had "gone to the wrong voicemail box." So he'd just then gotten it. And he was 90% sure the work had already been completed, as business was slow what with the State Fair and now first week of school. The mechanics grabbed work when they could. I expressed my strong displeasure with these events, and hung up.

And stewed. I had been looking at my financing, and these extra charges were going to be the straw that broke the budget's back. I could cover them, but there were also upcoming trip expenses, weeks of lower income from lost work, property taxes due, etc., etc., etc.

Even Thursday night, I'd been dealing with that impending disaster, pit of the gut kind of feeling. Suddenly it was twice as bad. I found myself staying up as late as I could so I'd be too exhausted to keep myself awake worrying. Once I woke, I'd head out to the living room to watch TV or read, anything to occupy the mind. That kept up.

Monday morning I called the dealership's service department head to explain my problem and ask why their communication problem should be my $500+ bill. He promised to look into it and call me back. Ten minutes later he contacted me with the information that no repairs had yet been done, and now, other than the tranny, none would, since I had a regular mechanic who is much cheaper.

Whew! I could start to get proper sleep again.

So: today. (Note: written 9/10) So much for proper sleep. The alarm was set for 4:15AM, so I could get up, showered and dressed in time to ride into the city with Paul, and take over his car for the day to get my knees done the second time. I'd done as much as possible ahead of time, setting out pills, sunglasses, a book, all the things I might need and usually organized/did at home before leaving. We had to be on the road at 5. Luckily I had thought to put the trial knee brace in the car Saturday when I'd determined it was not going to work for me. I grabbed a nap after he turned the car over to me, got coffee for pills, found a 24-hour restroom, and basically killed time until my appointment.

I got a new Doc for the shots this time, and she had a problem avoiding bones with the needle in the first knee. She finally decided to attack from the outside part of the knee rather than the inside, or the side facing the other knee. That finally worked. I just wasn't thrilled with the process this time. Since I'd had the PT before the injections this time, I simply headed home to relax until it was time to head back down to pick Paul up.

It didn't happen.

Oh, the relaxing was mostly fine. Steve and I watched TV, examined my new Kindle - my birthday present from him - ordered more free books from, and realized we'd have to wait till Paul got home to put in the proper code for WiFi to load the books for reading. I was feeling fine,  though I thought occasionally my pulse was a little fast. Just background noise, however. I did think to wonder if I was sure I'd gotten my blood pressure pills into the ziploc, and not skipped something. Maybe I was just stressed from all the needle poking, though nothing was hurting.

About 4:00PM we noticed the time and Steve whipped up bacon and eggs before I had to leave. When I stood up to clear plates before heading out, I had to sit down again.

Just a touch lightheaded.

I got up again, carried the plates to the kitchen, grabbed a few animal crackers in case I was having low blood sugar from low carb input, and got in the car.

About 6 miles down the road, I turned around, called Steve and told him he was driving, and returned to the house. My heart was racing and I was feeling short of breath. Definitely not safe to drive! By the time I made the house, I informed Steve he would be dropping me at the ER in St. Croix Falls and heading down to pick up Paul. After telling him the route and telling Paul's voicemail his ride would be late, I was ready to find out what the heck was going on.

I figured I just might be developing a new allergy: to chicken and eggs. I'd certainly had a high enough dosage of those today. I was visualizing life with epi-pens, needing to discontinue knee treatments, needing to read food labels even more carefully than now.

The triage nurse took my wrist pulse and suddenly I was whisked back to a bed surrounded by curtains where they proceeded to dress me in the latest bare-ass fashions, hook me up to O2 and monitors, draw blood and pop an IV port into the crook of my elbow. Left, of course, because all the rest of the world is right-handed. And nobody asked. All the displays were behind my head, so I had to try to figure out from stray comments what exactly was happening.

Finally a Doctor introduced himself, and introduced my to a new diagnosis: atrial fibrillation.

Cool birthday present, huh? At least it waited until I had insurance. You think I wasn't already dealing with lost work and unexpected bills? This one can be paid over time, at least.

Paul brought over my laptop and charger, and I've been killing time doing this. 

Verdict so far? At least one night stay. Meds lowered the heart rate, at least as long as I'm in bed. They're talking about making sure the rate stays down, and hoping it returns to normal sinus rhythm. No heart attack. Likely blood thinners. If I'm very lucky, home tomorrow - late enough it won't matter if my car is done on time.

Oh well.....  The food here is good anyway. WiFi is iffy. This will have to get posted after I get home.

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