AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is part 3 in a series of blog updates on my health status.
Early in our marriage we bought a Big Green Egg, an almost too big version for a small backyard patio. We later moved to a new home, and moving the Big Green Egg was one of the most stressful parts of the move. Moving it laterally wasn’t an issue; it had a metal base with wheels. Lifting it was another issue. We didn’t trust the movers to do it, so we moved it ourselves.
A few years later I wanted to move the glorious smoker to a different part of our backyard. One of us on either side of our precious Egg, we slowly rolled the base over the Arizona stone pavers. At some point, we lost our focus and the Egg lost its balance, fell off its base and broke into three pieces. I remember both of us just staring at it, not sure what to do or how to feel.
I had the same reaction this past Thursday when after getting up very early, showering, doing my hair and makeup, and selecting an appropriate outfit for leaving the home the first time in a week, our phone rang. “Hello, may I speak to Amy?” “This is Amy.” Oh, hi!” said the cheerful voice. “This is Dr. X’s office. We need to cancel your appointment today. The next available is July 15 at 8:00 a.m. We’ll see you then!” I wasn’t sure what to do or how to feel. I just stared at the phone. And I started crying.
I had finally reached the breaking point in all my medical drama. I’d used up all my emotional resilience, and all I was left with was tears. So many tears. I was completely and totally emotionally broken.
The specialist I was supposed to see that day was a rheumatologist. The virus that attacked me in April has left me with multiple issues related to inflammation and joint pain. Meanwhile the Bell’s Palsy effects include eye socket, cheek bone, jaw pain, and headaches. I was desperate for some advice and pain relief.
Scott jumped into action, calling all the rheumatology clinics in the area. “Are you taking new patients? When is the first available appointment?” None taking new patients had an opening until August. I continued to cry as he continued to make these futile calls. At that point I was convinced I’d be in pain with no help from the medical community forever. I know, I wasn’t being realistic, but I was broken.
One of Scott’s superpowers is thoughtful decision making. I’m very decisive; I tend to evaluate a few good options, make a choice and move on quickly while Scott is willing to thoughtfully research and explore all possible options. He did this with the Big Green Egg.
He first called the manufacturer to tell them about the issue. “It’s a flaw with the design. The base is too small with only three wheels to safely move such a large ceramic egg.” Scott is the son of an engineer and can pull out some “engineery” language when it comes to design issues. The customer service agent was I’m sure patient and understanding, but nothing Scott said could convince him to issue a refund of any sort. The rep said they only offer a one-year warranty and to check with the seller. Scott then moved on to the seller, Costco. After multiple calls to area stores, he finally found a store manager who wholeheartedly agreed it was indeed a design flaw. “Bring it in and we’ll issue a full refund!”
It had been at least six years since we’d bought the Big Green Egg. We couldn’t load it fast enough; we wanted to get to the warehouse while this man was still on duty. We rolled into the parking lot at break-neck speed, parked, grabbed a flatbed cart, laid the various chunks of egg on the cart, and rolled the cart with precious cargo oh-so-slowly through the parking lot and into the store.
“What is this?” the greeter asked, “A broken smoker. Your manager said we should return it due to a design flaw,” Scott replied. The greeter snorted and said, “Good luck.” We then merged from the store entry area across the store exit area when a woman absentmindedly pushed her fully loaded cart into our flatbed. Placing blame aside, what ensued next was unbelievable.
The three pieces of eggs fell off our cart, crashed into what seemed like hundreds of pieces, careening across the concrete floor in all directions. Chaos ensued as customers gingerly pushed pieces toward us with their shoes, employees grabbed brooms, and we just stood there staring, not sure what to do or feel.
We eventually made our way to the return line, asked for the manager, and were then told he’d left early that day. The person we dealt with was not in the mood to accept our return, but Scott persisted with his design flaws and “engineery” talk. The employee eventually conceded, and we left with our refund. In cash.
I was thinking of all that cash as Scott was calling offices that likely don’t take my very expensive PPO insurance, or who are out-of-network. “Maybe a huge pile of cash could help me,” I thought. Later that day, my exceedingly kind father-in-law, the engineer, offered me his next appointment with his rheumatologist in Nevada on June 22. Thankfully, by the end of the day, my primary care doctor got involved and convinced Dr. X’s office to fit me in this coming week.
My primary care doctor also prescribed more prednisone, enough to get me through until I see the rheumatologist. This is my third time on prednisone since this all began, and I’m getting used to the new routine to control my blood sugars-—almost no carbs and a lot more blood sugar testing.
How am I? I’m still emotionally broken, prone to crying, and fits of despair, but the pain has lessened throughout my body. I’m broken. But I may be fixable. We’ll see.