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Pauline Lerner

Next step

May 11, 2006 at 6:58 AM

Today I went to see my doctor about the ankle injury which has kept me grounded for the last week. He confirmed that my injury is not serious (sprained ankle and torn ligament), and that is good news. He gave me some prescriptions for medications that should reduce the pain and swelling. I started taking one of them at half the recommended dose in case it has side effects. He told me that he wants me to take physical therapy 2-3 times a week for the next 6 weeks. My health insurance runs out in 6 weeks, and there is no way I can pay for the PT myself. I had to take cabs to and from the doctor’s office because I can’t walk four blocks from the Metro station to get there. The round trip by cab cost me $50. Ow! The PT he referred me to is in the same building he’s in, and there’s no way I can pay for all those cab rides, so I’ve found a PT closer to my home. Walking around was physically painful, and the whole situation is very stressful. I nearly fainted walking up a couple flights of stairs to my home. En route, I saw a neighbor and asked him whether he might be able to give me rides some time, and he is willing. The day before I went to the ER, he went to the ER at the same hospital. His problem was more serious than mine, and he was admitted to the hospital for a few days. We amused each other with horror stories about the hospital.

When I’m in severe pain, I’m not as patient with other people as I usually am. I’m going to gripe. I thank Karin Lin for helping me keep things in perspective by telling us about the dried vomit in her car. (YUK) My complaints are nowhere near that serious. (1) One of my friends, aka The Princess, is very upset because her husband lost his job a few months ago and is still unemployed. (I’ve been unemployed for the last 4 ½ years.) He is depressed and is getting counseling. If he doesn’t get a job soon, she will have to return to the work force after being a stay-at-home Mom for a few years, so she’s asking her friends to help him find a job. (2) One of my students, who is healthy and employed, has not shown up for a lesson in about a month. For the first two weeks, he called me a day in advance to cancel. The third week, he called me and said that he would call me back in a few days and let me know whether he would come for his next lesson. He did not call. I called him twice before he returned my call. He is scheduled for a lesson tomorrow and I had no idea whether or not he planned to come, so I called him and left a message about my cancellation policy (if you don’t show up, you still pay for the lesson). He called me back about two hours later and apologized for noT calling me sooner. His reason: he was busy playing softball. He intends to come for a lesson with me tomorrow. Aaaaaaargh!

Now here is some better news. People have been nice to me, helping with errands and sending me get well cards. Yesterday I received some goods that I had ordered from LL Bean (a big sale, of course), and I need to return them. They sent me a mailing label to use to return the items by FedEx. I called customer service and explained that I can’t get out to a FedEx pickup place, so they are going to send someone to my home to pick up the package. Wow! That’s customer service! I just wish they could handle health insurance and medical bills that way. Fortunately, I can play my violin. That is very good news. I have discovered that I like playing ragtime music on my fiddle.

I have a possibility for doing some freelance science writing for a biomedical research organization. This would be very timely because most of my students disappear for the summer. The work is highly technical, and it would make use of my knowledge and years of experience. They emailed me some background material to read – a mere 10 MB – and I’ve got to discuss it with them by the end of this week. Wish me luck! Also, I’d welcome any advice people may have on how to set my fee.

Now I just need to take things one step at a time……….


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