Category Archives: Tolerance

Honor System Yard Sale: Can You Trust Your Neighbors?

How honest are your neighbors? Jen and I were forced into relying on their integrity, and we were pleasantly surprised.

On July 4, we’d advertised a yard sale on Craigslist to get ready for our move to D.C. I was stationed conspicuously in a lawn chair, still in a hard cast and quite immobile. I was the best person for the job both because I couldn’t actually do anything besides collect money and also because I elicited a lot of sympathy purchases.

Then, Jen cut her right knee very deeply while trying to move a huge mirror downstairs to the sale table. (In a lapse of reason, we both thought it was a dreadfully bad idea that she was trying to move a 30 pound mirror that was nearly as tall as she was, yet didn’t vocalize it.)

We had to make a dash for the emergency clinic for stitches. At the same time, we had to get rid of our yard sale items one way or another. Jen wrote out a sign on a large piece of cardboard:

Clothes and Books 50 cents Each. All other items $1. Leave money in mailbox.

Jen surveys the Yard Sale Progress

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Cheeseburger-induced Car Accidents

I have a long and illustrious history of being very late to dentist appointments, which is why I left early today, despite the fact that it was pouring outside.

Approaching the on-ramp, I could see that traffic wasn’t moving and I was thinking both that I was going to be late (again) and that conditions were really bad and I shouldn’t be on the road.

BAM! I was rear-ended by a gray Accord. I pulled over, and the young woman who struck me got out of her car and said, “I’m sorry, I was eating a cheeseburger.”

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Overly aggressive telemarketers

I work in a marketing department and receive dozens of unsolicited sales calls each week. One particular salesman has left me multiple messages a week for the past month, often calling daily. I’m not sure if he ever left his company name, but he certainly never  left an introduction or any indication of what service he was selling or what problem it could solve.

He actually reached one of my coworkers and asked her why I wasn’t returning his calls. Apparently he wasn’t getting the message. After he left another message today — name and number only — I snapped and called him back to give him an earful. I told him that he was wasting my time, he had never introduced himself, his company, nor their services. His company’s solutions don’t even pertain to my area, but since he never mentioned what they did, I had to sleuth it on my own. Had he been forthcoming at the outset, I could have directed him to an appropriate party in my company. He then had the audacity to ask if he could schedule some time to speak with me about his company’s offerings. I told him that I had no personal or professional desire to do business with his company, but I did offer up that I would send his email link to an appropriate party at my company. That’s way more than fair.

The irony is that this company, out of Massachusetts, offers “Do not call” compliance services. Apparently I’m not on the list…  

11:30 AM UPDATE: The aforementioned salesman called one of my coworkers to tell him I was short with him. So he’s called and harrassed me for almost a month, called one coworker to complain that I’m not returning his unwelcome and unsolicited calls, and called another to complain about me being short with  him on the phone. Now it’s harassment.

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Broken legs and prohibition.

So I can’t do anything. I just found out I’m not supposed to be consuming any alcohol, as it may impede bone healing. I read it online from a British medical study, and Barbara (Dr. Pike’s surgical assistant) corroborated it. She explained to me that alcohol thins my blood, which lessens the effects of bone laying down a new matrix for bone growth.

Then it occurs to me. I’m taking aspirin for the expressed purpose of thinning my blood to prevent clots. And thinning is good. But I can’t drink beer because it thins my blood, therefore thinning is now bad. Huh?

So I repeat the above out loud to Barbara as I weigh my dilemma and propose the following: why don’t I lay off the aspirin and instead drink the beer.

Javaun's Dilemma

I don’t get an affirmative from Barb. I’ve had my share of chemistry, biology, biochem, what have you, so this seemed plausible.

So let’s review what you CAN’T do with a broken leg:

  • Can’t drink beer.
  • Can’t ride a bike.
  • Jen is out of town so I can’t… hang out with Jen.

Anyone have any ideas? I don’t have cable. What do normal people do to kill time?

Day 2: On my own with a broken ankle

I thought I’d be fine on my own, once both Jen and my parents had left. I’m managing, but I grossly underestimated how hard it would be to take care of myself. I’m learning how difficult it must be for individuals with permanent disabilities to perform the same tasks we all take for granted. This world is really not designed with them in mind, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like in other countries that don’t ADA.

My parents and Jen did their best to help anticipate a lot of of the big recurring obstacles. I’m pretty much relegated to the couch, and to carry something back with me, I either have to hop/crutch and give up one hand, or throw the thing at the couch. The “throw” method works great with pillows or books and not so great with hot tea. My parents found some wheeled tables at the goodwill, and Jen tied a rope to it. I can push/drag stuff from one room to another with this.

My cart for transporting stuff from one room to another. 

The bathing dilemma I’d solved myself. I have a garbage bag over my cast, with a towel wrapped right under the opening and a band of surgical tubing to tie it shut.

Still, there’s a bunch of small tasks you never think about. I’m learning the basics — hopping, carrying stuff, balancing, — and my right leg is getting really strong. I’m actually a whiz with the crutches. I got the technique quickly, but now even my muscles have adapted. I use mostly core muscles — chest, lats, back — rather than arms, and I don’t fatigue easily.

It took me 40 minutes to prep the kitchen and make a salad yesterday. Next time I fill the cat’s water bowl, I’ll bring the water to the dish rather than hop with a full bowl. Cleaning up cat barf is another unpredictable event, and she’s not always considerate with her choice of locations.

All in all, yesterday was tough, and I was really grouchy. I cursed loudly and repeatedly and will be embarrassed when I next see the neighbors.

This past week, I was really bad about myself. I’m mostly confined indoors, I can only get up for short periods of time, and I’ve had people waiting on me hand and foot. I’m going to be like this for 2 more months, and I can’t (I thought at the time) even take care of myself.

What I’m learning is that I can take care of myself. Everything takes much, much longer, and you really have to learn to do everything all over again. But I’m getting much faster now that I have the basic learning curve. And it’s really, really satisfying now that I’m making some progress. So I can take care of myself, which is making me feel independent again.

The tough part continues to be restraining myself from doing too much and letting my leg heal.

Less than 2 days from surgery…

After 4 months on the sidelines, I’m finally going in for surgery on Friday morning. I have a fracture of the lateral process of the talus, which is an ankle bone that sits below the tibia and fibula and above the calcaneus, or heel bone. The talus has a poor blood supply and doesn’t heal. People fracture it in car wrecks or freak accidents. It’s a 1 in 1000 ankle injury, but it’s 15% of all snowboarding ankle injuries. Hence the name “snowboarder’s fracture.”

I should’ve known better. I was X-rayed at Snowbasin Emergency clinic at the base of the slopes. The doc gave me the good news that the X-rays didn’t show a fracture, and I wish he’d known to tell me that anyone who injures an ankle snowboarding should be aware of the risk of a talus fracture. Still, I can’t fault him, and every specialist I’d seen told me how difficult it was to identify this fracture with an X-ray. About half of these talus fractures  go undiagnosed for months, which is when permanent disability sets in.

I should’ve listened to my gut when my left ankle swelled up like a pregnant woman’s. I was told I had a sprain and rehabbed it as such. I hiked, I biked, I did jiu-jitsu. Even if I’d immobilized, it’s doubtful it would’ve healed. There are a few bones in the body that don’t heal, and this is one of them.