Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Commuting Publicly

If we accept that life is always trying to teach us exactly
what we need to learn, we can view everything that happens to us as a gift. Even experiences that are uncomfortable or painful contain within them an important key to our healing, wholeness, and prosperity. We may have difficulty understanding what the mirror of life is trying to show us, but if we sincerely ask for the learning and the gift in every experience, it will be revealed to us one way or another.

- Shakti Gawain

I love public transportation. I'm weird like that. Maybe it's because I took the T every day when I first moved to Boston. These days (and for about the last decade), I've been in the suburbs and I spend way too much time sitting in traffic on the highway every day.

MS has given me the opportunity to revisit public transportation...A LOT. First of all, I had the pretty severe and sudden optic neuritis (twice) and couldn't drive for many days (the RMV frowns on blind people operating a car). So people (mostly Ken) gave me rides to drop off the kids and get to the T. Then I took the train to Harvard Square and took the shuttle to work. And then there were all the doctors' appointments at Mass Eye and Ear and Mass General Hospital. Much easier to get there by T and not have to worry about parking.

So, today, when I had a 2pm appointment that I waited two months to get with an MS specialist neurologist at MGH AND I had to take my car into the shop, I wasn't worried. I'll just take the T, I thought. Yay! An opportunity to listen to music and read my novel.

Cut to the chase. I drop the kids off at school, drop the car at the garage next door to my complex, walk home, do some work for a few hours and have Ken come get me to take me to the train. I JUST miss the inbound train and, because it's lunchtime, I have to wait almost 20 minutes for the next one. I take the train to Charles MGH, walk TOO FAR down Cambridge Street to the wrong entrance to MGH with sore legs and hips (new symptom or post-coitus muscle aches?). I back track to the correct entrance and get to the Neurology office at 2:05pm. My appointment was at 2:00. I checked in nervously, thinking of the reminder note in my bag that told me to arrive 15 minutes early since this was my first visit with this particular doctor. (Why IS that, by the way. Why don't they make the appointment for 1:45 if that's when they want you there???!!!) Anyway, I was prepared for a scolding but not what I heard: "Your appointment has been canceled." Say WHAT???!!!!

After talking to three other secretaries and repeatedly brandishing my blue hospital card, I learned that, although I didn't cancel it, my other neurologist and his secretary didn't cancel it, and the new neurologist and his secretary didn't cancel it, the appointment was nonetheless cancelled. Once again, I am a medical mystery.

I did not yell. I did not cry. Instead, I very calmly explained to Dr. Pless' secretary that I took the afternoon off of work and took a train to be there and that I needed to see Dr. Pless because Dr. Cho SAID I should and I was recently diagnosed with MS. Because I did not yell or cry or make a scene like I may have done on a different day, she squeezed me in for next Wednesday at the same time. I will, of course, call on Tuesday to confirm that I do have an appointment.

So, then, it was back to the train and, because Ken was busy with a home inspection, I took a BUS from the train station home. I make fun of Ken for not taking public transportation but I have to admit: I haven't been on a bus in about 10 years.. I felt like such a dork, not knowing how to put my Charlie card (kind of like a T pass for you non-public transportation people) into what used to be the money thing at the front of the bus. The driver was very nice. The high school kids waiting behind me in line weren't. The very long bus ride was pretty uneventful and I watched other people push the "next stop" bell so I would know how to do it when the time came.

I picked up my car (which the garage could NOT fix, by the way) and went home to do more work before making dinner and picking up the kids. I made an appointment for my car at a different garage for tomorrow, which means I'm taking the T to work. FUN! The good news is that I will get a morning kiss from Ken who is dropping me off at the T. There is ALWAYS a gift in each experience.

1 comment:

  1. Julie

    I love the quote! Good for you handling the Dr office like such a grown up ;) I'm just starting a book that I think will have a similar message as your quote - it' called Diary of a Medical Inuitive by Christel Nani. I'll let you know how it is... Good luck on Wednesday - Dinae (dlee from DS if that makes sense :)