Did you ever think, “maybe it’s a sign”? That a power greater than yourself is trying to send you a message. Give you the heads-up of impending doom or encourage you down a path towards the ivory tower. Do you ever wonder why the message is always hidden in other events? It’s never a straight forward message, in easy-to-understand language. It’s always one thing wrapped up in another, bound by something else. It has to be deciphered to be understood and that usually happens after the fact, when its too late.
I’ve been benched by my company. I have sustained an injury and until it is healed, the company says I stay home. It is a non-workplace injury and their feelings are that if I continue to work, there is a chance it could become a workplace injury. To the company, this would be bad or at least look bad on the spreadsheet. Better it stays non-work related. The doctor that examined me over the phone, says it will take 2 to 3 weeks to heal. That means I’m on the bench until April. Which also means I will have spent the majority of 3 months at home due to injuries. A sign?
My injury was sustained while at Honey’s physiotherapist appointment. Honey is still not able to drive so I preform the role of Alfred or Jeeves or Kato or whomever, I am the chauffer. I drive her there; I open the doors for her and the rest of the time I wait in the car. This is a small town, so I am parked on the main street, right in front of the therapist’s office.
The physio office is right beside the post office and is a high trafficked area. Even in this day and age, people still go there daily in hopes there is a letter from the Captain informing them that their ship had come in. I know, it’s foolish right? Everyone knows that striking it rich messages come by phone and require your credit card number in order to collect! But like I say, it’s a small town.
Because I am parked in plain view of every passer-by, I usually have my lap-top open on the passenger seat and my head buried in it. I avoid any eye-contact with the public, so I am not required to nod a greeting. I’m not being anti-social but small town means I know everyone and with everyone wearing masks, I would even have to nod at the few I don’t know, just in case. Burying my head is easier.
On this day I was in the midst of messaging with my new boss (another story) and I didn’t see Honey until she was standing in front of the car door, staring at me. In a panic I slammed my laptop shut and stuffed it in my bag, then tossed it in the backseat. Honey’s wrist are still not strong enough for her to open the door by herself but rather than get out immediately and open the door as I normally would, I reached across for the handle to open the door from the inside, so she could at least swing the door open and get in. As I extended out and leaned toward the handle, the console separating the seats, slid up under my rib cage. The pain was immediate and intense. I stopped, reversed direction but it was too late, I knew that damage had been done.
I went to work the next two days and finished my week; it was difficult but I managed with the help of a lot of Ibprophen. I had a couple of days off, so my hope was that the pain would start to recede. This did not happen, and I knew the first day of the new work week I would need some medical attention. I didn’t figure there was much any one could do. Even if I had broken a rib, its not like they would put me in a body cast, but since the pain increased when I returned to work, better safe than sorry.
I informed my current boss, and my new transitioning-boss about the event of the previous week, and my current condition. They showed the appropriate concern and advised me to get it looked at. I told them I would the next day, right after I finished working. I didn’t make it to the end of that day, the pain was so intense every time I moved my right arm that I had to stop and groan. There was no way I could continue. I got in touch with my assistant monkey, and he came and finished what I couldn’t. I went to see a doctor.
Even prior to the pandemic, our health region encouraged people to select the appropriate healthcare provider. Do a little self-triage. Does the circumstance require emergency attention, or is a visit to a family doctor all that is required? It had been close to a week since I had sustained the injury, I decided the hospital emergency room was a bit dramatic. Because I don’t have a family doctor, he retired years ago and has never been replaced, I went to the local Walk-In clinic.
Under the new health restrictions due to COVID-19 and all its variant babies, the last thing you do is walk into the Walk-In. You call to make an appointment, they have a doctor call you, and do a diagnosis over the phone. You don’t walk into the Walk-In unless you are directed to do so. I tried to call, for over an hour and kept getting flipped back to the main menu without ever speaking to another human. I was in the Walk-In parking lot, so I decided to break the rules and play the senior card… I walked into the Walk-In.
It took less than 5-minutes to get on the list of patients for some doctor to call and I was out the door. The doctor would call me at 11am, in two-hours. I returned to my truck and sat in the parking lot of the Walk-In and waited. At 11:30 my phone notifies me I have a voicemail. A voicemail?? My phone has been right beside me the whole time, the ringer on max! I didn’t get a phone call! I check the message and sure enough it is from the doctor. I walk back into the Walk-In.
I go to the woman that had given me my appointment and tell her what has happened. “It never rang, it went straight to voicemail.” She is very helpful to the old person in the mask, and explains that I must change a setting on my phone, which she then proceeds to help me do.
In less than 10 minutes the call had ended. The doctor told me that yes, I had injured my rib cage. This type of injury does not require overt medical care, meaning he doesn’t currently need x-rays, scans or even physical examination. He prescribes a medicated rub for the inflammation and I was told to keep using Ibprophen for the pain, in slightly lower doses. He says that it should heal itself in 2-3 weeks. I ask about work and he says that it is dependent on my threshold for pain, but since the injury does not limit my mobility… He didn’t come right out and say it, but I got the message, it was a “suck it up princess” injury. It’s going to hurt, but it’s going to get better.
With this diagnosis in hand, I reach out to my almost boss, I would be her full-time problem by the end of the week anyway. I tell her it was a ‘suck it up, princess’ injury, that it will heal over time and I should not require time off work, according to the telephone doctor. She thanks me for getting it seen to, and I end the call by assuring her I’ll be okay to work. I pick up my prescription at the pharmacy, and head for home.
I was standing in front of my door, fumbling with my keys and my phone rang. It was the bosses, both of them on the line. They informed me that I was being put on short-term disability and would not be permitted to work until I could do so without pain. This was the instruction from the senior health and safety boss, he didn’t want a non-workplace injury to turn into a work-place injury. I was benched!!
Really?? They kicked it upstairs!! They called senior management! Ten years ago, this would have ended with the ‘suck it up princess’ diagnosis!! The bosses should have been happy that I wasn’t going to be down for any length of time! But this is a new day and age, and the Millennials-in-charge are currently erring on the side of caution. Not comfortable enough just letting an old dog like me continue along like nothing had happened, they passed the ball up the ladder. Seriously??? and I’m the Princess?!!!
So here I sit, back where I was to start the year. Honey continues to get better, which is helping me to some extent. I still need to do many of the things I have been doing, as far as cooking and cleaning around the house. But she has conquered her personal needs and I have given up hair brushing. It wasn’t really working anyway. At least at home I can suck it up, and do what needs to get done and Honey only calls me a princess under her breath so I don’t hear, when I whine about the pain. That’s very respectful of her because it’s tough to defend yourself against a woman recovering from bi-lateral wrist breaks and has given birth…twice! When it comes to sucking it up, I’m not in her league.
The question is… is this a sign? Is all that has transpired to me since the beginning of the year, some kind of other-worldly message or is it just coincidence? Am I being told something? Am I missing the hint?? It’s easy to write a narrative in favour of many different ideas. How am I supposed to know which is correct? I feel that the only way I will ever know whether this is a good omen, a bad omen, or no omen at all, is to be patient and wait. I figure eventually hindsight will show up.