Tag Archives: sickness

The Agent of Fate

22 Mar

March 22, 2018

My real estate agent called me the other day. “Hey! I got an apartment that’s perfect for you. It’s right in your price range!” The last apartment he said was right in my price range was $500 per month above my price range so I was not excited by this call.

I’ve seen a lot of apartments lately. They ranged from awful (the mailboxes were all broken into and some were hanging open while others were shut with padlocks) to amazing (enclosed terrace, recessed lighting) yet somehow they were all “perfect” and “right in my price range.”

But I agreed to see this one. Hey, one really does have to be prefect and right in my price range, right?

This is a stock photo. The real thing was worse.

Agent: “Can you come tomorrow? Meet me at the office at noon.”
Me: “Ok, tomorrow noon.”
Agent: “You’ll be there, right? At noon?”
Me: “I’ll be there. At your office at noon.”
Agent: “Call me if you can’t make it.”
Me: “Don’t worry, I’ll be there.”
Agent: “Noon.” [Hangs up]

This all stems from the fact that a couple of weeks ago I made an appointment with him to see a place, then something came up and I called to reschedule. He said he was unable to reschedule, so I moved some stuff around and went to the appointment at the original, agreed upon time. I made exactly two phone calls to the realtor about two hours apart, two days before the time we were scheduled to see the place. Not exactly a big deal, yet now every time he wants to show me a place he treats me like I’m completely unreliable.

So the next day came. I live a short ten minute walk from the real estate office but I left early so as not to give any illusion that I may be no-showing and got there ten minutes early. The office was closed and locked. More upsetting, there was a drunk sitting in the entrance to the pharmacy next door. This used to be a really nice, upper-middle class area. Not so much anymore.

I called the agent. “Hey, I’m here, at your office. There’s no one here. Are you coming?”
Agent: “I’m five minutes away. You’re at the office?”
Me: [Exasperated] “Yes, I am standing right in front of your office watching a drunk trying to figure out why his bottle is empty in the doorway next door.”
Agent: “Maybe he drank it all. See you in five minutes. At the office.” [Hangs up]

He really did arrive in five minutes, almost to the second. The drunk still had not figured out where his liquor went and was checking his pockets to see if they were wet.

The agent pulled up, a little too fast, came to a short stop in front of a fire hydrant and got out of the car. “I have to make a call. Watch my car!” He ran into the office. I stood next to his car, asking myself if a policeman tried to give it a ticket, what did he expect me to do? But it didn’t matter since he was out in a minute and we both got inside.

Agent: “I can show you the house, but I can’t take you back to the office.”

This was perfectly fine with me. The apartment we were seeing was closer to my house than the office so I had already planned to walk home from the viewing.

Agent: “I just spoke to my wife. She is very sick. I have to take her to the doctor.”
Me: “Oh.”

The agent was very apologetic. We had to make it fast, but he got me all the way out here (he said) and he wanted me to see the place. Then a call came in and he put it on speaker. It was the homeowner.

Homeowner: “So sorry to do this but I have to cancel. I’m stuck in Jersey and I can’t get out there today.”  That’s exactly what the agent thought I was going to do. But OK, we understand. “Come tomorrow. I’ll show it to you tomorrow.”

Then another call came in, this time the agent didn’t put it on speaker. And when he was done:

Agent: “My wife is even sicker. I have to take her to the emergency room.”
Me: “Ok, let me out here, I’ll walk home.” We had only gone a single block.
Agent: “No, I’ll take you home.”

I was very worried that this would turn out like the Seinfeld episode where George ends up with Mr. Peterson’s mother on her death bed so I said no, no, I’ll get out right here, thank you very much.

Agent: “I got you all the way out here so I’ll take you home.” He was strangely insistent about taking me home while his wife was very sick and he had to rush her to the emergency room. But as luck would have it, things finally went my way. The street we were driving down was completely closed ahead for construction and the detour took us away from my house. There was a red light at the corner and when the car stopped I opened the door, said thanks for the ride, and got out. Quickly.

Agent: [Through the window] “You are a good guy! Maybe we’ll see the house tomorrow!”

The next day he didn’t call. I wonder if his wife is OK.









Pain like an American Idol Winner

18 Nov

from February 24, 2008

Wow, what a vacation! It was so good that I had to wait until I woke up violently ill this morning to find the time to write it up.

I’ll back up.

I woke up around 4am this morning. Nothing new there. For some reason I wake up at either 4:20 or 4:40 every morning. There is no external reason for this. There is no bus that goes past my window and backfires. No one’s defibrillator shocks them back to life, causing a hysterical scream that awakens me. I just wake up.

This morning I woke up with a discomfort/pain/burning like at the gates of Hell in my middle. It wasn’t my chest, wasn’t my stomach, it was straight across my diaphragm. “That’s strange,” I thought, as I sat straight up and screamed.

Well, the pain didn’t stay that bad for long. In fact, in only a few minutes, the pain had settled down to the equivalent of listening to a Clay Aiken CD on a really long car ride. So like most smart Americans I just lay in bed and hoped it would go away. I was waiting for the socialized health care that Obama hid in the stimulus to kick in so I could get a standard of care that kills scores of French during a hot summer when the doctors are all on mandatory vacations and hospitals only work at 60% efficiency.

Well, despite the good prospect of getting $13 extra in my check every week (that’s a stimulus?) I soon decided that I should go to the doctor and, after calling out of work, made an appointment with my doctor for 11:45. The office opens at 10 but the first hour and a half are spent with health-care reps.

Of course it wasn’t that simple. At 6:30, thinking that I had the world’s worst case of heartburn, I walked a few blocks to Rite Aid. I’m out of the house at 6:30 all the time, but I’ve never gone to Rite Aid before. The people you see at Rite Aid early in the morning are strange. I would have guessed that anyone in the store at that time would be, like me, there to get something they need. Nope. Instead, there was a guy, maybe 55, wandering up and down the aisles, picking up and examining things at random. He was wearing a long brown furry coat and an Australian outback hat- you know, the kind with one side pinned up and a band of teeth around it, like Crocodile Dundee wore. Another guy was out walking his dog and stopped in to look at the magazines, with his little white poodle on his shoulder. The dog looked terrified and wanted to get down. There was a security guard who looked so much like a thug that I was sure that it was a thug who had knocked out the real guard and was going to rob the store. I almost left, but my discomfort was so bad that I figured that if I got shot in a robbery I’d end up in the hospital and get some relief so I shopped. I bought a box of Pepcid AC and, despite being the only paying customer, still had to wait at the register until a cashier turned up. The cashier had no name tag and no Rite Aid vest, and spoke English in such a thick, impossible to understand accent that I thought he had to be the guard’s accomplice and was sure that the guns were being pulled any second. Luckily I got out with my life. Unluckily the Pepcid dind’t help.

I got to the doctor’s office around 11:30 and shared the waiting room with a sick old woman (who’s main complaint was, I think, the VD she picked up from the Wright Brothers) and about 15 men and women in business suits waiting to sell the doctor on Viagra and nicotine patches. Usually I like women in business suits but today all I could see was that they were keeping me from the doctor. And OK, I noticed that one of the women had very nice legs.

They all knew each other. They chatted about other doctors they were seeing and which reps were seeing which doctors and where did you manage to park in Bay Ridge? So on and so forth. I managed my pain by focusing intently on the tv, which was showing a program on the Science Channel about a man who pays for his meals with small paintings of money. Not actual money, art-money, which he convinces people to take because “if you sell it, it will be worth twice the cost of my meal.” For the record, the meal was $17.68

I eventually got in and I’ll spare you the details but I know I’m getting old because for the first time the doctor mentioned the word “prostate,” which sent shivers down my spine (and elsewhere) when I noticed he was wearing gloves and the sunlight picked out a small bottle of Vaseline nearby. But that fun will be in the future. He had no desire to see me sans pants today. That was a good thing but, I reflected, most women felt the same way too.

Turns out the problem was muscular. The way I slept inflamed the upper thoracic schmemperial muscle which then impinged on my glaxoproblaxical nerves, (or something like that) thus causing the pain which nearly turned me into a quivering mass of whatever would be quivering under my blankets at 4am. The solution? Sleep on my back. And for that I had a $20 co-pay. Plus an extra charge for the EEG he took.

Ever have an EEG? You lay down on the bed and the doctor attaches about 3 dozen leads to your body, some on your legs, some on your arms, some on your chest, and hooks you up to a machine which sends mild electric currents through your nipples and privates giving you a sexual thrill. No, sorry, that’s the S+M machine which he keeps in his basement. No matter how many times he asks, I’m not going down there. But the EEG was normal.

Eventually the pain faded and at home I took a nap, on my back, on the couch. For those of you looking for a nice mental picture, I took off my sneakers, wrapped myself up in my blue Snuggie, and slept while The People’s Court droned on my TiVo. Yes, I have a Snuggie- one of those blankets with sleeves. Sometimes I put it on just to walk around the house- with a belt around the middle I can pretend to be a monk.

That was my day. As for my vacation? I accomplished exactly nothing I wanted to. Oh sure, I saw Paul Blart, Mall Cop, but the thrill of Kevin James can only last so long. But nothing beats the thrill of waking up at 4am convinced that someone slipped some burning barbed wire under your shirt.

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