Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Turning Lemons Into Tiny Smashed-Up Bits of Lemon

I am so incredibly displeased with the universe at this particular moment that it's kind of hard to put the feeling into words. It's a lot easier to just smash my forehead into a wall until I pass out. But seeing as how the walls in our apartment are poorly hung drywall which would rapidly turn to powder under my brutal cranial assault, I'll try to explain through the magic of words.

I wrote on Monday of the riotous good time I've been having lately with my leg. I believe I mentioned that, when I saw my doctor--two weeks ago tomorrow--he referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who would be able to give me an MRI and, hopefully, determine just exactly why the fuck my leg wants to kill me. Since last week was Rosh Hashanah, this new doctor had very little room in his schedule and I had to wait until today for an appointment. "Two weeks is not that big a deal," I thought. "I'll just whine like a petulant toddler to my long-suffering wife until then."

Here's where things get fun.

Over the two weeks since my last appointment, my leg has gotten progressively worse. Yesterday was, in fact, so bad that I very nearly tried to just amputate the goddamn thing with the sharpest kitchen implement I could find, which, sadly, was a carrot peeler. The only thing that kept me from it was the knowledge that today, I would finally know just what the fucking problem is and would be on the road to having it resolved.

I left work early today. I rushed home, walked the dogs and headed out the door nearly an hour before my appointment. By all rights, I should be sitting here right now, writing about the visit and doing my best to explain the medical jargon the doctor had told me. But, see, there was something I hadn't counted on; the one thing that all people who live on the West Side of Manhattan fear more than any other: getting to the fucking East Side.

If you live where we do, there is no really great way to get to the East Side, where the doctor's office is located. You have to rely on crosstown buses, which move with all the speed of an octogenarian's bowels, or the handful of East/West subway shuttles, non of which are located anywhere near where I needed to be. So I did what I've done the last few times I've needed to go to an appointment on the East Side, I went to the top of the park and hopped a bus down Fifth Avenue.

Fully believing in the soundness of my logistics, I sat back, listened to some music and read an article in the latest New York Magazine. And then another article. And then another. I looked up and realized that the bus had only made it to 102nd Street. The doctor's office is on 53rd.

With ten minutes to go and the bus making snails look positively zippy, I hopped off the bus at 86th. Really dumb idea. Just monumentally fucking dumb. To catch a downtown train, I would have had to hike all the way over to Lexington getting out at 59th, I would then have had to hike all the way back to Madison. Crosstown blocks being a whole lot longer than uptown/downtown blocks, it was a detour I didn't think I could afford. So I just started walking downtown.

Let me point out here that indecision is really a killer when you're trying to get somewhere. Years of watching The Amazing Race has taught me that, once you pick a mode of transport, you really just have to hope that you made the right call and live with it if you didn't. So, my route laid out, I just gimped down Madison Avenue as fast as my traitorous fucking leg would carry me. Glancing back over at Fifth, I saw that the congestion had cleared up below 84th and the buses that had been crawling along so pathetically were now whizzing by. I cursed myself. Literally, I called myself a schmuck out loud just as some well-dressed tall guy walked by me. He looked up from his Blackberry momentarily and the pointedly crossed the street.

By the time I reached 53rd and Madison, I was twenty minutes late. And then I couldn't' find the entrance to the building. The address I had was 515 Madison, but the only entrance I could find was for a Europa Cafe. Since I needed an MRI and not an overpriced croissant, I called the doctor's office for clarification, at which time the receptionist told me that they'd need to reschedule my appointment.

I tried to tell her about the bus, how it wasn't my fault, but she didn't care. Receptionists never give a shit about the bus. I hung up and nearly cried. I found the entrance to the building and limped my way to the 17th floor. Actually, I limped to the elevator and the elevator took me to the 17th floor, but I'll go ahead and make it sound even more pathetic. I thought that maybe, putting a face behind the name, the receptionist might have more sympathy. But no. The doctor was behind, she said, and he needed to leave by 5:30. I didn't bother trying to point out that he was currently seeing people early because they'd taken my spot and that meant that he should've been able to see me during their slot. Receptionist never give a shit about your logic.

And so I now have an appointment in another eight days. I tried calling my insurance company to find out if it would cost me a lot more to just go to the fucking emergency room, but they decided to close up shop a little early today, so there was nobody to take my call. Insurance companies never give a shit about keeping to their posted hours.

I hate the bus.

Dude, I can't tell you how much I empathize here, though I'm fuggin' curious to know what's going on. I'll spare you my agonizing stories, but know that I have been in similar situations.

Pain meds?
I hate the bus, too.
No matter what mode I would have chosen, it would have been the wrong one, such is my travel karma.
Hope the leg is nothing major- here's to hoping it's just something that requires a heating pad and vicodin.
We need to spend the next week or two just smashed to the gills. If I lived in NYC I'd suggest that we camp out at the nearest bar, where we could slide into an alcoholic stuper and share our meds.

OK, I'm trying to resist making fun of you because you have a medical problem, but fuck it.

"Oh no, I have to go somewhere that isn't directly next to my precious 2/3 train. What ever will I do? It's so haaarrrd."

You amateur.

I know I'm going to get all transit-geeky on you here, but there was an obvious (and faster and easier) way to get to that location.

Catch a downtown B/C train (you know, that stop that's like two blocks from your house) to 125th, cross over to an express D train to 7th Ave (or an A to 42nd), switch to an E train, take that one stop (3 stops from 42nd) to 5th Ave. There's even an exit on to Madison right there, which puts you right on the corner of 53rd and Madison. Whole trip would probably be less than 30 minutes and the walking is two whole blocks.

Fucking duh.

How long have you lived here?
Thanks for the well-wishing, the bus-empathy and the drink offers, folks.

And, Deni, sweet fucking goat-flogging Christ, you're a train geek.
Damn. So sorry about your pain. Even worse having to wait out your agony so it is convenient for someone elses schedule.
I think we've found Deni's equivalent to
I know this story was about transit and not about leg pain, but I advise you to get a masseuse. Not a cruise-ship-how-relaxing masseuse, but a where-does-it-hurt-let-me-grind-my-elbow-into-it masseuse, I had some massive leg pain that was from running about three years ago, and went to see a massage therapist that my mom knew. She made me cry, but in two sessions and $60 (I live in Oregon, so I'm sure it would be much more in NYC) I could walk again.
Actually, I say take the 2/3 uptown to 149th Street Grand Concourse. Take the 4/5 downtown. Easy, schmeazy. And no need to transfer fifty-nine times. Or walk to 125th, get some "Buck of Star", take a crosstown bus to 4/5. And get your butt downtown.
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