It’s been quite a week. Last Thursday we woke up at 5am to get ready for Marika’s second cataract surgery. When I walked to the bathroom, the bedroom carpet was sopping wet. I hadn’t spilled my water bottle, the bathroom itself was dry, yet the floor behind the bathroom was drenched.
We turned off the main water supply, took showers in the RV Park bathroom, turned a fan on to dry the carpet, and went to the surgi-center. On the way there, I left a message with a mobile RV repair place, hoping to schedule an afternoon appointment.
The surgery went fine, we got home and still hadn’t heard from the RV guy, so we booked with another company. He said he’d be here at 1.
When I took Marika’s bandage off her eye at noon, it didn’t look at all like the first eye did. Instead, it was filled with bright red blood. I checked the post-surgery papers to see if this was listed as a normal thing and it wasn’t. So I called the surgi-center, talked with several people and they said, “How soon can you get back here.”
I could feel my heart racing, the anxiety rising inside of me as I herded Marika out the door. She was much calmer. Because she could see out of the eye, she figured it wasn’t serious. But the voice on the phone, made me think otherwise.
When the tech brought us into the exam room, she was calm and unaffected and said, “Oh, this is normal.” Which made me feel like a fool for rushing over, like it was an emergency. The optometrist explained that the redness was just a burst blood vessel, and that we shouldn’t worry about it, it would absorb in time. Redness? Redness is when you have a slight infection in your eye. This was fresh blood, completely obliterating the white of her eye.
And this was not “normal.” Normal means it happens all of the time. Marika’s first eye didn’t bleed. And it wasn’t listed as one of the expected after effects. This might be “not unusual,” but it certainly wasn’t normal.
On the drive home, Marika rescheduled the RV guy for 3:30. And so, instead of being able to relax and rest after the morning trauma, we waited. He finally arrived at 4:30. Everything had dried from the morning, and when we turned the water back on, we couldn’t reproduce the problem. He did bring the fitting to add an extension to the propane tank so we could hook up an external tank, but he brought the wrong hose. In the process of tightening things, he cracked the propane regulator. And all stores were now closed. So now we had no hot water.
He said he felt terrible, but that he would be back the next day with the correct part. So on Friday, we took showers again in the community bathrooms and, after Marika’s follow up appointment, we rushed home to again, wait. At 4:00 I finally texted him to find out where he was, and he said he got hung up at another job and would be here on Saturday, his day off, at 8:30 in the morning.
We got up early on Saturday to be ready, but at 8:15 he said he had to go pick up the part, so he’d be here after 9. He showed up after 10:30 with a part that is bigger than the original one. He installed it as a temporary solutions so we could have hot water, but he needs to order the correct part. He said by Tuesday.
And now it is Wednesday, almost a week after the initial call, and we are still waiting to complete the job.
I tell you this story, not to bemoan how customer service is these days, but to share how difficult it has been for us to navigate through it all.
When I get upset with tech support, or bad service, I get mean or cry when I’m sharing my feelings. Marika tends to keep it to herself, seeming calm and fine on the outside, while she is boiling on the inside.
This time was different. When we went for the follow-up eye appointment, Marika spoke to the tech who said “It’s normal,” and explained how we felt, how the tech needs to change her language, how it feels to be a patient. I still cried when I told her how foolish she made me feel, but I wasn’t mean.
And when the RV guy kept us waiting, I tried to remember that he is overworked, trying to do his best, and at least we had another option for taking a hot shower.
Still, it was hard to hold that compassion alongside my frustrations, and I’m still a bit annoyed.
But I keep reminding myself that things happen. And that these experiences offer us opportunities to rise above, to not get all wrapped in knots of anger, but to breathe and exhale and focus on kindness and compassion and the positives.
Marika’s eye is still bloody ugly, but her vision is amazing. She is seeing details that she’s never seen before, she can read tiny print across the room without glasses, and everything is 25% bigger. The changes are so drastic that it’s taking her a while to adjust.
And I am grateful to be able to take a hot shower in my own bathroom, and finally wash the dishes. And that Marika can really see! I’m sure we’ll resolve the other issues, and life will soon return to normal.