Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

You Know You're In for a Really BAD DAY When ...

Ross at Play
Updated:

Can anyone top this tale of woe?

My front door was stuck when I tried to leave home this morning. It has been difficult for a while. I thought it was just wood expanding because of a particularly heavy rainy season. Why would the builder of the house have bothered shaving the door in anticipation of that? They'll be long gone before that causes any noticeable problems.

I pulled the handle with both hands. The - metal - handle broke off in the hands of this 130-pound weakling.

I went upstairs, intending to go out on the balcony I never use and jump down. The door is locked. There is no key ... there are no keys in any internal locks in the house. I don't know if I was ever given any. None of the keys I can find now even fit in that lock.

I go to the other end upstairs. There is a skylight there, and a ladder. I hope I can get back up the same way get down to ground level across my neighbours' roofs - otherwise I might need a sledgehammer to get back in!

Half-way up the ladder it spontaneously changes shape from a straight line to two halves set at a right-angle. The injury to the ankle which bore my full weight while landing on an irregularly shaped metal object (a ladder rung) at the end of my free-fall of about 1.5 metres was not severe.

I go back to the front door. It has a narrow glass panel set in it. I smash it. I pull at the door with a solid two-handed grip. It does not budge.

I peer into the mechanism of the lock. This lock does not have a bolt for locking and a latch that can be opened by turning a handle. To prevent it blowing open when unlocked, it has a rolling-barrel mounted on some spring-loaded mechanism. Why would the builder bother spending a few extra rupiah on a lock with stainless-steel internal parts? They'll be long gone ...

Finally, I open the door by pulling while prising* the rolling barrel open with a knife My long-term solution for the rolling barrel is to duct tape it open. I expect a difficult moment when I eventually move out of this leased house. The owner is sure to think I should pay for repairing a door handle I broke.

* AmE apparently uses to pry when BrE uses to prise.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

Can anyone top this tale of woe?


Nope, you win. :)

I pulled the handle with both hands. The - metal - handle broke off in the hands of this 130-pound weakling.


Why didn't you call your landlord at this point?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Why didn't you call your landlord at this point?

1. Maintenance is not their responsibility

2. I don't have any phone service. There's no point when anyone I may want to phone (adequate English) will have a smart phone and can be contacted via email.

My last resort would have been to email a uni student I employ - to organise someone during his lunch break to rescue me.

I pay him more for what is usually 3-5 hours/week work than he could earn working over 20 hours/week as a part-time waiter.

I'm okay with that. My average of three lattes per day costs me about four times his salary.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

It didn't happen to me, but about 20 years ago I was at a friends work office when one of his co-workers walked in and asked, "Did anyone borrow my bird without asking me?" The $150 million aircraft he flew wasn't where he'd parked it at the flight line the previous night. It took about 20 minutes to resolve the issue. One of the ground crew noticed an issue with the plane and it was towed into the maintenance hanger while he was off base during the early part of the evening, and they were still working on it.

edit to add: I could imagine the report about how he lost a giant cargo plane would be funny if we hadn't found it.

On a similar but opposite vein, one day I had a call from another airbase, the federal auditors were there and they were missing a whole sheet of very valuable items they couldn't find. Nothing matched the part numbers they had, until I sent them out to the flight line to check the tail numbers on the 2 squadrons of fighter jets they had on the base. They were the air force staff and I was the civilian bean counter, but they didn't recognise the aircraft tail numbers - sheesh.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

The $150 million aircraft he flew wasn't where he'd parked it

I suppose in terms of potential long-term consequences a missing $150M aircraft does just pip this is delaying my morning coffee.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I thought my Sunday sucked but you beat it hands down :(

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

I wouldn't mind if I thought things like this only happened to me once in a blue moon.

Ross at Play
Updated:

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLED

I knew I was in for a bad day ... but not this bad.

I'm typing this at 9 minutes to midnight. I returned from the Emergency Department of the local hospital not long ago. [I've had diarrhoea for too long to not indicate something is amiss. Otherwise, no symptoms except extreme demotivation, which is often normal for me.]

My Leukocytes were 25% above the maximum of the normal range. That is good news. There is an explanation that should be curable. Still, the chances seem high I'll need to spend at least five days in a hospital, on a drip, because drug-resistant bacteria locally are so prevalent. Not REALLY a biggie.

My diastolic blood pressure was through the roof. I've had several readings like that lately. The systolic is still normal. This is totally effing terrifying. :(

Thus endeth this day.

John Demille

@Ross at Play

Sorry to hear about your trouble.

Take care of yourself and get well soon. Don't let the little buggers keep you down.

Best wishes for a total and speedy recovery.

StarFleet Carl

@Ross at Play

Can anyone top this tale of woe?


Challenge accepted.

From the accident perspective ...

For many years I was a self-employed specialty contractor. The house I'm working on is older, two stories. I have to run a 3" PVC pipe from the basement out through the sill joist of the house to the outside and then up the outside so that it vents above the eaves. It's an older home, and due to the way the house sits on the property, there's really only one spot to run the pipe so it's not showing and obnoxious. The problem is that there is a shed which doesn't allow me to put my 24' extension ladder at a proper angle, so I'm climbing nearly straight up.

I'm very careful all day, because I know how precarious this is. Final trip up the ladder to put a vent cap on and as I'm heading down, I feel it start to go. No cameras or it would have been a perfect, how to have a ladder fall over backwards video. Except that there was a shed. So instead of going all the way to the ground, the ladder hits the shed, I fall off the ladder onto the roof of the shed, and roll off of THAT onto the ground.

Pick myself up, amazed that nothing is broken. Clean my stuff up outside, get my ladder back in the trailer. Make one final trip to the basement to confirm that there's nothing left down there ... and one of the treads decides that NOW would be a good time to simply fail. So it gives out, leaving the nails that were holding it in place sticking out of the riser . I fall right onto my butt, and get long gashes up my right side from the two nails that were now exposed.

So I get up (barely, that really jarred my spine), put a rag over the bleeding, get back upstairs, drop my trailer, and drive to the ER, where 20 butterflys and a tetanus shot later, I get to go back and finish my job.

Or how about this one?

I go to bed, feeling like I've got a groin pull. We've all had those, they hurt. But this one didn't go away. Get up the next morning, things down there don't quite look right. I'm still in college, so I ask my Mom, and I'm quite embarrassed about it, showing her my scrotum. She calls and gets me in to the doctor, who thinks I have a bad infection and he sends me to the hospital for antibiotics. But while there, he has a urologist look at it. He glances at it, then simply asks, "Do you want your surgery for the testicle cancer tomorrow morning, which is Saturday, or do we wait until Monday?"

(Oh, and I spent the next YEAR in and out of hospitals, with two other major (and at that time, still sort of experimental) surgeries and chemotherapy. So far as I know, I'm currently the second longest living survivor in the world, as that was now more than 34 years ago. So ... shit happens. Did it kill you? No? Then laugh it off and learn from it.)

JohnBobMead

@StarFleet Carl

This is precisely why there are referals to specialists!

There is so much to know, that no general practitioner can recognize everything.

The best one can hope for is that they know enough to recognize when something is odd, not quite the usual, and the willingness to refer to the subject experts in those cases.

Yes, sometimes it will turn out to be nothing major, just asymptomatic, but then there are those times like you experienced.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Can anyone top this tale of woe?


Yeah! Just yesterday, I left out an Oxford comma. Whew! That was nerve-wracking. Doing yoga to get my blood pressure back down.

Ross at Play

@StarFleet Carl

Both of those stories certainly trump my tale of woe. Thanks for that. I needed cheering up. Are you Dumb or Dumber, by the way?

Did it kill you? No? Then laugh it off and learn from it.

That's what I was trying to do with the OP. My sense of humour, however underappreciated here, was still working.
I do not usually write sentences with a two-word subject at the front, 'The injury', then maintain the suspense for another 29 words of details before, finally, giving readers the verb phrase to the very end, 'was not severe'. :-)

oyster50

Somewhere around 1976 in Germany, the twenty of us from my tank platoon (US Army) showed up at the local railroad siding to retrieve our five tanks that we'd loaded the previous day elsewhere in Germany. They were supposed to show up at 0900.

They didn't. Five tanks, lost on the Bundesbahn somewhere. Eventually we found they'd been mis-routed to the Netherlands and they showed up a day later.

Five M60A1 tanks don't add up to $150 Million, but we had a lieutenant really scratching his head.

Oyster

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

* AmE apparently uses to pry when BrE uses to prise.

Even Americans hate to pry! 'D

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Challenge accepted.

Remind me never to help either of you work on your apartments/houses! 'D

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Even Americans hate to pry! 'D

That is the sense BrE has for 'to pry' - looking when it is unwelcome.
The physical action I did yesterday, to lever open, is 'to prise' in BrE, but according to OxD it is 'to pry' also in AmE.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

My diastolic blood pressure was through the roof. I've had several readings like that lately. The systolic is still normal.


That sounds like a physical impossibility. Are you sure you haven't confused the two?

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

That sounds like a physical impossibility. Are you sure you haven't confused the two?

You're right. I got them reversed.

The lower (diastolic) is still good for my age.

The upper (systolic) has been in the severe-panic-attack range too many times recently to ignore.

I'm hoping when the lab test come back it will be something relatively benign for Indonesia, like Tetanus or Cholera.

sejintenej
Updated:

I was in Aussieland and had a Ross type experience. We had a bit of a shower and the water was coming under the door of our ground floor room whilst I had to go somewhere outside. Door has swollen so the handle just pulled off in my hand. Try the window which opens so I was jumping out when along comes the warden! Interesting conversation as to my real intentions!

Same Cairns hostel and there is this young bit of fluff with a foreign accent - turned out she was a nurse in the same hospital department I routinely attended in France!

Another time way out in the boondocks in France. I was there alone working on a scaffold perhaps 10 feet up when a section "broke". I woke up on the floor!

I did a Number 7 exam (even before he wrote Second Chance) as taught at school; legs 2 OK, toes - work OK, arms 2 OK, fingers seem to work OK, spinal cord? ouch but lower limbs work. Eyes? Hell! I can't even see my eyes but they are a bit funny, ergo probably have concussion. Rang a friend to collect me so I could stay under observation for 24 hours.

Then hell broke loose - they rang my wife in England who does not approve of my being injured! Hell! - I was trained how to deal with any possible injury back in 1950's - I didn't have radiation poisoning so a Lee Enfield was not required - everything else is straight forward.

There are a few others, one including multiple deaths, for another time

StarFleet Carl wrote:

So ... shit happens. Did it kill you? No? Then laugh it off and learn from it

Absolutely right

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

I didn't have radiation poisoning so a Lee Enfield was not required


Shooting yourself with a WWI/WWII era military rifle seems like an odd treatment for radiation poisoning.

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Shooting yourself with a WWI/WWII era military rifle seems like an odd treatment for radiation poisoning

Sometimes necessary on some conditions - answered by email.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

Shooting yourself with a WWI/WWII era military rifle seems like an odd treatment for radiation poisoning.


My military specialty was NBC - Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical. Under appropriate circumstances, I would approve of this treatment.

Ross at Play

This post is not just another gripe about my circumstances. The OP was. With that I was trying to find as much humour in the situation as possible as my way of coping with it.

This post is intended to save your life should you ever find yourself in a third-world country and in dire need of treatment at a hospital.

While they'd never be state-of-the-art, the training of doctors, facilities, and medical supplies are generally adequate to treat most problems. The thing you really need to watch out for is local customs short-circuiting the delivery of care in the way Westerners are accustomed to.

One problem I constantly encounter in Indonesia is it does not even occur to locally trained doctors that there is any reason to tell me what their findings are, the significance of test results, their conclusions about my condition, or their decisions on my treatment.

Seriously, they think "proper medical treatment" is they examine you and ask questions, order tests, make the decision, then tell you, "Take this ... times per day for ... days." Sometimes they pronounce, "You need this surgery," and trust me, they will feel somewhat affronted if you ask them to justify that conclusion.

These are some anecdotes ...

At the Emergency Department at my local hospital a few days ago ... When the doctor checked my vitals. I said, "I'm not like an Indonesian. I want to know my blood pressure reading and temperature." I still had to ask before being shown my BP was 174/84. I never learned my temperature. The doctor (correctly) concluded I must begin taking medications for high blood pressure. When writing prescriptions at the end of the consultation he said, "You need to take this medicine for the rest of your life." I don't even know if it's a beta-blocker, calcium inhibitor, or some other class of BP medication. There is NO WAY he could know which class(es) of those medications are best suited to my condition.

At one of the "better" private hospitals in my city. A doctor doing triage duties looked at an ultrasound showing an enlarged prostate. I'd already said my first noticeable symptoms were during the last week. She declared, "You need surgery to drill a hole through to prostate to provide a new pathway for the urethra." I need no second opinion to determine your competence.

As an inpatient at the most expensive hospital in city, in the most expensive wards, I asked for a message to be sent to one of the specialists treating me asking him to prescribe a particular medication. A pharmacist turned up later with a different class of medicine -- one I'd explicitly explained why to the specialist I would not consider taking. That specialist did not even know the limits of his speciality! He probably was an expert on the damage smoking causes to lungs. His knowledge about how to assist smokers wanting to stop was worse than zero. I had explained to him that medication only worked for some because of the placebo affect. It's impossible it could help someone who understands that!

All the specialists treating me during that hospital stay saw me recording in a notebook every treatment we discussed. There were still times I called for a pharmacist to come when I was given a medication I'd never heard of, or a medicine I was told to expect did not arrive.

The specialists think once they make their decision their job is done. What about the other staff? No matter how much try --- mistakes will happen. The only person in that hospital who really cared if I lived or died was me. I wanted to make the final check that every treatment I received was the correct one. It had apparently never dawned on anyone there they'd kill less patients with their mistakes if they at least allowed patients to ask for enough information to make such checks.

What the real problem is ...

The real problem is culture. Indonesia may be among the worst in Asia, but I expect this is pretty similar throughout poorer areas across Asia and Africa.

Where I live, it is considered very impolite to question pronouncements by those with a higher status. Naturally, doctors always have the higher status during medical consultations. Doctors who have not been trained in Western hospitals become so accustomed to not being questioned it does not occur to them there is any reason to offer information to patients – not to mention the fact that Asians who achieve high status almost invariably become insufferable, arrogant shits.

I know this but it is still a struggle to extract any information from just about every doctor I see. I invariably think afterwards of the questions I should have asked -- for the type of information Western doctors take pains to explain to patients (within whatever time constraints the bean-counters controlling them allow).

My recommendations ... should you ever need hospital treatment in a third-world country:

Try to have another Westerner with you during discussions with doctors. Give then a notebook and pen. Stress they should try to forget their concern for you -- instead focus carefully on recording all relevant details, thinking of what information you may need, and butting in however often they deem necessary until they are satisfied you've been given all information you may need to know.

Also, presume every bacterial infection will be multi-drug resistant. You will almost certainly need to insist on cultures being made and resistance tested for – it would not occur to the doctors to suggest it exists as an option you might want.

I have nine cats and a lot have been treated with antibiotics over the years. I insist lab tests for resistance before they begin any treatment with antibiotics. If I think that should be absolutely routine for a moggie, guess what I think about that for humans?

An update of my latest medical dramas …

1. Whatever my current infection is it should be relatively easy to cure. I've been given recently-released antibiotic and there's a good chance the particular bug I have has not developed resistance to that -- yet -- sigh!
2. I visit Malaysia quite often. It's easy there to walk in and see a coronary specialist who has been trained in Britain or America.

There is one very good thing about medicine in third-world countries. Pathology testing is ridiculously cheap. The equipment may be old but adequate. I expect I'll feel better after the current treatment with antibiotics is complete -- but I will not know if the bug is still lurking. I'll wait about a week and then go in for full screening tests -- meaning cultures of blood, urine, faeces, and sputum; and testing for drug resistance of whatever they may find. You'd likely need a new mortgage to pay for that out of your own pocket in the West. I'll be very surprised if it comes to USD$100 here.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Try to have another Westerner with you during discussions with doctors.


That's excellent advice even in Western clinics and hospitals. In the UK, consultants are virtual gods and they can kill or maim dozens of patients through incompetence before anyone dares to question them.

I still had to ask before being shown my BP was 174/84. I never learned my temperature. The doctor (correctly) concluded I must begin taking medications for high blood pressure. When writing prescriptions at the end of the consultation he said, "You need to take this medicine for the rest of your life." I don't even know if it's a beta-blocker, calcium inhibitor, or some other class of BP medication.


At least you can google it to find out. But your concerns are very valid: it might take several attempts before finding the right one for you. And in many cases, western doctors prescribe them in pairs because their different modes of action complement each other. But I thought your high BP was due to a temporary infection.

She declared, "You need surgery to drill a hole through to prostate to provide a new pathway for the urethra."


Wow, that's radical. I presume a PSA test and biopsy showed no sign of cancer, but even so there are medications to shrink an enlarged prostate.

RUN!

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

RUN!

A word of wisdom, my friend, a word of wisdom.
Shame about the circumstances I'm unwilling to ...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I thought your high BP was due to a temporary infection.

Several recent measurements have had one normal and the other extreme. I'll see a specialist soon.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

In the UK, consultants are virtual gods

Bernard: "Of course, in the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God."

Hacker: "What about GCMG?"

Bernard: "God Calls Me God."

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ross at Play


My recommendations ... should you ever need hospital treatment in a third-world country:


My recommendation: As soon as you're relatively stable, walk out of the hospital, jump in a plane, and fly back to a country which understands patient education!

Sheesh!

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

my friend


Ouch! Does that mean I need to put more infodumps in my WIP?

BTW, I read about a promising new treatment for enlarged prostates which involves destroying the prostate tissue surrounding the urethra by heat. It's carried out as a day procedure (which is a hell of a lot better than going in with a knife and chopping lumps out) and, barring a clumsy surgeon, has no impotence or incontinence consequences. The only potential drawback is that the procedure may need to be repeated if the prostate continues to grow.

AJ

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ross at Play


full screening tests -- meaning cultures of blood, urine, faeces, and sputum; and testing for drug resistance of whatever they may find. You'd likely need a new mortgage to pay for that out of your own pocket in the West. I'll be very surprised if it comes to USD$100 here.


OK, no faeces but my doctor in France called for routine (not drug resistance)tests in an apparently normal way - somewhere around a hundred dollars and the results were posted to me - five pages of small print with the "norms" printed alongside each result and items over the norm highlighted. It arrived 24 hours after the specimens were taken.
She already knew about (no) drug resistance.
Very thorough though she didn't know to test for blood clotting factors!

By contrast, UK A & E, Christmas Eve, they sent a blood sample 20yards and an hour later the result came that the sample had clotted before it got to the lab. Sh*t - my blood has excellent non-clotting ability!

sejintenej

@awnlee jawking

That's excellent advice even in Western clinics and hospitals. In the UK, consultants are virtual gods and they can kill or maim dozens of patients through incompetence before anyone dares to question them.

Some perhaps but all those my wife and I have dealt with plus most GPs have been happy to explain and answer all questions to the best of anybody's ability. (OK they didn't know if I would celebrate my 100th birthday!)

4041

Here's a good one, a bit old but. . .
After Kennedy was elected President, I was old enough for the draft! So . being a smartass I was going to beat the odds and "NOT" go to VietNam! So I volunteered for the Navy!

Bam, Cuban Missile Crisis! Not so bad, OK couple of cruises to the Med. no sweat, Oh Boy, a "Round the World Cruise" just before I will be discharged! Been there, done it, got the Tee shirt! I am now a "Shellback"!

Great . . we will be "allowed" to spend some time just off the coast of Nam (3 months)! One month later, my EOS is here (End of Service)! I am flown to DaNang AFB for a flight to the States for Discharge. At DaNang AFB I am placed in "Holding Company" awaiting a flight! Holding Company is also known as "Cheap Labor"!!

Week later the Master at Arms comes to me with "NEW" Orders to Tuy Hoa AFB! Seems I am "NOW" in a "Critical Rating" and am being "EXTENDED" for the "Good of the Service"!

Whereupon, I spend an additional 24 months, in the ONE place, I was trying NOT to go, in the first place!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@4041

I was trying NOT to go, in the first place!

I trust, after that, you learned to read the fine print on everything someone from the government shoves at you and asks you to sign.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Ross at Play

And if that's not enough, just try signing something a corporate lawyer gives you.

Back to Top