Sunday, January 26, 2014

Really, Realtors?

I know that we all have to hustle to make a buck (believe me, I know that right now), but certain people ought to at least put a bit of effort into it for all of our sake.
Val and I own our house on Buffalo's West Side, as well as a piece of property next to it that used to have another house on it, which was destroyed in a fire years ago. The former owner of our house received that property in an insurance settlement and we own it now, and use it as out backyard and yard for Harold (our fine dog, in case you don't know) to romp in.
So, like many property owners, we receive solicitations of sorts from realtors on occasion, ostensibly wanting to introduce themselves and see if we need a realtor to sell our home and property. Also, like most homeowners, we have no intention to sell our house and have never stated such an intention or contacted a realtor for this reason.
In the last week, we have received six of these "hello, realtor" postcards, all of them addressed to
"Valerie and Hosey Dunne;" four of them are from the same same realtor who works for a rather prominent and well-known real estate and insurance company. I mean, who wouldn't want to work with such knowledgeable, detail oriented and prepared realtors such as this?
I have no doubt that there are lists gathered by realty companies and either bought or shared that have our names on them like this, but if this easy and major an error has been made and is repeated, why should I or anyone else trust these realtors? I fully realize that not all realtors are like this, and indeed, the one realtor we have contacted in all of our years in this house, Katie Quebral, did an excellent job for my sister Heather and I selling our mother Sheila's house a few years ago, and she has not put us on some faceless contact list.
So, in particular to this writer/editor/anal person, facts and accuracy do matter. Hell, at least get to know and call me by my name.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oratory at the Buffalo General Hospital ER

     My lovely wife Val and I spent almost 8 hours in the emergency department at Buffalo General Hospital, from 7:15 p.m. Monday, December 30, until 3 a.m. Tuesday, December 31, when we found out that her excruciating stomach, intestinal and chest pain were being caused by a gall stone. The gall stone and Val's gall bladder were removed later that morning, and she is progressing with her recovery.
     That almost 8-hour period was one of the worst I have endured with Val, not being able to help her after a while and her not being able to take anything for the pain until they were certain her problem wasn't coronary related. Sharing the portion of the large examining room with Val, separated by a heavy curtain and some space, was an elderly woman who was quickly admitted. The ER was rather busy that night for some reason, so we expected Val to get company rather quick.
     And did Val ever get company; a woman was brought in, groaning, crying and moaning almost nonstop, with her exclamations "dear Jesus," "dear Lord" and "oh, my sweet Jesus" getting louder when the medical staff (who were outstanding in the ER and elsewhere) tried to move or even question her. She was belligerent and uncooperative in her answers, and when she told them that she was diabetic, disdainfully told them that she didn't follow her dietary restrictions or take her medication because she didn't believe it would help. Her slurred speech was later confirmed as being due to her being intoxicated.
     After an hour or so of this floor show, and a couple of visits and tests for Val, the medical staff had left the room for both patients, so Val and I began to discuss what she could possibly be suffering from and what I should bring in if/when she was admitted, which we both assumed would happen.
     "Hey, no whispering about me over there. I know you're damn well talking about me and I don't like it," the other woman yelled to us. "Don't you dare talk about me over there, I don't have to take this."
     Val and I looked at each other and actually had the foresight to give each other the "sshh" sign while we laughed to ourselves, even in Val's pain. Oh, this could be a long night, being about 11 p.m. at this point.
     This went on for a few minutes with out Val or me responding; those who know me know I was all but biting my tongue off to stay silent, because I do fall into the Big Mick syndrome of you don't mess with my family, especially my wife, regardless the situation. But the woman began to scream and shout without stop about her situation, where was her family and about the "motherfuckers" next to her. (Note: I am using the MF word once in this blog post, and the rest of the time, MF will stand for that word, as if you couldn't tell).
     I had finally had enough.
     "You know, there are other people in this room and emergency department that are sick and don't want to hear you complaining all night, your highness," I said, realizing I might have opened the floodgates.
     "WHAT? How dare you talk to me like that, you white MF. I don't have to lay here and listen to that shit from you, you stupid white MF," our verbal angel replied. "Who do you think you are? You can kiss my as, you stupid white MF."
     "Sorry, ma'am, but my lips aren't big or stupid enough to do that. Just be quiet," I replied, laughing as I knew that this would make her madder, but sad that the staff would also have to put up with this. Val even laughed a bit, although it hurt her.
     "No one talks to me or laughs like that, you dumb white MF. You wait until I can get up off this thing and come over and kick your ass," she screamed. "You wait until my husband comes in, I'll send him over to kick your ass.
     "Sorry, ma'am, I'm already married, but I'm sure he's a real prize," I said, thinking this was like shooting fish in a barrel.
     As she yelled again, the medical and security staff came in; the nurse looked at us, apologized softly and then told the other woman that she has caused more than enough trouble and that a security guard would be posted with her until she was considered safe. The woman started to swear and complain about me, but the nurse said that she had heard what happened and that the woman was the instigator and only one swearing. The woman then asked her for about the 10th time to call her family; the nurse replied that her two contact people had been called; one spoken to, the other left a message.
     As the nurse spoke to Val and her upcoming ultrasound test, she said that the daughter she spoke with said this was the third time her mother had been taken to the ER, intoxicated and not taking her diabetes medication, this month, and that she had been abusive to staff and family members every time. She didn't know if any relatives would be coming to the hospital, which was rather sad.
     After Val got her diagnosis of gall stone and we were shown the stone on the ultrasound, the hospital started arranging her admittance and I called Val's mother Janice. As I spoke to Janice, the other woman was wheeled out and taken to another room under guard. Of course, she looked at me and started up again.
     "You shut the fuck up, you skinny white MF, you bald skinny MF," Miss Congeniality screamed to me.
     "Oh, are you going somewhere? Goodbye and say hello to your guard for me," I said, and as she yelled back at me, probably with spittle flying, I gave her the most theatrical wave until she was out of sight. As I finally left the hospital to get about 2 hours sleep and get ready for work, I walked past the room she had been moved to, and the guard was still with her.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

I'm Back: The Threes Tried But Won't Stop Us

     It may be an annoying cliché, but events occurring in threes are certainly affecting Val and my lives at the moment, as good a time as any to restart this blog.

     In the space of less than a week, Val underwent emergency surgery, I became unemployed (hopefully short term), and we endured an actual blizzard a part of some pretty bad weather.

     My current job loss, after serving as director of communications for the Erie County Legislature for two years, followed a previous term of unemployment and service with the Erie County Legislature from 2004-2010, when I lost my job for the basic same political reasons that would bore you if detailed. We will come out of this better, but it never makes one’s self-esteem increase.

     Val’s surgery, of course, is the most important and scary situation. She had been having acid reflux for a while (one of her multiple sclerosis side effects), and the new MS medication she is on can cause digestive track problems. So, when she had worse stomach and intestinal problems in the last year or so, she thought that they were for these reasons and had been trying to further revise her diet.

     But, on December 30, her pains were so bad that we ended up going to the emergency room at Buffalo General Hospital, and spent from 7:15 p.m. until 3 a.m. in the ER when her problem was diagnosed. There, on the ultrasound screen, was a big, not exactly bouncing gallstone. Val was admitted and had her surgery later that morning, and the surgeon removed a 2-centimeter gallstone as well as an inflamed gall bladder; the surgeon said she had never seen a gallstone that large.

     Val was in the hospital until her release New Year’s Day, and is recovering at home, and like our dog Harold and me, is suffering from cabin fever due to the blizzard. If the blizzard had to hit Buffalo, it came at the right time for us, because Val wasn’t exactly up for much travel or partying, and because I had done the grocery shopping on the usual day, we were more than prepared for a few days of being shut in except for me shoveling and starting the car. Oh, and walking Harold; we only missed one day of that, Tuesday, when the cold and wind were too much and he barely would go in the backyard to do his duty.

     Val has made her first trip out of the house post-home rest after surgery today, and we’re hoping that the rest of the items are on the upswing, So you have something to look forward to, my next post here will detail some of the, er, astute and heartwarming comments from a woman who shared some time in the same examining area with Val in the emergency room. Real Hallmark stuff, believe you me.