Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nursing While Driving?

So yesterday I returned to the surgeon for number three follow up since my June surgery.  My last two follow up appointments I was seen by one of his associates, rather than the surgeon himself.  This time I would see the surgeon.  When I arrived, twenty minutes early for my 2:40 PM appointment, the front desk lady informed me that the doctor was running 45 minutes to an hour behind.  No problem, I had my Blackberry with me and could do some work while I waited.
Follow-up Number 1

The first hour came and went and several patients were called back to be seen, but not I. At about 4:15PM the front desk lady called me up to ask if I'd prefer to see the associate.

Follow-up Number 2

No, I would be patient and wait, as would another woman who had seated herself right next to me.  I guess she decided that my stating I'd wait to see the surgeon was invitation for her to engage me in conversation about the surgeon.

For the next 45 minutes I was entertained by this woman who was a long time "fan" of this "best orthopedic surgeon around."  I heard the stories of ALL her surgeries from the both knees to the both shoulders, to the back surgeries.  I heard about the other "not so good" surgeon that her daughter saw and who misdiagnosed her ... and how Mom INSISTED the daughter come to see Best Surgeon who performed the same tests and found the LIFE threatening tumor that was causing the daughter's pain.... suffice to say, by the time they appeared in the doorway and called my name, I had a strong urge to tell the doctor his number one fan was in the waiting room. (I didn't)

While I found her entertaining, it did not escape me that she was one of these folks who has "done everything," and "lived to tell the story."  One of the stories that struck me as particularly strange was prompted by her cell phone ringing.  She took the call (assuring the caller she would try to make the funeral at 6PM but the doctor was running late).  When she finished the call, she apologized for the ringing phone, assured she had now set the phone to silent mode....and she felt compelled to tell me that she'd had the ringer turned up because she had trouble hearing it when she was driving the car.

I don't know why I even responded, but I did, with, "I try not to answer my phone while I'm driving," to which she immediately responded, "Oh that doesn't bother me!  I'm a fabulous multitasker!  When my son was a baby, I used to drive the car, eating a hamburger, drinking a soda and NURSING my son....WHILE I drove....I drove thirty years for a living (school bus driver) and am a VERY GOOD driver.....talking on the cell phone while I drive is not a problem for me!"

Obviously, I had no comeback to this... She explained that her son is in his mid 30's so she's been multi-tasking while driving for a LONG time.  Of course, two or three of the surgeries she had just explained (in nauseating detail) were the result of vehicular accidents, but I didn't want to push THAT rope.  And my mind was suddenly possessed by this woman, stuffing her face, nursing her baby and DRIVING in traffic.  Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't sound like talent -- it sounds like irresponsibility.... still she is clearly PROUD of this "talent."

At 5PM they called me back to see the surgeon.  I was happy to go, as this overly friendly woman had reminded me of why I rarely engage strangers in conversation.  Those who are "comfortable" talking to me, a complete stranger, are, more often than not, very self absorbed and seem oblivious to the possibility that others might not share their viewpoints. They share them in a loud tone, as if to gather an audience.

I saw the surgeon, and I chatted with him a while...I know why he is always behind...he is absolutely willing to take time with his patients.  He liked my progress, concluded I need to continue with the physical therapy, prescribed a new topical anti-inflammatory, told me he wanted to see me in four weeks, and off I went.  I can only imagine his last patient of the evening would keep him a long while....she told me she was seeing him as a follow up for her knee, but that her elbow was now giving her problems and she was going to ask him about that....
More PT

As I drove the hour home from the appointment, I couldn't shake that vision of the mother eating, nursing and driving.... and I realized what REALLY bothered me about it.  We are spending bazillion tax dollars writing and passing laws to prohibit TEXTING while driving, when we already have on the books the laws against distracted drivers.  Texting while driving is just another example of distraction, as is talking on the cell phone.

When we were driving to see my daughter in Madison, VA a few weeks ago, we actually witnessed a driver, in the fast lane, driving with his feet while he texted he was not maintaining his speed, yes he was holding up faster traffic..... and I'll just BET he was one of those self described "GREAT drivers" and "GREAT multi-taskers."  I would have to beg to differ, and though I did not see the woman from the doctor's waiting room actually driving, I'm thinking I'm REALLY glad I was long gone before she got out of her appointment, and dashed off to make that funeral....
Highway Home (taken a month ago...not by me while driving!)
And I arrived home safely, happy I had no encounters with seriously distracted drivers!  There IS a reason I prefer the quiet country roads to those traffic congested roads where everything is within a stone's throw....

Only 11 more miles
Almost Home

Ahhh.... Home!


Sharon said...

Nursing and driving? OMG! We take a daily risk going on the highways with these "multi-tasking" accidents waiting to happen.

I know what it's like to be trapped in the waiting room.... although your gal sounds like she was a whole lot worse than what I end up with!

Don't think she made the funeral... not on time anyway, I would bet.

Canyon Girl said...

Oh, your hand in photo from visit 2 looks just like mine did when it came out of the sling. I'm glad you are doing better. I will remember that woman for a long, long time. You did an excellent job of telling a horrifying story of ignorance.--Inger

Vicky Bell said...

Wow. I confess I have on occasion answered a quick text with a "k", which I KNOW is hardly necessary, and I have been more conscious of it and waiting till I get home. But to nurse a baby? that's just nuts!
Still, I was most disturbed that you waited near 3 HOURS to see a doctor!!! I leave after half an hour and reschedule- no matter how good they are I will not wait unless there has been a real emergency, which is rarely the case.
But I guess if it is a long drive it may be different. Living in the country now, I find traffic scarier than it was in the congested burbs- distracted drivers going 55 down a country road seem more likely to hurt me than those crawling along doing 20 on a crowded street.
Your driveway is sooo inviting.

mixednut555 said...

WHat the heck is wrong with some people????

Feral Female said...

Nursing while driving?! Heck I can barely drive while driving! Some people.....

Judy's Corner said...

Sharon... I know. I never heard of such a thing! The funny thing about that waiting room is that it has one of those dang wall "waterfalls" and the incessant sound of falling water makes EVERYONE who sit down to wait, get up to use the restroom~

Judy's Corner said...

Inger, Thanks,

Yes, the elbow is really healing nicely. My arm was pretty gimpy for while, but, with use, it is getting back to normal.

Hope you are healing well.

Judy's Corner said...

Waiting for three hours was not my cup of tea either, but I wanted to see the surgeon this time. I appreciate the other guy can look to see if there is anything glaringly wrong, but having the guy that looked inside and did the work is preferable, to me. And I did have my Blackberry so I could be productive while I waited.

I didn't try to engage anyone in conversation, but that woman certainly was entertaining...

And yes, the country road fliers CAN be disconcerting, and the scanner regularly attests to the accidents.

Thanks, I like the driveway too....that old farmhouse is not really inhabitable yet (we live in the apartment over the much newer garage while we contemplate renovation plans)but the driveway has always seemed so inviting to us... so many possibilities.

Judy's Corner said...


I dunno.... I guess this woman, probably 6-8 years my senior, was a real tough cookie all her life and truly BELIEVED it was a talent to be able to eat, drink, nurse AND drive.... I am just glad she lives an hour away from ME!

Judy's Corner said...

FF... hahahaha! Well, I have had only one accident in my life and that was last year when a deer decided he wanted the front end of my car... BUT..... I too MUST be vigilant when driving. I have less than perfect eyesight in my one GOOD eye, so, multitasking would be a really bad choice for me!