I was actually looking forward to working there this weekend, but I need to lift BOTH arms above my head to pass through security, and even if I could, the narrow airline seats would mean my already sore arm getting hit by the person next to me anytime she turned a page.
Oh, and I contacted Cheryl about a job opening, and there weren’t any I was interested in so it would have been a “wasted trip” anyway.
June 23, 2018 – I was with my mom and brother in Disney or most of this week (where I couldn’t take any photos because I couldn’t steady my camera without use of my left arm), so I don’t have an exact arrival date. But, as soon as I returned on Saturday, I found a letter from Florida Blue: “Our independent panel of medical experts have reviewed all documents associated with your claim and determined that it DOES NOT meet the criteria for a medical emergency.”
Wait, getting hit by a fucking car is “not a medical emergency?”
“…therefore, neither Florida Blue nor any of its subsidiaries are liable for any payments associated wit your claim.”
But don’t forget to keep paying us – that’s right, I have to pay them to not do the one thing I overpay (due to an error on their part but claim it’s MY fault for “not catching it sooner”) them to do
June 25, 2018 – I finally got the nerve to call the lawyer the physical therapist gave me, and he has tentatively offered to take my case. I meet him at the IPM offices on Thurs, which is good since I can show him the rejection letter from Florida Blue.
June 27, 2018 – Got a call this morning from an “unavailable number” who turned out to be the “Billing and Payment Office” at ORMC informing me that my insurance is not paying for my Emergency stay but SOMEONE is…and I get the distinct feeling I don’t want to ask who that “someone” is (especially since I was the one on the other end of their message).
If only, there was a way to prepay into an account in the event that something like this happened to me… oh, I do? Tough luck, kid, here’s your bill. Yes, you HAVE to pay it.
2pm – Realize I’m still wearing the same clothing I wore to bed last night so I hurriedly changed shirts and put on the nearest pair of shorts I could find before going down to check the mail. There is a medium-sized package from my mom and a dividend check that she forwarded to me.
2:45pm – I take the package up to my room, grab some change off the counter and go downstairs to wait for the trolley. I was hungry too. Maybe, I’d get something to eat on the way back…
3:15pm – Wait for trolley to leave, check that were no cars coming and got two feet away from the median when suddenly a navy-blue car came out of nowhere and struck an old, fat guy dressed identically to me. A few seconds I reach for my glasses under the aforementioned car, more worried about the checks not getting lost or damaged than the throbbing pain in my left shoulder or the bleeding from my left ankle.
3:35pm – Firefighters show up (they had a station literally 3 blocks away so, of course, they arrive first), and stand around while one guy takes my shirt off (that’s right, I’m surrounded by a dozen hunky firefighters and I’M the one taking my shirt off) and another probably older one barks: “this don’t look like no ‘crosswalk,’ so I reckon you deserved this” (no, really).
3:45pm – Paramedic van arrives, and I’m lifted onto the gurney and into the vehicle. As they are about to shut the door, the older firefighter sneers and says:
“Don’t worry, buddy, the cops will meet ya there, hahaha.”
Not only were both of the EMTs are younger than I am, but one casually mentioned that he’d only been on the job a few weeks and had to ask where everything was as we careened down the highway, every bump, stop and acceleration felt like bloody murder on my already hurting shoulder and it didn’t help the soreness from where the rookie hooked the IV into my right arm.
This wouldn’t have an issue if they had taken me to Dr. Phillips Medical center (which the rookie correctly stated was “less than 15 minutes out”) …but instead they drove me to Osceola Regional Medical Center (a roughly 30-minute drive in late-afternoon traffic) because as the older guy said:
“It looks like he’s some trauma or something from the collision. We should take him to Ozzy, they have a Shock-Trauma center there. It’s better to cover our asses NOW than get in trouble later if he needs a transfer.”
4:15pm – Arrive at ORMC and dropped off unceremoniously in a hallway in the back of the E.R where doctors and nurses rarely tread. It is also one of the last confirmed time stamps I had on my visit.
An hour or so passes and a woman with a clipboard, a name badge and a rambling cart with a laptop computer stopped next to my bed. I initially thought she was a nurse coming by to take my medical history. Nope, just my insurance information (I should have known better, actually).
However, a few minutes after she leaves, I’m met by another person with a badge, but, unlike my threatened encounter from earlier, the officer was generally calm and professional which was a huge help considering the level of pain I was in (remember, no doctor or nurse has come by to see me yet).
Roughly two hours later, a doctor finally found my bed. He asked me about the accident than pushes and pulls my shoulder. I ask him to see if my ankle had stopped bleeding, so he reluctantly lifted my leg for two seconds, put it down. He turned to me, said “no,” and disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again…
Another hour passes and a cute girl in red scrubs with a faded “Rad-olo-y” badge comes by and wheels me 500 feet through the double doors and into the ancient, positively cavernous room with a monstrous X-ray machine that looked like an early boss battle from a video game. It was slow, loud and not particularly agile… kind of like me, and if I thought that realization hurt, they had to reposition my shoulder five or six times to get “good” shots.
So, after 40 loud, painful minutes, I’m rolled back into the ER and dropped back in the hallway where I eventually retrieved for a CT scan from a surprisingly modern, almost normal looking machine. The only real problem I had was that the guy working it pulled me off the bed with my LEFT hand. Thankfully, when he pulled me off six minutes later, it with my right and that was nowhere near as painful… as being wheeled out into the same lonely, depressing hallway.
8:45pm – A nurse comes by and offers to get me pain pills (finally). She returns 15 minutes later with a shot of Morphine (administered through my IV) and a single Motrin tablet. It wasn’t much, but it was a welcome start. Now, all I needed was some food, as the nurse disappeared into the ether…
My dishwasher has been out of commission for the past week or so, but they finally sent someone up to “fix” it this afternoon – and by “fix” I mean they ran half an empty cycle before deciding it was “good enough” for me to use (even though that’s exactly what they did LAST time I reported this and obviously, it worked because I reported it again).
Since my dishwasher was out of service, I have been forced to hand wash my dishes, so I didn’t have a huge reserve available for a test load. However, I did it anyway, but since I hate the amount of noise it makes when it’s running so I went out to eat at the Golden Corral on I-Drive (in the plaza as Cici’s and 1-2-3 Dollar).
Anyway, I leave the apartment and when the trolley arrives, I sit in the front row behind the driver and across from a young family visiting from DC who were complaining that their 2yo daughter couldn’t get on any rides at the Magic Kingdom.
“Come on, you think Disney, you think ‘KIDS.’ So, of course, I took my kids (ages 2 and 1.5) with me, but the only ride they were tall enough to ride was fricken Dumbo. I’m sooo glad we paid all that money to get into a KIDS park without any kids rides. Grrr, what a rip-off (neglecting to mention that both of his kids got in free, and that height requirements for all rides are easily found online). We’re going to take the trolley to Discovery Zone or SeaWorld tomorrow afternoon – at least THEY have kids’ rides.”
“Actually, it’s Discovery COVE, and it’s a fairly far walk from the nearest troll-”
Suddenly, he leans forward and taps the driver on the shoulder, he then gestures towards me and says:
“Buddy here’s got a question for you.”
“Wait, I do? I was trying to-”
“No, no, buddy, it’s okay. You’re allowed to ask questions here. Go on, I got his attention for you.”
“What ‘question?’ I don’t HAVE a ‘question.’ Why do I need to come up with a question I don’t have to ask the driver when I was trying to tell you about Discovery Cove? Then he can answer the question you are forcing me to come up with, so you can justify getting his attention, so I can tell you more about SeaWorld and Discovery Cove.”
That’s the point when his real message finally hit me. Fortunately, because I’m crazy and stupid, he gave a nice summary of his ordeal…
“God, buddy, what is your problem? I’m trying to be NICE to you here, you freakin’ jerk.”
Am I your “buddy” or am I a “freakin’ jerk,” make up your mind? However, I have been doing this blog long enough to know “what is your problem” is an insult. Period. I can give a wonderful explanation of Aspergers’ and Autism completely on the fly (okay, not really), but it would invariably fall on deaf ears because no presumably smart and/or sane person likes (as a far blunter observer once put it) “being lectured by crazy-ass retards.”
The Golden Corral is stop 31, and when I got off “buddy” was his buddy again. Also, crossing southern I-Drive can be tricky at times, but I managed to get across pretty easily. The parking lot was unusually full, there was no line to get into the restaurant nor did I have any particular trouble finding a table.
I’m never sure if I’m supposed to wait for my server to stop by and “sign” my check or just go up to the buffet, but since the former is usually easier, that’s the one I chose. I came back to my booth and the check was signed so all was good.
She came back as I was eating to find out if I wanted another drink which I declined, but instead of going away, she stepped closer, taking my plate, asking what kind it was and I repeated I “wasn’t ready” for another drink at which point she makes a sassy comment about “I was asking for next time” and storms off as if I did something wrong (or at least not intentionally).
I go up to get my second (and last) round of food. I am nearly finished, and had opened my wallet to see if I had enough to give her a tip when I hear a sharp: “You want another root beer?”
I tried to tell her “no” because I was busy, but instead of going away, she comes right up to my table, essentially blocking me in and says “I couldn’t hear you from back there. What did you need again?”
“I’m trying to determine if I have enough money for a tip, so I can leave the restaurant without getting another drink.”
“Oh, let me see that… Oh, ’21.01’ that would make a ten percent tip $2, a fifteen percent tip $3 or a twenty percent tip $4. You never answered me if you wanted another root beer or not.”
Apparently, I’m an idiot.
“Well since I don’t have $4 on me, I guess I might as well give her 15%. Yes, I already answered your question: I said I needed to ‘figure out your tip so I can leave your store without getting another drink.’”
“There is something seriously WRONG with you,” she said as if I couldn’t hear her. “Who the hell gets scared by someone asking for another drink from four tables away?”
It was technically TWO, and she were saying it rather loudly – just as she had the “questions” poste above. At least she got out of my way to “ask” them. It wasn’t until I got the first exit door that I realized the irony of this evening’s conversations.
Fortunately, when I went to the discount grocery store next door, the cashier barely spoke to me. She coldly rung up my order, and we didn’t talk. It was quite refreshing actually… kind of like coming back to mostly clean dishes.
A Facebook page called “Queertism” shared a link to a poem they found on “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” about the heartbreaking realization that a new “friend” is only using you for school credit and will go back to hanging out with the cool kids when their “assignment” is over.
Well, I was one of those “assigned friends” as a student at Benchmark Transitions (formerly Benchmark Young Adult School). It was supposed to make the arrogant douchebag (who made zero effort to hide his annoyance with me or his assignment) I was “assigned” more humble. It didn’t.
That’s the primary reason why I refused to participate in “Best Buddies Day” in college (“make a friend for life,” by using them as a prop to feel good about yourself for a day), and “Disabilities Awareness” merit badge in Scouting (which now only requires you to “…spend a day with a disabled scout…” [3a]), and while I cringe at Allistic Scouts explaining disabilities to their troop/pack (5a), it has added a new requirement about “pledging to show a positive attitude about people with disabilities” (req. 6).
Thank you for reading this, and, as always, thank you for being a friend…
I’m not sure whose idea it was, but for some ridiculous reason (likely financial), the Tampa Electric Company Streetcars only offer afternoon and evening service on weekdays/Sundays. If they want to appeal to “commuters” (which is already laughable given it’s only 2.7 miles long and barely serves the downtown core), they NEED morning service. Let’s not forget visitors (like me); sure, the TECO serves mainly hotels/tourist attractions, but we need to get around too.
For instance, I came to Tampa to participate in the Florida Public Archaeology Lab in Ybor City (the city’s historically Cuban district, and last stop on the streetcar line) at 10am. So, I dutifully got up at 8am, showered, got dressed, had a quick breakfast and was out the lobby door by 9:30am. I specifically chose this hotel because the lobby opened directly onto Dick Greco Plaza (the penultimate stop on the extremely short system).
I waited along with a half-dozen other people most of whom stood around for 10 minutes, got impatient and left – and after 25 minutes (after it became apparent that there was no way I was getting to Ybor City for 10am), I was reluctantly forced to find alternate transportation.
Though none of the five cab drivers lined up outside the hotel was all that keen on taking me on such a short trip, I get one to grudgingly admit that, yes, he “knew where Ybor City was.” It didn’t make him happy about it, but he did agree to take me there (thankfully, I could take the trolley back if need be).
I won’t bore you with the historical information they never gave me, but it was the site of one of the city’s first public schools which was apparently torn down in 1905 and eventually rebuilt as a distillery (which is currently used as a commercial property of some sort). They didn’t really give me a lot of details.
My job was to clean and bag increasingly smaller pieces of window glass, broken bottles and rusted nails. Exciting, I know, but one of the girls next to me (did I mention only six people showed up to this event – SIX) found an old Pepsi bottle (with writing on it), a penny from 1934 (plus another from 1973), a button and some old slate fragments (likely from the school roof).
We got a slight break around 11am as three different sets of 3rd graders ran through the small museum and quickly found where we were working so one of the organizers gave a spiel about how “the museum and the garden we’re standing in were once townhouses for Cuban immigrants who worked in the nearby cigar factories.” She made no mention of archaeology or what we were doing (processing artifacts), but she did explain the site history to a reporter from the Tampa Bay Times who dutifully took our names, ages and hometowns as well as snapping several photos before leaving as quickly as he arrived (once the story is posted to their website, I’ll provide a link to it below).
Shortly after the reporter and third wave of students came through, my table reached the bottom of our bag (the group behind us finished a few minutes earlier), so our facilitator pulled out two bags of larger artifacts and had us wash/clean them.
This second bag took all of 10 – maybe 15 – minutes to get through at which point, she asked us to return our siphons (which we used to keep our artifacts in), brushes and wash out our washing pans. At which point, it was only 11:35am – a full 25 minutes before streetcar service began for the day…
Did that headline make sense to you?
Good, that makes TWO of us. I was thinking of that annoying Will Ferrell movie, but, sadly, it had nothing to do with that abomination.
I was going out to buy milk from the 7-11 catty-corner from my apartment. That was my only intention for this humid fall night – nefarious or otherwise… and, yes, I’ll get to that later in this essay, but first some context…
It was 7:45pm, and, due to the quaint anachronism known as “Daylight Saving Time,” it was practically pitch black out there save for oncoming traffic (which are extra dangerous for me due to my having a 1.5 second processing delay – which can be absolutely deadly as a pedestrian), a couple of flickering/sparsely placed streetlights and the signs on top of the two hotels – plus the aforementioned convenience on the other side of the extremely busy intersection.
That is stressful enough for me under normal conditions (but is far better than being out in the day’s heat), but did I mention that I also had to deal with the deafening noise of a rapidly approaching fire truck with horns blaring and sirens at FULL VOLUME.
I get it – it’s an actual emergency, but it doesn’t have to stop an inch behind me blaring said horns directly into my ears while I’m in the middle of a busy intersection with the pedestrian signal up (it was also the very thing I was trying to avoid so, congrats, mission accomplished).
This caused me to jump 3 feet in the air and freeze temporarily while their sirens were still going and now they were shouting “MOVE YOUR (horn)ING ASS (double horn), YOU (horn)ING RETARDED ASS(horn)!!!”
“Shit. God damnit, that hurts,” I said holding my ears in pain as I tried to continue crossing the street while the fire truck nearly clipped me as it shot off behind me.
“Buddy, up ya mad psycic elf,” this guy in a black and grey hoodie said passing me from behind, I could barely hear over the ringing in my ears.
“HEY, BUDDY,” he said repeating it for me impatiently. “I SAID ‘YOU’RE OFF YOUR MEDS AGAIN, YOU FUCKING PSYCHOPATH!!!’”
That is both helpful and not helpful at the same time – especially since I once again only caught half of it.
“God damnit,” I said stepping onto the sidewalk, “that horn was loud and an inch away from my ear. What the hell is wrong with them? Fu…ow. Seriously.”
“I SAID ‘SHUT UP, YOU ARE A FUCKING LUNATIC! GET IN THERE (pointing to the CVS on the corner), BUY YOUR MEDS AND GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY TOWN, YOU RETARDED ASSHOLE!!”
That I sort of understood, but as I tried to work it through in my head, I didn’t realize I was repeating everything I was saying out loud.
“MASS SHOOTER?!! WHERE,” I shouted looking around frantically for a place to hide. Of course, there wasn’t so much as a bush in a 100-foot radius, so I looked like a madman to 100s of oncoming cars.
“YOU ARE,” he said flipping me off as he finally disappearing somewhere into the darkness. “YOU GOD-DAMNED RETARDED LUNATIC!”
Sure, he was gone… but what if he came back later in my trip? I wondered as I continued to walk towards my destination, my body still shaking as I entered the convenience store, but, hey, at least, my hearing was starting to come back…