Monday, January 08, 2007

talking to the woman who broke me

Most people who have heard the story of how a physiotherapist separated my shoulder have told me to sue. Certainly, during the 3 months of almost constant pain, I entertained the thought more than once.

But there's something about doing a master's in conflict studies - makes me evaluate any conflict in my life from a more theoretical point of view. Personal conflicts take on more significance as I found myself analyzing them and how they should be handled.

If I really believe that people in conflict should first try to talk honestly about the situation and hear the other person's perspective... well I guess that's what I should do.

But for all my lofty theories, I am still a chicken. It took my physio's secretary calling to check an address for sending my last bill for me to ask for an appointment to talk with her. I then had a week of restless dreams before the appointment - this morning at 11:30.

I went in prepared for the worst - armed with receipts of almost $350.00 in physio bills and a copy of the doctor's diagnosis of an A/C sprain (a separated shoulder).

She greeted me with a warm smile, wished me a happy new year and asked how my Christmas was. I was too nervous to make small talk, but I did make an effort to demonstrate friendliness and good intentions.

I started by saying that I wanted to talk about the 'whole shoulder thing', to give my perspective. I went over the events quickly and she agreed with me. She seemed glad to hear that I had got a diagnosis and treatment that has helped. She said it is very unusual for a shoulder to separate like mine did, but did not in any way deny that she had done that to me. I told her that since she knows my situation (full-time student, working part-time for an NGO), she could appreciate that this has been not only painful and disabling, but also very expensive. I asked if she would consider refunding the money I had paid for her treatments. She agreed immediately and asked if I would also like her to refund the physio I did at Carleton University. I handed over all my receipts and she said she would mail me a cheque for everything.

It was all over so quickly! Not five minutes had passed and everything was resolved. How long have I been mulling over this, frustrated and complaining? I'd like to think I've learned something today.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

For the Snowmen of St. John

Spent some of the Christmas holidays in St. John this year. They have rather strange traditions there.

For example, on Boxing Day (during which, incidentally, all stores are closed) they build miniature snowmen and carry them down to the river.

They sing 'Frosty the Snowman' and hop on one leg.

Then pitch the poor snowmen into the river, which immediately melt.

It's a grisly, but strangely hilarious, spectacle.