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.