Sunday, November 2, 2014

In which Primo has to give a speech at 10 a.m. on a Sunday and is rightfully very cranky about it

This is a Sunday. Primo is really cranky. He has been cranky about this - he was invited to speak at a union meeting at 10 a.m. this morning. He has known about this event for a few weeks and was not happy to be doing it, not because he is anti-union - he is not - but because he is anti-Sunday morning commitments.

So he has been cranky about this for weeks. Then he had to go out of town for work all last week - took a redeye home Friday night and got back Saturday morning. So no rest Friday night. He was gone for four days the week before that. He has not been home for almost two weeks. He has been working harder than usual because when you are on a work trip, you spend your days with the customer and then spend your evenings answering email, which does not slow down at all.

But Primo said he would go to this meeting. "Who meets on Sunday mornings?" he asked. "That's just crazy!"

I suggested he tell his campaign manager to wait for another meeting. The campaign manager said the union doesn't meet during the summer. "There's still September and October," I said, but Primo didn't want to push it.

We went to bed at about 10:30 last night. I had to tell Primo to put the darn phone away - he can be away from his email for now. He frowned, but did as I asked.

I heard him get out of bed at 6:30 a.m. With no alarm.

That is not Primo. That is a pod person.

I got up at 8. "Why on earth did you get up so early?" I asked.

He couldn't sleep. Last night, his campaign manager emailed to tell Primo they would be videotaping his speech.

"I thought I was just showing up and speaking for a few minutes!" he said. "I didn't think this was going to be a big deal!"

He stomped around. "I'm cranky! I shouldn't have done this. I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this on a Sunday. And I'm worried about my parents."

Doris fell twice last week. She thinks she may have cracked some ribs. She won't go to the doctor. If the pain gets too bad, she'll go to the ER, she told Primo.

"The ER is for emergencies!" Primo said. "Going there four days after you fall is not an emergency."

I nodded in agreement. I used to work for an HMO and we were very clear on what counted as an emergency and what did not. Pain is not an indicator of emergency status. You could have a blinding migraine, but that's not an ER emergency. The ER is for issues that will or could lead to loss of life or limb - heart attacks (or apparent heart attacks), electrocution, stroke, severe wounds. It's not for broken toes or sprained ankles or ear infections or diaper rash.

"I hope Medicare doesn't pay for ER visits for things like that," I said.

He sighed. "I don't know. I don't know why she just doesn't go to her doctor. Except she says she doesn't like him and doesn't trust him. She says she's had bad experiences with him. And with their dentist."

"Your parents have bad experiences with everyone." Almost every week, they report how someone else ripped them off - the guy working in their yard, the dentist, whoever.

"They have really bad luck."

I laugh. "It's not bad luck! Has it occurred to your parents that they are the common factor in all of this? That maybe somehow their expectations are off or they don't explain to people what they want? Because you and I go to the dentist and the doctor. We hire people to work on our house. And yet we do not feel like everyone is out to get us and that everyone is cheating us!"

Now Primo has a trip to visit his parents next month. "They have to do something," he said. "I am going to have to make them. My mom can't even go to the bathroom at night. I cannot even imagine what it must be like not to be able to navigate your own house. She keeps falling."

Part of that, of course, is that she drinks heavily. Alcohol is not known for helping people be more steady on their feet.

But I do feel bad for Doris. She would be better off in assisted living. "At least your mom would be able to have friends in assisted living," I say. "She'd have some companionship."

Primo laughs. "She has my dad. She has criticism every day! Shouldn't that make her happy?"

So anyway - Primo didn't sleep well last night because he is worried about his mother and because the campaign manager surprised him with this information about the video and Primo doesn't not handle surprises well at all.

He says he is going to tell the campaign team no more Sunday mornings. And that he has to know exactly what is going on. "I thought the whole deal with this campaign was that I would just show up and that was it," he said.

I thought so, too. It's not like he has a chance at all of winning, so why all the drama?


  1. Doris may have a point. You know the old joke: What do you call someone who graduates at the bottom of their class at medical school?


    But many people, especially older people, have problems asking questions and making requests of their doctors. Like with mechanics, many people are afraid to question because they feel they know so little, but really a trained professional, whether a doctor or mechanic, is there to do the work that you want done, and if you don't know what needs to be done it's their job to explain what you need to know in order to make that decision.

    Maybe this would help Doris. It's a free booklet:

  2. My mother became increasingly unhappy with her doctors as she got older - same doctors, same good service as far as i could tell. The difference was that she did not like what they were telling her ... and therefore, they were wrong. I think it's one of the more difficult things that happen to many as they age - at least, it's more difficult for the adult children. Primo has my sympathy. It is a lose-lose situation for him.


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