It’s good to find good help

There are two subjects guaranteed to raise people’s blood pressure and those are “Emergency Room wait times” and “auto mechanics.”

I’m happy, and rather surprised, to say that I get to heap praise on both today.

As to the first, yours truly has been suffering from a rather bad chest cold of late, thanks to complete and utter burnout — working seven days a week for 8 months straight will do that to a body. Last night it all culminated in a very bad asthma attack, which landed me in my local hospital emergency room. I had hesitated even to venture out, fearing a long drawn-out wait in “chairs” with a suffocating paper “cootie mask” over my face and my life flashing before my eyes.

Smiter, comin’ in.

But no. I stumbled in, unable to draw enough air even to speak, and the triage lady rushed out from behind her desk & all but carried me away immediately to the “critical” room behind the nursing station where she set me up with a “rescue mask” as I hacked up quarts of giblets into the sterile bucket beside my chair.

It was an absolutely terrifying experience but the staff were so lovely to me that it brought tears to my eyes. By the time I was starting to get a bit of air in, one of them was gently making jokes with me (tsk-tsking about how it would have been bad form of me to die in their lobby!) and I knew all was going to be well.

(Aside: did you know that if you present with shortness of breath, it goes on your chart as SOB? That gave me pause for a few moments, I must say.)

I stumbled back out into the crisp winter’s night about 5 hours later, exhausted but well again — and made it home in time to watch the incredible lunar eclipse from my front steps. Even saw a shooting star. That’s an up-side if I ever saw one.

Last year when I broke my arm in a bad bike accident, the same ER (all right, I’ll stop being coy — it was Toronto East General) did an excellent job of patching me up then, as well. Incredibly, I was in and out of there in under two hours, with a hefty plaster cast on my arm, and washing down a handful of Advil with a beer (medicinal purposes, you understand) in front of the telly.

This morning I took it upon myself to write an email to the hospital’s public relations department, praising them for their excellent work. It must be said that nurses do an extremely stressful job at weird hours under the most trying of circumstances, and with few exceptions, they do it well and valiantly. Kudos to these ones especially.

In the auto mechanics department, I am probably one of the few people on earth, and probably the only female ever, to praise a mechanic. But last year, after having suffered through too many  sharky, nasty, over-charging and downright criminal car repair people, I landed in the care of Pete & Maurizio, who were recommended to me by a colleague.

…and if I open this gasket, all the money will drain out of your wallet!

They run their business out of a nondescript gas station in my neighbourhood, and are so booked up by similarly grateful people that they absolutely do not want any publicity since they simply can’t take on any new customers.

Time after time, these two have taken me and the Pontiac Excrement in on short notice to see to some rattle, clunk or outright failure, and either charged way below what I’m used to being charged or (be still my heart) nothing at all. In the case of the latter, I bring cookies and coffee for them at my next visit. In the case of the former, if I were the marrying kind I’d have proposed to them both ages ago. They are gentlemen among thieves and I am glad to have them at my service.

Chocolate<br /> Chip Coffee Cookies (source: Lara604)

Alternate form of payment.

This morning I had an appointment Chez Pete & Maurizio to have the P.E. checked over, as its “engine” light had come on during our last cold snap. The P.E. being the drama queen that it is, P&M were not at all worried and I just had to drop it off for a “reset.”

Alas, last night’s asthma extravaganza meant that walking home in the cold, sans car, and back again later to pick it up, was not an option for me. Actually, being out at all is not an option for me right now. So I drove the car over and pleaded with Maurizio to take pity on my coughing, shuddering form and see to the thing while I waited. And bless his heart, he did, sans grumbling, sans anything but his big lovely smile. He said I might want to see about a new battery at some point, and sent me home to bed.

So today I am a happy but exhausted Smiter, resting more or less peacefully at home, and giving heartfelt praise where praise is due and utterly well deserved.

Because in this tired, cynical, “your call is (not) important to us,” expensive and sometimes soul-destroying old world of ours, it’s nice to find a reason to stop smiting, even for a day.

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