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The occasional benefits of frustrating delays

Submitted by on Friday, 28 August 2009 No Comment

big_guy_grinOnce in a while, procrastination is our friend.

Big Guy was due for a checkup on his busted wrist almost two weeks ago. But due to a series of delays, some my fault, he couldn’t get to a doctor until today.

And for one of the few times in recent memories, we caught a break – instead of walking out of the orthopedist’s office with a shorter cast, he left with only a brace.

He had the nerve to be disappointed. “No fair!” he protested. “I wanted a green cast!”

He was happy, though, when he found out he’d be able to take off a brace to take a bath. Frankly, so was I. Marinate almost two months’ worth of unbathed little boy arm in 100-degree weather and it starts to reek.

For a couple weeks, the whole situation reeked. The sequence of events went something like this:

We moved at the beginning of the month, triggering a change from one version of TriCare, the military’s health insurance, to another. But I didn’t know that and didn’t understand why people kept telling me we weren’t enrolled when we’d been using TriCare since February. That one’s my bad.

Once I figured out we weren’t enrolled, Dad enrolled online, since taking care of paperwork in the dead of night always is easier than finding time during the day. Except this paperwork didn’t take. When I called a few days later to try to make an appointment, we still weren’t enrolled.

“That system doesn’t work,” the appointments guy said. “You’ll have to come in.”

“Then why does the system exist?” I wanted to growl, but didn’t.

The next day we enrolled in person, but it was too late by then to make an appointment. The following morning, I was given an appointment for the next week – that would have put Big Guy at the eight-week mark in his cast. He was only supposed to be in it for six.

“Please,” I whine-begged. “Is there anything earlier?” I was ready to cry if I had to. I had visions of Big Guy being gimpy-armed forever, and it would be partly my fault.

“How’s today?”

I dragged Big Guy to the clinic after school, then dragged him across the street for X-rays before that department closed. This morning, I dragged him to the orthopedist.

A half-hour later, the saw was whirring and plaster was peeling off to reveal a nasty-looking arm – though it wasn’t nearly as nasty as the cast that had been removed. It didn’t smell nearly as wretched either.

Had we gone in at six weeks, as the original orthopedist wanted, he probably would have required another cast. Instead, the extra wait meant enough new bone had grown to allow him to walk out with only a brace.

I wouldn’t have done this deliberately for anything in the world – it still turns my stomach to think of what might have been going on in that cast during the interminable insurance chase.

But this once, delay worked in our favor.

I love it when lack of a plan works out.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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