Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playing the waiting game

Wednesday: Classes started late as an accommodation to Muslim's observing the holiday of Eid. I had my dissection period from 10 AM to noon, and my normal lunch from noon to 1 PM. At 1 PM, it was scheduled for us to have our field visits for our Community Health course. As I mentioned previously, the preceptor for my partner and I was not available until 5 PM. Apparently, he had made some kind of appointment during the time we were supposed to have our field visit.

In keeping with my blog's tradition of anonymity, I will be referring to my partner under the pseudonym "Mello" (from Death Note - Mello was a female successor to the character named L, and I referred to this particular friend in a previous post as L) and my preceptor under the pseudonym "Valentin" (a Russian character from James Bond).

Now we had called Valentin four times since last Wednesday to arrange for our meeting. One of those times had been Tuesday morning, when I left a message on his voicemail. On Tuesday afternoon, Mello had called the centre where Valentin worked and the coordinator had assured Mello that Valentin would call her right back.

He did not. In fact, he left her waiting so long that she handed her phone to me while she went to get some of her belongings from her locker (where there is no reception). Murphy's Law being what it is, Valentin picked that period of time to call back (15-30 minutes after he was expected to), and so I picked up the phone, explained that I was Mello's partner and arranged our meeting for Wednesday.

The plan was: he would call us an hour before the visit, and then would arrange with us where to pick us up. On Wednesday at lunch, I received a voicemail from Valentin. He was following up on the message that I had left Tuesday morning. Basically he was asking why I had left a message, saying he had talked to Mello about our field visit for Wednesday, although he thought he had talked to some other guy who would pass the message on to us... he was not not sure whether we had got the message and what was going on. Now we should note that I was already annoyed with Valentin since we had chased him down for a week and still had no solid plan plus I was being forced to stick around school for an extra 5 hours just waiting for him. The voicemail just made me extra annoyed because:
  1. He was responding to a message I left before we got a hold of him as if I had left it after
  2. He said that he had spoken to Mello on Friday, but we had only talked to him just the day before (Tuesday)
  3. He left a voicemail on my phone talking about how he had left a message with some guy, when that some guy was me
Still, in the end it was providence that he wanted us to follow up on this confusion, since he gave us his cell phone number to call him back - a critical element that had been lacking in our previous attempts to contact him.

From 1 PM to 4:30 PM, I wasted time distracting my friends, trying to study a bit, blogging, and doodling (hence the pretty lady at the beginning of this post). At 4:30 PM, Valentin finally called me and asked us where we were and where we should meet. We managed to ascertain that a good place for him to pick us up would be Bloor and Avenue Road and that we should call him around 5-ish when we got there. Mello and I took the subway and arrived at the aforementioned intersection probably around 4:50 PM.

We called Valentin and told him where we were, and he confirmed that he could pick us up and that we should wait at the northwest corner of the interesection. We waited and waited in the ugly slightly drizzling weather until 5:15 PM. After having waited 25 minutes, and become increasingly irate, I decided to call our friend Valentin again:
A: Hi Valentin?
V: Yes?
A: We were just wondering... when you were planning on being here.
V: Oh. What time is it?
A: 5:15
V: Uh... okay. About 15 minutes.
A: ...Okay... Thanks.
After that irritating exchange, Mello and I decided to go to a nearby McDonalds and get some Chicken McNuggets. We ran back to our corner at 5:30 PM to wait. At this point it's worth mentioning that Valentin told us that he'd be in a particular kind of silver sedan. We got so antsy waiting for him that we were anxiously looking into the window of every silver car that passed by to see if it could be him as well as the window of every car that was the same brand as his. One time, when all the cars were stopped at a red light, Mello even walked up to a car and stared into it very indiscreetly. It wasn't Valentin of course, and I told her it would probably be best if she didn't do that anymore. Our waiting led to some other minor oddities, including Mello involuntarily singing Valentin's name out loud many times.

Valentin arrived about 5:50 PM, after we had waited on the street corner for almost an hour, and about half an hour from the time that he quoted his ETA as 15 minutes. To put the icing on the cake, he arrived in a gold sedan of the described make and model.

I thought back to all the talks we had already been given about building interprofessional bridges between doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, etc. etc. Next week, we have a manditory interprofessional event that is supposed to help us build these bridges. But Valentin being a nurse, I couldn't help but already feel those bridges burning down.

However, in the end, Valentin turned out to be a pretty alright guy. He took us around as he made home care visits to five patients. We got to see the living conditions and social situations of a lot of interesting (though often unfortunate) people as he administered insulin, checked their blood sugar, attended to their catheters, or treated their wounds. We visited one patient in a residence for disabled people and attempted to find another at an apartment for refugees. While Valentin was a bit brusk at times with his patients, he really did know a lot about their living situation and their lives visiting most of them between three times a week and two times a day. Generally, all of the patients we visited were cooperative and most of them seemed to appreciate Valentin's visits quite genuinely. Mello and I learned a lot about the Community Care Access Centre system that exists for home care in Ontario and had an enlightening practical experience.

So I suppose in the end, it was worth the wait. But you've got to admit... it was quite a wait.


Alexis said...

Hmm, I don't feel so good about leaving too many comments in a row... but I have to tell you Mello is a guy. So is Near if you were thinking about switching to him instead. =p

a_ndy said...

Mello was a GUY? Holy crap, I do kind of vaguely recall that now that you mention it. But he looked so much like a girl, that I think I assumed for most of the time I was reading that it was a girl, and that just kind of stuck with me. I guess I could try come up with a better name, but um... maybe she won't mind.