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Archive for April, 2018

Picture it.

2018.  Applebee’s in the mall.

My girlfriend has forgotten her reading glasses.  This is nothing new.

But as I looked out across the mall from the restaurant window, I spied with my little eye a Hallmark store.  Surely they have reading glasses.  You can get them for a couple of bucks at the Dollar Store.  Most pharmacies.  Wal-Mart.  The list goes on.

We were still waiting for another couple so I opined, “I wonder if the Hallmark store would have reading glasses?”

The granddaughter of another couple dining with us assured me that they do.

I asked my girlfriend, “Do you want me to get you some glasses?  Or should I read you the menu?”

So I was off for glasses!

Quest

I entered the Hallmark Store.  I was slightly distracted by a display of Penn State paraphernalia, but I resisted the urge to buy something blue and white which is not used for reading and instead headed directly to the clerk behind the cash register.

“Do you sell reading glasses?”

She informed me they do not.  She was sorry.  (Didn’t look sorry if you ask me.) But apparently life sucks sometimes.

Now it just so happens that there is a Lens Crafters optical shop next door.  As an eye surgeon who owns his own optical dispensary, I had a vague anxiety about entering this establishment.  I feared a patient of mine would see me and then wonder why I was shopping for glasses at a competitor’s store.

But my alternative is to return to Applebee’s defeated and without the glasses.  I would not be defeated!

Len Crafters does not sell over-the-counter reading glasses.  Even our optical shop sells OTC cheater readers.

I exited the store dejected.  I tried to sort through my options, but I kept thinking of that Penn State stuff I saw in Hallmark.  I could drive home, which is closer than driving to my optical shop.  That just smelled of loser right there.

I looked up and saw Sears.  Could they?  Would they?

A clerk sent me to Sears Optical.  They don’t sell them either!

“Why not,” I asked incredulously.

“Because you can buy them at any pharmacy, or Target.”

Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do.  Let’s just leave the fate of the presbyopic world to the Targets and Wal-Marts.

As I turned away in defeat, a thought occurred to me.  Maybe a bookstore would have reading glasses.  “Is there a bookstore that might sell reading glasses?”

Her eyes lit up.  “Yes.  Barnes & Noble’s has them.”

Now gentle reader, I fully know you don’t know where I am–other than a Sears Optical which could be located in any mall anywhere.  So let me enlighten you.  This mall does not have a Barnes & Noble.  The mall across town closer to my office has a Barnes & Noble.

Trying desperately not to strangle this woman, I asked through clenched teeth, “Is there any bookstore in THIS mall?”

She thinks for a moment.  “There’s a Walden Books.  Here on the first floor.  But I don’t know if they are still in business.”

I am defeated.  Just for the record, the First National Bank besides Sears doesn’t sell reading glasses either.

I walk the walk of shame back towards Applebee’s with no glasses in hand when the granddaughter catches up with me.  Apparently they were all watching as I went from store to store.

“Why didn’t you buy them in Hallmark?” she asked me.

“The lady told me they don’t sell them.”

Apparently, granddaughter, being a teenager, KNOWS the mall.

We head back to the Hallmark store.  She shows me a basket in the back filled with reading glasses.  Cue the heavenly music.  The basket is virtually glowing.  I’m glowing.

I put the glasses down by the register and the woman who told me they didn’t sell them looked at me in astonishment and asked, “where did you get these?”

“Not from Sears optical.  Or the bank.  Back there.”  I point.  We all look.  “In a basket.”

She looked at them in disbelief.

But I’m on this.  “So since you don’t actually sell reading glasses, I suppose I can just take these without paying?”

She laughed.  Ka-ching!  Palmed those glasses into a bag more deftly than David Copperfield could make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

“That’ll be $24.95.”

“Are you kidding me?  We sell them for less.  You can get them in the Dollar Store for a buck or two.”

“Do you want these?”

I can’t believe I just paid a store almost $25 for something they don’t even sell.

But the Quest was a success!

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In an article reporting the U.S. led attack on Syria, I read the following:

 After the attack ceased and the early morning skies went dark once more, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.

I don’t know about you, but this is the image I was thinking:

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My track record with dining out at restaurants is not impressive.

I once tried to order a 99 cent Whopper at Wendy’s.  I had it in my mind–I saw the advertisement for 99 cent whoppers and had to have one–but apparently Wendy’s won’t let me have it my way.  I paid more than 99 cents for a burger that was NOT a whopper.

I ordered coconut shrimp and lobster at Outback–and ended up with an empty lobster tail.

I once paid $48 for a coke.  The drink–not the drug.

And there was a “fine dining” experience (you know, you go to a place where you can’t wear blue jeans and they require a tie) that involved bok choy, enoki mushrooms and consommé.  I still think they were making that shiitake up.

Today we were meeting my daughter at TGI Friday’s even though it is Sunday.  I’m sorry.  It throws me off balance as well.  It’s like going into Five Guys, and there are aren’t Five Guys behind the counter.  (I’m pretty sure one of them was a woman!)  But I digress.

She had given me a list of restaurant choices that she would be happy with and asked me to pick one.  I specifically picked Friday’s because they serve Kona Big Wave Golden Ale.

So when the waiter took our drink order, guess what I ordered?  Well he brought the other drinks out and said he had to get my Heaven in a glass from the bar.  Minutes later, he appears without my Golden Ale.  They are out of it.

I should have got up and left right then and there.  But I had already looked at the menu and saw a new Philly Steak Burger.  It comes with an egg roll on top!  I kid you not!  Someone asked themselves how you could make a burger even more unhealthy than it already is, and somebody came up with the idea of tacking on extra stuff outside the bun.  Brilliant!

SteakBurger

I want that!  So I ordered it.

THIS . . . is what I got.

MyBurger

Do you see an egg roll stapled to my bun?  Dude?  Where’s my egg roll?  Is this going to be like Outback all over again when the waiter argues that I already ate the lobster even though the tail shell was clearly empty!

He informs me they don’t have the egg rolls in stock.

I am so bummed I ended up drowning my sorrows in a half piece of Tennessee Whiskey Cake, because quite frankly, paying $8 for the full piece just seems like highway robbery.

After I got home, I was still stewing over not getting my Kona beer and then not getting the sandwich that was advertised.  It was then that I wondered if perhaps I paid for the sandwich with an egg roll but did not get the egg roll?  I also thought it might have been nice if the manager would have comped my dessert in lieu of payment for an egg roll that didn’t exist.

That’s when I discovered that CORY–our waiter, bless his little heart–had actually comped me my burger without telling me.  For the record, I did tip him well–I rounded up the 20% recommendation to make the number come out round, but that was based on the adjusted bill.  After all, it wasn’t his fault the bar was out of my beer and someone in purchasing forgot to order the egg rolls.

And now I feel worse.

I should have gone to Denny’s.

Oh wait,  That didn’t work out well for me either . . .

CoffeeCup

That’s my coffee . . .but that’s NOT my lipstick!

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As I was entering the surgical center where I do cataract surgery, I was greeted by a sign on the door to the locker room . . .

rules

If you follow my blog with any regularity–or my new sister blog, The Silence Dunwell Letters–you know that I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to arbitrary regulations–rules that seem to be in place only to justify someone’s job–proof that they are doing their job, even if it isn’t very well.

So apparently these rules are designed for VENDORS.  I’ve always known them as sales reps, but tomato, to-mah-to.  Vendors makes me think they’re selling hot dogs or drinks.

dr-pepper-vendor

SO CLOSE!  Red Cap, but not BOUFFANT!

Red Bouffant Cap.  I’ll come back to that.  You know that I will.

Badge clearly visible.  Good rule.  No problem with that.

Current with requirements.  I have to maintain my license.  I don’t have a problem with everyone else in the operating room maintaining their credentials.

Long sleeve warm-up jacket?  What about summer time?  Is it possible the coach may want to put you in the game, so you better keep your arm warm?  There may be a good reason to require this, but I have FAILED to come up with any remotely logical reason to make this a requirement.  Leave me a comment if you think of something.

NO UNDERSHIRTS.  Seriously?  How will you know if they are wearing one under the already mandated LONG SLEEVE WARM-UP JACKET?  Are you [bleeping] kidding me?  Who’s going to inspect for this?  Do they have to undergo strip searches for illegal under garments?  Can anyone show me a medical study that even remotely suggests that the undershirts of non-operating personnel worn underneath an official warm-up jacket have been shown to increase the surgical infection rate?  Anyone?  McFly?  We are just a few sieg heils away from regulating the type of socks and underwear we use.  Oh wait, I think they do regulate the type and color of socks and shoes of the nursing personnel.

UPMC stands for U People Must Comply.  We will wear only their scrubs and have no other scrubs before thee.  We are the Stepford Doctors.

Shoe covers?  Not a problem for me.  As long as I can wear whatever shoes I want underneath.

And no problem with requiring that visits be scheduled.  We don’t want the operating room to resemble a flea market or bazaar.

But . . .

redcap

What in the wide, wide, world of medicine prompted this fashion faux pas?  I searched high and low but couldn’t find the big red noses or the clown shoes to go with them.  What are they vending?  Happy Meals?

I will assume–always an unwise thing to do, but this is my blog dammit–that they want these “people” to be readily visible.  Mission accomplished.  You could pick them out from a satellite image.  I guess the ID badges are simply not enough.

Seriously, is this necessary?  For the record, we never had RED CAPS before, so now we are spending health care dollars on this fabulous headwear.  (Hashtag #whyamericanmedicineisgoingtohellinahandbasket)

In all my years as a surgeon, I have never had an instance where there was someone in my operating room that I did not know, or was not introduced to (such as a nursing student, inspector, repairman, etc.)  And if there was someone in my room and I do not know why they are there— I ASK WHO THEY ARE AND WHY THEY ARE THERE.

I don’t depend on the color and coordination of their outfit to satisfy my curiosity.

Because any idiot can put on a red cap.  I did.  I wore that thing all day!  I’m operating and I’m vending!  Oh, I’m vending, Jerry.  I’m vending!  And I hear that UPMC allowed a VENDOR to perform surgery!  (Psst.  It was just me.  In the red hat.  Don’t tell.)

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