Tag Archives: Repair

Send in the Clowns…..Don’t Bother, They’re Here

I’m thinking about asking the wheelchair repair guy if he wants to do a comedy act together.

Before I left the country for 2 weeks, I called the wheelchair repair guy (let’s call him Mike, well, because that’s his name).

“Mike,” I said, “the wheel on my brother-in-law’s chair is torn to shreds. It makes the chair bump around like he’s driving the post-Apocalyptic pothole roads from the Winter of 2015. And he’s inside….on carpet. Please get it fixed ASAP.”

“Okay,” said Mike.

The problem here is, I believed him. I knew it would be fixed, eventually.  I just hoped that with a two week lead and a few well placed reminders by my assistant, it might be close to being done when I returned.

Mike obviously spent the time shopping for a big red nose.

When I noticed my brother-in-law bumping down the hallway on my return. I sighed that exasperated sigh that we all save for just such an occasion. My exasperated assistant let me know that she even contacted Mike with the very complicated schedule of when the chair was in use or my brother-in-law was resting in bed. This was due to the fact that Mike reminded her, no one can be in the wheelchair when it is being repaired. There was even a nice little 4 day period where BIL was in the hospital, so no one was using the chair. My assistant gave that little nugget to Mike as a bonus, if he wanted to send his guy over there at ANY time of the day or night.

I called 15, 16, 18, 19 and 21 days after my first call to find out why oh why, Magic Mike can you not get your sh*&%t together and get this chair repaired? Are you practicing your own comedy routine? Are you shaping up your abs for your next film role? What is so damn important that it takes 21 days to get someone out to fix this one little wheel?

“Hello, Cathy?”

“Hi, MIke, is the chair finally fixed? You said someone would do it on Monday or Tuesday and now it is Wednesday.”

Faster than Mike. Smarter too.
Faster than Mike. Smarter too.

“Oh, no, someone has to look at the chair first, determine what parts are needed, get insurance company approval, and then physician approval.”

We’ve gone from a comedy routine to a cartoon, as steam is now exploding out both my ears.

“So all those times you said you couldn’t come because he couldn’t be in the chair, was so that you could just look at it? Let me ask you something. Couldn’t someone just look at  the chair even if he is in it?”

“Well, I guess so. But you said he was in the hospital.” How this even makes sense, I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure “Who is on first.”

“Mike, we don’t let the chair go to the hospital with my brother-in-law. The chair has proven it doesn’t know how to behave itself in public places, so when he goes to the hospital we make the chair stay home, by itself. That’s why every time he goes to the hospital, we call you to let you know no one will be in the chair for days.”

“Oh. Well, we looked at it so it will get repaired when all the approvals come in.”

Twenty-one days to look at it. I wonder if I can start sexting pictures of the wheelchair in compromising positions when I need it repaired in the future, so that Mike can definitely say they looked at it?

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski 2015


Ugh….Comcast….or common sense?

“I’m pretty sure I have a brain injury.”

You wouldn’t think this would send me and my friend into gales of laughter because she does have a brain injury. And she is a walking miracle. So whenever anything goes awry, this is her go-to phrase. Five years ago, she fell down a flight of stairs to a concrete floor and her injuries were life-threatening. After the initial trauma with extensive treatment and still later, after she was further misdiagnosed and needed emergency brain surgery to place 40 platinum coils in her brain to stop bleeding, she recovered.

Although disabled, and under constant threat of possible seizure, she lives on her own. She has successfully navigated these treacherous waters and her band of supporters are actually the beneficiaries of her hard work, as she has reclaimed her independence as much as possible.

But every once in a while………..

Her cable and internet died for no discernible reason. She called Comcast, put up with their shenanigans for hours on the phone, and then emailed me the written confirmation of their repair plan. Not only were they going to charge her $50 to come out, but they were not going to come out for a week.

I told her this was unacceptable (okay I said bullshit). She called Comcast again the next day, wasted a few more hours of her precious time and was assured that someone would be at her apartment at no charge the next day.

“You’re not going to believe what I did,” she said to me.

“Oh, you didn’t forget Comcast was coming, or miss them or fall asleep, did you?” I asked.

“Nope, you’re just not gonna’ believe it…….”

This really nice repair guy shows up. He’s young and handsome and very charming.

“Uh ma’am,” Mr. Handsome Repair says, “you’re green light isn’t on. The TV is not on.”

“I noticed that when they were trying to send the signal to repair it from afar, but it didn’t respond to the signal, so I didn’t know what to do,” my friend said in a bit of confusion.

“Okay, no worries, let me see what I can do.”

He goes around the back of the 50 inch TV, he shuffles among the wires and all the components, and he too appears flummoxed. She knows this because he just keeps muttering, “hm……………..hm……………………hm.”

He stands up and looks around her teeny, tiny apartment. His eyes light up. He looks at my dear friend, with a bit of pity, no doubt, walks over to the door, as if to leave and reaches up to the door jamb.

“Are you going to get something out of your truck?” She was afraid he was just going to go without explanation.

“No, ma’am.” And with that, he flips the light switch next to her front door and everything churns and sputters to life.

“All your components are plugged into the plug that is operated by this switch. So you might never use it, but someone flipped the switch on you and cut off the power to everything. That was your problem.”

She likes to sheepishly say in these kinds of cases……”Sooowwweeee.”

I assured her, this is not a brain injury this is an old lady affliction.  Our ego, our common sense, our thinking outside the box appears to degrade with our eyesight, gravity ridden faces, and loss of car keys. Not only did she navigate Comcast twice without losing her mind, but she got a chance to spend time with Mr. Handsome Repair Guy.

After a certain age that’s a win-win.

“You just have to Laugh…..”

Death by Desk

Just before I was to leave for four days, return for one, and then leave again for four days, one of my hired caregivers calls:

“Hi Cathy,” she says with trepidation.

“Oh no, what now?” I say.

“No, it’s fine, really. It’s just that your brother-in-law needs a new desk for his computer.”

Okay, I’m thinking, that can probably wait for a week or so. It is an old computer table, sort of the pre-IKEA era, where you bought these cheap wood-like substances and put them together and hoped they lasted a few years. Way before laptops when your computer was a piece of furniture that needed a piece of furniture.

“Okay,” I tell the caregiver, “no problem, I’ll come do some measurements. When I get back I’ll get a table over there ASAP.”

There is a bit of silence on the other end of the line, for just a shade too long.

“Hello?” I say.

“Oh, I’m sure that’s fine,” she says, ” I’m just worried about death by desk.”


“Well, you probably have to see it for yourself, but he was so happy to be back at his computer after recuperating in bed for two months, that I think he just got a bit carried away when he needed to move his chair and go to lunch.”

“Ummmm, Okay. Well, I can go over there today and check it out and then we will decide from there. How’s that?”

“I told him I had to ask you first if he could have a new desk.”

“It’s fine. Of course, he can have a new desk. Let me just take a look.”

As it turns out, I have an old pre-IKEA desk I needed to get rid of, so I measured that first and went to my brother-in-law’s apartment with tape measure and confidence that death by desk was a bit of an exaggeration’

When I get there, he’s sitting at his desk on the computer and seems fine. “So what have you been up to Speedy Gonzales?” I ask him.

Sometimes I think he goes too fast and furious in his motorized glee  because his dexterity and hand control are more difficult due to the MS. But truly, sometimes I think he kind of really enjoys speeding around in that wheelchair wreaking just a tiny bit of havoc. In the old days, I’ve seen him drive a car and a lawn tractor and a bit o’ the race car driver was always a part of this guy.

I glance around at the side of the desk obstructed by his wheelchair and there are the pieces of the three drawers strewn all over the floor. I begin to take measurements and I see the other supporting side is knocked out from the grooves at the top of the desk that would keep it together. I’m wondering if he is actually holding up this desk on his lap.

“Yeah, you can’t sit here until I get you a new desk. This is dangerous! How about if I just get you a very sturdy table? You don’t use these drawers for anything, and that way you would have lots of room underneath for your chair, and you wouldn’t be knocking the supports or drawers with your chair when you wheel around at the speed of sound?”

“No,” he says, “I would like a desk just like this one.”

Okay, first of all, they don’t make these dinosaurs anymore. Second, I’m not buying and putting together a piece of crap so he can play demolition derby when no one is looking. And third, I actually do care about his safety and do not want death-by-desk to become our new fun game like in The Deer Hunter.

I’m on my way to get a good sturdy table, I’ll tell him I’m looking at vintage shops for a desk just like the one he has.

You just have to Laugh…………

Cathy Sikorski