When Life Is In Retrograde

I feel guilty complaining about everyday life annoyances, you know, non-fatal, real life snags, like a flood or getting fired. We all have these bad days, complicated days, cock-blocky days, when nothing goes smoothly, nothing seems easy. Not to insert sexism into it, it totally sucks when you have PMS on top of it. During this time, these all-too-common, irritating nuances just feel more INTENSE.

I woke up this morning and my 6-year-old daughter’s eye hurt. This was day five of a mysterious eye problem. On day two, we went to the ER, where they flushed out her eye and tested for a corneal laceration, which was negative. They sent us home with the diagnosis “foreign body in the eye,” even though after a thorough saline hosing, she still felt like she had something in her eye.

My daughter presented with no other symptoms besides the eye irritation and sensitivity to light. The eye wasn’t pink and there is no discharge, but because she was still displaying discomfort, I attempted to seek out the “professional expertise” of a pediatric ophthalmologist. My insurance gave me five choices in the entire state of New Jersey, the closest of which was 30 miles away. I tried to go to a physician who didn’t accept insurance. A consultation cost $ 550 plus $ 225 for an extra test they said would be necessary. No, thank you. I found a local Korean ophthalmologist who said they’d fit her in the schedule immediately, but we arrive to a 90-minute wait. We decided to go to a regular ophthalmologist around the corner from us (who coincidentally took our insurance but was not listed in the provider directory). The doctor tested her vision, looked at her eyes with a microscope which magnified them by a million, flipped over her eyelid up and gave her the puff-of-air test. Everything looked fine. Our morning ultimately had a good diagnosis but she left still feeling like something was in her eye.

The day felt wasted already; my husband and I had bookmarked this morning for packing up our apartment for the new floor installation after the flood. We needed boxes, and headed over to Staples and they were out of the size we needed. We adjusted, bought another size. We went to lunch; they forgot to place the order for our french fries.

We came home and my husband, the professional clown, who entertains seriously ill children in hospitals, and has done so weekly for the last 20 years, got an email from one of his hospitals where he has worked for 16 years. The said if he doesn’t get the flu shot this year, he cannot work there anymore. My husband is allergic to the flu shot and in prior years, they had excused him because of his medical exemption and allowed him to wear a mask during flu season (which according to them is from October 1 – June 30). This year, they said they have overruled this caveat and if he cannot get it, he cannot come. This would result in him losing 400 hours of work a year. This puts us in quite a predicament on top of the business already withstanding a hit with the negative publicity about clowns. Now this?

Our floors are getting put down on Monday but the installer can’t confirm because he hasn’t gotten his call yet from corporate with the go-ahead. Corporate says they called but will call again. It’s silly bureaucracy but is the thread of most big businesses and we’re the peons who get caught up in the knots.

In the car, my husband looks over at me, after taking a deep cleansing breath, and says, “I thought mercury in retrograde was over in August. What the fuck is this? Life in retrograde?”

“Damn straight, mother fucker. It’s like the game of Life and today we spun the rainbow clickety wheel and landed on the squares which said, “Realize Cheap Insurance Sucks,” “Get Ripped Off By Contractor,” “Your Business Takes a Hit After Clowns Get a Bad Rep,” and “Have Your Health Controlled by a Corporation.” No big deal, spin again.

On the plus side, the sun is shining; I reserved 1-800-GOT-JUNK [and am secretly planning all of the bonus junk I can sneak in without my husband knowing (harder still since he’s my editor)]; and my hair looks great even though I haven’t done it in three days.

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