I've been following the Takata airbag issue for a while now. I drive a Honda, and Honda is particularly badly affected. But no recalls had been issued for my car so onwards and upwards.
Until last Thursday, when I got the recall letter.... the letter that says people have died after deployment of the airbag and here, we will give you a loaner car until your car is fixed.
|Daffodils and trout lilies in my garden|
Well crap. I rather like my little car - he is small and willing and zippy and has driven us on most of our adventures in this pretty amazing state.
And then on Saturday night, some mongrel ran into his wing mirror/side mirror and shattered the mirror and cracked the mirror housing. Hope they get seven years of bad luck cos it wasn't me who was cretinous enough to hit a parked small car. Nearly $500 to fix it and it needs to be fixed cos it is the driver's side and I use that mirror a lot!
So I took my car in to the dealer and arranged for him to get the mirror fixed and get serviced and get stored until the airbag parts come in. That will be in summer some time. Woecakes! I already miss him.
My car, as I said is small and zippy.
|Beauty shot of my baby when he was six or eight weeks old|
I was offered one of three vehicles, all SUVs. The smallest is a Jeep Patriot. I may have made my dismay rather clear.
"Which do you want?"
"Umm, none of them?"
"Well that is all we have today. We'll have sedans later in the week. Oh also, pay the $14 a day for extra insurance on the vehicle or take the risk that they will charge you for damage to it."
$14 a day for the damage waiver for a car that I'm likely to have for a hundred days or more. Gee, thanks for the "free" car. Worst case scenario seems to be if the car is written off, we have to pay the difference between its appraised value and its salvage value. I can not take the damage waiver insurance and hope that I (or anyone else) doesn't damage the car.
So now I am driving around in Sluggy (not right now, I'm sitting at home typing this!), the Jeep Patriot. I will say this much for it - it feels much more solid than the Hyundai I drove in California. Both have about the same number of miles on them but the Hyundai felt like someone had installed sponges in the steering and suspension, plus it made alarming noises when it went up hills under load. I cannot imagine why you would rent an SUV - you aren't allowed to drive it off road or on gravel/unmade roads or tow with it or have pets in it. Maybe they are good for trips to the snow....
Tomorrow I ring the dealer up and annoy them to see if I can get something smaller and more suited to my very suburban lifestyle. Also? Gas mileage/fuel economy sucks. When you drive less than 15 miles and can see the fuel needle dropping, that is scary! Not like I was driving like a lunatic or anything either.
In other exciting news, I now have something in common with Larry Page, one of the founders of Google/Alphabet. Alas it isn't millions and billions of dollars.
You might remember that I've been having voice and breathing issues for some time. Over 2.5 years now. The ENT I saw said my right vocal cord was paralysed but after six months or so had regained function. Didn't explain the ongoing hoarseness and breathing problems and me occasionally choking on stuff and not being able to laugh or cough properly. I kept going back to my GP and saying there's an issue, there's an issue but started to believe that maybe it was all in my head.
|Love the lime green of new leaves (and flowers)|
On Monday I saw a new-to-me otolaryngologist (we used to call them ear nose throat doctors). He's one of the top dudes in the state. I waited and waited and waited and then finally got into the testing room after going through my history with his resident.
They had a look at my vocal cords. To do this, they first numb your nose and pharynx with a topical anaesthetic. Apparently I'm sensitive to it or maybe the epinephrine that they use in some forms of it as I always get super nervous/anxious when I'm given an injection or have it sprayed up my nose. Then a squirt of decongestant and they stick an endoscope into your nose.
It was fascinating. I saw my insides! Well the inside of my nose and then my pharynx and my vocal cords. Alas my tremor came into play because of a) my reaction to the spray and b) the position I had to hold my head it was exactly wrong.... But anyway I had to say various things and do the usual eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and sing happy birthday and whistle happy birthday and they ummed and ahhed and made me do more things and asked me how things felt, then decided they'd done enough testing.
What I saw was my right vocal cord didn't seem to be doing much and my left was flapping in the breeze a bit.
What they saw was that my right vocal cord is stuck halfway open, halfway closed and not moving, whilst the left is still working a bit but not very well. They asked over and over if I had problems swallowing water. They said I was doing very well, all things considered.
All things considered turns out to be a diagnosis of bilateral vocal cord paresis, ie my vocal cords are not up to snuff and not doing their job of either closing when I swallow or opening fully when I breathe in and out. It explains why I feel that there is an obstruction in my larynx when I'm breathing (cos there is!) and why I can't sing or laugh or cough and why I choke on water sometimes and why my voice is generally pretty rubbish.
And you want to know what can be done about it?
I'm going to have a little bit of voice therapy and breathing therapy to give me some tips and tricks to help manage it but if they do minor surgery to help me breathe more easily, I'll lose what remains of my voice and if they help me talk more easily, I'll become even more breathless. Neither option is palatable because I'm already socially screwed if we are in a noisy environment or if I need to project and if I get more breathless.... I'm getting a CT scan to see if there are any physical reasons for the paresis.
|More tulip time|
I can exercise but only within my limits. I already knew that - anyone who has asthma and has trouble breathing knows the panic that comes with the feeling of not being able to get enough air into their lungs. I know that panic well. Even hurrying across the street can bring it on. They actually said do not push yourself, do not see a personal trainer, these things will not be good for your continued life! I have been slowly improving my fitness though, ever so slowly. I just have to be slow and gentle about it, not force it to happen.
If the zombie apocalypse happens, I may as well just lay down and let them eat my brainz straight off.
At least it isn't all in my head, right? It certainly won't be if the zombies get me.
|Flowering cherries are amazing|
I have to admit it is a bit hard to keep my end up. I had hoped that there would be a solution for me but at this stage, no. I'm hoping that I don't get worse (what if I have some degenerative disease?), that I will slowly creep towards better - I am much better than I was in November after getting some horrible virus that I seriously thought would land me in hospital because I had so much difficulty breathing. I actually can sing about an octave of the tenor range now, as long as the phrases are short. Between this and the car and having to deal with visa stuff and it being tax season... thank heavens it is Spring and the weather this week is fantastic because I can distract myself but in quiet times, the gnawing worry sets in. And also the pity party. I like singing. I like making music with my voice, blending it with the voices of others. I like laughing. I like being able to be heard at social things. Heck, I like breathing, especially when I've just had to run from the road to not get run over. And I might never do these things again. Even the breathing ;-)
|Not slime or algae. Pollen. The trees are pretty enthusiastic|
Pictures are supplied by the glory of Spring in Seattle. Hope you like the pic of the pollen sludge in the water - no wonder we are having allergy problems!