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Positive, feel-good stories

It’s A Tough Bridge To Cross, But She Did It!

, , , , , , , | Related | October 11, 2021

My mother suffered a terrible crash in the early 1990s that should have killed her but, for whatever reason, didn’t. It was off a low-water bridge and as a result, she went through a phase for over a decade of being terrified of driving over bridges. It lessened with time, but the one bridge that still terrifies her to this day is the bridge over the Mississippi River from Arkansas to Tennessee, which is unfortunate because she would have to drive over it to take me to visit my father as a child.

As I grew up, she refused to let me drive the trip because it was best for her to remain in control of the car while going over the bridge. But when my father died, we had to bring home several antiques in a moving van, which one of us had to drive, so she agreed to let me drive the trip for the first and only time.

On the way to the funeral, about a half-hour from the bridge, Mom is on her phone, reading an article about the history of the area, and she starts reading it aloud to me. I figure she’s doing this to distract and calm herself, so I tune her out and focus on driving. I get over the bridge and get to the eastern outskirts of Memphis when she finally looks up again.

Mom: “Uh… where are we?!”

Me: “We are [miles] from Nashville.”

Mom: “Did you cross the bridge?”

Me: “Kinda had to, yes. You were reading to distract yourself; I didn’t want to bother you.”

Mom: “I was just enjoying the article; I had no idea we even crossed the bridge!”

And then, on the way back, we’re trying to make the trip in one go because I have to be at work the next afternoon. Mom is driving the moving van, and we’re coordinating through our phones. About two hours east of Memphis, she calls me and asks me to pull over at the next gas station.

Mom: “You’ll have to call in to work; we need to stop for the night.”

Me: “Why?”

Mom: “The bridge is coming up and I just need a night’s rest. It’s dark and I’d rather it be daylight when we try.”

Me: “No, we’re going on, and we’re crossing tonight.”

Mom: “What?!”

Me: “It’s two in the morning. It’ll be four when we get there. There’s going to be no one driving. The bridge is lit up. We can get on the inside lane and go as slow as you need, because there will be no traffic to slow down. If you can’t see the water, you can tell yourself you’re driving on solid land. It’s going to actually be easier. If we stop, we stop in Arkansas.”

Mom: “I don’t know…”

Me: “Look, you can get a motel room for the night. I’ll see you at home.”

We cross the river, on the phone with each other the entire way, and we finally pull over at a large truck stop in West Memphis.

Mom: “I can’t believe I never thought of that before! That’s the easiest I have ever made that trip!”

Me: “Yeah, I have a lot of anxieties and phobias, and that’s how I always force myself past them.”

Read Between The Lines

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 10, 2021

It is against the law to prescribe medications to a pet that has not been examined by the doctor. I’m one of the more senior technicians at the clinic and have just clocked in for the swing shift when one of the doctors comes up to me and hands me a bottle of liquid medicine and a dispenser.

Doctor: “I’m so glad you’re here. In the lobby is a Mrs. [Pet Owner]. Some jerk left a cardboard box with a litter of eight puppies on her driveway last night. She can barely afford her one dog, much less eight, so she was going to take them to the shelter today, but overnight they started having diarrhea, and we all know what the local shelter does to sick puppies. So, she has called ahead and gotten prices and she decided she can afford an exam and a puppy diarrhea panel for two of the puppies. We had her just bring in one puppy so that she would still have money for treating it. [New Hire] was helping me with this one, but I don’t think she is ready to do this kind of discharge talk. Can you do it?”

Me: “Sure, what am I telling her?”

Doctor: “Let her know the puppy has [parasite], and it is incredibly unlikely that the rest of the litter doesn’t. So for his size, he’ll need 1mL of this every day for three days. We’re sending her 30mLs; the extra is for spillage. You understand exactly what I mean by ‘spillage’?”

Me: “You really have to ask?”

I go up to the lobby and put the charges in the computer and call the owner up to the counter. 

Me: “Good news! It isn’t parvo. It is [parasite] and that is easy to treat. The rest of the litter likely has it as well, so we don’t need to do the tests on them. You just have to give this liquid once a day for three days.”

I demonstrate how to use the dispenser to measure the dose.

Owner: “Oh, that is great. So, how much is it?”

I tell her the price and her face falls.

Owner: “Oh, dear. That is a very expensive medication.”

Me: “Not really. You see, you only need to give him 1mL a day, and we are sending home quite a bit more than that so if you accidentally spill some you still have plenty.”

Owner: “I don’t think I could possibly spill that much. Can you send home less? I need to save up to bring the others in to get exams and medication for them.”

Me: “Well, yes, we do need to do exams on the other puppies in order to send home any medication with their names on it, but we want to make absolutely sure that, no matter what, this little guy has plenty. Just in case you drop some, or it sticks to the side of the dispenser.”

Owner: “But I won’t drop any, and I really doubt that much is going to stick to the dispenser.”

Me: “We are sending you extra so that if you accidentally grab the wrong puppy and give one of his siblings a dose instead, you will still have plenty of medication.”

Owner: “Oh, no, he has very different markings from the rest; I wouldn’t make that mistake.”

Me: “I really don’t know how else I can explain this. Um…”

Owner: “Explain what?! That you think I’m a clumsy idiot that will waste more of the medication than I actually use?!”

Another client who is waiting in the lobby comes up to the counter.

Man: “Excuse me, miss. I couldn’t help but overhear. Am I allowed to say what I think you are not allowed to say?”

Me: “Sir, as long as you aren’t threatening or being vulgar, I am not legally required to stop you from saying anything.”

Man: “Excellent!” *Turns to the puppies’ owner* “You said you have other dogs, right? They are sending you enough medicine for all of them, but legally, they can’t say that is what they are doing. So, pay for the medication, take it home, and ‘spill’ it down the other dogs’ throats. I’m assuming they are all the same size and therefore should get the same dose.” *Turns back to me* “That’s right, right?”

Me: “Nobody who works here would ever tell you to administer medication to an animal it was not prescribed to. That would be illegal. But yes, if we were to send home medication for the other puppies, they would be getting the same dose.”

Owner: “Oh, wow. Oh, gosh, thank you so much. I’m going to write a review telling everyone how awesome you are to do this for me.”

Man: “NO, YOU ARE NOT! They are bending the law pretty far for you and your dogs. You can talk about how nice they are, how caring the doctor was, and how they found a treatment plan within your budget, but you will most certainly not say anything about them sending home medication for an animal they didn’t examine.”

Owner: “Oh, right. That makes sense. Thank you all so much!” *Pays and leaves*

Me: “Thanks for helping with that.”

Man: “Not a problem. I didn’t want the poor dogs to suffer from foolish human disease.”

The puppies all recovered and we helped the owner find good homes for all of them. We still see the six that stayed in the area regularly for vaccines and checkups.

The Store Is Closed But Their Hearts Are Open

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: yallstifuv | October 8, 2021

I was working the closing shift at a full-serve gas station and it was 9:00 pm. I was just about to lock the door and call it a night when a lady came running up and knocked frantically. I was pretty tired by this time of the night and had already signed out of my shift and turned off the debit machine and the computer, but I decided to hear her out.

She said she cleaned the floors at the local grocery store and the polishing machine was out of propane. We also fill propane tanks; we’re the only ones that do this in the area. She was obviously in need, and this was for her job, so, of course, I turned everything back on and filled it for her. She thanked me over and over again, and I kept telling her it was no problem at all!

I ended up only about ten minutes late for close and messaged my boss to tell him what had happened so he wouldn’t be confused about the two closing receipts — I had to reactivate the debit machine. He was super surprised and happy that I did that for her, and he gave me a little bonus for it.

I was surprised by his reaction at first, but I guess there are some people out there who would turn her away, but it was really no trouble for me. I was glad I could help her and super happy about the praise from my boss.

That’s One Super Supervisor

, , , , , | Working | October 5, 2021

I’ve been off work for almost a week with a bad infection. Although I’m back taking calls, I’m still exhausted and I still have a headache, but I’m nervous about having been off so long because it’s my second absence due to one of my disabilities playing up, and I’m only just at my three-month probation review. It’s important to note that we’re all working from home. 

My supervisor calls me to do both the review and my return to work. We’ve discussed my symptoms, what I did to get better, and if I’m ready to return to work.

Supervisor: “Okay, you’ve told me you’re ready to come back, but how are you really feeling? Off the record.”

Me: “Honestly, I’m pretty wiped. My head’s still pretty fuzzy, and I know if you checked my call stats for today they’re not going to be great. This meeting’s been a nice break.”

Supervisor: “What time are you on until?”

Me: “Seven, unfortunately.”

Supervisor: “That’s nonsense. You’re just back from being ill. Give me a second.”

He goes silent for a while and I hear a lot of typing.

Supervisor: “Okay, check your schedule again.”

I refresh the schedule software, and straight after my afternoon tea break, I have forty-five minutes of training and am only on calls again for thirty minutes before my shift ends. 

Me: “What training am I doing?”

Supervisor: “Chilling out. When we were in the office, I used to send people out to fetch stuff and called it ‘helping colleagues.’ Now it’s ‘training.’ Let me know if you’re having a really stressful day and I’ll book a meeting with you or training to give you a break from calls. We all need it sometimes.”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

Supervisor: “Now for your probation review. No suspense: you passed. Your absences are higher than ideal, but you work well when you’re here so I’m not going to punish you for being sick. I know you were worried about it.”

Sometimes The Helpline Needs A Little Bit Of Help, Too

, , , , | Right | September 27, 2021

Things looked rough a few years ago. I almost lost a close friend of mine to alcohol and drugs, was being harassed at work for months, and was constantly in need of medication because of flu symptoms and throat infections, which I later found out were stress-related.

I heard of those phone helplines where you talk to strangers about your life. I tried it out, and WOW! Multiple times I had someone to talk to for what felt like hours. 

A year later, things weren’t that grim anymore and I felt the need to thank them for their support, so I called the line. 

Contact: “[Phoneline], happy to help, this is [Contact].”

Me: *Stuttering and nervous* “Yes, this is [My Name]. I got helped by you and your helpline multiple times these years and… and I simply wanted to say thank you. You are all doing great work and I felt the need to say it out loud.”

There’s a prolonged silence on the other end of the line. Then, she responds, with a trembling voice.

Contact: “Wow. In all my years of working here, I haven’t had someone call to just say thank you. That was very sweet, and I want to thank you in return.”

That felt good!