I wrote previously about Conflict resolution and perfect pedicures, and I want to let you know how that story turned out. I recently went to the 10-day Diamond Approach summer retreat in California, and before flying south I returned to the spa where I had experienced the traumatic, injury-producing pedicure.
True to his word, the owner had spoken to his staff, and my new aesthetician, Grace, was very careful to make sure I was satisfied with the length of my toenails, asking me to check it was okay before proceeding to the polishing stage. She trimmed them to a nice, short length, rounded the way I like, with no arguments or lectures! Ah, how sweet. In the picture shown here, the sore on my left big toe is from dancing all night in silver sandals at the retreat. Now that’s the way to work a pedicure!
In another episode of conflict resolution, I took my cat Donald to the vet yesterday. He hadn’t eaten in three days, and had just been lying in his den (a cat carrier lined with a towel) without moving for 24 hours. So I brought him to the Blue Cross Pet Hospital, and the vet couldn’t find any external problems such as abscesses or infections, but suggested antibiotics in case of internal infection. He also suggested bloodwork for diagnostic purposes, and keeping Donald for a few hours to rehydrate him and observe him. I agreed to all of this, but when I came back to get Donald a few hours later, the bill was almost $600!
I asked to see the breakdown of the charges, paid the bill, and took Donald home. He ate a little, and though he was groggy from the sedative the vet had given him before taking the blood samples, he was clearly already improved. I looked at the printout of the bill again, and noticed there was a $95 charge for the sedative, plus $145 for a general anaesthetic. Given that Donald had responded to the antibiotics already, it seemed like the treatment and charges were a little over the top!
I felt a familiar sense of helplessness and being taken advantage of. One of the ways that I have habitually dealt with this type of feeling, which I have a hard time tolerating, is to get angry. This is one way of using the red energy of the south, and I will talk about this more next time. But yesterday, noticing how familiar this was (from some inner exploration I’d done recently at the retreat), I just didn’t want to go that route again. But how could I handle it differently?
Perhaps the earlier positive experience with conflict resolution at the day spa helped give me a clue, because what I did was call the pet hospital, and explained to the receptionist that Donald was doing much better and I had a concern about the bill and treatment being over the top. I spoke to her very quietly and calmly, and explained that since he’d responded so quickly to the short-term antibiotic, it seemed overkill that the vet had sedated him, given him an anaesthetic, taken blood samples, and given him a long-term antibiotic. It might have made more sense to give him the short-term antibiotic first and see how he responded. Also I wasn’t happy that the vet hadn’t discussed how much his proposed course of action would cost. The receptionist listened carefully and said she would ask Dr. Hartney to call me.
He did, a few minutes later, and apologized for charging me for both the sedative and the anaesthetic. He said this was a mistake, as the anaesthetic was just for a few minutes, and that they would deduct the $145 from my bill. He listened when I expressed my concerns about the treatment being overkill, and he explained his view of it: that while Donald was sedated he wanted to take the blood samples and give the long-term antibiotic, because there was no way of knowing what the problem was until after trying these things. No crystal ball… I felt satisfied by this rationale, because if it had been a serious problem it was better to know sooner than later. We ended the call on a good note, with discussing how to refund the $145 to me.
The next morning, the vet called me personally to let me know that the blood samples have gone astray, although the BCPH had actually bought the courier lunch to get him to come back and deliver the samples to the lab right away! Ah, life is a mysterious thing. All these little details and human and animal interactions, held within the larger container of nature and true nature. I appreciate being aware of the interconnectedness of all these things. This seems like the perfect, necessary resolution to my old patterned belief that I am alone in the world, which doesn’t care about me (at best) and is probably out to get me (at worst). And it is good to confirm that there are other ways of dealing with situations besides anger, although I am still a firm believer that anger is sometimes the most appropriate response to a situation. But more on that later!