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Christiana and Trina jumping, 2009

I’m not a big fan of the current culture of sports. Don’t like the tribalism, the excessive focus on winning at all costs, the big money thrown at competing, or so much acceptance of rude behavior toward others. But I love watching the movements of those who are at the top of their sports and/or have worked really hard to get their bodies to do really difficult tasks and make those tasks look easy.

Although I’m not one to schedule my life around watching sporting events, I’m here to tell you I was enthralled with Peyton Manning’s comeback to football while leading the Denver Broncos to the win this last week. Kinda’ brought tears to my eyes, even though I’ve never really followed professional football closely or paid Manning any attention.

Even though people around the world don’t really care if Trina Lambert’s finished or not as they do with Manning, I understand having to sit on the bench, wondering if I’ll ever get back in the game again.

What I could see was this guy’s yearning—and absolute joy—to be back and to know he was still able to make plays.

I get the hubris that is involved in trying to keep your body doing what it’s always done as if age doesn’t matter—which it does. But on the other hand, sometimes you just want to feel the wind moving through your hair as you reach for the finish or the exhilaration of jumping in the air. The truth is, once we understand the prospect that we might never again feel those joys, some of us are willing to work for comebacks that just return us to doing what we love. Unlike professional athletes, if we have to slow down a little or limit the height of our leaps to keep moving, then we will.

You don’t have to be famous or even good to love to move your body.

So now that I’m jumping again, I’m ready to build my baby steps into running strides. However, my memories from my exile—when moving whenever and however I pleased was not to be—have taught me that wanting is not enough—I have to change my approach if I want to play again. It’s no good working so hard to get better only to go back to running with my same old form.

While focusing on developing a mid-foot strike and applying other techniques from Chi Running, last week I took my first steps around the track on that proverbial 1000-mile journey.

I felt more like a stranger to those lanes than someone who once thought running was as necessary as breathing.

Yet, in those moments when I forgot the 1-2-3 count maintaining my cadence, I sensed the possibility of the freedom to return to doing one more activity that’s helped make me who I am.

That’s all the victory I need for now.

And, no, I don’t know if I’ll be watching Manning play again tonight because, after all, my ZUMBA class meets on Monday. I am back and I am most definitely in black . . . exercise clothes.

Gotta’ run—or is that gotta’ jump?

(c) 2012 Trina Lambert

Disclaimer: This post was not inspired by yesterday’s post about receiving a life insurance payout in the wrong name. No, I originally wrote it in March 2012, but did not post it at the time; however, after receiving that payout check, I revisited this rant. As I said, I’ve been experiencing difficulties with people getting my name wrong since I was born half a century ago. Consequently I’ve had many opportunities to think about this problem. I’ve decided that as important as it is for financial institutions to use correct names, it’s even more important for medical practices to use patients’ correct names—whether or not I am the patient.

If yours is a typical or common name, you might think I’m being petty. You might also think that I am taking one minor detail and making it more important than it should be. Of course, you have a right to do so, but maybe that’s because you aren’t often in my shoes or the shoes of my daughter—or weren’t in my mother’s shoes.

Because if a physician’s office can’t get our names right—whether it’s the receptionist, health assistant, nurse, and/or doctor—despite our reminding you every time you say our names incorrectly—we’re going to start to question whether yours is the right practice for us.

It’s not that we don’t understand misreading our names—as I’ve said, people in general have done that all our lives. But once or twice, OK? We don’t mind if you stop and ask if you don’t really know how to say our names—that shows that you are reading what’s written. Just know that I, personally, will correct you every single time you say it wrong, even if you do so for sixteen years. Please don’t act annoyed by that. I imagine you do want to call patients by the correct name, but you’re busy and mistakes can happen when you have too many things to do at once.

How about adding a phonetic spelling to our charts so that any staff member who picks up our chart has an extra clue as to how to get it right the first time? In a paper-centric world, you can put it on a sticky note and add it to the folder. On the other hand, if you only use computers and your programs don’t allow that, then you really should ask the service providers to look into providing a way to add notes to the name section with their next update.

And your attempts at empathy by saying that you hate it when someone gets your name wrong? Make sure you really do have a unique name. There’s a big difference in assigning the wrong nickname or misspelling a name—as in “My name’s Michelle and people call me Shelly” or “I’m Kathy with a ‘K’ and everyone assumes my name begins with a ‘C’ instead”—versus getting the name wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as long as I know our names: my name’s Patrina, not Patricia, my daughter’s name is Christiana, not Christina, and my mother’s name was Elda, not Edna.

You see, getting names right is a good sign that you care about each patient as an individual. Names are central to who we are. No matter what Shakespeare said, if I call a rose a thistle, it does not seem as sweet. Even if I call a rose a daisy, it’s still just incorrect. When you consistently call people by the wrong names, then that raises concerns about how well you are paying attention to patients’ unique problems.

We start to wonder if you are listening to what we are saying. Or do you have problems recording information accurately? Something so small as starting our visits by calling us back by the wrong names could introduce doubt into how well we feel you do everything else in your office.

No, the customer/patient isn’t always right, but we are right to expect you to show us respect by attempting to get our names right.

What optimists my parents were–this was obviously written before I was born!

Remember how I was emptying out my house and hoping the Universe would find more space in it for good opportunities? Well, what does it mean when a long-awaited payout arrives . . . with my name not just misspelled, but wrong??!! Does that suggest I better do some more cleaning out?

Or is it just another example of how hard it is to get many organizations to take good care of their customers/clients?

Really, I wanted to cry because I was both happy to see the payout and incredibly frustrated that someone would not take the time to get my name spelled right on something so important.

You see, my mother’s former employer informed the executor of her estate—who is my brother Scott—earlier this summer that she had owned a group life insurance policy and we were owed money. He had to figure out what steps we needed to take and we both had to certify some papers. Now, mind you, our mother died in January 2011 and he had notified all the companies we knew needed to be informed of her passing. We knew about her pension—which ended with her death—and let the employer know right away. What we didn’t know about was that policy.

I suppose we could have never known. Maybe the employer got audited? Maybe when I asked someone to remove her name from a mailing list for retired employees threatening a lawsuit that triggered something somewhere that told the right department of her passing?

Anyway, in a lot of ways it’s rather unconscionable for such a payout to take almost 20 months to arrive. But, for the most part, Scott and I have been trying to think of this along the “not looking at a gift horse in the mouth” lines and just trying to go along with the flow.

That was a lot easier for me before the money came to me in the wrong name. Folks—my name is Patrina. P-a-t-r-i-n-a. After 50 years of such mistakes, I still get riled up when people who should be the kind of people who read carefully for details, don’t. Especially when they don’t even apologize for the error . . . and ask me to wait a little longer. Seriously, if you’re not going to be accurate, a little empathy would go a long way.

Just guessing that the company managed to spell my brother’s name right—then again, he always did keep a lot fewer things in his house than I did. Maybe he’s just better prepared for the Universe to hand-out its goodies?

Nonetheless, I thank Mom for her foresight and God for prodding these people to hand out what she intended to provide for us.

While waiting—again—for the payout, I got out more donations (this time for ARC)—and the corrected check arrived a couple days later.

Maybe it doesn’t hurt to hedge my bets. In case the Universe is listening, I’m continuing to clean-out my house. (And just to be sure, that’s Patrina, spelled P-a-t-r-i-n-a!)

(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

Sometimes when you don’t have the time is exactly when you should stop and do something silly.

And yes, we are still getting rid of things (another donation truck comes Thursday) and rearranging our house now that we’ve decided it’s time to set-up our house for the way we live now. We’re getting closer to being able to switch the bedrooms our kids have lived in since 1998—thank goodness the last big purge happened in 2009 when we redid the flooring or this would be even harder.

But really, with Jackson’s living and studying at home, why wouldn’t we rather increase the distance between our sleeping spaces? We don’t exactly keep similar hours, if you know what I mean! Plus, somebody (Jackson!) loves his snooze alarm—which I really don’t need to hear.

(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

So . . . in the midst of all that busyness, Sherman and I went to Fort Collins to participate in the Tour de Fat with Christiana and her housemate Cheyenne. Of course, Christiana and Cheyenne had been busy making critter heads for their bicycles while we were doing (boring) work. We couldn’t top that so we had to settle for finding whatever costume pieces we could find in our chaotic home space—maybe next year we’ll have time to decorate our rides.

We got to the girls’ house with very little time to spare only to discover that our little circle was experiencing more of a Tour de Flat than anything else. Christiana awoke to discover her tire had gone flat since riding it a few days earlier. Her boyfriend’s tire was already flat—at least he wasn’t planning to ride. And then Sherman’s tire—which he also had ready to go the night before—was losing air. To top it off, the bicycle pump blew up!

(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

In the end, Christiana borrowed her boyfriend’s good tire and Sherman made do with a leaking tire—and the kindness of some random stranger (with a bike pump) along the route.

After I had spent days inside clearing out boxes, being around all those raucous, crazy people in such a tight space seemed a little overwhelming. Nonetheless, it was really good to get outside of our boxes and do nothing more than try to figure out how to keep our bikes moving through the really slow maze that is the annual parade.

(c) 2012 Trina Lambert

While there appears to be no rest for the wicked (that would be us!), there does appear to be a little time off for good behavior! And that’s just what we did on Saturday.

We got back at it, the next day and the next—and who knows how many more?

But for one day I was a biking princess and Sherman got to keep both the yellow jersey and the chocolate!

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(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert