Monday, June 19, 2006

Car Momma

I have a terrific auto mechanic. Every three or four thousand miles, religiously, I take my vehicle in to see his Car Momma. Car Momma changes his oil, changes his filters, checks his fluid levels, rotates his tires and generally reminds me of any maintenance that needs to be done. We have been through a lot together: snapped timing belts, bent pistons, leaky head gaskets, thinning brake pads, funky air conditioning problems as well as a few bad parts that I didn't even know existed, much less what they did. Car Momma is good at explaining things, but even so I don't have any problems admitting my stupidity when necessary to ask questions. At other times she'll notice that I'm looking at her with the expression of a stunned labrador retriever, and then she'll slow down and go over things again. She gives me advice about which problems are big enough to worry about and which problems we can just wait and watch. I like her for that. If my car were a patient, I'd say its age-related problems were in stable remission. I know that Car Momma can't fix everything---like the body damage done by the omnipresent tailgaters in this city---but it was nice of her to say hi while I was waiting in the body shop. A good psychiatrist is a Car Momma for people.


Spiritual Emergency said...
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Spiritual Emergency said...
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Steve & Barb said...

Interesting analogy, Clink.

My car never sees its momma unless it is broken or it makes a noise which I interpret to indicate imminent dangerousness.

This sounds like most of my patients.

(I work in a hospital setting and only see patients who are hospitalized medically or psychiatrically.)

ClinkShrink said...

Roy, if your car won't go voluntarily will you seek civil carmitment?

Spirit, it is comforting to know that patients do not expect perfection. Medical training leads one to believe that every mistake is a potential disaster-in-waiting, and that every bad link in a chain of events will ultimately lead up to you. And I thought Bill Nye was terrific---that was even before "geek was chic".

NeoNurseChic said...

Nice analogy! Working in Philadelphia has done a number on my car, which I have now affectionately renamed the ghetto-mobile. I have a 94 Sable that we only paid $3000 for. In actuality, really only $2000 since I was given $1000 to repair the car before that died shortly after someone rearended me at 40mph.

But getting back to the Sable - it's been keyed, both rear hubcaps are gone, a couple of weeks ago someone in my quiet hometown bashed in the drver's side mirror. Last week, someone smacked off the passenger side mirror while it was in a garage in Philly. And the night before I left for vacation 2 weeks ago, I found out my car had no brakes whatsoever. Not only did the car take 3 bottles of brakefluid, but it had no brakepads left - they were chewed away. Oops...

So our car doc fixed it up, changed the oil, did an inspection, etc and I got ghetto-mobile back for a hefty price. Then this past Saturday, I was driving home from a pathophysiology review session in Center City when I noticed smoke blowing past my window and smelled something strange. I added some antifreeze to the car and took it to the garage where they pronounced it "healthy as can be expected." My dad then drove it, and I drove my dad's explorer to the store, but by the time we got there, I pointed out that smoke was coming from the back of the car. We took it back over and found out the emergency brake had somehow jammed the brake lines and transmission fluid was leaking from the front seal. So car doc went to work again and I got the car back today.

It really isn't much unlike myself or most of my patients either. Crash and burn, crash and burn. No sooner would I get out of the hospital, that I'd need to go back in. Not psychiatrically, but for neurology. Every time I turned around, another part went bad. And sometimes I wait for the whole system to shut down before doing anything about it - which is pretty much how I treat my car. Pitiful, really!

My dad told me last year that he wants to turn me in for a new model under the Lemon Law. LOL.... At least he always knows how to make me laugh while everyone else is crying... ;)

Take care!
Carrie :)

Dinah said...

Gosh, I'm only now getting to this. "Carmitment" made me laugh out loud. Roy, I'm concerned that you aren't getting routine care on your car, this is not a good thing. I had a $1200 axel (or something) repair back in the day before I knew you were supposed to check "fluids"...deemed total negligence on my part.
Patients certainly aren't looking for perfection, they're looking for connection and humanity. Needs its own post.
dinah (whose minivan needs a check up)