Thursday, September 29, 2011

second opinion

Yesterday after I gave my Grand Rounds (which went well by the way, at least to the extent of my experience giving it), I was in a good mood and celebrated by taking my car to the fixit shop.  Well, actually, the second thing had nothing to do with the first, it just sounds more festive that way.

All the important mechanics were fine (you know, like the wheels, the engine, the other...drive...pistons), but there was something wrong with my trunk. To be clear, the trunk was working JUST FINE up until we went camping last weekend, when:


JOE
Hmmm.

MICHELLE
What "hmmm"?

JOE
Could you open the trunk of the car before?

MICHELLE
You mean was I able to open it earlier today?

JOE
Yeah.

MICHELLE
Well, of course, that's how I crammed all those sleeping bags and blankets and camping stuff in there.

JOE
Hmmm.

MICHELLE
WHAT "HMMM"?

JOE
I think I just broke the lock on your trunk.


The trunk could no longer be opened by the car key itself, nor by pulling the lever in the driver footwell, though oddly, the remote control keychain button still worked.  I didn't think this was a big deal at all--usually I open it with the remote anyway--but Joe pointed out that if we ever lost the keychain or it malfunctioned, we would be toast.

"OK, so I'll stop locking the kids in the trunk then," I responded (I thought) quite reasonably.

Joe made me take the car in anyway.




The car fixit place (I just took this one picture there of the pretty rust pattern, though I realize this photo makes it look like a vehicular internment camp--not that far off, I guess) told me that I should expect to leave my car there for at least the rest of the day.  They would most likely have to dismantle the whole trunk, replace the lock apparatus en bloc if (IF, they emphasized portentously) they could locate the correct parts, a process that might take a day or two.  When I balked at the day or two (or two? Two days?  TWO EARTH DAYS?) they replied that they would make their best effort to at least have the car in drivable condition by nightfall, though under no circumstances (they underlined this with an eye-roll, to illustrate how crazy this would be) should I expect the trunk situation to be anywhere near fully resolved without another one or two visits for full repairs down the road.

Anyway, I thanked them for their opinion and diagnostic time, and proceeded to take my car to a Toyota dealership across town.  (Not to ruin your fancy doctor car dreams, but I drive a used Toyota Camary with a sizeable dent on the rear drivers side.  If you see me on the road, say hi, I'll be the one gripping the steering wheel in panic.)  At the dealership, the guy looked at my trunk for two seconds, clicked something over in the lock mechanism, and said, "There.  You're good to go."

Apparently we (Joe) had automatically engaged the trunk into "valet mode," which I wasn't aware existed but I guess is what you do if you are getting your car valet parked but don't want the parking people to look into your trunk and see you stash of dead bodies or whatnot in there.  The trunk wasn't broken at all.  It was such a no-brainer the people at the Toyota place didn't even charge me.

So from a multi-day, labor-intensive, thousand-dollar estimate to a problem that was fixed with a seasoned eye, some common sense, and a flick of a switch.  I guess this would be a good time to draw an analogy back to patient care, but I think you can probably take those last few steps on your own.

7 comments:

  1. and this is why I always take my car to the dealership for EVERYTHING.

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  2. I once had a similar issue. I lost my car keys and went to the Honda dealer to get a new set (also not a fancy doctor car, just a 2004 Accord). The dealership told me that it would be about 4 hours for them to somehow physically craft new keys. I said no thanks and went to a different dealership, and drove away with a new set of keys in 15 minutes.

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  3. Marni: you can reprogram Honda (electronic) keys yourself, without tools. It's a matter of putting them in and out of the ignition, listening for clicks, and poking the buttons (in a particular order).

    I only suspected this on the third trip to the dealership - I was told "all fixed" when I was sure the guy had done nothing more than sit in the driver's seat for two minutes, so I went home and googled for the recipe.

    I have since found a non-dealer neighborhood repair shop that I like, and they won my loyalty by sorting out small things (like the screw wedged in the tread of my tire) without charge.

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  4. Nurse Bella9:26 PM

    No comment on the Toyota - Sorry I'm from Detroit :) - but your last paragraph was excellent, very true with patient care.

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  5. Anonymous8:43 AM

    When faced with such dilemmas, I often ask Dr. Google for more information.
    I guess this would be a good time to draw an analogy back to patient care, but...

    MD

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  6. Glad everything was fixed quickly.

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  7. Blog follower9:24 AM

    Your experience is so true in the medical world:

    It you need plastic works done, find a plastic surgeon and not a general surgeon.
    If you need orthodontistry, find an orthodontist, don't let a general dentist do your work.

    You get your money's worth. In this case, you don't even have to pay and go car-less for two days.

    ReplyDelete