Sunday, March 13, 2011

Always Listen Carefully

For the past five days or so, I have had trouble sleeping, with my mind occupied trying to solve a work-related problem.

Here's the story in a nutshell:  last week a Bedouin man from Beer Sheva called, wanting to set up a Chiropractic appointment with me.  When I asked him who had referred my services, he answered, "Some Druze guy in Jerusalem, but everyone knows you and talks about you."

I tried to convince him in the most professional way possible that it did not make sense for him to drive all the way from Beer Sheva, receive a Chiropractic treatment and then ruin the effect by having to drive back home.  He did not listen to my explanations about the nature of the Chiropractic care, and seemed almost pushy about setting a time.  I asked several times who had referred him, and he could not remember.

Alarm bells went off in my head, that True Inner Voice said that something didn't feel right, and yet I ignored that clear warning and set up the appointment anyway.  Then the worrying began.

I know that when I trust that Inner Voice, it all works out, and when I don't take heed, it all goes wrong, and fast.  So I took advantage of the Big Brother capacity of the internet (G-d bless Al Gore for inventing it...) and with the help of a friend who works in security, researched this potential client.  Starting with very little information, we found that he had a minor criminal record, and his Israeli Identity number was found to be false.  As well, it became clear that this man does lots of traveling outside the country.

I started creating scary scenarios, that he was an advance man for a team that was scoping out my apartment to rob us, or that he was a man obsessed with me and a danger to my child.  Quite frankly, after yesterday's horrific murders in Itamar, the paranoia was running rampant, even for a New Yorker like me.

After consulting with a close Chiropractic friend and colleague, he pointed out that even if this was a simple story of a man with a stiff neck who heard good things about my work, if I felt uncomfortable in any way, I should not be taking care of him.  I immediately called and apologized for the last-minute notice; I continued, and said that an emergency had come up and that I could not see this man tomorrow morning, and then gave him the number of another DC who worked in Beer Sheva.

My back-up plan included having a male friend happen to drop by and hang out in the clinic while I had this consultation.

How much of this unease comes from me being a woman who works alone?  How much of it comes from being a single mother, and how much of my fear could be justified after the slaughter of an innocent Jewish family by our "cousins"?  (That's me trying to be politically correct...)  Can any of this reaction have to do with my reaching 15 years in private practice, and needing a vacation?

I don't know how to answer these questions, except to say that I am most definitely going to sleep better tonight, and that this provides further proof to me that I must reconfigure my working arrangement.


Commenter Abbi said...

You were right for following your instinct. They rarely let one down. You have to protect yourself and your daughter above all else. Good for you for taking action.

midlifesinglemum said...

Good for you - never see anyone if it doesn't feel right. But maybe you could also find a room to rent in a clinic with other practitioners. - Rachel

Doc said...

@Rachel, Part of my search for a new apartment involves rethinking the in-house clinic situation.

Sarah said...

Even without Itamar, and even if he lived close by, I'd feel uncomfortable meeting with a strange man alone in my apartment.

Add the weird travel time and refusal to see someone close by, and my alarm bells would be ringing, too.

Plus, not remembering who recommended you? And, do you have any Druze customers? There aren't that many Druzi who live in Jerusalem . . .

Even if you hadn't found out for sure he has a criminal record, the whole thing is fishy.