Sunday, January 12, 2020

"My Van Has White Coat Syndrome" published

This article was published in Your Country Neighbor, Jan. 2020: 


© 2019 by Janet Sobczyk, 

It’s a common complaint. You’ve been feeling sick or something hurts, but by the time you actually get to a doctor, you feel better. That’s called White Coat Syndrome (WCS). Actually, doctors use that term more specifically for elevated blood pressure while in the doctor’s office. But the first definition is the one most other people think it means.

People are the most prone to WCS, but I’ve seen pets have it too. Fido might seem on his last legs at home, but as soon as you pull up to the vet clinic, he hops right out and trots in like, “Look at me. I’m fine.”

My van now has it. I’m not kidding! The other day it started making a horrible sound all the way home from work. For 30 minutes it rattled so loud I thought a front tire was going to fall off. Except the sound wasn’t coming from the wheel area. And it made a metallic “ding, ding” sound like a chain swinging and hitting metal. I made an appointment with the mechanic for the next morning and prayed I’d make it there intact.

You guessed it.The next morning the big sound was gone. And the ding-ding, too. But I took it in anyway and described what had happened. An hour later they ended my waiting-room misery (whoever chose CNN for that TV was sadistic!) and told me they’d found nothing wrong. Of course!

Then the mechanic reassured me that old vehicles do have a lot of rattles. Well, I guess a 16-year-old vehicle does qualify as old. Maybe I was over-reacting. And then he told me that next time they would need more detail, like at what speed does it make the sound? Or when you turn in which direction? Really, it just made the awful, death-sounds the whole way home. But that was yesterday, and today it seemed just fine. Good! I had errands to run.

The van ran perfectly (with only its usual rattles) all the rest of that day. But the next day, yep! The noises returned, complete with ding-dings. Maybe I’ll have to call a driveway mechanic who can sneak up on the van and check it out before it knows what’s happening.

Image from Creative Commons:  capt