I got a flat tire this weekend. There were clues that I chose to ignore – the alignment going out suddenly, the steering wheel jiggling when I drove – but the sudden thwacking sound as I sped down I-20 was a clue I couldn't ignore.

I pulled off, then unknowingly stood in a fire ant bed while I changed my tire. It still itches. That's not the point of this post, but I just needed to gripe a little.

Yesterday we went to the tire shop and found out that not only were both of my front tires worn out, but my rear tires were old and cracked – at least that is what the guy told me. I went ahead and changed all four tires, leaving the car at the shop for the morning. About two hours later I got a call, saying that my brake fluid was really bad, and that I also needed an air filter changed. I was suspicious, but I did know I needed the filter, and the charge wasn't that much.

Car repair places are like this for me. It always seems that they find something new wrong with my car that needs fixing. I go in thinking I am going to spend X dollars, and end up spending 2X. The problem is that I can't do without the car, and I don't know enough about cars to do the work myself.

This ignorance causes me to put off getting things fixed on my car, as I don't like spending money beyond expected. I don't wait for the check engine light to come on, but the fear of expense, along with the fear of repairmen taking advantage of me, keeps me away from auto repair shops.

Sound familiar?

It takes circumstances like this to remind me that my patients can feel the same way.

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