Tuesday, July 01, 2008

As The World Turns

How do you like that for a catchy title? Oh, you say it's already taken? Ah yes, a soap opera. Well, today was a good day. I had it all to myself and I did what pleased me. Early in the morning I decided to get my oil changed before the weekend Fourth of July rush. I use a garage on Route 1 towards Rehoboth Beach with the very original name of The Garage (no kidding, that's the name of the place). I like it because you go in first thing in the morning and it's first in, first served. The most it's ever taken me to get my car done is 45 minutes. Way better than the Subaru dealer I used to go to in Downingtown, PA, where I used to live. When I dropped my car off there, it was an all day deal. Also, The Garage is very honest. They will actually tell you that you DON'T need work. That you would be throwing your money away. I heard them say it again to another customer this morning. Now how is that for a novel approach? Actually, it is genius because I will keep going back to them because I trust them. They have never let me or my 105,000 mile, 1998 red Subaru Forester down yet. After I got the oil changed in my car, I decided to take a ride down to the card store to pick up a supply of sympathy cards. At my age, I have found it is good to have a supply on hand. Last year I had a half a dozen sympathy cards, they're all gone now. People are dropping like flies. I wanted to get a haircut but the barber was closed today. Tomorrow I'll check that out. Since my partner isn't speaking to me again (par for the course, I broke a rule by asking him to close the window so I could turn on the air conditioner to get the humidity out of the air). This too will pass (until I break another rule). So, I decided to visit my long time friend Bob Mc who lives in the woods near Georgetown. We are both celebrating the fact that today, July 1st, we now have Medicare coverage Part B and AARP supplemental insurance. We had to get this coverage after the near disaster I had last January 3rd when I had to visit the emergency room at Beebe Medical Center. I had a kidney stone attack (I didn't know that at the time, all I know is that I was in excruciating pain and I wanted it stopped immediately, even if they had to kill me). Coincidentally it happened when I was getting my oil changed at the same The Garage. My medical coverage is with the Veterans Administration in Wilmington. They wanted me to to to their emergency room but there was no way that was going to happen. The Wilmington VA is 81 miles away and I just could not imagine enduring the ever escalating pain that I was experiencing for the hour plus ride to the Wilmington VA Medical Center. To make a long story short, I visited the local emergency room at Beebe Hospital. They gave me pain killers (two pain killers actually, it was wonderful) and an MRI. They determined I was passing a kidney stone. They kept me for about four hours, monitoring my progress, then released me. I was weak, but that out of this world pain was gone. To describe what the pain was like imagine if someone kicked you in the family jewels, you had to urinate real bad but couldn't go, and, while this is going on, someone is stabbing you in the lower back with an ice pick. It wasn't pretty. I wasn't pretty either writhing in pain. A few weeks after this emergency I got the emergency room bill. Do you remember Wily Coyote and how his eyes would pop out of his head when he saw the Roadrunner zip by? My eyes must have popped out of my head when I saw that bill. I called the VA. They said they wouldn't pay it because "you decided to go there" (like I had a choice). Well, to make a long story short, after much back and forth with the VA and filling out forms, they did agree to pay part of the bill because I thought I was in a life threatening situation. Well, I did! In fact, I just wanted someone to put me out of my misery, that's how bad I was hurting. I would have confessed to being a terrorist, that's how bad I wanted the pain to stop. Water boarding is like bobbing for apples compared to passing a kidney stone. I dodged a bullet this time, but what would happen the next time I had an emergency? I could have a bill five times as big as this one. That's when I decided to get my own insurance coverage. That was back in February. It took all that time for it to become effective but I made it. I told my good friend Bob about my near miss of financial disaster. He is also a veteran. He is five years old than me. Chances are pretty good he will have an emergency in the future. So, he also decided to sign up for Medicare Part B and AARP supplemental insurance. We're covered now. Of course nothing will happen . We will both be in perfect health the next 30 or so years. Just like all those years I worked for a bank with fabulous health coverage; never once was I sick. In fact, I never got sick until I didn't have that fabulous coverage. I got sick when I didn't have a job but, thank goodness, I had the VA coverage. They've taken good care of me and Bob. But, they only have that one facility in Wilmington and if either one of us has an emergency, we would have to go there. God gave me a warning with that kidney stone passing on January 3rd. I listened.
Note: pictured is a lone catbird at the end of today, silhouetted against the setting sun from my backyard. I guess he had a busy day too.

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