Friday, February 24, 2017

Wasting Away Again in Geezerville

Someone really doesn't have it so bad.


Hans and I continue to spend our days enduring that seemingly endless revolving door of doctors' appointments. We've been poked, prodded, squeezed, monitored, jabbed, dilated, cleansed, scoped... However, after 13 office visits it does look like the end is in sight! About 6 more and we hope to be done.

On the days we don't have appointments we've got a little routine down pat that works for us. Off to the Y we go so Hans can swim laps and what's nice is that Walgreen's is on the way for prescriptions (talk about a revolving door!), then to the library, and finally the Y where I sit in the car with Wilbur and read while Hans swims. And yes, nearly every trip is filled with bad pit bull breath emanating from the back seat as Wilbur accompanies us pretty much everywhere we go.

In my last post I got all snarky about having to deal with Voice when it came time to schedule some blood work.

I now owe Voice a huge apology.

The day of the appointment Voice granted me, I walked into a waiting room just buzzing with agitation. I was instructed to sign in at a little computerized podium and I rushed for it before a woman who'd walked in the door beside me and kept screeching, "WHAT? WHERE?" could get there before me. Was I rude? All I know is I had my information typed in pronto and was quite happy to type yes in the spot that asked if I had an appointment.

A screen on the wall, similar to an airport's departure and arrival monitor, listed patients names and times. Fuel was getting added to the fire when people realized their names weren't listed at all or they had very long wait times. No one was shy about loudly voicing their concerns and I could feel a mob mentality taking form. I didn't see my name but kept my mouth shut and made sure I was close to an exit. The girl at the front desk was clearly at her wits end and kept yelling out into the room to please ignore the screen and then got into a loud argument with a woman who was a 'walk in' as opposed to one with an appointment and would just have to wait her turn. "I'm going to your competition the next time!" the angry lady yelled. Good luck with that, I thought, because this is it. It was a bit scary and I was dismayed to find the frantic text I'd sent to Hans failed as there was no cell service in the office.

And then I was called in. I could feel the stares burning into my back as I walked through. I was so shocked to actually get in only 15 minutes past my scheduled time, I forgot to pass out when my blood was drawn.


Enjoying life between appointments

Last week we had back to back eye appointments so we went in together.

It seems like only yesterday that Hans and I used to go dancing every weekend and now we spend our time walking into places where everyone's using walkers and canes. "Dear God," I asked Hans, "is this us in a few years?" and he looked down at the monitor cables sticking out of his shirt and said, "I think we're already there."

I have never seen an operation such as this Eye Institute place in my life. I swear they have to have a traffic controller to keep track of everyone. We started in the packed main waiting room and then I was cut from the herd first. I passed through a large round room with several exam rooms radiating about its circumference. After being relieved of my contact lenses and glasses my pupils were dilated and then I was ushered into yet another waiting room. Honestly, I had my hand out in front of me as I felt my way to what I hoped was a vacant seat (I am that nearsighted). My eyes were oddly numb and the Kleenex I used to dab at my teary eyes was stained an ugly yellow and I wondered if my face was yellow too but was embarrassed to ask. I fished my book out of my bag and with my nose nearly touching the pages I read until someone brought me back my glasses. With a huge sigh of relief I put them on and exclaimed, "Hey there!" and leaned forward and gave the man sitting directly across from me a big kiss. It was Hans and he was holding a yellow stained Kleenex too. The lady beside me remarked she hoped we knew each other and Hans said this was a great place to meet women; way more fun than the colonoscopy center.

I was first out again and after a successful exam involving blinding lights and eyeball yanking, I was spit back into the first waiting room where I reeled up to the counter and made another appointment (yippee) this time for a contact lens exam. Nope, sorry, no can do, you need a different doctor for contacts.

Hans appeared shortly thereafter and made his next appointment. Since we both looked like Stepford Wives with our bizarrely dilated pupils we hopped over to the library which was close by to wait until the daylight didn't feel like it was searing into our brains even with sunglasses. Then finally back to the boat where we had to placate Wilbur, whose feelings were severely wounded at being left behind.

I have to make one last lab appointment (I hope!) and you can bet I'll be calling my good friend Voice.


Oh, the drama that exists in our berth.


Friday, February 3, 2017

I'm Hearing Voices and I Don't Like It.

Surely someone with a working dinghy will give me a ride off this boat!

When Hans and I arrived back in Florida we already had seven doctors appointments scheduled. We are both believers in preventative medicine but since our insurance coverage is basically an HMO and good only in Florida and we'd been in PA for a few months we had no choice.

So, now, in addition to taxi-ing Wilbur ashore for his preventative therapy (i.e; just us avoiding poopy revenge attacks aboard the Knotty Cat in our absence), and when we aren't trying to figure out why the dinghy motor has become a huge stinker leaving us adrift in the mooring field, we sit in doctors' offices filling out paperwork. Unfortunately though, it seems like every appointment we keep just spawns itself into yet another one. Colonoscopy? An office visit first, then the procedure, then a follow-up. Cataracts? Office visit, possible PCP visit next (even though you were there for a physical last week), then hopefully surgery and of course another follow-up. Mammogram? Office visit first... ad nauseum. Our original seven appointments have morphed into thirteen so far and I expect that number will grow.

Oh, and after you finally figure out which lab your insurance covers for blood work just try to make an appointment. The other day I sat in our car on my phone for an entire hour while Hans was at one of his doctors appointments (and trying not to worry about what might be happening to the groceries we'd gone and bought that were sitting in our trunk). After a half hour on hold with our insurance carrier I finally got the number of a lab. And then the fun really started. My entire transaction with the lab involved me 'talking' to a woman's computer generated voice and while I'm not a fan of this kind of service I admit I did get an appointment rather quickly. It was only after I hung up that I realized I'd gone and committed to an afternoon appointment when my blood-work was supposed to be done in the AM.

I googled the lab and dialed their local number. I then hit the number 0 on my phone in that old tried and true method of bypassing the 'voice' in order to speak to a real person.

The following is our dialogue.

Voice (far too cheerful because she knew she held the cards): You've indicated you'd like to speak to a person. I'm sorry (no she wasn't), that option isn't available. Please visit our website at

I'd already been to that website and it hadn't helped at all so I called the original number back in order to talk to the voice who'd been so helpful the first time around.

Voice: How can I help you? (She kindly gave me a list of options. I chose 'reschedule an appointment', SIMPLE!)

Voice: Would you like to reschedule a date, time, or location?

Me: Date and time.

Voice: You'd like to reschedule a date and time. Great (really? that's great?)! What day would you like?

I chose the same date. I just wanted morning instead of afternoon.

Voice: You chose February eighth. What time would you like?

Me (getting all excited because this really was simple after all): 10:00!

Voice (dramatic pause): Ohhhh, I'm sorry! That time isn't available. Let me tell you what times I do have. I have 2:45 and 4:30.

Me: NO!

Voice: Okay. Let's pick a different day. What day would you like?

Me: February ninth.

Voice: You chose February ninth. What time would you like?

Me: 10:00.

Voice: (dramatic pause): Ohhhh, I'm sorry! That time isn't available. Let me tell you what times I do have. I have 1:15 and 2:30.

Me: NO!

Voice: Okay. Let's pick a different day. What day would you like?

Me (in addition to getting really tired of Voice's phony sympathy and ready to tear my hair out for fear I'd have to go through an entire calendar month): You **%#ing bitch!

Voice (dramatic pause and then quite primly): I'm sorry, I don't understand that request (oh yes she did!). Voice (continuing in a wounded tone): What day would you like?

Feeling bad now that I'd offended Voice, I picked another day and she finally gave gave me my 10:00 appointment.

Now I just have to hope for a calm, non-windy morning in order to get ashore without the dinghy motor failing and getting soaked in order to pass out while getting my blood drawn.

But before that happens Wilbur will want to go ashore because he knows the other marina dogs have marked his spots from the previous day and the marina employees are just dying to see him...

Multiply this times thirteen and you now have an idea of what life is like for us here on the waters of Florida.

Noooo! Don't make me get back on the boat! I have to piss on that tree that Harry just pissed on!