My latest medical bill arrived. This was a follow-up to the doctor’s office. On that day, I was weighed and then peed in a cup connected to a computer to measure my flow and output. Then a nurse asked me some questions about how I was doing, before the doctor came in, read the reports, and made some follow-up actions. Including waiting — they were overbooked and I waited twenty minutes to see him — peeing, and talking, I was out of there in about forty minutes.
Before going further, I want to say that I’m amazed and grateful that my military retirement gives me health benefits. I can’t say that enough. That’s not what this is about. This is about a neophyte in the healthcare’s billing process.
The bill began as a total of $277.10. That’s not bad, I thought. Insurance covered $59.36. Cool. Then, total adjustments and discounts were $180.84. Of that, $4.10 was a discount given to me for the prompt payment of previous bills. The other $176.74 was an insurance adjustment. The total due for me to pay is $36.90.
I’m not complaining so much as stating my surprise and confusion. What in the world is that insurance adjustment that reduces the bill by sixty-three percent? Is it a volume thing between Tricare and Asante? Makes me wonder about the original bill and its legitimacy.
I don’t know. The discount wasn’t explained. I suppose I could do an Internet search, but, well, I’d rather just note it and press on, at least for today.
Floofquest (floofinition) – 1. A housepet’s arduous or determined journey to achieve something or reach or capture an object, such as a red dot on the floor or a buzzing fly. 2. People’s efforts to find a new housepet. 3. Rescuer’s efforts to find and help animals.
In use: “The new young dog discovered treats after he’d arrived in his new home and came out of his shell. Within days, he began a floofquest for treats whenever a human went to the kitchen. And with those big eyes of his and his happy grin, it mostly worked.”
You ever play with those idle daydreams about your life and where you’re at? Maybe think, if I wasn’t married, or didn’t have kids, or this business, or this job, I’d be gone? Think about getting on that long train running and disappearing?
It’s not that your life is so terrible, but you’ve wearied. The sameness of your routines bury you. You eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner, perhaps varying it by the day of the week, perhaps spicing it up by a change of season. The sameness is unrelenting, with breaks for holidays. Once that holiday ends, though, it’s back on the bus, back on the line, back in the cubicle or the office, back with the laundry and dishes, back in the car in a car, racing to work so you can make up the hours and race back home. Then you sit down and watch variations of the same television shows, movies, and sports.
Maybe, instead of disappearing, your fantasy is that you make it big because money, while it won’t buy you happiness, can give you enough room to breathe and try to do go to some of the places of your dreams, something that will break the damn sameness of your existence. Your fantasies veer toward winning the lottery or publishing a book that becomes a best seller, or finally getting recognized and promoted at work.
Doobie Brothers noticed that most people stay where they are because of love. Maybe it’s the love for another person, or maybe it’s the love of the place where you were born, or where you live. Without that love, where would you be now?
Sorry. Pre-coffee rant. Monday morning blahs. The same old song and dance.
While working on the yard and house today, songs run through my head. I don’t mind it if they’re barefoot, but some of them wear heavy combat boots. That leaves a mark.
One song was the Rupert Holmes song, “Escape”. Most know it as “The Piña Coladas Song”. It’s all about how badly Rupert and his lovely lady were doing. He sees an ad in the newspaper’s personal columns and reads, “If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain. If you like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape. Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape.”
So he writes to the paper, answering the ad. They meet, and guess what? It’s his own lovely lady that he’s meeting. She’s the one that put the ad in the paper! So, Rupert continues, then we laughed for a moment and I said, “I never knew
That you like piña coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain. And the feel of the ocean and the taste of champagne.”
Mind you, she’s advertised for a lover; he answered that ad. They were both looking for someone else.
At this point, in real life, if he said, “I never knew that you like piña coladas, she’d reply, “That’s because you never listen to me.” Then it’d probably be on. He’s already confessed that he was tired of her. She’s clearly tired of him, too.
Yeah, I don’t see a happy ending here. I don’t think that either one is the lover that the other one was trying to find.
Of course, my mind also suggested, “Well, maybe it’s a small town. What are the odds of her putting the ad in and him answering? Those odds improve if it’s a small town.”
Then my mind went all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on me. I imagined the bar patrons familiar with the situation saying, “Oh, no, here we go again.”
I concluded from this that my romantic band of my spectrum of being must be tiny.
Floofball (floofinition) – A broad set of games involving housepets and round objects. Balls may be used, but blueberries and peas suffice, as do lids, buttons, and pens. The rules vary, usually dependent on species. Generally, cats like to play, “Knock It Off” and dogs enjoy fetch.
In use: “She wasn’t large, but she was smart and playful, particularly enjoying floofball games. While an expert at “Knock It Off”, which she played on the bedroom dresser at one in the morning every day, she also starred at knocking down bouncing ping-pong balls, and was a champion playing fetch with plastic jingle balls.”
I used to be an avid motorsports fan. I thrived on the exploits of Dan and Mario, Bruce and Denny, Jody and Giles, Keke, Niki, James, Alan and Alain, Aryton and Mark. I still keep abreast of it, but it’s become a complicated relationship.
I was recently reading Mark Hughes at MotorSport. He’d written a mid-season recap of how Formula 1 teammates fared in qualifying against one another. About one driver, he said, in essence, that the driver was still correcting and reacting to the car, that he hasn’t been able to get into a flow with driving it.
That’s how I often feel with creating a novel. Days come and go where I feel like I’m chasing the scenes, acting, and reacting. I’m not able to get ahead of it. I blame the muses for not showing up, for mumbling guidance, changing their minds, or disagreeing with one another, trapping me and my writing in their battle. But then, building on experience and effort, suddenly I fall into the flow. You know the flow when you’re there. Time and the world seem to vanish, because you’re inside your creation. Scenes spin into being like magic. Dialogue leaps into your head and onto the page. Decisions are made; you hold your breath at what’s happened, and walk away spent.
Today’s session isn’t a flowing session…yet. The muses seem to be sleeping in. Every sound from grinding to talking heard in the coffee shop feels like a personal assault.
The flow doesn’t always come easy. When it does, it’s a spoiler. Yesterday was one of those days. I walked in, sat down, wrote, edit, revised, cleaned it up, and departed. See how that would spoil me?
Time to put my head down and try again to write like crazy, at least one more time.