The Medical Bill

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.

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Breaking it Down

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

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.”

 

 

Dead Voice

The dead voice comes from my girlfriend’s friend

She tried to tell what was to come in the end.

She said, “You think she loves you and she probably does,

but she’s a minute lover, and your minute’s almost up.”

I declined to hear her lines, I knew what the was, was.

Because I knew better, I knew how I feel, I knew the moment,

I knew my feelings were real.

That must count for something in a life of change.

If you can’t trust yourself, what else remains?

I told myself, she’s wrong, it may have been that way before,

but this sex is love, of that I was sure.

Fast forward the way that time flies in our lives.

Like birds we see in the corner of our eyes.

Here and then gone leaving echoes of their songs,

leaving us to wonder and question, where’s it all gone?

 

Floofatorium

Floofatorium (floofinition) – A large building or hall used for animal gatherings, typically to witness speeches or stage performances, or to have very large meals.

In use: “Walking through his house and spotting multiple food bowls and feeding stations for their thirteen cats and seven dogs, he thought that his house was beginning to resemble a floofatorium.”

Hot Coffee

He said, “Coffee.” Then he looked aside. “It’s getting hot out there.”

“Yes.” She smiled. “I’m surprised that you want hot coffee on a day like this.”

“I like the smell of hot coffee.” He grinned. “It helps me focus.”

Nodding, she slid a mug of steaming coffee across the counter. “I know what you mean.”

Eat the Rich

“Eating the rich has no nutritional value.”

I read that on the package, in the nutritional panel, before I buy the cookies. Nothing about fiber, sugars, or fat. “No vitamins are in this product,” the manufacturer claims. Serving size is stated, “Whatever you can pack in.” My kind of cookies.

I’d gone to the store for something snaky and discovered the “Eat the Rich” cookies. I put them after musing about whether these will satisfy my needs, but take no chances and add a hefty brownie from the bakery. After arriving home, I open the cookie package with tenderness, preserving the package so I can close it later to preserve the cookies’ freshness. I also like that cookie Mount Rushmore of rich people on the front. Trump, Gates, the Koch Brothers, and Jamie Dimon are easily recognized. So is the Queen of England.

I pull a few cookies from the bag. Naturally, I want to eat Trump first. Well, I don’t know if that’s natural, but it is my impulse. The bag’s back lists all the rich cookies that they make but caution that not all the rich may be inside. They warn, too, some cookies might be broken.

All the cookies are busts of rich people. I find a Donald J. Trump. Orange, the resemblance is pretty good, for a cookie. I sniff it for impressions and get nothing. I figure, the cookie being orange, it might taste like pumpkins or orange, maybe lemon or some other citrus flavor. No; it tastes like cold and greasy McDonald’s Big Mac and French fries. Despite that, I eat the whole thing. I feel a little sick when I finish it. It leaves a bad aftertaste.

Half a cup of hot coffee dilutes the aftertaste. I check out other rich cookies and discover the cookies have the people’s names on the back. Bill Gates. David Koch. Queen Elizabeth. Mark Cuban. Alice Walton. Howard Schultz. Musk. Bezos. Zuckerberg. Sergey Brin.

David Koch’s cookie is white as a plastic Starbucks lid. No smell to it. I take a bite. Hard and crunchy, it has no taste. Frosted pink, with a pink hat. Queen Elizabeth is more appealing. Nibbling on her hat, I’m rewarded by a sweet raspberry lemonade taste. She’s so yummy, I eat her all.

I find a Larry Ellison but I don’t want to eat it and move on to another shortbread offering, Mark Zuckerberg. He’s white-faced with brown hair, with a frosted white shirt and the shoulders of a blue suits showing. I munch on the suit. A flavor I can’t identify overwhelms me. Another bite also mystifies me, reminding me of raw broccoli covered with milk chocolate. I want another bite. Sourness coats my tongue. Dill pickles. Despite that, I want one more bite. A black licorice flavor rises.

Half the cookie is gone. I figure I’ll finish it and stop. Zuckerberg’s head tastes like cotton candy one one side and bad tuna fish on the other. Two bites remain. First one is lemony but the second one tastes like forty cats shat in my mouth.

I drink the rest of my coffee to drown the flavors. After a minute, I start looking through the cookies for another Zuckerberg. That first, mystifying flavor haunts me. I don’t have any more Zuckerberg cookies. I head to the store to buy another bag, but it’s like they say: Zuckerberg might not be in the next bag. Although the bags cost ten dollars each, I buy three bags to improve my chances of getting a Zuckerberg.

Driving home, I wonder about that. He reminds me of Facebook. I don’t know what I’ll get but I feel like I must keep looking.

***

This is entirely fake news. I don’t know if “Eat the Rich” cookies exist outside of my imagination. They were just a whim springing out of a glance at a bag of frosted animal cookies.

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