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By Ginger Kuenzel, DLE Alum, Speaker, Author, Editor, Translator, Corporate Consultant, Adirondacks Enthusiast, Hague, NY/ Englewood, FL
My health insurance company called recently to say they wanted to check in on me as a new member of their Medicare plan. If they think they’re going to find a feeble old woman who is easily confused, can’t keep her meds straight and has lots of tripping hazards in her home, I thought to myself, I’ll show them.
On appointment day, I dressed in my workout clothes, even splashing water on my shirt to make it look like I’d worked up a sweat. The nurse who showed up was a bouncy pony-tailed blonde named Amy. She set her huge backpack on my floor and started unpacking it—just like Mary Poppins’ magic bag. Out came a laptop, a blood pressure cuff, a scale, a device to measure my height, an oxygen monitor, a needle to prick my finger and a cup for me to pee in. I’d never seen this much medical equipment even in my doctor’s office. Apparently we senior citizens require extra care.
Amy opened her laptop and began asking questions. “This is just to verify that you are the correct patient,” she said as she typed in my answers. She explained that she had once gotten about 15 minutes into an appointment before realizing that she was in the wrong house. The lady, Amy told me, never questioned why she was there. She answered one question after another about her medical history—until they got to the birthdate question. That’s when the mistaken identity became apparent.
“I could see that she was just lonely and wanted company,” Amy told me with a wink. “So I closed my laptop, packed up all my things and told her I could stay for lunch if she had something good.”
I was pretty sure that Amy was just kidding, though I couldn’t be sure. I started thinking about what I had in my refrigerator that I might be able to offer for lunch—in case she decided to invite herself. In anticipation of the visit, I had loaded my fridge with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt and cottage cheese, carefully arranging them in front of the leftover pizza and Chinese take-out boxes, just in case a fridge survey was part of the visit.
“You don’t seem to have anything wrong,” she said after doing all her tests. “I’m used to seeing some real train wrecks. Have you had any operations?”
I told her that I’d had one, but it was not recent. She wanted to hear about it.
“I shattered my ankle during a skydiving jump, and everything had to be put back together with a screw,” I told her. I related how the guys I was with had put me in the back of their VW bus and gotten me drunk on Boone’s Farm apple wine to ease the pain during the hour-long trip to the hospital. When we arrived, the orthopedic surgeon examined me and announced that he’d have to wait until the next day to operate—by which time he hoped my blood alcohol level would be considerably lower.
I was feeling increasingly confident that I was going to come through this visit with flying colors. Amy was very impressed with my vitals. Next came the memory test. Amy said that she was going to tell me three words that I would have to remember. She would ask me for them a few minutes later. The words were pig, pink and pork. “Just remember: Pigs are pink, and we get pork from them. And they all start with p.” About 30 seconds later, she asked if I remembered the words. Again, flying colors on this test. What a surprise!
By now, I was getting bored with the visit. Looking at my watch, I said, “Listen, Amy. We have to wrap this up now. My Zumba class is starting in exactly 15 minutes, and I don’t want to be late.”