Did You Ever Want to SCREAM?

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Imagine this.

I come from a place far away – let’s say North America, not to get too specific.

Some things that were important there before are still important now. One, in particular, is my physician of record (family doctor) who gives me my check-up every four years.

I get an urgent call from my son in Canada. He says that my doctor wants to speak with me on the phone.

I’m 64 years old. Panic time, anyone?

For two days I try to get through to my doctor. I have several deep, meaningful conversations with computers in the automated answering systems. Are they avoiding me? Am I slowly dying? I am a compulsive worrier. I can’t help it.

It’s not so much the dying bit. I made my peace with my personal demise a long time ago. It’s all part of some big plan, I guess. I can dig it.

No, they are not avoiding me and yes, I am slowly dying. We are all slowly dying. That’s what it means to be human . . . to live your life knowing that it’s coming. What lucky animals we are.

Finally, I get through to a human being.

She was calling from my doctor’s billing service. I owe them $ 72.30.

Okay, now it gets interesting. The fun is just starting.

Relieved to discover that I’m not dying very much faster than anybody else, I switch into my “let’s fix this” mode and get down to business.

She now has to enter my address into her computer.

We do okay until we get to the zip code. “That’s not enough numbers“, she says.

“It’s not a big place”, says I. (She manages to fit three digits into a box made for nine.)

“Paua New Guinea. Want me to spell it?”, says I, when she asks for the country, an event that I’ve been dreading.

“It’s not on my list“, says she, clearly exasperated now.

“Okay, that’s not a problem. Just mail the invoice to me and I’ll pay it”, I offer.

“I can’t mail anything to a foreign country“, she counters.

“Fine, no worries. Just fax it to me. I’ll give you the number”, I attempt.

“I can’t call a foreign country“, she insists.

“Ah, excuse me. Didn’t you call my son in Canada?”, is my next ploy.

“Canada is different“, she informs me.

Hmm . . . Canada is not the USA, but it’s not a foreign country. What then, exactly, is it, I wonder?

“Sheesh!”, I think. “Okay, give me the address and I’ll mail you a cheque”, now we’re getting somewhere.

Now, I’d like to go on and on and get you rolling on the floor in tears, but, sad to say, that did the trick. The cheque, as they say, is “in the mail”.

I’ll also mention that she made a snide remark that amounted to something like, “Americans should live in America!”

I could not bring myself to divulge to her the information that there are some places in the world that are better places to live than America. A shocking concept, I admit. It might have been altogether too devastating. One doesn’t want to raise too many doubts amongst a panicy population.

The phone calls cost far more than the amount of the invoice.

Makes me want to do this:

Me in a state of repose

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