Monday, May 09, 2022

It feels like Christmas Eve

Reg is finally taking Henry to the doctor on Monday! A neurologist! My dear friend has not had a complete brain workup since 2019, nor any more than a consult with a neurologist since before the pandemic kicked into full gear in 2020.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, they are returning to their general practitioner's to discuss the preliminary results and talk about Henry's general health. (Sleeping too much, drinking too much, not eating.)

For some reason, since Henry's accident, Reg has insisted that he knows best. He doesn't. Ever since Henry lost his job last April (he unwisely retired), he has been unraveling both physically and mentally. He has needed care for a long time.

Now he's getting it! I am hopeful for answers. I am hopeful for a treatment plan. I am hopeful.

A valve replacement, a cane, dental implants and LTC insurance

Saturday was sunny, a warm and happy day for us to meet at Petterino's, a Chicago institution. It's best known for apres theater, but it can get awful noisy when people gather there pre- or post-curtain. That's why I'm glad my friends and I landed there for lunch at 1:45. The matinee crowd was off to the theater by the time we got there.

It was the first time this particular group of us were together this year. Mindy, John and I met 41 years ago. Mindy and her husband met 40 years ago. That's a lot of history! For example, it occurred to me as we sat together this Mother's Day weekend that I've been through the death of all six of their parents, and they helped me through mine. 

We were in our 20s when we met. We are so not those people anymore. Mindy asked us to go around the table and talk about our health challenges. I thought this was an odd conversational gambit at the moment, but it did put the passage of time in perspective.

John (66) needs his cane all the time now. He simply gets too fatigued without it. It make stairs impossible for him (that's how we ended up at Petterino's). He currently takes Entresto and his doctor wants to add another to his heart regimen, but John is resistant because he can't afford it (even with Medicare). His doctor is weighing other options. He has drastically cut back on his drinking. For the first time in all the years we've known one other, he just had water with his meal. This shocked me. Really. The first time I recall seriously discussing this with him was 15 years ago, and he was adamant then that he was going out his own way. On the one hand, I'm grateful because I love him very much. On the other hand, I'm concerned that perhaps this means he's giving up.

Alan (68) is still working full-time, currently as a contractor for a company that manufactures/sells gift cards to retailers. Like John, he no longer drinks because, like John, he has congenital heart trouble. He is awaiting a procedure for an aortic valve replacement. Both he and Mindy are amazed that it will be minimally invasive. His hair is very white and thin, but he looks distinguished, not sickly. He was excited to talk about his golf trip to Hilton Head.

Mindy (66) is still working, too, also as an independent contractor. Since I'm the only one still on a health plan from an employer, there was a lot of talk about Medicare. She is enthusiastic that she qualified for long-term care insurance and many discounts. 

I (a child of 64) explained that at this point, I am working for the dental plan. I told the table about Alex, and about how wrong-headed everything is at work right now with upper management. I reiterated two points: 1) I will continue to act in my client's best interests, even if it annoys my new bosses and 2) they will have to fire me because I won't quit. I want my 17+ weeks of severance. I want to make them justify the lay off of a 64-year-old woman to the State of Illinois Department of Employment Services. I am feeling feisty, and I have no more fucks left to give. 

And here's the best part: On her way out, a woman who was sitting at the next table stopped and said, "I was listening and I think you're right. Make them pay! Make it hard for them!" I thanked her, and touched my heart. I have a fan!