I got a bill from the doctor’s office for the first time I saw his nurse practitioner about at my Popeye’s Elbow. $39.00 for the clinic visit and after the “Medicare Insurance Adjustment” the grand total came to $107.43. What the heck? Insurance adjustments are supposed to lower your bill, not raise them by $68.43. I called their billing service and was told that Medicare likes to help you get to your deductible faster. “By making me pay for services I’m not getting? That makes no sense what so ever!” I told her. “I know,” she replied. “You’ll have to call Medicare for a more comprehensive explanation. We can't do anything about it.” Medicare takes forever and a day to send out their Summary Notices but when it gets here you can bet your grocery money that I’ll be calling about that $68.43 “adjustment.” In the meantime I was told I should pay the bill in full. It’s been years since I’ve racked up enough doctor appointments in a calendar year to satisfy my Medicare deductible before November. And I like it that way because that means I haven’t been sick. What a crazy, stupid change in Medicare if it pans out not to be a mistake. What if I didn’t have an extra seventy bucks to throw around on something I didn’t get?
The next day I got another bill from the doctor’s office, this time for $52.00 and after the “Medicare Insurance Adjustment” it was reduced down to $43.39. I called again. I was told the first bill was for the use of the clinic room, the second was for the services of the nurse practitioner. I used the bathroom while I was there so I'm surprised I didn't get billed for a toilet paper and flushing fee!
Service people saw the surly side of me this week. My irrigation company called two weeks ago and wanted to come out this week Wednesday to turn my system on and fix any heads that winter may have damaged. Great, I could be home then but the scheduler couldn’t give me a window of time they’d be here. “I’ll let you know later,” he promised. He didn't. Tuesday morning I called him and asked if he could give me a window for the next day. “I’ll call you after six when I have the route set,” he said. I replied---and not too nicely, I might add---that I liked their old system better. “What was the old system?” he asked and I told him that the guy who did his job for years before he took it over always gave us a window of three hours in the same phone call when he’d set the date. “I can do that when I call tonight.” “A lot of good that does,” I snapped, “when I’ve had to keep the entire day open for two weeks waiting for you to call with a time!” Fortunately, the young guy who showed up to do the work was a sweetie pie and I didn’t give him a lick of surly or sass.
Thursday the tide was about to change. When I came out of the grocery store I loaded my bounty into the car, hopped in the driver’s seat and hopped back out to take a sheet of notebook paper off my windshield. In block print, no punctuation or capitalization---a sure sign the writer was under thirty---were the words, “have a happy day” followed by a happy face drawing. I looked around and of course no one was around to see me smile. Then a cynical thought crossed my mind. Maybe someone scratched or dented my car and he/she left that note because someone saw it happen and the note writer was pretending to leave their contact information. I walked around the car, carefully eyeballing the gray metal and plastic. It was fine. I was truly the recipient of a random act of kindness. I kept the note and I’ll pass it on to another unsuspecting soul who will probably wear a silly smile all afternoon like I did---hopefully without my momentary cynical thought.
Life was good again and it got better on Friday when I went to a lecture called, What Happens When You Tickle an Elephant's Toes? Crazy name but an interesting lecture about the Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, which is a place where dozens of elephants live who’ve been abused and neglected. The woman giving the lecture took part in one of those volunteer programs where she paid to spend two weeks working at the sanctuary bathing, walking and feeding the elephants who live there. She’s a fascinating person. She works in a Search & Rescue K9 Unit and has been to over 40 countries. Her vacations are never your standard, hotel and tour bus kind of vacations. She finds these off the wall, ecotourism vacations that I’d never do but love hearing about. Why is it that some of us are doers and others, like me, are their cheerleaders? In my next life I want to be a doer who finds out firsthand that if you tickle an elephant’s toes they "laugh" just like we do and who learns that elephants are so smart they'll pack grass up inside the bells they wear around their necks to make them stop ringing when they play hide and seek with their Mahout. ©
NOTE: Ecotourism is defined as, “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.” In other words you pay to work to make a difference for good causes. Volunteer for Wildlife
Photo at the top is of an elepant bell.
Photo at the top is of an elepant bell.