Coffee heat rising

Adventures in Pharmaceutical Marketing

Okay, so day has dawned. Accordingly, I leave the house at 8:30 to make the 20-minute drive down to the dentist’s office. Because I know which roads the City has kindly ripped up, blockaded, flooded, exploded, and whatnot, I fly in the door right on time, to the minute: 9 a.m.


Yeah. No dentist.

Whyyy, one might ask?

“Wrong day.”

Waddaya mean, wrong day?

“It’s Monday. Not Friday. Today is Friday.”

Evidently I wrote it down on the wrong day on the calendar. Come to think of it, though, it’s a minor miracle that she’s there, because she’s waiting for her out-of-town relatives to show up and meet her there, whiling away the time fiddling with some new computer software. But she’s getting worried, because she thinks they should’ve gotten there by then.

I say the traffic is its usual bitch-ish self: they’re probably tangled up in whatever mess the city has kindly created along any of the several routes whereby they could have found their way to Dr. D’s office. She says yeah, that’s what she’s thinkin’…but she’s still worried. I ask her if she needs me to do anything for her — pick up some office supplies (there’s an office supply store just down the street), donuts, or any such. She says naaahhh….the truth is, all she really has to do is wait for the relatives to surface.

I’ve already made my way down to her precincts by avoiding Main Drag East, whose blacktop the City has bladed off all the way from Gangbanger’s Way down the entire length of the central city to someplace south of the Doc’s office, mile on mile on catastrophic mile. To accomplish this evasion, I’ve driven way out of my way over to Throughway Drag, a long, dreary strip of asphalt that will take you from way, way south of the river through downtown, through mid-town, through North Central and then the blight that is Sunnyslop, up and up and up till you reach the 101 freeway and from there dumps you into tract-littered desert, a deeply dreary journey, indeed.

Needing a flu shot, I decide to navigate back up Throughway Drag, because it takes you past a Walgreen’s and a Safeway, both of which dispense the flu vaccine. I don’t really need anything else in either store, but both of them are more or less on the way. Sounds propitious, hm?

Hit the Safeway, a right turn off Throughway, easy to access. Not very crowded. Prance to the back of the store, where the pharmacy resides, and find just one (only 1!!) customer ahead of me at the pharmacist’s counter.

She is a very elderly woman, all wrapped up for wintertime (it’s 105 out there now as I write this) and leaning on a walker as she tries to fill out a form the pharmacist has inflicted on her.

No kidding: this thing is PAGES long. And no mere 8.5 x 11 pages: page on page on page of 8.5 x 13-inch paper, covered with lines for her to fill out.

The poor soul is sifting through the goddamn thing, line by line by interminable line, trying to figure out what they want her to fill in and trying — with little success — to dredge the required data out of her memory.

She struggles and she struggles and she struggles and…

I stand and I stand and I stand and I stand…and….

Finally I think OH FUCK IT! It’ll take less time to drive across the intersection to the Walgreen’s, park in their lot, hike to the back of the store,, and get the damn shot there. So I leave her doing battle with Safeway’s paperwork and head across the street.


There it only takes about 10 minutes to get the attention of one of the two clerks. I say I just want a flu shot. She says no problem, and proceeds to give me the Covid Third-Degree. I go no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no…no… to another eight or ten minutes of questions that could easily have been condensed into three or four questions. Fork over my Medigap card and my Medicare ID.

She asks me for my “Blue and Red Card.”


“I’m sorry,” I say. “I have no idea what on earth you’re talking about.”

She says, “You know. Your Blue and Red Card. Your Medicare card.”

“You mean this one?” I give her the photocopy that I’ve been carrying around ever since my original Medicare card was stolen.

She looks more closely at it. “Ohhhh, yeah! That’s it.”

No kidding, kemo sabe?

Now as we proceed, it develops that she cannot figure out how to enter the data to charge up a flu shot on Medigap/Medicare. She asks her coworker how to do it. Coworker, visibly annoyed (because she’s visibly very busy) drops what she’s doing to instruct.

In the process, our heroine remarks that she was off work for eight weeks and so has forgotten how to work the computer.

Uhm. You forgot how the computer works in eight weeks? 

Definitely not the brightest rhinestone on the pharmacist’s lab coat.

It takes her another eight or ten minutes to figure out this two-minute process, during which another elderly woman hoves up to the drive-through window in her Cadillac, whence she asks for something that was supposed to be ready. She is given a nice runaround.

I think If I’d stayed behind the Safeway crone I’d be on my way home by now. Matter’o’fact, I’d probably be in the house by now.

The paperwork filled out and the stabber in hand, I ask if they could please send a notice over to the Mayo to let them know (as the doc there requested) that I received this inoculation.

Now…get this: She says “Where’s that?”

No kidding. Another sentence or two, and it becomes startlingly clear that this little lady has NEVER HEARD OF THE MAYO CLINIC. Not only does she have no clue where it is, she doesn’t know what it is.

I think…I’ll bet you were in one of my 300-level “professional” writing courses, weren’t you? Probably one of the classmates who never heard of the Civil War or never imagined it happened during the 19th century. Whenever that was…

Holy shit. Next time I’ll drive out to the Mayo to get a shot.

Hallelujah! Another miracle…in spite of it all

A couple of sweet little miracles occurred today…

This morning I had to traipse to the Mayo for yet another allergy test. We’ve ascertained that, despite earlier indications to the contrary, I am not allergic to ibuprofen.

Said earlier blessing has relieved Yrs Truly of substantial pain from the bunged-up wrist, elbow and shoulder. Yea verily, it is like unto a miracle.

So today I had an appointment, mid-morning, to schlep out there — waaaayyyyy out there — to be tested for the allergy to penicillin that was diagnosed before my son was born, some 43 years ago.

Yes. for the past 43+ years, we have proceeded on the assumption that a rash incident on a prescription for penicillin indicated an allergy to said penicillin. Even though the Little Woman tried to convince the Big Bad Doctor that the rash in question (and the fever, and the array of miseries) looked a whoooole lot like German measles, a childhood ailment she had escaped by being largely isolated from children throughout her formative years.

It’s a long, long, long way from the Funny Farm to the Mayo Clinic. Nevertheless, I figure the effort is worth it. So off I go, shortly after dawn has cracked.

I get HALFWAY ACROSS THE VALLEY on the journey to the clinic — planning to go, on the way back home, by the upscale Costco to set in motion the process to get the glasses fixed (the glasses that were gouged up when I fell flat on my face in the dark over a busted chunk of sidewalk), and then by the upscale Fry’s to pick up enough food for another week — and then it dawned on me:

I forgot my credit-card holder! 

Sheee-ut! The driver’s license is hidden in the car. But…but…no credit card: no groceries. No Costco card: no way to get into Costco’s eyeglass department.

I swear, the older I get, the less competent I get. In particular, the fewer thoughts I can keep in mind at any given time. Admittedly, there were several things to remember:

  • Charge up computer, hope it will last for the time I have to sit around and twiddle thumbs
  • Leave money and a note for cleaning lady
  • Pick up mess so cleaning lady can find a surface to clean
  • Empty coffee grounds on plants outside
  • Wash French press so cleaning lady doesn’t clog the drain by dumping coffee grounds down the sink
  • Write shopping list
  • Dump trash so cleaning lady can haul it out to the alley
  • Wash up, comb hair after a fashion (which is no fashion at all…)
  • Paint face
  • Hide the quarter I use to pop open endlessly annoying eye-shadow and eyebrow pencil cases (otherwise cleaning lady tries to put it “away,” where I can’t find it)
  • Correspond with financial adviser
  • Be sure dog is in house and safe
  • Get credit cards, drop in pocket
  • Find car keys
  • Remember to load computer into the car
  • Forget shopping list

Yeah. None of these things seem to be items that I’m competent to handle anymore… Well, except for the last one.

Speaking of Financial Adviser: I’d asked him if he felt we could spring loose another few thou’ so I can trade in the hated Venza on some older car that still has intelligible controls. And by the way, did he know a car broker?

He wrote back and said the partners there use the owner of Gateway Chevrolet for advice and consent about buying cars. Now…I wouldn’t have another Chevy if you gave it to me…but if he can do actual car brokering, well…maybe.  So asked him to get us in touch. Let’s see what he has to say.

The guys at the Scottsdale Business Association have a fella they like to use…but he gives me the whim-whams. Why? Because he owns a used-car lot. Duh! Guys! That’s not a car broker. That’s a car salesman.


A-N-N-N-D after two hours of cooling my heels in the allergy testing department, we now know I’m not allergic to penicillin or amoxycillin.

No. Not at all.

We’ve proceeded on the assumption that I am allergic, because WAAAYYYYYY back in the day, before the Kid was born, I developed a rash and a fever after taking some penicillin prescribed by the good Dr. Daley. I surmised that I was enjoying a case of German measles (the symptoms exactly coinciding with that ailment). But when I suggested that to Dr. Daley, who hates it when women self-diagnose, he said nooooooooo, gimme a break! You’re allergic to penicillin.

And into the permanent medical record that went.

A few years go by and I decide to get pregnant. Now the gynecologist does a titer test and discovers that yea verily, I had German measles.

Sooooo….it’s unlikely that the penicillin allergy theory is correct, but no one has wanted to take a chance on it.

Meanwhile, last time I was out in the Mayo’s precincts, I learned that I’m NOT allergic, after all, to ibuprofen. Which was a kind of a miracle… On the way home, I bought a bottle of the stuff. Just the first tiny dose the Mayo folks gave me here, by way of kicking off their test, made the sore hand feel soooooooo much better! And a pill a day for about five days made that sprain one whole helluva lot more tolerable. In fact, I suspect the pain relief (or something associated with it) helped the injury to heal faster.

Life is getting a whole lot simpler, really fast.



Adventures in Medical Science: Allergy Edition

So, ohhhhh goodie, here I am at the Mayo Clinic (again!!! an hour’s drive through rush-hour traffic!) to be tested for allergic reaction to one of the several OTC meds that elicit tingling lips and swelling tongue.

They just gave me a tiny, tiny dose of ibuprofen and my lips are already tingling. Damn it! The wounded paw and the elbow and shoulder spavined in a fall a month ago still hurt. Though all that is slowly getting better, I still surely would appreciate being able to use some aspirin, or some ibuprofen, or some acetaminophen.

Apparently ibuprofen ain’t gonna make it, though. The microscopic dose they just gave me is already eliciting tingling lips and tongue. Of course, that could just be stress…I hate, hate, hate being in hospitals and doctors’ offices. My blood pressure goes right through the roof every time I have to come into one of these places.

Hmmm…. Interestingly, even that tiny bit of the stuff they gave me seems to be masking some of the pain, though. If I knew for sure this was not going to cause an eventual anaphylactic reaction, the trade-off would be worth it. But…if a ridiculously low dose like this one makes itself known, what would a full OTC pill do?

Nothing good, I’ll bet.

Finished the client’s latest math project and sent that off to him. He says page proofs for the book will arrive from the publisher in a couple of weeks (so he’s told). This is good. Very good.

I really, really would like to have a bunch more of these kinds of writers. PayPal having shut down my business with the mainland was NOT a good thing. I reckon if he’s happy with the results of the paper I just sent back to him, I’ll ask if he can refer me to other Chinese mathematicians and scientists around the US. He must know some, because academics have to go to conferences and they meet each other there, if they haven’t run into each other in various university and corporate settings.

Hm. In fact. Maybe the thing to do would be to see if I could get myself invited to one of those conferences. Yea verily, maybe the Kid and I could make a presentation on editing your own golden words…the implication being “Why an ESL Author Needs an Editor.”  😉

Another thing I could do, mebbe, is offer to proofread the page proofs for him. If I threw that in as a freebie, I’d have this one on the string for the rest of eternity…and he’d probably tell his friends.

But if I’m going to do very much more of this kinda work, I really, truly DO need to learn LaTex. This is the freebie software that mathematicians use because it handles equations handsomely and it sets type. Sorta…at least, it sets type well enough for a scholarly journal, or to produce a PDF to publish online.

When we first started copyediting for Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, the Kid and I took a LaTex short-course at the Great Desert University. Unfortunately, it was taught by a woman who had to major pedagogical shortcomings:

  • She couldn’t speak English — not intelligibly, at least.
  • And she assumed everyone in the room was fluently techie…an incorrect assumption.

Upshot was that neither one of us absorbed a thing. Even when you go to what LaTex’s users consider to be a beginner’s guide, it’s well nigh incomprehensible. And as you study this guide, you quickly realize the program is extraordinarily cumbersome. Its strongest recommendation is that it sets mathematical expressions in type.  If I were an art director for a journal or a publisher of scientific books, any day I’d rather use it solely to create jpegs of equations and formulae, and then paste those into InDesign.


Welp…been here two hours. They just gave me the final “large” dose — which is just a standard OTC ibuprofen tablet. Other than a slight headache and lip tingling and the tongue tingling, nothing has happened. With any luck, maybe this “allergy” is all in my beady little brain.

The stuff sure has helped with the hand and arm pain. But the tingling stuff gives me the whim-whams, big time. Some things may be worse than a sore hand and a spavined elbow. Like…f’r example…anaphylaxis.


Updates: Bleach and Bugs

Item: The no-chlorine, oxygen laundry bleach.

Holy mackerel. Since the stuff seems to have disappeared from the nearby grocery stores’ shelves and I couldn’t even get it from Amazon, I dropped by a Fry’s Marketplace (Kroger’s) on the way home from an appointment with Young Dr. Kildare. And yes: I did find it there. Try to guess the price…

SIXTEEN BUCKS for 88 ounces! That’s 16 cents an ounce….

So pretty clearly this is a product that’s being taken off the market. I was going to buy two bottles of it, but thought I really couldn’t afford that.

I’ve already looked at Target — they don’t have the stuff, in any brand.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go over to the Walmart — the full-service Walmart, not the grocery-store version, which we already know doesn’t carry it. Failing that, I may drive back halfway to the White Tanks to grab another bottle of it at the astonishing price. Which is, we may say in glorious understatement, not what I want to do just now.

Once the stuff is no longer available, though, it looks like you can use plain hydrogen peroxide in its place. And in the glorious tradition of the great Trent Hamm, the grand-daddy of all personal finance bloggers, you could combine the H2O2 with washing soda, fifty-fifty, to make your own DIY knockoff.

Personally, I feel washing soda is, as chemicals go, a little harsher than I want to use on my clothing and sheets, especially in the new-fangled washers that don’t do a very good job of rinsing the laundry. So I think once actual laundry-quality O2 bleach is gone, I’ll be using just plain hydrogen peroxide, available in gay abandon from Costco.

At any rate…it’s annoying. Personally, I’m damn tired of seeing every product that works taken out of our sticky little hands.

Item: Pounding on Death’s Door

The bastards still aren’t letting me in!

Source: Merck Manual

Schlepped across the Valley to see Young Dr. Kildare, with whom I had a long-standing appointment. He was less than thrilled with some of my reports from the battle scene at the Mayo.

To start with, he reviewed the contents of this year’s annual physical from the Mayo and was surprised that my assigned doc there did not flag what he believes to be unacceptably high cholesterol levels. That, I think, is arguable: some might say they’re marginally high but do not yet need medication. He would put me on a med right now.

We compromised: I agreed to lay off the booze (pretty easy, since I haven’t even been able to look at a bottle of beer or wine since this damn bug set in), and he agreed to stand by for four months. Silently, I also decided to replace my regular breakfast fare of several pieces of high-quality cheese with something a little less…rich. He doesn’t know about the roquefort, the cheddar, and the assorted other spectacular dairy products with which I regularly start my days, and he ain’t about to know. 😉

Nor was he pleased to learn that the Mayo had scheduled no follow-up testing for the UTI. He felt I should head for a lab in a few weeks for another urinalysis, to be sure the E. coli in question is really, truly GONE gone.

Although this is somewhat questionable, given my age and the fact that the antibiotic made me so sick I couldn’t take an entire course uninterrupted, it made sense to me. And one good thing about doing this through his office is that he uses labs that are close to my house, as opposed to demanding that I schlep 15 miles across the Valley to use the Mayo’s facilities.

As for the present respiratory ailment that still has me barking like a sea lion, he characterized that not as a “cold” (Mayo’s diagnosis) but as bronchitis, no doubt viral. When I said I’d never had a stuffy nose with the thing, that was what elicited his present opinion. He wants to keep an eye on that, too.

Well, I think the respiratory thing is on the way out, though I’m still so exhausted that at this very moment I can barely type these words. The cough and the fatigue will, if prior experience speaks truth, continue for another four to six weeks, at which point the whole mess should start to pass.

I hope.

Drivin’, Drivin’, Drivin’…

Welp, I’m on my way…first to a hair appointment of long standing, and second to the Mayo, where they urgently wish to see me. Looks like the clindamycin is, as I tried to tell the endodontist, indeed very possibly causing a fine case of C. difficile. So it’s off to their acute care section, where I have to be at 2:40. It’s an hour’s drive, and I have to be at the hair guy at 1 p.m. So…40 minutes to Shane, another 40 minutes from his place to the Mayo…should work out just about right…

ugh. Just what I wanna do with a nice, humid 112-degree afternoon.


Like a rocket, straight across the city to lovely Olde Towne Scottsdale!…

Well… More like a mule and a flatboard…

So here I am at the hair stylist’s, about 10 minutes early. He’s still eating his lunch. Appointment isn’t until 1:00, but fortunately, suspecting the usual worst, I left 50 minutes beforehand.


Yea verily, as usual in lovely Phoenix, wherever you’re goin’, you can’t get there from here. Hence, almost an hour to make a twenty-five-minute drive was cutting it close. No sooner do I turn out of the Hood onto Main Drag East than I spot emergency lights flashing at the Desired Intersection, about a mile & a half down the road.

Dayum! think I: Wrecky-poo. Better turn left at First Intersection so as to dodge that mess.

Weirdly, there is exactly no traffic on Main Drag East. This is one of the mainest of main drags in the city. During the noon hour, lots of my fellow homicidal drivers should be dodging up and down it. Nary a soul.

So I get into the left turn lane and hope for a break in the traffic on Main Drag South, enough for me do dodge suicidally onto M.D. South, eastbound. From there it will be all the way to 12th Street and then down to Glendale, which turns into Lincoln Blvd, which will take me to Goldwater Drive, which turns into Scottsdale Road, which deposits me at Shane’s salon.

Cross-traffic on M.D. East is heavy. A cop pulls up and parks on someone’s yard, and I think Ah! He’ll direct traffic and let me turn left. No. He never gets out of his car.

So naturally I dodge suicidally in front of the Oncoming, make it onto the eastbound arterial, and fly away.

Maneuver down to Glendale, past closed stores and a bum sleeping on the sidewalk, driving driving driving.

At 24th Street our honored City Parents have Glendale/Lincoln CLOSED DOWN TO ONE LANE while they excavate the road.

Mile on mile on mile of road. Lincoln is restricted from 24th Street all the way to Tatum Blvd. This is, says Google Maps, only three miles, but when you’re puttering along at under 25 mph while you try to get to an appointment on time, it feels like about 30 miles.

Water line replacement.

I do not know why it is that wherever I’m goin’ they have the roads torn up, wrecks littering the landscapes, crazies banging around, ambulances and cops tearing back and forth…but it never, ever fails.


Oh well. I make it to Shane’s place. He does a beautiful and expensive job on my long flowing locks, chatting all the time. His brother died, sadly enough. Colon cancer. The guy lived homeless in the woods outside Flagstaff, his schizophrenia making the sound of human company an agonizing distraction.

Shane has one last photo of his brother, the two of them posing together. What a strange and heart-breaking contrast: Shane handsome, healthy and vigorous; Bob tired, gaunt, and streetworn.


From Shane’s it’s up to the Mayo Clinic, where I have an appointment a scant hour and a half after the hair get-together. This, arranged on the fly along about 9 this morning.

For the third day in a row, I have runaway diarrhea. And if you read the flyer and the online material for clindamycin, you see that clindamycin is associated with Clostridium difficile infections, and that often this comes within a few months of taking it. So…it’s tiiime!

Heavy traffic on Scottsdale Road, but not bad eastbound, halfway to Payson, and into the Mayo.

So here I am… Just talked to the cutest young doctor in training. He thinks it’s not C. diff but more likely a passing virus; maybe a bacterial infection. He thinks it’ll go away in a few days.

Let us hope so!

Doc-in-Training’s boss doctor comes in, a middle-aged soul who has the look of a person who has absorbed considerable acquired wisdom during her life. She also opines that I do not have C. diff, and reels off a number of good reasons. She offers to do a test. I say if she feels confident that this is really just a passing minor bug, then in my opinion less is more. She inclines to agree. I am out the door.

Now I have to get home. How to avoid whatever that was, if it’s still there. Three hours (plus) have passed, so presumably the mess, signal outage, whatEVER is gone by now. But if not..,.

Ah yes, if not…by the time I get there it will be High Rush Hour. Rush hour starts at 3:00 in these fine parts. That’ll add a mess to a mess.


Driving driving driving back through central Scottsdale, reflecting that the stores and malls there have hardly changed since my friends and I were in graduate school and this was our stomping ground. What has changed was the tract where my best friend B and her husband bought a little (tackily tossed-together) house on a big chunk of horse property. The structure was so cheaply built that you could see the sky where the living-room window didn’t fit the frame. The builder hadn’t even bothered to fill the gap with putty.

Shortly, she divorced her husband of the moment, mostly – truth be known – because at the time she took up with him, she was playing at being countercultural…but he really was countercultural. Alas, at heart, countercultural was not her game; under the long straight hair and the stylishly hippy clothes, she was a nice middle-class bourgeoise. When it occurred to her that he was getting more and more like his father (a dyed-in-the-wool eccentric) and that she did not want to be like his mother (to whom it fell to support the father and their three children), she flang him out.

She ended up (how, I do not know) with the house, and the debt associated therewith.

Now comes the amazing part…

Not very long after the break-up, along came a real estate developer. He wanted to buy up all the properties in that tract so he could convert the land into a shopping mall. A freeway – now known as the Pima Freeway or Loop 101 – was on the drawing board, and so the proposed mall promised to be profitable.

B refused to sell.

The developer was uncowed. He came back with new offers…the most attractive of which was “how’s about I buy you another house?”

She said, “I might consider that. But only if my mortgage payments remain the same. And it needs to have lots of space between me and the neighbors.”

Incredibly, the guy finds her a place on what was then the eastern edge of Scottsdale on over an acre of land, with a desert wash running along the back property line – adding another good 30 feet of width. The house was about 2900 well-built, handsomely equipped square feet. Basically what he did was give her a very fine home in one of the most desirable parts of Scottsdale, for the cost of the piece of junk she was living in.

She lived happily ever after there, working away as a college professor. Recently she retired, and she and her second husband sold the place for $737,620, just about enough to buy in the Pacific Northwest, whither they decamped.


Sailing homeward across the Valley on Shea Boulevard, I encountered traffic that was thick, heavy, but moving. Hit the freeway and you get the aggressive demented idiots, people who try to pass you on the right shoulder when you’re tailgating the guy who’s moving up the onramp ahead of you. Luckily, I also am aggressive and demented, and so in response to one of these this afternoon, closed the six or eight feet between myself and the guy ahead of me to four or five feet, fuckyouverymuch Jerkowitz.


So now it’s 4:19 and the Human has just made it into the Funny Farm. The light at the entrance to the ’Hood was functioning, but while I was gone, the City shut down a lane coming and a lane going, indicating that we will have to use Gangbanger’s Way for ingress and egress while they dig up the road, if we are to avoid yet another interminable traffic jam.

Minor Annoyances of the Day


…park selves at back door and arf. Human gets up (having just barely brushed the seat of its easy chair with its fanny) and lets the dogs out. Dogs go out onto the patio and stand there, staring expectantly at human.

Human: It’s 105 and overcast out here, and you want to go outside and stand?

Dogs: Well, yes. Yes. Of course.


Phone Solicitors…

…apparently are having a phone-solicitor jamboree.

Despite the wonderful call blocking device, quite a few still get through. They do this by spoofing phone numbers that are not in service (reinforcing one’s suspicion that Cox is in cahoots with them: how else would they get such extensive lists of out-of-service numbers?), or simply by calling from numbers that the device has yet to block.

Even the calls that get blocked still jangle my phone: they ring once and then are cut off. This has to do with the way the gadget has to be connected, because of the number of computers and phones and crap that are attached to the incoming cable. In one way, this is annoying: whatever you’re doing still gets interrupted, albeit very briefly. In another, it’s kinda gratifying, because you know the bastards are getting hung up on. The ones that do get through, though, set off your answering machine, so you have to listen to that thing yap. Sometimes they stay on the line long enough to cause the answering machine to pick up the “busy” signal that ensues, so you have to get up, walk to the machine in the back of the house, and delete the voice message that’s going beep-beep-beep-beep-beep….

Today I’ve had at least eight calls, about half of which have gotten through. That’s just while I’ve been here: left the house at 6:30 a.m. and didn’t get back until sometime after 11.

Whoops! There’s another one: the third from “Bountiful, Utah” today!


…definitely are having a mosquito jamboree.

Don’t know when I’ve seen so many skeeters around. I think it’s probably because I left a dish of water out for the dawgs while it was excessively hot, because I was afraid Ruby would slip out unnoticed, as she’s inclined to do.

Cassie prefers to lurk indoors, but Ruby will go out and lurk in the yard even when it’s hotter than the proverbial hubs of Hades. I do try to check to be sure she’s inside, but given my growing level of incompetence, the chance remains that she’ll get herself stuck out there in the heat.

Even with water, she wouldn’t last long at 115 degrees. It’s cooled down to 105, so I brought the mosquito habitat inside. But that left, of course, a generation of little biters flying around.

There’s a chemical-free way to keep them from chewing on you, though: turn a reasonably powerful fan to “blast” and point it at yourself. Interestingly, mosquitoes are not very strong fliers, and they can’t navigate well in a breeze. Right now we have a large box fan roaring away. Whenever I work up enough energy to get up, I’ll turn on the other three table fans in this room. The box fan is sitting here next to the sliding door, because I take it out onto the deck at breakfast time by way of discouraging the little biters in the morning.


…Really? Is it really possible that I could get the date of a Mayo Clinic appointment wrong not once, not twice, but three times?

Entre nous, I begin to doubt it.

The journey from my house to the Mayo is halfway across the galaxy. I just simply HATE driving out there. So when I needed to traipse across town by way of finding out why whatever ails me has been hanging on for the past five and a half months, I was not pleased.

I had a meeting in Scottsdale this morning, which would put me about halfway there. So I arranged an appointment at 9:10. This meant that the errands I needed to do while I was in the area where the group meets had to be deferred until next week, and some of them are things I would like to get done this week, not sometime in the far future.

So I leave the meeting early and fly across Scottsdale headed toward Payson — for reasons I can’t imagine, the Mayo built its office complex damn near out to Fountain Hills, which borders the freaking Beeline Highway. Naturally, Shea Blvd, the only way to get out there, is all dug up with “lane closed” signs all over the place. But I hit the campus just in time: run up the parking garage stairs and race into the reception area, only to be told…

“Oh, that’s not today: that’s next week! :-)”

Son. Of. A. Bitch!

This is the third time I’ve trudged way to hell and gone almost to freaking Fountain Hills and been told the appointment I had on my calendar was not for that day but for a week hence.

The first time, I put it down to my usual old-lady incompetence.

The second time, I was really pissed.

But this time? Now I’m beginning to wonder.

Does it really make sense that I would get the date wrong for a trip I truly hate loathe and despise three times?

I go to a whole lot of doctors, dentists, veterinarians, car mechanics, and whatnot. Why would this keep happening only at the Mayo? It never happens with Young Dr. Kildare or CardioDoc or the glasses guy or the dentist or the hair stylist or the vet or the business meetings or choir…so why would it happen with the Mayo and only with the Mayo? Why would these errors consistently be exactly one week off, when they’re usually made pretty far out in the future? (This one wasn’t: I made it a few days ago, but mostly you’re scheduling three or four weeks down the line.)

(Wow! Here’s the fourth call from Bountiful! This guy just does not give up! Now we’re at about 9 nuisance calls today.)

So, yeah: does it really make sense that this kind of scheduling error would happen only with the Mayo?

If they’re deliberately mis-scheduling, why? Could that make sense in even the wildest scenario?

The only possible reason I can imagine is that the Mayo doesn’t like to deal with Medicare patients. Medicare doesn’t pay enough, and collecting is a hassle for them. The Mayo prioritizes private patients over Medicare patients. They may be quietly trying to discourage me from making appointments at all. If a person makes enough wasted trips — especially if the person is elderly or disabled and it’s hard to get out there at all — maybe she’ll just give up and go someplace else.

And I certainly would, if they weren’t about the only game in town.

Overall hospitals and medical care in Arizona are pretty piss poor. In the Phoenix area, only two hospitals are rated excellent; one is the Mayo and one is a facility way to hell and gone out in Sun City. I don’t know anybody who practices in Sun City, and I sure as hell don’t want to drive as far to the westside as I have to drive to the eastside to go to a doctor.

It’s late. I’ve got to get up and start preparing the walls for the upcoming paint job. And so, away…

Why? Because endlessly annoying Facebook will not pick up the image you want to illustrate your post. It wants to pick up the banner image, which, if it’s generically the same day after day, quickly bores readers or makes them think today’s post is a repeat of yesterday’s. So the only way to force FB to use an image that has anything to do with your post is to change the banner image to fit the subject of the day. That means today’s banner image (a historic photo of four Nazis, for example) bears no relation whatsoever to the topic of yesterday’s post (ruminations on power outages, for example). So annoying.