Self’s Horoscope for Today, Tuesday, 18th of March

Self’s horoscope for the day says:

Don’t be thrifty with your love. Lavish your sweetie with affection and attention every chance you get. After all, some investments are priceless.

**@@!!

Who writes these things?

Self had an appointment to see her doctor this afternoon. It’s not like she wanted to. But there was a call on Monday from the nurse, saying that self had to come in to discuss the results of her latest blood tests. The nurse sounded so serious that self got scared. Did she have leukemia? No, nothing so dramatic. Self merely had high cholesterol.

Self’s doctor is a young-ish man from Hong Kong. Today, for some reason, self found herself paying more than usual attention to what he was wearing. Pants: a kind of soft brown tweed, with front pleats and cuffs. Pointed leather shoes. White long-sleeved shirt with stiff collar. And a gold tie. Yes, gold. With great black calligraphy all over it. Self was put in mind of Holland Cotter’s article on “Wang Xizhi Watching Geese.”

The doctor said that self’s cholesterol was 238 (which meant nothing to self), and her LDL was 150-something (which also meant nothing to self). He then informed self he would give her a prescription for Lipitor (Oh dear: old person’s medicine).

These, he told self, will not cure her problem, but may prevent further complications: clogged arteries, even perhaps strokes. Self then blithely informed doctor that her grandmother had died of a stroke (in the parking lot of Sam’s, on the way to Lake Tahoe. This little detail, however, self decided to keep to herself). “As a matter of fact,” self continued, “I think my grandfather died of a stroke as well.” (Self! Must you forever be sharing your little stories? Don’t forget this is a doctor, whose eyes this afternoon are rather red, most likely from fatigue)

Poor Dr. ___ then feels compelled to explain that high cholesterol is a natural function of aging. Something in the way self has arranged her face prompts him to add hastily: “Not that I’m saying you are old.” Self hastens to assure him: “No, no, I AM old!”

And Dr. ____ continues, as if he has not heard self: “When babies are born, the cholesterol is used up to protect brain cells. But at your age, brain cells are dying, not growing” — Self is finding all this information exceedingly fascinating — “and they disappear, or go away, or die, who knows?”

“Hence,” he winds up, “the high cholesterol!”

“Oh, thank you!” self replies, impish as ever (am afraid her tone of ironic happiness is totally lost on Dr. ___ , however).

Then self gets up, and on the way out she stops by the receptionist to inquire about how much she owes. And this is the reply:

    $115.51 for a doctor’s visit last January (Self is under the impression all she did was sit and chat in the doctor’s office for 15 minutes). Apparently, there is a $250 annual deductible before her Blue Cross insurance kicks in. Whew, it’s a good thing self remembered to bring her American Express card!
    $20 for office visit co-pay (It used to be $10, dear blog reader. And here self was thinking she’d have money left over to buy a box of Salonpas to bring with her to Tel Aviv. But that was the last $20 in her wallet. In fact the last bill of any kind in self’s wallet)

And, that’s not all, receptionist said. There was still an unpaid bill from last November.

Self walks out of there thinking grimly about how everything, even sitting for 15 minutes and chatting about cholesterol, costs money. It seems to be bleeding out of self’s and hubby’s bank accounts at the moment: paying fat checks to the IRS, then the dentist’s bill, and now the doctor. And none of this — not the dentist or the doctor — results in any discernible improvement in self’s state of mind or health or what-have-you. Self knows she is too poor to afford dental implants (which dentist is urging on her), and her Lipitor costs $50/ month, and why does she have to pay that much just for the privilege of popping a pill into her mouth every day? If Lipitor made her hair shinier or her eyes brighter she wouldn’t mind so much, but here it’s just another thing she has to add to her list of things that have to be endured. And she isn’t even truly old — yet.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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