Wednesday, November 18, 2009


You may not have wanted to be around me yesterday (Tuesday). I was, uh, irritable. Yeah, me! Perhaps you may not have noticed my mood: I smiled, made pleasant and even humorous statements. I may have seemed like good ole' Charlie Brow...., a mean, jolly Sometimes Saintly Nick. However, below that exterior I felt provoked unto aggravation! Or something like that.

I felt irritated because people irritated me. The beginning of the day was excellent! When I opened my mail I found a check for a very small amount of money. Very small! However, it was still twice the amount I had in the bank. That check would seem a paltry sum to most, but I was excited because I had a vision of being able to pay the (seemingly) insignificant co-pay to refill my Rx for Furosemide, the medicine that I take for congestive heart failure. I had been concerned early yesterday morning because I had taken the last tablet of Furosemide and knew I did not have the small co-pay I needed to have it refilled for another month.

Do you realize the joy I had when I opened that envelope and
found that small check which was four times what I needed for the co-pay? All I had to do was meet with three people who were coming to my house from the company with whom the Veterans Administration has a contract to provide oxygen to us lungers.

But that was the rub. The three showed up half an hour late for the appointment. And the stated purpose for the visit -- to check on the equipment that they supplied -- was, uh, a bit understated. They did much more than check the equipment!

When the three came through the door, I felt as if my home was being invaded. They went throughout my home, not only looking at the oxygen compressor and bottled oxygen that their company provides, but searching to see if I had a fully-charged fire extinguisher and working smoke alarms.

One alarm didn't beep when the commander-in-chief punched it with one of my sticks, so I handed her a nine-volt battery and pointed to the small ladder in the spare bedroom while telling her that I don't do ladders. She climbed the ladder and replaced the battery. Very good!

Up to this point I was annoyed by their lateness, arrival like a squad of Nazi Storm Troopers, and invasive behavior. However, what took place next really got me
pissed off--uh, I mean irate.

The chief inquisitor began asking me all sorts of asinine questions, such as do I ever fall down, do I use my gas stove, do I understand how to operate the oxygen compressor (huh? I've been using an oxygen compressor since 1991), do I have emergency telephone numbers written down by the phone (hell no! I have them programed into the telephone!) What was my fire escape plan? (Well, if I am in the front of the house, I grab Alex and go out the front door; if I am in the back of the house, I grab Alex and go out the back door).

While I was being interrogated, one of the other three stooges walked into my bathroom and examined the expiration dates on my medicines. He commented that one would expire in about 4 months. And, I, feeling less and less saintly, replied that I will have consumed it before it expires. Besides, WTF do my medicines have to do with oxygen provision?

Then he asked me how much I weigh! And did I want to ask VA to rent an hospital bed for my use from his company!

Do you understand what was behind my increasing irritation? Why a began feeling like I want to live as a 100% hermit? How deep inside me some primitive spark flickered with the desire to chase them out of the house with one of my samurai swords? Why I wished that Alex (who cat napped through the entire invasion) was an attack cat, maybe a puma?

Well, I remained cool and even gentlemanly. I smiled and said appropriate things and even told couple of jokes... even though I had the desire to ask them, "WTF, do I appear to be a blithering idiot?"

After the invading troops withdrew, I glanced at my watch and realized that I had only about 25 minutes to make it to the bank before it closed. I did make it and I made it to the drug store and I obtained another 30 days of

Lord, I thank you that this day is over! Amen.


  1. "WTF, do I appear to be a blithering idiot?"

    Saintly Nick, to me that line sums up what happened to you. I am sorry that you had to endure that.


  2. Bless You, Nick. My friend Jenny says....People are worse than anybody! :)

  3. Kind of strange. It sounds like those people were fulfilling some kind of obligation to 1) cover their butts if they place oxygen in a house that could be dangerous with the oxygen it in, and 2) try to sell you more services that their company provides.

    I just happy that money fell from the skies into your mailbox and you got your smoke alarm battery changed by someone who irritated you. At least that person was somewhat useful!

  4. China Girl: Thank you. Yes, you are right: that line does express my major irritation. I really don't like being discounted or treated as if I were a fool.

  5. Bette: I believe that she's right! Thanks for the dialogue we had on Facebook this morning. It was uplifting to me.

  6. you are a saint indeed.

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things i
    cannot change;
    courage to change the
    things i can;
    and the wisdom to hide the bodies


  7. Carol: I think that all 3 of your points are on target. This morning when I went to file my copies of the forms I signed confirming yesterday's visit, I noticed that, although they weren't VA forms, I was referred to throughout both as the Veteran. That explains a lot about the intrusive nature of the questions: government bureaucracy.

    Still, the last time someone from B & B Medical came to complete similar paper work for VA, it was one person and she didn't ask any of those questions or rummage around in my medicines. I certainly did feel like she treated me as if I were an idiot. We had a conversation between two mature, intelligent adults, very much unlike yesterday's experience.

    I have no idea why 3 came this time. Perhaps the dude who went through my medications and tried to get me to request a hospital bed from VA was from their marketing department. I really don't know.

    Yes, I am most thankful for the envelop, the check, and that I have Furosemide for another month. The medication definitely reduces the swelling in my lower legs, even though I don't like rushing to the toilet a couple of times an hour.

  8. Oh Nick, what a horrible event. They were so rude to invade your home. That is so intrusive to go through your meds.

    It is bad enough when you don't have what you need like your meds, but then these jokers make it even worse.

    Can you complain about them?
    Great blessings in the form of a check.

  9. Well, next time you have to go to the VA hospital, give them the same treatment. lol

    Honestly though, they had no right to act like that, and I think you have a valid reason to complain.

  10. I have to agree with Carol, it sounds like "protocol" to me, for safety purposes, but all in all, is it their job now to do? To investigate your entire home for safety? I can understand why they did it, however, I do understand your frustration and how you felt a bit violated.

    Sorry about that. I hope you have a better day. :)

  11. This is a telling insight, Rev Saint,on how senior citizens (that's you and me, you know) are related to by U.S. society. I am reminded that that Bruno Bettelheim, although he survived Hitler's concentration camps, committed suicide after being placed in a U.S.nursing home.

  12. Aw poor Nick! You have had a hard Tuesday! You will no doubt be thinking of all the good things to come out of it, as Carol says. It might be worth dropping them a line just to inform their head office of their rather cold approach and invasive almost threatening attitudes. I'm sure there are some people out there that would have felt very intimidated and fearful.
    I love your fire escape plan! *giggles* Sounds like a good plan to me!
    I glad you managed to salvage the day and to make sure you were stocked up with yur meds. Hope the rest of the week is more calm and relaxing. xx

  13. Xmichra: Yep. I don't think I'd hide the bodies.

    "Do you know how to save a salesman from drowning?"



  14. Finding Pam: Yes, the check was a wonderful blessing, as was being able to purchase the medication, even though I don't like dashing to the toilet twice an hour.

    What tees me off the most is that my visitors had no idea how invasive they were. It me, that is very sad.

  15. Silver Neurotic : This morning I setup my next appointment to see my VA case manager for December 21. I may complain, but she has so many cases to manage that she confuses me with someone else. ("No," I tell her, "I have never had that surgery and I don't intend to. Your computer is wrong!"

  16. Deb: Yep, it was something that they "had" to do because the VA probably requires it. The idiotic forms they filed out and (I suppose) sent to VA) are now probably in a file folder somewhere or (more than likely) have been scanned into a computer.

    It's how they obtained the information and the extra stuff, like my meds and bed, that turned me off and pissed me off.

  17. Azsonofagun: Rex, I didn't think about Bettelheim! If I catch what your saying, the indignities that our society forces on our elderly and infirm are comparable to those of the Nazi concentration camps.

    I'm not sure if I'd go that far in comparison, but my experiences and observations through the years inform me that many people treat the infirm and elderly as if they are less than human beings.

  18. Daffy: Yes, as my mother would say, "Tuesday was aggravating." I thought about their behavior being directed at others who perhaps didn't realize that what they were doing was invasive. That is not a happy thought.

    Yesterday the man who services my oxygen from the same company (who is also a friend on Facebook) came to deliver a new, large, oxygen emergency backup tank. He is a grand guy, friendly, respectful, and non-judgmental. I'm glad that he's the one with whom I have most contact and not the three invaders.

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