Friday, April 13, 2018

Testing a Ticker, With a Side of Nip-Tuck

  
We arrived back home and encountered typical East Texas weather during our two week stay--hot, humid, and several periods of rain.  I so miss the arid climate of the desert!   The silver lining here are all the wildflowers!  Once upon a time, I would consider them weeds, but after visiting Alaska, I have come to realize that although simple and plain, they are just as beautiful as the flora adorning manicured landscapes.




While at home, we had some fun catching up with fellow Escapees/Xscapers Cheryl/David and Matt/Sherry, while meeting newcomers to the full-timing lifestyle, Maria/David and Rich/Kathy.  The whole gang participated in a happy hour and dinner at Florida’s Kitchen, a local eatery.  Matt/Sherry also invited us to join them another evening for a visit to our absolute favorite local food joint, Joe’s Italian Grill.  Who could say no to eating at Joe’s, or to being in such great company?






Dad's Pasta dish...look at those veggies! Dad held fast and did not have any meat or cheese with his dish!





We so enjoy the camaraderie of the Escapees/Xscapers community.  So much so that I decided to become one of several of the Xscapers members to get a tattoo of the group logo.  Escapees/Xscapers President Travis Carr awarded the first ten Xscapers who got an official logo tattoo a free life-time membership to the Club (valued at approx. $700 per person).  Unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut; it seems stuffed rats don’t qualify for contest participation!


Imagine, yours truly not qualifying for a lifetime membership prize in the Xscapers tattoo contest!



While we enjoy the social aspect of being back home, our sole purpose for returning to Texas at this time was for Dad’s doctor appointments subsequent to his major heart attack last Fall.  See blog of November 13, 2017 at 

A Doctor's Oath--Hippocratic or Hypocritic? Dad's Heart Attack Saga



It was time to assess the condition of Dad's heart and his implanted stents by performing a nuclear stress test and an echocardiogram.  It was a long day, with the processes taking about 5 hours.  To make matters worse, we were not scheduled to get the results until the next appointment, which was 10 days away.  Imagine how panicked Mom was to get a call from the doctor just three days later!  She is a “glass half empty” type of person, and immediately expected bad news.  But the results were excellent!  Dad’s heart is pumping strong and the stents are doing their job perfectly.  The doctor didn’t want us to wait another week and worry needlessly for the results.  How considerate is that!





Although members of Liberty HealthShare (LHS) for nearly 2 years prior to the incident, Dad’s heart attack was the first time my parents used their faith-based health-sharing plan.   Having always been healthy, my parents’ monthly contribution of $299 went regularly to pay another member’s medical expenses.  So we really had no idea which bills associated with Dad's heart issues would be covered at all, and if covered, to what extent.  The medical services provided to Dad totaled more than $200,000.  While some faith-based plans make the patient negotiate pricing with service providers, LHS handled all negotiations and was successful in reducing the financial obligations down to less than $30,000.  Moreover, with the exception of our annual $1,000 unshared amount (i.e., deductible), ALL the costs associated with Dad’s heart attack were eligible for sharing and paid by members through the plan.  What a Godsend!  We are so blessed to be a part of LHS!  We encourage others to consider LHS for their healthcare costs.  Unlike many faith-based plans, they are liberal in their religious requirements.   However, LHS may not be for everyone. They do screen for pre-existing conditions.  And because they are NOT an insurance company and therefore not required to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they can deny coverage.  Or they may offer only provisional coverage.  (This is what they did to Mom.  Based on her BMI of 30, they required her to lose 17 pounds and get “obesity counseling” in order to get covered.  Mom was livid, because just looking at weight/height is not using BMI properly.  Despite being overweight, she is very active.  And why only an arbitrary 17 pounds?  Don’t tell her I said so, but she sure could stand to lose a few more!   Anyway, it cost an additional $80 for each month of her “obesity counseling”.  Mind you, this counseling consisted of ONE phone conversation each month. She lost the weight within 2 months, thereby graduating from the fat farm and becoming a full-fledged member.)  However, for my parents and their specific situation, Liberty HealthShare has proven to be a viable and wise solution for healthcare costs.





Too bad Liberty HealthShare doesn’t cover this stuffed rat and the medical issues I’ve had to deal with.  Although I was still undeniably quite adorable, I was in desperate need of filler to plump and firm my sagging neck and cheeks (I'm talking face cheeks people, not butt cheeks, although I wouldn’t have minded getting implants for that J-Lo effect).


See those sags in my cheeks!


What a mess!  I can't even hold up my head!


I really wanted liposuction on my belly, too, but it was cost prohibitive at this time.  You see, I forked out a whopping $20 for stuffing, needles, thread, and zipper, just to repair my sagging neck. My parents, AKA Dr. Quakenstein and Nurse Rached, presided over the operation.  Nurse Rached checked my vitals, then gave me anesthesia--a shot of Petron Silver Tequila and a bullet to bite on.  Then Dr. Quakenstein worked his surgical miracles.













Nurse Ratched was nearby, ready to wipe the sweat from Dr. Quakenstein's brow!


When I awoke, I was amazed at the terrific results!

What a profile!  Notice my nice, full cheeks and how erect I sit now!





You can see my beautiful smile better, too!




I look 10 years younger!  Not bad, considering I will be 35 in just a few days!  I’ll tell you how it all began.  Most people would say I am just a scruffy, tattered, oversized stuffed rat.  But what I really am is a love story…





For many years, I just sat in a toy store.  I was the store mascot, which made me more important than all the other toys.  But I was so very lonely.   I was tucked away high on a shelf, hidden away from all the potential families who might take me home.  I never felt the warmth of a hug.  I never heard the joyful sounds of laughter.  And most importantly, I never experienced love--until one wonderful day more than 30 years ago when a young man with fine blonde hair (yeah, hard to believe, but Dad had hair at one time) strolled into the store.  He immediately went to the stuffed toy section.  He scrutinized each toy like a drill sergeant reviewing recruits  during boot camp.  He picked up each toy—a cuddly teddy bear, a playful dog, a persnickety-looking cat, a pink-nosed rabbit—but after careful review, he discarded each one.  By the look on his face, they just did not meet his requirements.    He obviously was intent on finding one very special toy.





I watched the toys as he turned away.  They were very upset and insulted.  They were not accustomed to such rejection.    Once someone held and cuddled the toys, they were usually brought to a new home!  I looked at them with empathy—no one knew better than I did the feeling of being rejected and unloved.





The fellow headed for the front door, obviously to continue his search at another store.  Suddenly he stopped in his tracks and cast his gaze upward to that high shelf on which I sat.   No one ever really looked up here since the shelf contained just additional inventory of the toys down on the floor.    I was so excited to be noticed!   As my eyes met his, I could tell he was a kind and gentle spirit! 





In a flurry, he looked around and walked again to the back of the store.  Suddenly, he returned with Beth, the Sales Associate, and was pointing up to me on the shelf!   My heart was fluttering!  Could it be he might want me!   I saw Beth look up at me, and watched in horror as she shook her head “no” and mouthed the words “not for sale”.  Beth was such a nice girl—how could she deny me a chance at true toy happiness?  My heart was heavy with sadness as I realized this toy store would be the only “home” I would ever know.   I turned away and crawled to the back of the shelf as I wiped the river of tears rolling down my chubby cheeks.





Fortunately, this young man was very persistent.   He said he needed the perfect gift to tell his “special” girl that he loved her for the very first time, and that I was the perfect gift!  His romantic plan must have touched Beth’s heart!  The next thing I knew, she climbed up a ladder to my shelf, pulled me from the back corner, and placed me in his outstretched arms!  As he held me, my heart filled with gladness!  As our eyes met, he broke out into a huge smile!   My tears of sadness transformed into tears of joy as my new Daddy carried me out of the store!  I had a big job ahead of me to make Dad’s girl love both him and me, but I was up to the challenge (of course, I was successful in my mission).  My sad, lonely life would be no more, for I now would have a loving family and a permanent home!






I just love happy endings, don’t you?  Our time here is also ending--we are back on the road tomorrow.  I’ll talk to you again soon!




We would like to thank some amazing organizations for all they do for the RVing community:



Escapees RV Club





Xscapers





RVillage
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RV Dreams
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3 comments:

  1. Happy endings all the way around. Great to hear the surgery was successful and everyone in the family is healthy!

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  2. So happy to hear all the medical tests and procedures were a success for Popo and Dad, safe travels on your way West, beware of super windy spring☺

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  3. Glad to hear your test results went well Les!

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