Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Days, I Wonder How they Survive

"I don't know why you wait until the very last minute every single time," The words come out in short staccato, as I stab at the keypad on the phone with my finger. "Because every single time, there is something wrong and then you get mad at me."

This time is no different. I wave the pink form around in the air, as if hoping it will magically take flight, and I follow the directions drawling from the phone in monotone. Care card number. Doctor number. Appointment date. Escort, or no escort?

Soon there is the scramble to write down the all important approval number, without which a ride on the ferry home without paying isn't happening. Life on the Sunshine Coast is dictated by the ferry. Need shopping? Get in line. Wait for a boat. Board, and walk the aisles while the smell of greasy fries and hamburgers wafts through the ship. Check out the gift shop, sip a ridiculously expensive coffee, and then repeat on the ride home. Any important doctor appointment, optometrist appointment, shopping trip, concert, anything that most people take for granted, we must travel for. Get there early, or you get stuck in a sailing wait. But don't expect to sail after 9:30 pm, because there is no boat after that until around 6:20 the next morning.

I should, in theory, make Hubs phone in his own forms, but they always confuse him. It's something to do with the directions and punching in the numbers, but whenever he gets the forms I find them thrust into my hands with a plea to take care of it. After I bake cookies, of course. Always the cookies.

Fortunately with the right forms, we can get to a doctor appointment for free. That is, if the form is filled out correctly and approved on a line that drones on incessantly, asking a million questions that you must pay close attention to or be lost out there in the no man's land of voice mail.

"Why can't you make sure that all the information is filled out BEFORE I have to call? Like the last time?"

The previous two dances to get the forms filled out were tricky. For the first one, I had to sweet talk a receptionist at the destination hospital, who hid the form as if it were contraband and filled out the necessary information when her co-workers weren't looking. Apparently they aren't supposed to give us those forms but this girl was a keeper.

The second time, I had to call the approval line right from the bowls of the hospital while Hubs was literally on a gurney, because the office had written in the wrong number. Did the receptionist care too much about the form? No. Her burning question was if it was snowing in Vancouver. Snowing? Who cares? My husband is having a kidney biopsy dammit, jelly beans could be raining down from the sky and it wouldn't matter. Or, at least as long as they aren't Jelly Belly jellybeans, in which case I'd then be out stuffing them into my cheeks by the handful, like a squirrel in Stanley Park.

You all have to see those Stanley Park squirrels. The gray ones are as big as a cat, I tell you. They'll mug you for your extra snacks if you aren't careful.

"Oh. MY. GOD. Son of a freakin' BISCUIT!" The form is thrown across the room and flutters to the ground while I resist the urge to jump up and down on top of it. "That stupid thing said that if I needed to change the appointment date to call back, and now you want to change the appointment because you got the doctors mixed up, and it won't let me! It's saying I need to call between office hours but the office is closed! Closed! CLOSED, I tell you! Why can't you get me to do this at least a few days before? Why? WHY in the name of God when you have these forms weeks ahead of time?!?" Hubs needed to leave on an early ferry, which meant he would have to call in the information en route, which always sends him into a tizzy.

"Here. Take my cell," I thrust the phone into his hands, "You can do it tomorrow morning while you are at the doctor's office. It's charged and ready to go. Here's the number. You need your Care card."

By now, I just feel relieved that this job that he always thrusts onto my shoulders has now been placed onto his. I know that he hates doing it, but sometimes he just has to. It's not my responsibility now, and I sigh with relief as he walks away.

Hubs turns the phone over in his hand, begins poking at the key pad, and then suddenly stops, puzzled.

"What's wrong?"

He frowns and pokes some more.

"How do I turn this thing ON?"

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