Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My People

“Yo, Annie come here!”

“I’m on the phone Frank! Wait!”

“OK, what?”

My uncle Frank had twelve bottles of pills open on the table, he meticulously counted and loaded his one-week pillbox, and halfway through he already had five or six pills in each cell. He picked up some small pink pills and handed them to me.

“You want me to take these?”

“ No, I want you to get me these cheaper. These pills cost six dollars a piece and I take three a day. Can you get them for two dollars?”

“Frank, I’m a physical therapist not a pharmacist.”

My uncles’ brag about how cheap they get things, my uncle Gene had a two hundred dollar set of dentures. When he was working on a Fire Department boat on lake Michigan, he sneezed and they flew out of his mouth into the lake. The cheap bastard sent the frogmen down to find his teeth.

We buried my uncle Frank with his clicker, his toothpicks, a deck of cards and a poker chip. Lots of things aged and killed my uncle, the Korean War, too many beef sandwiches, coffee cake, polish food, the clicker and the TV, but the cost of the pills put a price on his health. Frank spent thousands on us nieces and nephews and since he never married, had a job as a teamster and a degree in accounting, he left a pile of cash. Uncle Frank never thought of himself as an important person and with the cost of the pills, I guess it didn’t seem like a worth-wile investment.

OK, my family may not be the statistical norm, but I think there are a lot of old folks out there looking at those Medicare Part D forms, throwing up their hands in disgust and going out for a bacon cheeseburger.

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