Chapter 207: Louella Learns Med Facts

by A.C. Cherbonnier
       LOUELLA’s mother hobbled to her overstuffed recliner and plopped down with a sigh.
       “Who’d ever believe it?” she gasped. “Who’d have thought I’d ever be slowed down like this? Remember how I used to clean this place like that—you know, whatchacallit?—that White Tornado guy. Yeah. And now look! If it weren’t for your dad and Candy, this place would be a mess! Plus I can hardly cook any more. Hard to believe I’m only sixty-two, ain’t it?”
       Louella winced at the “ain’t.” Guess it wouldn’t be fair to try to correct her grammar any more, she thought, what with this myasthenia gravis she’s got. “I got that prescription filled, Mom,” she said, pulling the crisp white bag from her black Coach purse.”
       “Oh, thank you, darlin’,” said her mother, grasping the bag limply in her trembling hand and looking at the stapled-on receipt. “My word! Five hundred thirty-two dollars! It can’t have cost that much, can it?”
       “Yes, Mom, it really did. I couldn’t believe it either. And for only one month’s supply, too!”
       “Well, I intended to pay you back for this, I really did,” said her mother, near tears. “But I don’t see how I can, I really don’t! You know, your Dad and I, all we’ve got is our Social and his little Esskay pension. We can manage okay with this house paid for and all, as long as we don’t get sick—”
       “—or need a dentist, or a hearing aid, or glasses!” grumped Louella’s father, heaving himself into the companion overstuffed recliner. He grunted as he reached for the remote. “I’m thinking about having all my teeth pulled and just getting dentures. Save a lot that way.”
       “Oh, Dad, no!” said Louella. “That’s awful! It’s always better to have your own teeth. I read that somewhere.”
       “Yeah, yeah, ‘you read that’! Lots of things you can read about that you can’t have! Get wise, Lou!” he groused. “We’re on a downhill slide here in this house, and that’s the truth! This ‘golden age’ thing is a crock!”
       “Honey, look here at this receipt for that medicine Dr. what’s-his-name prescribed! I don’t see how I’ll be able to keep taking it!”
       He looked and turned to Louella. “You paid that much?”
       “Did I have a choice?”
       “Well, yeah. I mean, this here’s a lot of money. It’s not like you’re making that much on that temp job, right?”
       “Well, no,” said Louella cautiously. I’m still not going to tell them about winning the Lottery! she resolved. This is not my problem. I can manage okay so long as nobody knows about it.
       “Come on girl! You got some kind of secret stash?” her father pressed. “We kinda think ya do, ya know? Buyin’ that condo and not workin’ full-time. So level with us, okay? Because, without this medicine, your Mom’s in a powerful heap of trouble, and that’s the truth!” He glared at her. “So come on, out with it!”
       “There’s no stash, Dad, honest.” Technically, that’s true, because I live from check to check, she rationalized. “Tell you what, though—maybe we can solve the problem by getting the prescription filled in Mexico or Canada. I saw about that on ‘60 Minutes’.”



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This story was published on May 30, 2001.