THE PERILS OF LOUELLA:|
If only Bill were able to help, she thought. Bill always knew what to do. But now that Bill was brain-damaged from their long-ago car accident, she hardly went to see him any more. She shrugged philosophically and pulled into her space in the condo garage. Ill just go online, she thought. Theres got to be some way out of this $532 a month prescription thing! This cant be for real—its just too mean!
It had been a close call at her parents house, when her father had pressed her for the source of her mystery income. Instead of volunteering that she had a $32,500-a-year annuity from secretly winning the Lottery, Louella had let them believe she had a little income from the accident settlement.
In the condo, she flipped open her laptop, logged on, and used Google to search on prescriptions Mexico. Bound to be cheaper there than Canada, she reasoned. She got 27,200 matches. Youre kidding me! She scrolled down the first page of hits, with promises of savings of 30% to 70%. Then, to compare, she tried Canada and prescriptions and found 84,200 matches.
Who would ever believe this? she muttered out loud. I mean, how do you know which ones for real, and who the scams are?
She typed in the brand name of her mothers medicine along with prescriptions and Canada. No matches. Uh oh. Wrong name. They call it something else. Maybe they dont have it.
Louella felt a little guilty. Maybe Im going to compromise Moms health by looking around to save money. Maybe a substitute wont help her as much. I mean, it would hurt to have to pay for it, but I could do it. But it doesnt seem right it should fall on just me. I mean, Candy could kick in some, and so could Mason.
The cell phone shrilled. Louella picked up. Eleanor Preston, she said.
Would you please cut it out with that fake Wasp name, Louella? snapped her father. I was wonderin if youd figured anything out.
Not yet, Dad. I only just got home. Im checking on the Internet, getting some ideas.
Well, your mom and I have talked it over and looked at what weve got, and we think we can maybe put a couple hundred a month into medicine, but we dont see how we can do any more and live—
Louellas heart sunk. Its going to be on me. Im it. Look, Dad, I know its tough. Well figure something out.
Well, yeah, you do that, girl. All that education you got, if anybody can do it, you can.
Thanks, Dad. Damn! Wish Id moved to Tampa when I got out of college when I had the chance, she thought. Candy would have had to hold the bag. You know, I might just have to go Mexico, Dad. I think I could pull something off if I did that.
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This story was published on June 27, 2001.