It's less than two days before Valentine's Day, and you know what that means.
This is the time of year when you learn exactly how lovable you are.
I'm 51 years old, single, and I'm gradually replacing my human body parts with artificial devices made of plastic and rubber. I'm probably the last guy you expect to be plucking one of Cupid's arrows from his rump this Valentine's Day.
So imagine how surprised I was when I opened my mailbox tonight and watched a flurry of Valentine-sized mail fall to my feet!
After I knelt down to collect the mail off the floor, and got a closer look at the return addresses, I really got excited.
EVERY piece of mail was from Kaiser Permanente!
Who from Kaiser was sending me valentines? I wondered.
Maybe one valentine was from one of the recovery room nurses who told me I was a dead-ringer for Ben Stiller?
Maybe another valentine was from that hunky nurse in the hospital who demonstrated how to clear secretions from my trach with a pipe-cleaner?
Or maybe –my heart began to flutter– both of my daytime-soap-opera-ready doctors had sent valentines to me!
As I examined the mail more closely, a sad realization washed over me.
None of the envelopes had been sealed with a shiny red heart, scented with perfume, or even addressed by hand.
Each one had the dreary presentation of business mail, and each one was labeled "Please Open Immediately."
I bent the first piece along the perforation and tore it open.
It was a notice telling me that I had an appointment at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 23 in the Radiology Oncology Atrium at 4950 Sunset Blvd.
Then I opened another.
It was a notice telling me that I had an appointment at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24 in Kaiser's Radiology Oncology Atrium at 4950 Sunset Blvd.
I reached for a third piece.
Another notice, this one telling me that I had an appointment at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25 in Kaiser's Radiology Oncology Atrium at 4950 Sunset Blvd.
In all, no fewer than 10 appointment notices were delivered to my mailbox today, all of them reminding me of my daily 5 p.m. gig in Kaiser's Radiology Oncology Atrium.
If you've been reading my blog, you may remember that I will have 33 sessions of radiation therapy, and that they are taking place every weekday between this past Monday and Thursday, March 26.
With the exception of this week, when my radiation sessions took place at 3:24 p.m., 3:48 p.m., followed by three days in a row at 4:36 p.m., all of my remaining radiation appointments are taking place at the same Bat-time, same Bat-place.
Is it really necessary to send a reminder –at first-class postage rates, no less– for each and every one of these appointments?
I mean, I'm counting on these guys to treat my cancer and restore me to normal. With that much at stake, I'm not likely to blow them off.
I suppose that I'll be getting the remaining cards from Kaiser tomorrow. Someone in Kaiser's appointment correspondence department probably spent the better part of his or her day today preparing 20 more of these appointment notices to me.
I'll be opening my mailbox tomorrow with a fair amount of trepidation, and there better be at least one valentine from my pals at KP.
Everybody needs to be loved by somebody. Yeah, even if that somebody is an HMO.