Stress Test

By Larry Teren

Dear Diary,

Just between you and me, I laugh at those celebrities who brag about going to psychiatrists. It’s like a birthright for them. Almost as if it is one of the prerequisites in order to become famous in show business. Me- I don’t need a shrink. I self-analyze, right?

Remember when I wrote that Ma said I needed to go to anger management class? I told her that I needed to go to impatience management class instead but that I just didn’t have the time to do it. Well, now I realize it isn’t impatience I suffer either- it’s stress.

As Nancy Kerrigan is quick to say, “why me?” Exactly! Why am I the one who has to deal with making sure Ma is taken care? My older sister goes running off to Florida once again just as she did last April when Ma last time needed rehab. I’m the one who checks Ma out of the hospital and drives her to the rehab facility. I’m the one who has to cater to her every whim and visit twice a day to make sure she has all she needs and is not being mistreated. What about my other siblings? Diary- did you forget- they all live out of town. So, it’s all on me, dear diary.

What- you say that there is a special place up in heaven for me? Please- I’m trying to use all my heavenly good graces to cash in for a Cubs world series. Yeah, that’s what causes the stress- good catch.
Did I tell you that the security- I mean, public safety- officer escorted me out of the hospital when discharging Ma because I threw a tantrum? Don’t tell me I need anger management therapy- you would have wanted to choke that lousy social worker as well.

In fact, an hour after Ma got to the rehab joint, I saw a friend walking with his much older aunt in the hall. I waved and he came by and asked what was up. I told him Ma was taking a short stay there to get her bearings back into normal cadence now that Medicare was willing to pick up the tab. He came into her room and said hello and proceeded to tell us all about his aunt. He said that the cops had to break in through a window into her house because she was not answering phone calls. They found her lying on the floor in her bedroom but she was okay. She didn’t want to go to the hospital but her good nephew insisted she go. This helped get her Medicare eligibility as well at the rehab place. He was confused about whether her regular insurance policy was part A or Medicare was her part B. The same lousy social worker I wanted to choke didn’t help make it any clearer and exasperated him as well. But he didn’t think to choke her. I should have been there with him to egg him on.

No, I’m just stressed out. Never mind, diary. I’ll write to you again when Ma gets home.

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