Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Cafe Brazil

Cafe Brazil is maybe my favorite coffee place. Oh, sure, Starbucks and Dunkin’ are on the list too, but they are chains and this is a local place. Well, still a chain, but only like 8 stores, not nationwide. My aunt, who is a flight attendant, swears by McDonald’s coffee, so, you know, something for everybody.

But today I celebrate Cafe Brazil. Finally open again 24/7. I have been waiting for a place I can hang out and use wifi to reopen. Usually I use the tables at Half Price Books but they have put the chairs upside down on them which is clearly meant to discourage people from congregating. I think the coffee shop might even be shut down.

So clearly I am going to have to pay to occupy space somewhere. I could go to Denny’s or IHOP but they generally don’t have wifi or a place to plug in my computer and work. Cafe Brazil it is.

The walls are painted bright lime green and cerulean blue. There is a border painted near the ceiling of palm leaves, flowers, parrots and pre-columbian heads. The walls are usually covered with art that is for sale. This particular shop had only about 5 pieces on display at the moment. With huge windows on 3 sides, there is a lot less wall space than many locations but often there is more art. Maybe I should bring some down, see if it can be sold here.

Mostly today I had coffee and wrote 3 letters. I have one more to write before bed tonight but that can be any time. I also had nachos. I really like the nachos here. The appetizer size is a meal for one so that was tasty. I even ate a few of the jalapenos.

I remember the first time I had jalapenos. I was about 8 years old. We had come to Dallas from my native Boston to visit my dad’s family for Christmas. My mother’s brother, who was in the air force, was stationed I believe at Lackland AFB so since we were in the state, we drove down to see that part of the family too. My uncle took us across the border to Mexico. My mom, my aunt, my cousin and I went shopping, and the men went to a little cantina and were enjoying cerveza and nachos. My uncle thought he would play a joke on my and gave me a nacho. It was a crispy corn tortilla wedge with cheese and a single pickled jalapeno in the center. I think he believed I would freak out, but my first solid foods were pickles and corned beef, so you can guess I like things with strong flavor. I loved the nachos. Dad was oddly pleased and let me eat as many as I wanted. It was literally a decade before I went to Chi-chi’s restaurant in Boston and had nachos, and had that whole episode flood back into my memory.

Well, my boss has called and I need to take care of something. But today was a good day. I got poetry written and letters written and talked to my daughter, and oh yeah, Cafe Brazil is open again. Life is good.


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Blood Pressure Meds

Today was an “adventure” in getting my meds.

I dropped one of the girls off at work, then went to Parkland to go to the urgent care office. I am about 2 1/2 weeks away from seeing the doctor and I ran out of blood pressure meds. I just needed to see someone to give me enough refill to last until the appointment.

I went to the urgent care clinic building and got sent to emergency, which is in another building. I had to pee the whole time, so that was doubly frustrating. I asked if I could use the ladies’ room and they told me no. There’s a Starbucks in the building that was doing roaring business; I wonder if they would have let me in to get a coffee.

Either way, I went to emergency. They checked me into the building by taking my temperature and playing 20 questions about my possible exposure to coronavirus. Then they walked me to emergency who took my vitals and checked me in again. Blood pressure 136 over 88, so a little high. Usually I am closer to 120 over 80. I don’t know if it was irritation or if I need my meds tweaked.

I waited about 10 minutes in emergency and got taken back across the street by an elevated walkway to the urgent care clinic. The lady at the door had told me it was closed! Clearly it wasn’t closed.

The whole office visit took maybe 15 minutes. They re-upped my prescriptions and sent me on my way. I walked to a third building where the pharmacy was. I got checked in over there, including taking my temperature for the third time in maybe 90 minutes. Then I settled in to wait.

It actually only took 15 minutes for my number to be called, but they only had one prescription ready. Three had been called over. I could wait, they said, about 45 minutes; but no, I needed to be back to work. I had to leave.

I went back later this afternoon. I brought my daughter with me to save the $5 parking fee, but then I spent $7 on drinks and a snack for us, so really it was a wash. Happy hour at Sonic means we got huge drinks for a little money, plus corny dogs. I have no air conditioning in my car so those drinks were very welcome!

The wait was completely different. First of all there was a disabled man in line in front of me. I appreciate that he had mobility issues. He walked very slowly. He kept stopping but every time he did, he raised his cane to waist height and blocked the entire passageway so I couldn’t pass him. I’m pretty sure he was doing it on purpose, though not specifically because of me. I found it frustrating but I don’t think I sighed or anything.

The registration desk gave me number 988. The display showed they had just called number 964. I knew it would be a while so I texted my daughter. Then I waited. And I dozed a little. And I waited some more. Finally they called me. It took like 3 minutes to get my stuff, and it was free. Really I spent most of the day waiting.

By then it was 5:00, rush hour. Which is really the opposite of rushing, more like parking on the highway. Literally. Came to a complete stop more than once. Still, it was nice to spend the few extra minutes with my daughter.

Daughter tells me a friend of hers hung himself several weeks ago, and there hasn’t been a funeral. His friends feel the lack of closure. It looks like she is part of the group who is planning a memorial service. If daughter doesn’t go to the service, she is going to a rally for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died after being knelt on by a police officer. I don’t know what to say. My daughter makes me proud, taking emotional care of her friends or standing up for what she feels is right. She’s a good kid.

Now I am home. I need to take one of the girls to the store, but that’s okay. Should be a quiet Friday night.


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Parkland Hospital

So meds are an issue in my life now.

I went to Metrocare for my psych meds. It took about 5 hours as a walk-in. I did see the nurse practitioner. He said that my anti-depressant was a bit high for bipolar and that if it was reduced, I might not need the mood stabilizer. Interesting. This cocktail has worked just fine for me so far so he refilled it as I was taking it, but I might ask about reducing meds.

Then I ran out of blood pressure meds. That’s a little different. I went to Parkland hospital because I know they have a program for people without insurance. I started in the business office. I filled out the paperwork. I didn’t have pay stubs but I had my W-2’s because I’d just done my taxes. I didn’t have a copy of my bank statement. The person who took my information said they’d ask for it if they need it.

I went to lunch at a little cafe serving Starbucks products. It was decent and filling but not fabulous. The coffee was good.

From there I went to the urgent care center. It was quite an experience. After I signed in, I had to wait for someone to see me. That’s to be expected. They triaged me and my blood pressure was a little high. Not surprising since I was out of blood pressure meds and I’d been drinking coffee. Then back to the waiting room.

Of course when they called me, they couldn’t figure out my name. My family name is Leonard, pronounced Lennerd, not Leo Nard. I assume it’s the Spanish pronunciation but I could be wrong. Then they couldn’t figure out Allison. I got Alicia, Alyssa, and finally just a snort and the letter A. It’s not a complicated name. It took me a minute to realize they meant me.

They walked me to another waiting area, they walked me to a lab, they walked me to a third waiting area, they walked me to a room, and they walked me back out to the lobby to wait for final lab results. They certainly don’t let you sit anywhere for very long, which probably makes the wait seem shorter. Finally I was given some prescriptions and discharged.

I was sent over to the Anderson building to the pharmacy. You get in line and check in. Then you wait for your name to appear on a screen, meaning the prescription’s been filled. You get back in line and receive a number. Then you wait for them to call your number. It was a lot of unnecessary line time but I’m sure someone thought it was reasonable. No charge for the meds though, that was good. Nice to get something for spending 7 hours of my day there. Pshew.

I got home and figured out that they’d only given me 7 days worth of meds. In the paperwork was a number for a referral for a primary care physician. I tried to call. It wasn’t exactly successful.

The first lady told me she’d connect me to “the clinic” and dropped me back into the queue. I told the second lady what happened, and she told me to call a different number and choose the make an appointment option. Ok. I called the other number and got the same phone tree and made the same choices, including the option to make an appointment. I sat on hold for 10 minutes and had to pee so I hung up. When I called back, the outgoing message stated the office was closed, which means I try again in the morning. I actually feel like the phone operators are either incompetent or lazy, since either they didn’t know how to help me or they didn’t want to. In either case, it looks like I won’t get an appointment until at least 6 weeks out, which means spending every Tuesday up there for the next month and a half.

People talk about folks who get services as if it’s a gift. In reality, it isn’t easy. It takes so much effort to get help. It took all day to walk through the system. It cost me parking and meals out. And I got the bare minimum of help so I will have to keep going through the process repeatedly until someone sees what’s going on. Hopefully once I have an appointment, they’ll just write me a script that will last until then.