Seeing Red

My church has what we call a flower communion each June. It made me focus closely on my flowers, at least the few that were in bloom during the week. I came up very poor. I came up with Monarda didymus, or plain old Monarda, which blooms great this time of the year. I have three clumps of these – one is a light purple, which is an older clump. It is in my back border, and fights off phlox, wild asters and Lemon Balm/Melissa for most of its blooming time. I have been trying to be kind to this clump, and most years it fritters out soon after the first blooms. I don’t like that.

I finally replaced a failing clump of plain old red monarda behind my pond. I acquired a new clump at a Garden Club event and it is happy in a sunny front border. It spreads, and does its thing amongst some hosta, rue and other perennials. This plant is pest free.

Not like my new cultivar. As you can see, ‘Jacob Cline’ had quite an exciting first year of bloom. It got infested with some very disgusting white caterpillars last year, and research revealed that it is prone to this pest. I was upset about this, and resigned to be diligent and use bug spray if necessary to prevent the utter destruction they performed.

So this year, I carried out daily inspections. I closely checked the plant for bugs. Any bugs. White, red, blue, even a lady bug would have caused me alarm at this point.

Despite my trepidation, my clump grew and spread. The blooms are huge, but mostly because they are on tall stems. As tall as me. I can stand eye to stamen and examine the health of each flower at my leisure.

So, this year, things are going well for my clump. I am more than happy that it succeeded. I am Seeing Red. Not in an angry context. In a colorful, gay, cheerful explosion of tubular parts that sustain me. Red’s the color of a happy turn of events.

Red is also the color of blood. The color of ripe red life flowing through one’s healthy veins. My blood supplies me information, as I need to aspirate it three times a day, “doctor’s orders” and measure my sugar levels. This is called keeping your diabetes under control and is supposed to encourage and enable you to live a longer life without the complications of this mostly annoying condition.

So, here comes time to replenish my supply of poking and prodding needs. A call to my faithful medical supply source brings to my attention the changes of going into Medicare from just plain ol’ health insurance. Apparently, I had been too honest and have to put up with less supplies until I comply/lie.

Here’s the scenario – the medical people sent me a form and asked me to return it to them. It was a listing of numbers garnered from my supposed three times a day poking to express information from my fingers. I had been too honest, and the paper only had two numbers for many of the days in that 30-day time frame. Too honest. I had been away some of that time, and wasn’t able to take my blood sugar some of that time. Now, to get my full complement of supplies, i.e., 90 days’ worth, I have to lie and flesh out (pun?) the information so that the numbers match what Medicare requires.

So Medicare is not only second-guessing my doctor who wrote the prescription, it is asking me to lie about my compliant behavior. Which I will. I’ll simply run out of supplies sooner and be able to get the bigger supply of lancets and test strips, which will hold off the need to call them frequently. I’m motivated to lie.

It makes me angry that medical guidelines are superseded by insurance guidelines. It is detrimental to my being an honest person.

At least when I’m dealing with my garden, I don’t have to worry about my true colors. Red is red and Monarda will survive, as will I, to bloom and grow as the summer progresses.

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