A few days ago, I received the following letter in the mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield, addressed to my father:
Managing a chronic condition can feel overwhelming. I am here to help!
We just learned that you recently saw your physician about a new or existing health condition. I've enclosed some information to help you learn more about the condition and ways to manage it.
Enclosed was a handy booklet on heart disease, complete with cartoonish diagrams of the human heart and stock photos of sweatsuit-clad seniors doing yoga at the park.
The letter continued:
Together we can find ways to improve your health and your overall sense of well-being...I look forward to hearing from you.
Susan Stevens, RN, BSN
Back to the booklet now. On page five, a drawing of a "normal artery", which looks something like an enclosed waterslide, and a drawing of an "artery narrowed by plaque", which, based on the artwork alone, convinces me that "plaque" must be housefly larvae.
Page 14? A photo of legumes, grapes, walnuts, and bell peppers. Not pictured: my father's favorite foods. Think peanuts, steak, and salty pretzels.
And then, the kicker on page 24: aspirin. He took aspirin every day.
"Honey," he'd tell me, "see this? See how I carry all of these baby aspirins in my pocket? You just never know."