Back home (in the ole' Communist Czechoslovakia), May 1 was a big holiday. Everyone gathered for a big parade. No one cared about the symbolism of the parade, but it somehow always happened to be a gorgeous day, and an occasion to socialize with friends many of whom you had not seen for a whole year.

Anyway, no such tradition here in the US.

But I did get out this morning even though I seem to be spending most of my time at home and by myself, as my diabetic neuropathy is getting worse and worse, and I have lost all feeling in both feet, which makes walking hard and dangerous (I am now at the point of having recently stepped on a staple injuring my foot sole, but not noticing it--just to wonder later on why I had two bitemarks there).

Of course, it was not a parade I went to, though at the end I was just as happy as I used to be at those parades, especially in my childhood.

Anyway, I take Glucophage, three 500 mg pills a day. If I did not, I would probably be dead (I was certainly very ill before the ER doctor discovered my diabetes.

Of course, I have no health insurance, and get paid near-minimum wage. And Glucophage is quite expensive. Luckily, Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company (BMS) is quite decent: They have a program for people too poor to afford Glucophage but not poor enough to have Uncle Sam pay for it.

I have to contact Pat at Rhinelander Medical Center. She is their patient advocate. She takes care of the paperwork, has Dr. Swank sign it, sends it to BMS, then calls me when the three-month supply arrives.

I always call her when I have one-month's worth of Glucophage left, as the whole process takes 3-4 weeks.

But somehow, this time I called her about a week late. She said she would take care of it, but this time I might need to sign the papers. If so, she'd contact me.

Well, she did contact me. By mail, unfortunately. In an attempt to make it easier on me, she mailed me the paperwork, highlighted what I needed to fill out, and enclosed an envelope.

For a normal person this would be easier than having to drive to the clinic. But not for me: I live on a rural road. My mail box is across the street. It is hard for me to walk to it. I only go there once in two-three weeks, usually when it is so full that the delivery person leaves its door open (I have told the Postmaster many times I was disabled, but the standard answer is it is up to the delivery person to decide whether to drop off anything at my door--alas, she even decides to place a "you weren't home" notice in the box even when I am home--which is almost always--even when I get registered mail from another Continent).

So, I have discovered the paperwork there, and I had only two pills left this morning. I drove to the clinic, gave the paperwork to Pat and told her about the problem.

She told me to go to Pam, Dr. Swank's nurse and see if she had any free samples. She did. She had just enough to last me for about a month. She said if I ran out of them before I get my regular supply, to come back. She gave me all she had, but by then she may have more.

I told her how happy I was because the prospect of not having Glucophage for a month was not too appealing. She just smiled and said Dr. Swank would never let that happen (Dr. Swank volunteers at the local free clinic a lot).

So, I suppose, you can see why this trip, while no parade, still felt like a big holiday!