• My bizarre journey for the other ‘green card’

    Hunter S. inspired me to find out just how easy it is to get a medical green card in California, (for research purposes only).

    I looked online, found Medicann, and made an appointment by phone. I downloaded forms, filled them out, got a letter from my doctor and showed up. How easy is that?

    Well, not so easy. I went to the address, but it looked like an electrical store. I passed it five times. On the sixth time, I remembered Harry Potter’s well hidden Diagon Alley, and knew I would just have to believe it was there in order to find it amongst the Muggles. I parked, went inside, checked out the psychedelic art in the waiting room… OK, it was just your basic crappy medical waiting room with a decoy sign out front for the Feds. Thank you, Feds.

    This is California’s interpretation of delivering medicine.

    I didn’t have proper identification so I was turned away. I thought all I would have to give them was my name and date of birth — I was wrong. I needed my driver’s license or passport.

    I immediately rescheduled.

    On the next appointment, at another location, the same secretary that turned me away asked me to sit while she took care of other patients. When the lobby cleared out she said, “Can I ask you something personal?”

    “Sure,” I replied, not knowing what could possibly be personal.

    She said, “Didn’t you show up to our other office on the weekend?”

    “Yes,” I answered.

    “Well, was that your son that you came with?”

    “No, that’s my husband,” I replied.

    “Well, I was just wondering how you guys make it work when you’re so far apart in age?”

    “Um, I don’t know how to answer…” I said, then added, “Um, you mean like if I do housework and he plays World of Warcraft, what do I do?” And she said, “Exactly!”

    I told her, “Kick him off the couch. You aren’t his mom. Tell him it just isn’t sexy. That’s what I would do. Tell him he is a waste of flesh sitting there, or make a calendar and tell him to follow the schedule like a grown up.” I don’t even know why I said that, but she was so grateful. I said, “Yeah, we are four years apart so it isn’t a problem.”

    And she added, “Well I am 26 and he is 19, and we have a baby.”

    I thought I was suddenly auditioning for Jerry Springer’s job. It went from weird to weirder.

    The doctor called me in. He was a goliath of a man in a white lab coat. We sat in his office and I told him about Lupus. He asked me rapid-fire unrelated questions.

    “What medications are you taking?

    Are you in menopause?

    Do you have hot flashes, because pot is great for menopause.”

    “Um, no.”

    “You don’t have hot flashes?” he asked incredulously.


    Then he looked at me over his glasses and his raspy voice blurted,

    “Over-eaters Anonymous. You ought to try it.”

    “What?” I asked.

    “How many times a day do you eat? I mean seriously. Are you the type that gets up to eat cookies. I mean let’s face it, why not eat the whole box. I mean, I am an overeater but now I schedule eating to three times a day. Are you a snacker? You look like a snacker?”

    “Um, no. I know I gained a bit on prednisone, but when I feel better, I can start hiking again and working off the extra 10-20 pounds…”

    “Excuse me,” he said as he stood up and darted out of the room.

    He came back and started writing down movies for me to watch and vitamins to help me with his new diagnosis, menopause.

    “Look, if you take MSM and read about menopause, I’m sure you’ll be fine. Just read this stuff, especially the China book; oh, and Suzanne Sommers’ book. What are you reading right now?”

    I said, “I am reading ‘The Post Human Dada Guide’ by Codrescu.” I started to tell him about it, but he interrupted.

    “Wow. I’m shocked. I didn’t know people in Winters actually read books.”

    “Yeah, we read, and I really have to go. This appointment makes this a 14 hour day,” I said.

    “Oh, yeah, well, here take this file to the front and I’ll see you next year.”

    How easy is it to get a medical card? It depends on your tolerance for demeaning, convoluted, Rube Goldberg experiments.

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