Mr. McElroy’s Gardening Project

Eighty-two-year-old Nelson J. McElroy took to their backyard garden like oil takes to water. But one day, his wife Patricia observed some alarming portents on the day he finally began a long overdue project. California Health Insurance agent Matt Lockard knew exactly what to do.

Nelson J. McElroy’s golden hostas had been holding him hostage all summer long. It seemed like there were armies of hostas in their environs, a redundant beauty on the march. After tolerating the pervasive blooms from his recently purchased lawn chair for as long as he could stand it, while sipping on a glass of lemonade, he decided to get to work trimming the stems. His wife, Gertrude, ambled over. She watched as Nelson squatted on aged bent knees with pruning shears in hand. He mentioned he was feeling a little dizzy along with a twinge of nausea. “I should probably sit down,” he added. As he returned to his chair, Gertrude noticed his left leg having difficulty matching the stride of his right, the left step diminishing like a chimera with every stride.

Nelson collapsed, landing on his pruning shears which were fortunately positioned blades down. “Oh Nelson!” Gertrude heard herself exclaim. Fearing the possibility of a stroke, Gertrude recalled Matt Lockard, a pleasant semi-bearded California Health Insurance agent, the one who’d sold them their excellent Medicare Advantage plan just last year. She herself had utilized their coverage with a hospital stay as recently as May when her gallbladder had acted up. She decided immediately to ring Matt. Thank the insurance God he was there. “Yes,” he said. He always sounded so calm when she spoke to him. A moment later, the decisive Lockard had contacted the 911 operator and ordered an ambulance for the McElroys.
She watched him the entire way to the hospital, terrified but trying to be brave while sitting next to him as he reclined with the tubes already in him on the ambulance stretcher. Every bumpy jolt made her heart race.
Days later in recovery Matt Lockard came to see them both. “How are you doing?” he asked, the question directed at her as well as toward her now responsive husband.

“I had a stroke,” Nelson said, “because of those damned hostas.”

“Stop your cursing!” admonished Gertrude as Matt Lockard barely suppressed a grin.

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