When 15-year-old twins, Alexander and Penelope, began developing a myriad of symptoms, it was a mystery until a series of visits to a nearby hospital’s sleep clinic began to produce some answers. Their frantic parents would have been even more in a tizzy if the hospital bills hadn’t been covered – thanks to their California Health Insurance agent Matt Lockard.
Alexander and Penelope were identical twins except for their gender. Blonde and blue-eyed, with perfect skin and on the cusp of being adults, the twins thrived during a marvelous summer. Tennis camp, sleepovers, surfing and swimming, camping, parachuting from 15,000 feet in their Dad’s twin-engine aircraft, the Smith kids played hard and slept hard, uninterrupted, for the months trailing the June solstice in the land of Ventura night. But when school began just before Labor Day, the teens began to change before their parent’s eyes.
Alexander developed a cyst under his left eye. Penelope began stumbling as if she were nearsighted although her vision had been tested in July at 20-10 left and right. Adolescence suddenly bred entire tribes of pus-filled pimples. Alexander became injury prone: When he tried to run he tripped most times, his perfectly proportioned legs no longer coordinated. “Something’s wrong,” Ashley, their mom, told Gary, their father, who was sure that there wasn’t. “It’s just the awkward stage,” he asserted.
“Are they both just being awkward?” Ashley Smith countered.
“They’re both teenagers,” Gary shrugged.
But the twins kept getting worse. Finally, because they did have a family plan purchased from California Health Insurance agent Matt Lockard, Gary relented and took both 15-year-olds over to Dr. Nicole Tesla, the family’s trusted primary care physician. When she examined them, she knew the answer almost immediately. “How much are they sleeping?” she asked.
“They go up to their bedrooms,” Gary said. “The lights are out. Of course they’re sleeping.”
“How do you know?” asserted Dr. Tesla. When she spoke, electric sparks seemed to give a bluish tint to her waiting room’s tepid air. She suggested they find out for sure. Both twins were wired to biofeedback equipment on school nights to satisfy Dr. Tesla’s medically-based hunch.
Was this equipment covered? Gary called Matt Lockard to find out. It was.
The results were amazing. The kids weren’t getting their REM, the productive kind of rest signaled by rapid eye movements. “Teenagers need their beauty rest,” Dr. Tesla concluded.
“Alexander needs his too?” Ashley wondered.
“He sure does,” Dr. Tesla pronounced.
“But they have to go to school!” Gary said. The solution seemed simple: a modified school day built around later mornings and longer afternoons, a 9-5 adjustment. It was as if a solstice had returned to the land of Ventura night.