The Carusos Save Big $$ On Hearing Aids

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Retired Air Force Lt. Col. John Caruso and his wife Gayle Caruso. Photo provided by Gayle Caruso.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. John Caruso and his wife Gayle Caruso. Photo provided by Gayle Caruso.

Well, it’s Thursday, April 28, and Gayle and I are off again. This time to the New London Submarine Base in Connecticut. I’m going to their audiology department to have my hearing aids checked. They are four years old now and I purchased them from the Audiology Department.

With all the bad weather news on TV about severe thunderstorms and tornados, we were hesitant about going (…for a few minutes!).

When we left home, it was windy and sunny. It wasn’t until we crossed into Massachusetts when the rain came down. At times, a real deluge, but it rained all the way to New London.

I had to go to the Navy visitors center for a pass to enter the base since the Air Force no longer issues vehicle identification decals and my ID card alone did not get me in.

Luck was with me. I explained to the seaman that the Air Force doesn’t issue decals anymore for automobiles. That makes it inconvenient for us when we visit other services bases so the visitor center beckons. He then told me he could issue me a decal for my car and I could enter any and all base services.

All of a sudden, the rain outside appeared. It was pouring outside and he had me follow him to my car where he dried off the windshield so the decal would stick as I held the large umbrella over him. It worked. This fellow was a very good representative of the Navy when it comes to getting along with other services. He could have just given me a pass. He proved what an asset he is to the Navy. The sailor also stated that other retirees with their auto registration, proof of insurance and driver’s license can get the decal.

We stayed at the Navy Lodge and our room was excellent at the rate of $74.50. You can stay up to seven days. There is a “breakfast-to-go” bag in the lobby each morning with a complimentary copy of a USA Today newspaper. The bag consists of orange juice, a muffin and yogurt. There is always fresh-brewed coffee in the lobby for your enjoyment.

Friday morning we went to the Audiology Department and saw my audiologist, Susan, again. She gave a thorough check-up of my hearing aids. I was told hearing aids have been upgraded and, if I wished, I could get them at the base again, a better hearing aid and at less cost than my first pair.

My audiology exam, which I had done at home, will be mailed to her with all paperwork done and she’ll be able to get me new ones. Then, one more trip to see her and have the hearing aids fine-tuned by computer.

Next it was on to Hanscom AFB, Mass., where I had reservations for two nights at $39 per night. Upon arrival (one hour, 45 minutes) I checked in and then we visited the Base Exchange and Commissary, which was very big.

Room rates: Visiting Quarters, $39 per night; DV Quarters, $48.25 per night; Temporary Lodging Facility, $41.50 per night; and pet-friendly rooms, $51.50 per night.

Gayle and I had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Luigi’s, when we arrived at Hanscom. It’s located in Bedford, five miles from the base. Prices are more than reasonable and the food is very plentiful and good.

Saturday morning was Retiree Activity Day. The activity day began at 9 a.m. at the Base Theatre. Information services at three locations started in the Club at 10 a.m. Opening ceremonies started at 11:45 a.m., the luncheon began at noon. Col. Stacy L. Yike, 66th Air Base Group commander, served as guest speaker.

The information services portion of the day featured approximately 30 on and off base exhibitors. Exhibitors included TRICARE, the Social Security Department, the Veterans Administration and the 66th Medical Squadron. Their new location in the Brown Building is behind the Pass and ID waiting area.

As usual after the Retiree Activity Day, we did some shopping at the Base Exchange and Commissary. There was a Case Lot sale going on.

Gayle and I then went to Margaritas Restaurant, just outside the base, for dinner. The food was good and reasonable with a Mexican atmosphere.

Sunday we headed home. We accomplished a lot on this trip and met new and old friends at the Hanscom Retiree Activity Day.

Well, Gayle and I are on the road again on Thursday June 16. We are on our way back to SUBASE New London. My hearing aids would be ready at the Audiology Department the next morning at 0845. We are staying, once again, at the Navy Lodge, at a rate of $74.50 per night.

Dinner was at an authentic family-owned Mexican restaurant, Ortegas.” It is just about four miles from the base. Food was excellent, reasonable and different from chain restaurants.

Friday morning we went to the Audiology Department and, once again, Susan provided her expertise infitting and computer-adjusting my new hearing aids. I’ll have to return after three weeks of using them to resolve any problems, if any. Also, she’ll fine tune them to my hearing capacity and what makes me comfortable.

We were on our way home by 9:30 am and arrived after six and one half hours.

On July 7, I had to make a return visit to New London for Susan to fine-tune my new hearing aids. Gayle and I had reservations at the Navy Lodge for that night.

Upon arrival, we went to the security office to get a base sticker for Gayle’s car. No problem. All we needed was her driver’s license, car registration and insurance certificate.

We had dinner at the Olive Garden about three miles from the base on Route 95, near one of the shopping malls. Its easy to get to and its not a bad drive.

Friday morning we went to see Susan again and then onto Route 95 for our seven-hour trip home. We drove through two separate downpours with hail and we were glad when the weather cleared. Otherwise the trip home was uneventful.

Lt. Col. John and Gayle Caruso
U.S. Air Force, Retired
Getzville, N.Y.
rob29bie@roadrunner.com

Reprint from R&R Travel News™ Mar-Apr 2012 • Volume 42, No. 2