my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Category: old age

medicare ma

medicare-ma

MJE just “enjoyed” another birthday. It was actually pretty great, my sistahood feted me with a wonderful surprise party. I ended the evening wearing a napkin wimple, a palm frond crown like the lemur king in madagascar and a pink sequined bra. I will leave the rest of it up to your depraved imaginations you sickos.

The next day, after a somewhat ragged morning I received an email from medicare ma letting me know what wonderful things she was bestowing upon me to keep me hale and hearty:

Name Eligibility Date
PAP TEST DR 02/01/2018
PELVIC 02/01/2018
ANNUAL WELLNESS VISIT 02/01/2017
ALCOHOL MISUSE SCREENING 01/01/2016
DEPRESSION SCREENING 01/01/2016
HIGH INTENSITY BEHAVIORAL COUNSELING 01/01/2016
OBESITY COUNSELING 01/01/2016
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (BEHAVIORAL THERAPY) 01/01/2016
MAMMOGRAPHY 01/01/2016
COLORECTAL 01/01/2016
PAP TEST 01/01/2016
ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM 01/01/2016
DIABETES 01/01/2016
CARDIOVASCULAR 01/01/2016

Well if that didn’t let the air out of my balloon I don’t know what would. It started out happy enough…annual wellness visit. Great! But it turns out that ma suspects that I am actually far from 100% given the rest of the recommended tests and screenings. I had no idea I was at such high risk for so many afflictions. Plus I am a year late on most of them which does explain a thing or two.

Alcohol misuse screening: MJE uses ethyl alcohol exactly as it was intended.

Depression screening: Not until I saw the above list.

High intensity behavioral counseling: I have no idea what that even means. Am I low intensity (or in PET’s words “low energy”)? It is true that I haven’t been exercising as much as I should which is probably why ma feels I might be in need of the obesity counseling.

Cardiovascular disease behavioral therapy: I hope that doesn’t mean I have to lay off the triple cream brie, butter and foie gras. If so I really don’t see the point in going on.

Mammography: Ma’s a day late and a dollar short on that one as you know if you’ve been a loyal MJE follower. And if she truly cared she’d know that too.

Colorectal: Ha ha, already did the crap in a box thing (ask your doc, it’s so much better than a colonoscopy, and I might add a real testament to american ingenuity) and I’m clean as a whistle.

Pap test (twice!) AND pelvic: Seriously? a speculum is the only thing that’s been in that neck of the woods for ages.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Does that mean that ma suspects that my stomach is about to blow? Yikes, better haul out the spanxs.

Diabetes: The only sugar I ingest can be attributed to the above proper use of alcohol.

Then one more cardiovascular something or other which I thought we took care of with the aforementioned behavioral therapy.

What about the fact that I am blind as a bat, deaf as a post and walk like chester in gunsmoke because of the arthritis in my hip. Or that my skin is thinner than japanese mulberry paper and I bruise like a week old banana. Or that my brain is like a magic 8 ball and every effort to remember anything results in “perhaps but ask again” or “signs point to yes” or “very doubtful” which is decidedly unhelpful when trying to find my glasses or think of my grandchildren’s names. What about those things ma? What about quality of life, huh? Why are you so focused on stuff like exploding abs and behavioral therapy for my heart, which frankly could use it as it has been in intensive care since nov. 8.

I appreciate your concern, but MJE’s got it all covered. Don’t need you to tell me how to behave, or what to eat or drink. I’ve made it so far without your “support” and suspect that I’ll manage to hang on for a few more years. Now if you would care to cover important things like botox, liposuction or facial peels then I am all ears.

the magic kingdom of medicare

the magic kingdom of medicare

Upon MJE’s first feeble step over the age 65 threshold I was presented with the compulsory red white and blue key card to the gates of the magic medicare kingdom. Whoa nelly, thanks but no thanks to the federal government’s largesse, I’ll take that in dodgy tax deductions if it’s all the same to you. Mind you I am not some right wing republican fiscal hawk…I am a card carrying liberal who truly believes in the social safety net for those in need. But what about the rest of us? Don’t we have rights too?

It boggles MJE’s mind that even those of us who (in our dotage) are foolishly willing and fully able to pay for our own health insurance are forcibly mandated to be wards of the federal government. I frankly feel that my constitutional right to grossly overpay Blue Cross/ Blue Shield in return for unbelievably crappy health insurance coverage has been trammeled. I demand justice!

The pols in Washington are terrified of touching the “third rail” of politics aka medicare and social security. MJE for one, insists that someone up there grow a pair and speak up for the disenfranchised high income bracketeers. We need someone to courageously speak out, “Fellow lawmakers, this isn’t a red issue or a blue issue, this matter goes to the very heart of our fundamental values. Old rich Americans, of all political stripes are being denied their inalienable right to choose to be over charged and underserved by the private health insurance industrial complex. Our well-heeled patriots deserve better! They have dutifully contributed to medicare for decades only to have their right to refuse it repudiated! This is a travesty!”

But not one politician, left, right or center is willing to stand up to The Man and say:

“NOT EVERY OLD GEEZER WANTS YOUR STINKING HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDIES! THIS ISN’T GODDAM SWEDEN! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN AND IF THEY NEED IT! MEANTIME, BLOW THE DOUGH ON ANOTHER STUPID WAR OR SOMETHING AND LEAVE OUR GERIATRICS ALONE!”

But all is not lost. At least MJE still has the incomprehensible medicare supplement and prescription benefit programs. I can continue to pay a few overpriced premiums and have most of my claims for legitimate medical expenses denied. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing.

welcome to old age

welcome to old age

Okay, so MJE just reached a milestone on Jan 6, Twelfth Night, arriving at the official pearly gates of old age. Sixty five long ones. Leave it to me ole muddah to give birth on a date that would ensure that I would have to endure the full measure of the season (admittedly back then xmas didn’t start in March). Is it not enough that I have to slog through a (literally) godforsaken xmas, then pump myself or prop myself up for NYE, then being a glutton for punishment throw a NYD party? At that point most people can, in the immortal words of Al “Carnival Time ” Johnson ” throw my baby out the window and let the joint burn down.” But nooooo, MJE has to suffer through another six days of dread.

MJE deserves an Oscar for best performance in a tragicomedy for her feigned enjoyment of the occasion. The OB&C is nothing if not consistent. Every year it’s some random cheap card (often commemorating a completely different occasion, like “get well soon” or “congrats on the new baby”) hastily snatched up along with a $6.99 bouquet of half dead flowers at the Food Lion or Kroger on his way home from a massage. This year, because it was a big one, he did pick up a couple of gifts at the hardware store while he was buying spare parts for his boat trailer.

For this landmark I was thinking surely the OB&C might arrange some sort of massive celebration. Something like the surprise trip to NYC I set up for his 65th, or the birthday dinner at a great New Orleans restaurant for 30 people on his 50th when I secretly arranged for the children to fly in from afar (back when MJE and the OB&C were still communicating with Albatross outside of the bank wire transfer system) as a surprise and then rented the bar across the street for the after party. I was certain he had to have something up his sleeve. He’d let slip what I misinterpreted to be a few clues one night when he’d had a snootful and I was confident enough to wear a tiara over my platinum black rooted wig in anticipation. However, I soon realized that an extravaganza was definitely not in the offing. Instead we drove 30 minutes and to some “upscale” dive, surrounded by loudmouths and toddlers, seated at a teeny tipsy table for two in a dimly lit back room next to the fire exit.

I ditched the tiara and quickly downed something called the corpse reviver and two glasses of wine as a chaser. I’m totally sure the rest of the evening was everything I had hoped for.