Finally. Gone. Over. Done with. Finito. Bah-humbug. What? There’s one more? Yeah, but…
My birthday is this coming Saturday. Yep. Exactly the moment when people are going, “Oh no, not another piece of cake?” kind of thing. Me too, this year. I’m really over it. My little spell of feeling poorly for three weeks knocked the stuffin’ out of me. It’s a major birthday, too, at least to the Federal Government. They’ve been announcing it to me for the past several months in hysterical — almost panicked — terms, such as,
“For the love of God and all that is holy! Be sure you’ve signed up for Medicare!”
This register was echoed by my health insurance plan,
“For the love of God and all that is holy! Be sure you’ve signed up for Medicare Parts A, B, D! You don’t need C. We’re C, see? But D! You need D! Sign up or you’ll lose your prescription drug plan! If you don’t do it now you WON’T be able to do it later!”
The sky is falling!”
So there I was in August, freaking out, online, following through and see that — what do you think? Social Security had taken care of my signing up for Medicare. They’d even told my retirement plan.
But the panic mail kept coming, and I kept mildly freaking out and double-checking. The Medicare card came. A new insurance card came. A new prescription drug card came. I thought of displaying them with other cards of the season. A giant pamphlet came — pamphlet? Book. There were some dark times, like when I thought I’d pay $$$ out of pocket (and my pockets are not deep) but my retirement plan said, “No no, we’ll make up the $130 difference” and sure enough, they have. I got my first senior citizen pay check today…
And…on another blog I wrote a comment about the “betrayal” of the body. I thought about that more. This carapace is our transportation through life, and I’ve never had a car that didn’t break down sooner or later, depending (often) on how careful I was about keeping the oil changed. Still, there was always a moment when I knew, if I were lucky, around 100,000 miles. I remember that most distinctly with my Ford Escort wagon. That was a really good car. Little and red, hauled three big dogs with ease and comfort, took some long road trips, got me to school and back. I drove that car hard. My schools were all at least 20 miles apart and often through traffic. A day came when Luis, the service writer at the Ford garage where I took my car (walking distance) said, “Martha, you need a new car.” My Escort went to live at Luis’ daughter’s house just down the street from me, and I got a shiny, new, red Ford Ranger.
The transportation into which we’re born can’t be traded in, but just like a car it’s built with hidden flaws, parts that wear out and problems in design. I suppose if it were not, we would not be willing — ever — to shake off this mortal coil and make space for others. I don’t think I would be.
“For the love of God and all that is holy! You have to acknowledge your mortality and gather the lessons of that awareness!”
I imagine all this Medicare mail and the sixty-fifth birthday brings that home to a lot of people.