Wimpy

Growing old is not for wimps, said every person over the age of 60 at some point in their lives.

Take yesterday morning. No, really. Take it. (Badda bing.) Bill and I — who have admittedly been putting exercise on the back burner when it comes to our daily activities — decided we would go out for a walk. The day was going to be lovely, mostly sunny with a high of 78. These Indian Summer days are tricky, however, because the mornings are pretty chilly but the temps warm up throughout the day. So when we took off for our walk, it was 40 degrees and warranted the need for a jacket or sweater. By the end of our walk, we were tearing off our outer clothing like it was on fire because we were so hot.

Our plan was to walk over to the light rail station (about three-quarters of a mile from our house) and drop off our ballots at the ballot box located there. As we neared our destination, Bill said, “Let’s walk over to Panera’s and get a bagel.” Well, I was amenable, despite the fact that I knew it would add another half mile to our walk. After all, we both felt pretty good.

“I’m game,” I said, but I heard Jessie’s voice in my head. Many years ago when my niece Jessie was just a little girl, she took her three aunties on a hike to show off the skills she had learned in her after-school hiking club. As we were following her up the hiking trail, she turned to us and said sternly, “Now don’t wait until you’re tired to tell me you want to turn around.”Well Jessie, Bill and I did exactly what you told us not to do. As a result, by time we reached our street, we were dragging like we had just run a marathon.

Jessie and her dad — my brother Dave. She no longer bosses us around.

But that’s not what led me to write about the relationship between aging and wimpiness. It’s Medicare, my friends. Medicare is going to kill me. Perhaps that’s their plan because that would result in one fewer old person to collect the benefit, leaving more for the foolish generations who think there will be any money left for them. Take that, Millennials. Try selling your Participation trophies.

I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person. I’m no Carl Sagan, but I’m also not Ed Norton of The Honeymooners fame. But this Medicare stuff is kicking my butt and taking names.

I think I have correctly signed up for Medicare. I got a card with a Medicare number, so I must be. (I don’t know how that flimsy card is supposed to last until my dying days, but that’s another story for another day.) I have dutifully sent a copy of that card to the Public Employees Retirement Fund for reasons I don’t know or care. They asked; I complied. But the process wasn’t particularly easy. I went up and down the stairs countless times, walking from my upstairs office to Bill’s downstairs office to ask him stupid things like Do I want Medicare Part A or Part B? or Did you know you have to pay for Part B? or Did you know Medicare won’t pay for flu shots? or How do I pay for my Part B if I’m not collecting Social Security?

Bill is nothing, if not patient, and he answered all of my questions without rolling his eyes (or at least held off until I had left the room).

Yesterday I signed up for my supplemental insurance plan, which I am getting through PERA. I was very excited to see that I could fill out my form online. I found the form quite quickly, and began filling it out. About every five minutes I would have to go downstairs to ask Bill for his social security number or his Medicare number. I got to the point where I was going to press SEND, when the computer informed me that I wasn’t able to file electronically since they needed my spouse’s signature. I would have to fill out the form on paper. Please. Paper? It’s the 21st Century.

I finally managed to print out and subsequently fill out the correct form, put it in an envelope with a stamp (how old school), and find a mailbox. I will hold my breath until my first doctor visit in 2019, and hope they don’t send me packing because they’ve never heard of me.

By the way, does anyone know how I pay for Part B if I’m not collecting Social Security?

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