Welcome to Medicare…
I have spent the last six months or so learning about Medicare, both Part A and Part B, medical policy supplements, drug policies and all kinds of other things related to turning sixty-five and changing insurance policies. For those of you who haven’t gone through this process yet, it is kind of nerve-wracking. But, I have successfully navigated all the various agencies and insurance companies to arrive at a combination of policies that work for me.
Part A and Part B of Medicare went into force on February 1st, the first day of the month that I turned 65. As you may recall, my birthday was last Monday, on the 19th, so I guess that I have officially been on Medicare for more than 3 weeks now. In fact, I have already had my annual physical that was titled “Welcome to Medicare.” My doctor went through the regular stuff, checked my pulse and blood pressure; and then verified all the scripts that I have at the drug store.
Then came an interesting twist. I was given a mental acuity evaluation. During this part of the exam, I was asked 30 various questions having to do with math, comprehension, short term memory recall and spacial analysis to see if I have any signs of dementia. I scored 28 out of 30 – apparently in the normal range, as I missed 2 items that were mentioned that I couldn’t recall later on in the evaluation. Initially, I was quite upset about not having a perfect score, but that’s the way it went!
And to be perfectly frank, it’s not easy to recall all the things they ask when you are put on the spot and the doc is sitting there with her pen in her hand; getting ready to record X’s next to the items you missed. Two weeks removed from this event, I am much calmer about it now. But at the time I was freaking out a little.
I also needed my second (of three) pneumonia shot and an EKG. I have never had a real heart issue, but every once in a while, they will record a mild anomaly that is within the allowed deviation. Then, I could go years without it happening again. It seems to perplex everyone but nobody is concerned so why borrow trouble?
But then came something I wasn’t prepared for. As most of you know, I am not overly fond of even the best doctors, so I try to avoid anything that isn’t really necessary to do. But now, the next item on the list was whether I have EVER smoked. Well, I was young and dumb once – and I smoked for a number years in my twenties. To be sure, I quit cigarettes on December 31, 1979 – when I was 26. I knew that I would need the change of a decade to really successfully quit and I haven’t had a cigarette since then.
What I learned in the doctor’s office is that if you smoked when you were younger, you increase the chances of having an aortic aneurysm. Now that’s nothing to joke about. It’s a very serious condition and if you have the surgery, which is a better alternative than dying from it, it is a monstrous operation that has a huge recovery time. So… they wanted me to set an appointment and have an aortic abdominal ultrasound to see if I was okay or not. Suddenly, things were much more serious.
I asked the doc what she thought and she wanted me to have the scan. I asked for it on the spot, but they don’t do it in that office, so I had to get an appointment at a radiology practice several days after my birthday. I couldn’t eat after 9:00 pm the night before and the procedure was scheduled for 2:30 pm. To say that I was hungry was an understatement but the results came back great – no aneurism so I wasn’t sweating needing a snack.
For the time being, it looks like I have my health in pretty good shape. Doc renewed my prescriptions and I headed to the drug store for the refills. My 90 day supply of everything (never had that before) was $9.00. That’s right – $9. FOR THREE MONTHS!!! Right now, I am kind of liking this Medicare stuff after spending hundreds each month on drugs until this month.
The government and the medical community seems to know more about my health than they ever have. I’m fine with that. I am so grateful that God has granted me good health – or should I say, several medical conditions that are treatable and not life threatening if kept under control. I still have work to do – lose weight, more exercise, less sugar, cut down on carbs, etc. but I am very much aware that in the scheme of things, I am considered healthy.
The verse for tonight reflects the fact that God knows more about me than anybody else. In one of my favorite psalms, the psalmist tells us, in Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” That’s correct. God created me and knows everything there is to know – including how long I will live; and every hair on my head.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to marvel at our own creation and trust Him. My prayer is that we will all enjoy good health and that we will strive to honor God with the care and feeding of our bodies. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…