My Week: Going to the Dark Side

It’s been a lot of a “do nothing” seven days. Sunday, I dragged around and did laundry. I’ve never in my life been so tired of folding sheets. The only thing that made it the least bearable is my top-loading dryer. Why no one had thought of such before now is beyond me. I stood at the opening, fished the sheet out and let it rest inside the drum as I began to fold it. It was only when it was folded up small enough to not drag the floor that I took it out.

I’d planned to go eat at a Mexican restaurant (said to have the BEST guacamole) with some of the ladies from church but I had to admit to myself it would never happen. I called and canceled, then cried. When I was working at the hospital, Sunday was my only day to Get Things Done. Now that I wasn’t so hampered by time, I was too puny to go. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I consoled myself with some garlic lemonade.

DD had been very busy so we didn’t have our visit until Monday. She’s still looking for work. I hope something pans out soon. She’s such a talented person (and that isn’t just her mother speaking) whoever doesn’t hire her is missing out.

That was also the day I washed my mother’s old Snug Sack. I’d made the mistake of unsnapping all the grippers and didn’t have a clue how to put it back together. For those of you who don’t know what a Snug Sack is, it’s a rectangular blanket with grippers spaced in an orderly fashion. The tag says “Tennessee Woolen Mills” but when I did a search for that, I found the company had been sold. Anyway, the snug sacks one finds online pale in comparison with this one.

Snug Sack

Prayer to help me figure it out was the only thing that saved me. Once I’d prayed, I snapped it up, no problem. I don’t think I could do it on my own again. I only unsnap the front to get into and out of it now and will leave some of the grippers snapped at all times. It’s really come in handy the cool/cold mornings when I sit on the deck to get some sun.

Monday was the last day I exercised to any extent and that was only in the morning. I did the balance routines with the Wii one other day but I’ve been resting a lot and trying to get over whatever this is I have. One of my sisters thinks it’s allergies. I think it’s the common cold. Doesn’t matter which is right. It’s all yuck.

I’ve had so much garlic lemonade I ran out of fresh garlic. I called my neighbor/cousin and asked her to pick up some for me. She brought me enough to last me for weeks and wouldn’t let me pay her. I’ve threatened to give her a whole list of groceries to buy for me.

Tuesday, I had to make a quick trip to town to pick up a package at the clinic. I made the trip count by getting the bit of groceries I needed to tide me over.

I’ve been wanting some applesauce and have called almost every day since I felt like I might beat the odds and live but there are no apples to be had. The local growers have been out for weeks, probably. Before that, I was so busy with other things, I didn’t get anywhere to get some. They are importing them now and the truck keeps getting delayed. The latest anticipated delivery was last night at 10. When I called yesterday, I asked for them to save me a box for tomorrow.

Well, folks. I may be considered a traitor by some but I have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Before I ever considered retiring from the hospital, I started doing my research. When a patient would come in with something other than original Medicare, I would ask questions. Then there were the online services. Medicare has a handy dandy plan finder that makes comparing plans quick ‘n’ easy. I took advantage of every tool I could find. There are plans that have no premiums for people like me who aren’t awash in prescriptions. I called one plan to ask some questions and was almost strung up by the rep I talked to. In his opinion, I was nuts not to take a plan with Part D (prescriptions) because I “might need it someday.” Well, in the meantime, I pay $10 for a 90 day supply of thyroid meds and, I’m sorry. I’m not going to pay right at $50 a month because I “might need it someday.”

My search went on and on and, while I hated dealing with the various and sundry Advantage plans while I was working, I was beginning to realize enrolling in one might be a good idea.

One of the girls brought me her dad’s bills from the clinic I go to. He has original Medicare only. There was no way I could figure them out. I told her to call the clinic. She came back and said that one was the co-pay for the doctor. The other was the co-pay for the facility fee. I weighed that on one hand and the co-pay for the Advantage plan on the other. He was getting socked twice for one visit (and, yes, it’s legal) when, if he had an Advantage plan, his co-pay could have been as little as $10.

Well, you say, he should have a supplement! According to Medicare’s online information, there are 10 plans available for my area with monthly premiums ranging from $61 to $273 according to the coverage chosen and the company. Many times, people are paying for the insurance name when they could get the same plan elsewhere for much less. A lot of older people don’t have the resources or the computer savvy to shop around. Medicare sets the requirements for each plan. The companies decide on the premiums. And those premiums can increase every year.

As soon as November 1 and my Part B effective date rolled around, I sat down at my trusty notebook and signed up for the plan of my choice. I’d done my homework and I knew I was doing the best thing for me. A few days later, it was a shock to learn that it wouldn’t go into effect until January 1. I went back to the site and re-enrolled for 2011 and got a date of 12/01/2011. When I did the survey, I said I was frustrated because I wanted a date of 11/01/2011.

Yesterday, my phone rang. It was the insurance company. The lady had some questions. The only way I could get the 12/01 date was if I met certain conditions. The first one I didn’t. The second one—BINGO! Yes! I had lost my coverage through my employer on October 1, 2011! She asked if I wanted the coverage date of 12/01. I told her only if I couldn’t get the 11/01 date. She was sorry but I couldn’t. Okay. What could I say?

A few minutes later, the phone rang again. It was the same lady calling back. She apologized for not investigating further and said she’d found I could have the date of 11/01 because of my dis-enrollment date of 10/01. My card and other info should be arriving in seven to 14 days. She would go ahead and update the system. I was all set!

But not so fast. A couple hours later (more or less), she called AGAIN. “I’m so sorry to have to call you, but…” I said, “Don’t say BUT!!” Upshot of the conversation was that Medicare requires a signature in the month previous to the effective month. I know enough about Medicare that you don’t argue. You just do. I’ll still have an effective date of 12/01. So, it’s Dark Side, here I come!

Last night, my neighbor/cousin/doctor called and said her sister (another cousin/doctor) had sent me some things. I met her on the deck and she gave me a little container of menthol crystals—and she cautioned me not to use too many in a pan of water—plus a jar of soup that came with the warning that it had a kick and a bottle of Buried Treasure ACF. I saved the soup until today and it was delicious besides making me feel all warm inside. I’ve been choking down the ACF, too.

I woke early early this morning and thought I would never go back to sleep. Eventually, I did only to be awakened a little after 6 by Twinkle moaning and groaning outside my bedroom door. She can sound so pitiful.

Church was out of the question today. The last batch of fava beans have made me very gassy and when I cough…you get the picture. I think I didn’t cook them long enough. Instead of church, I sat on the deck for almost an hour soaking up the morning sun. It was nap time this afternoon and I’m drinking my 4th 16 ozzie glass of water. It’s about an hour yet until bedtime so maybe I can get that out of my system and not be up all night.

I finished reading Steps to Christ today and plan to start on The Desire of Ages tomorrow. It should keep me in reading material for a lot longer since it’s 87 chapters vs 13.

It’s been really cold the last two nights. My tomato plants, basil and Malabar spinach are done for. If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

2 Responses to My Week: Going to the Dark Side

  1. Mary Jane November 13, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    I also love soaking up the sunshine on these bright, sunny days!

    • Tommie November 13, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Enjoy it for me today! It’s cloudy here. 🙁

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