LTJ: Medicare Madness!

Posted on September 4, 2010

Last month was my birthday and I have never had so much attention. My mailbox was stuffed with envelopes weeks before my celebratory day and my phone rang incessantly. And yes, I come from a large family but few cards were from special people in my life. It was Medicare madness! I had daily mail from AARP, Medicare and every insurance company imaginable. Many of the phone calls were from agents not only wanting to sell me insurance but to actually come out and explain it. Excuse me, but I don’t think I dropped into some intellectual abyss just because I reached the infamous 65th birthday. I can still read a document and decipher its meaning.

And yes, there are a few perks with this age, like senior prices on meals or hotel rooms (actually most of those came at 55 or 62), but I don’t like being placed in a new category. If I fill out a form, I am no longer in the 50-64 age range. When getting prescriptions, my doctor must now treat me as an “older” patient, taking caution in prescribing meds—not really a bad thing since I have been super sensitive to meds my entire life.

The birthday itself started out a little depressing when my husband tried to wish me Happy Birthday just after midnight on July 31st. No way. I wasn’t born until late afternoon on August 1st. My mother tells me that every year when she calls so I didn’t pick up that senior baton until Mama called and gave her yearly remembrance concerning the time of my birth.

But there are good things about turning 65. With Medicare my co-pay at the doctor is not as high and I loved the shocked expression of those dear people who exclaimed, “You can’t be 65! You look way too young.” Not sure where my husband found such sweet actors but “Thanks, Honey!” Another good thing is that Carl turned 65 nine days before me. Being the kind person I am, I often asked him what it was like to be “old” during those nine days since I was still 64. I even encouraged him to take a free class for those 65 and over and apologized that I couldn’t join him. But the fun part was that we got our Medicare cards on exactly the same day so we celebrated the moment with an Oreo cake cookie and frozen yogurt. Does that sound “senior” enough? Our oldest son, Aaron, teased his dad unmercifully about this new stage of life, sending a birthday letter with huge fonts for easy reading and gently assuaged my ego by telling me to carry an ID to prove
my age.

But it truly is just a number and if I am as old as I feel then my age changes daily. And in spite of the senior status, I loved visiting with all those who called to wish me a happy birthday. My five-year-old granddaughter called two days in a row and sang “Happy Birthday” to me on the phone. (Her dad—my son—got the date wrong the first time!) Just can’t beat that! I got phone calls, cards and e-mails from my children, my mother, grandchildren, old high school friends as well as contemporary ones and most of my siblings—no, not all of my brothers are sentimental over birthdays. My youngest son even chose my cake and decorations—chocolate cake, chocolate icing (yes, I am a chocoholic) and bright yellow trim, Jay’s favorite color, and my husband presented me with a CD of what he thought was my favorite song.

Truly I am blessed with a wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. So who cares what number is on the birthday cake? I just want to keep celebrating them! 

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