Sunday, April 3, 2011

Personal Health: Dr S Turns 65! Medicare? Already? Me?

Today, I'm 65 years old. I note the stiff knees, excessive abdominal girth and numerous mailings from large insurance companies encouraging me to sign up for their Medicare Advantage Plan, because "the government" (which I call "the tax payers") has given us extra subsidy to offer you a better plan than Medicare.  The fitness center "Free" membership jumps out at me from one of the offers.  I note that it's from an insurance company that causes headaches for my office staff and casually dropped thirteen Cincinnati solo Family Physicians from being a "participating provider" in mid plan year using "quality criteria" that were poorly supported when one looked closely at their data base (like one of the sharper Family Physicians in Cincinnati did).  I guess the money they deny us in claims and don't spend on our patients prescription benefits goes to their marketing budget so they can juice up the mailings to naive people like me so we'll get excited about the fitness center and other perks.  I notice the first nausea of my 66th year of life is creeping in as I reflect on these circumstances.  OK, enough Medicare Advantage Plan thoughts.  Let's celebrate the birthday, Folks.

Last year I kept thinking of the Beatles song "When I'm Sixty-Four" and occasionally reflected on the lines "Will you still need me... When I'm 64?"  I love music but I don't know any songs about being 65.  OK, that's why God (or Al Gore) invented the internet- to find information.  (Actually, I think it was for the Department of Defense- to wage war better?)  I'll look up songs about being 65.  But not right now.

There probably is a Medicare Fight Song. (Forgive me Notre Dame)  Cheer, Cheer for "old" Medicare, notice the grayness all through your hair.  Take your Geritol and then, pills for your prostate and vitamins.  Try not to stumble, try not to fall, lest your hip socket gets a new ball.  Take your fish oil, B Complex, too; at 65 that's all you can do.  But not to worry, let out a shout, your teeth aren't yet the kind you take out. Now with Medicare you're limping onward to victory.--For the Medical Industrial Complex.  Sing that last phrase just like you would after Happy Birthday when you add, "And many more".

I did wake up a bit early today.  It's my birthday.  But I don't expect any presents, just people.  We're going to church with Mom in Liberty, where I grew up (see blog, "Set Our Hearts at Liberty" for my reflections on growing up in Liberty)  I was her twentieth birthday present, one day later.  So whatever age I become, she's always got me by 20 years.  That's how I remember how old she may be.  So this is a special birthday for her and we all celebrate by worshipping together.  My brother will be there with his family and I with mine (except for those in NC and Phil who is making rounds at OSU-will probably catch up at his Grandma's home after church).

I have been blessed for these 65 years.  I am thankful.  Peace to all.


  1. Hope you had a great birthday.
    And the Medicare Fight Song - that should be recorded and posted on YouTube! :)

  2. Happy Birthday! Your article conjures up thoughts about retirement. I must say they are not good thoughts. I, selfishly, still have so much to learn from you about the care of families. I do know a Nurse Practitioner who would be willing to work Monday afternoons and Fridays to give you a little more time to write your memoir, visit the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame(you said you liked music),just see the patients you want to see, or any of the many other things you might want to do.
    Your Nurse Practitioner, Laura