Puzzling critter, the human mind. A year ago I hadn’t been examined by a physician for almost two decades and I took full responsibility for my health, was certain I would continue to do so without the involvement of physicians.
If I manage to remain alive long enough to write another long book I might begin with the premise a person just never can tell. Or something profound along the lines of ‘never say never’.
I began trylng to understand how I got from there to here last night. I’m thinking it had a lot to do with the cats. At the time I had my [what’s now by hindsight clearly a serious] heart attack November 7, 2013, I was in the middle of nowhere on Gale’s property in Texas. If I’d dived out of this lifetime and the cats were trapped inside the RV they might have joined me the hard way in a few days by dehydration.
Everything else, the week in the Kerrville Hospital, the trip to Andrews and stay with Eddie Brewer while attempting to begin VA medical care, the return to Gale’s and final dash to Kansas all followed in tiny increments of the mind. Micro-abdications made in ignorance with a growing determination to know what the hell was wrong with me.
All without ever making a clear and decisive, well-thought-out decision to abandon the conscious philosophical position I’ve held twenty years and never doubted during that time.
So here I sit with a stack of monthly co-pay payments to make out of a skinny pool of finances, taking a lot of medications, carrying a defibrillator in my shoulder, and not profoundly improved in my physical capabilities over November and December, 2013.
Please don’t willfully misunderstand me and think I’m implying my choices were ‘wrong’. I don’t know whether they were wrong, or right, or whether concepts of wrong and right even fit into the equation. What I’m saying is that my life enjoyed a major change in direction without the guy in the pilot seat ever having given the matter any thought.
If not wrong or right, probably irresponsible at the least.
A year ago the chances of my living long enough to burn through the money, minus interest, I paid into Social Security over half-century was zilch. I’ve never figured out what the interest would amount to, nor factored in the FICA paid in by employers.
But I confess in all honesty that I’m probably approaching the great divide because of Medicare paying off for my hospital bills and testing during 2014. Not to mention all the costs the VA is absorbing in other testing and examinations. This, by virtue of my being a hero and having protected the freedoms of all you vacant eyed US citizens. Back when men were men and constantly faced the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases in foreign lands.
So without ever having made a conscious choice to do so, I’ve been reduced to the status of health beggar, become the burden on society I’d have sworn I’d never be.
Precisely how such a thing could come to pass certainly ought to be the subject of a treatise.
But it’s mostly because of the damned cats.
My role as a warning to younger women of what could happen lends to my habit of seeking wisdom from those who have been on this ride longer, which is one of the reasons I follow your blog, Jules. The main reason is that you love cats or and can relate to them. I love your perspective and admit I’ve cast you as a philosopher, one who has the good sense to add wit to any situation. I am pulling for you and sending you good vibes, Jules.
P.S. Doctors are fallible humans (the nicest thing I could think of to say). Rest, outdoor walks, good healthy food, creative pursuits, and comedy are called for in every rehab.
Thanks KS Schultz. Fallible goes without saying when we’re talking humans. We’re mostly equal in that regard, though I consider myself more equal than most. Gracias, J
Really sorry to hear about your health problems. I just hate to deal with the medical profession for any reason. It seems anymore all they are interested in is money. My doctor used to charge me $75.00 a visit. After I got on Medicare, I still get a bill from him for $75.00. I asked why and was told your bill is $150.00 per office visit and Medicare only paid half. I said that I only paid $75.00 per visit when I paid cash, so they told me that they give a 50% discount for cash. So, I said that in that case I only owe $37.50. That didn’t go over too well and I gave up and paid my usual $75.00. I understand where you are coming from and hope you will be back to your old self real soon, or as close to it as possible.
Hi DizzyDick: Funny how it all runs together. Gracias, J
Ha… I blame the cats for my predicament, too. Hope all that health care is leaving you, well, healthier. And hey, your entertainment factor negates your societal burden – at least in my eyes.
Hi Trapper Gale: A person can never go wrong blaming the cats. Gracias, J
I can’t think of anyone I know at the moment with more rights to use my and everyone’s taxes to pay for his healthcare than you, Jules, if not just for the wisdom I gather from your blog, then from your love and respect for cats. I’m sorry you’ve been overburden, not so much for your evident physical pain, but for the ethical implications of your condition, but I think you’re more than entitled to spare yourself of such considerations and embrace the fact that, at least for now, the system is working. I’m sure if I were on your position, I’ll be crying foul and blaming the hell out of everyone for my misery. That you’ve been carrying on with such dignity and a still very sharp sense of purpose is something anyone should always aim at emulating, but, I’m almost resigned to admit that such outstanding characters are sadly few and far in between, myself naturally included. Long story short, I’m glad you’re around and you’re certainly no beggar, Sir. Keep on kicking.
Perfectly said, hear hear!
Thank you heretherebespiders. J
Hi Wesley: Thanks for the kind words. Good seeing you here. Jack
Never consider yourself a burden on society. You deserve the help you are receiving. Hope you continue to feel good enough to write your real life blog posts.
Hi Bev: I expect I’ll make up for it all next lifetime, try to arrive at a balance. If not, maybe lifetime after next. Gracias, J
Sometimes major changes in direction just happen.
Hi Rob. Almost always, I’m thinking. J
I’m glad you’re still here but you know that already.
I’m catching what you’re throwing with the whole medical insurance situation. We don’t have insurance because we don’t have the $15,000 it would cost us in premiums and copays so we take our chances and hope for the best. Like you, I am damn independent and if I were to have a headstone, which as you know I won’t, along with the fantasmagorical whopping, outright lies I’d have engraved on it I’d like it to say “Here lies me beholden to no one.”
I used to work in administration in a hospital, Jack. There’s a lot of waste, waste that would make a rough, tough, grown man cry. Yet, amazingly “environmental services” workers barely get paid enough to live- apparently cleaning the hospital is a worthless job… . I won’t lose any sleep at all if, someday, I find myself the recipient of charity care. Don’t waste another second considering the burden you have NOT placed on society. The real burden is the waste and elitism fostered in a profession that ought to be more about giving and less about taking. I could go on but I will spare you.
To cover the most important point- very happy you’re still here.
Hi elroyjones: It ain’t often easy and it ain’t often kind. I’m glad we’re both here. Graciaws, J
Cats are worth being uncomfortable – as I’m sure you learned many a night when unable to shift in your sleep without disturbing one or more, and chose not to. You’re welcome to all the funds I paid in in my time, there – I’ll never be back in the USA to claim it.
heretherebespiders: Uncomfortable’s a state of being that exists regardless of cats I’m thinking. If cats are coincident with uncomfortable it’s just a coincidence. They’re only responsible for the increment of discomfort they can be directly connected to by convincing evidence presented before a jury of their peers. Gracias, J
Hi Chuck: You say that NOW when it’s too late to matter. Gracias, J
Just forwarding what my double digit crew says. Love it when one jumps up onto my chest at night or day for giving and receiving attention/love.
Hoping your health imprives! Each day is a gift. Seems easier to see that at this age.
Chuck: Yeah, I like it too. J
You are like the guy going into the 7-11 who looks like he should come out with a 6-Pack and a bottle of wine and instead has a bag of Meow Mix. But cats are so nice. I have a lot and a lot and they are all inside pals. Oh, I forgot: and a lot!
Chuck: It’s long past time 7-11s were purged from 21st Century reality. Damned stores must have been around 50, 60 years now and they’re all still run by the same guy. He hasn’t aged a day. You can go into any one of them anytime and there he is, still looking the same as he did the first time you ever bought anything in one. Metaphysical dripping into our place here, creeping through the cracks. Gracias, J
Hmmm. Don’t know if I have been in a true 7-11 for a long time. Don’t know the guy, but might have seen him. : )
Chuck: He’s around in the other stores as well. J
Life is what it is and we just have to make the best of it.
The benefits you receive from Social Security and the V.A. are not a gift; you earned them and they are part of your compensation “package”.
I don’t know your arrangement with the V.A. as far as copayments but if you have any they can be waved if you can’t afford them. Contact your V.A. Hospital and ask for a waiver form. It will be good for things in the last six months only so don’t delay. Then you do it all over again to cover the next copay bill.
Anything older than six months you get to pay. 😦
Hopefully your next yearly review will cancell all payments for the next year.
Don’t delay because they tend to put a lein on your social security. Yep, that’s a big shocker when the letter comes in the mail. Live and learn I say.
Also, not sure about your state but if your income is within the guidelines you can fill out another form and if approved the state will start paying your monthly Medicare premium that is deducted from your Social Security.
I’m not sure if any of this applies to you but just thought I’d throw it out there.
Tim: Good information. I’ll try to chase the stuff down about co pay waiver forms. Gracias, J
I tend to think abdication is something you should never plan in the first place, so taking the autopilot route is about the only one that makes sense.
Good seeing you Ed. I tend to think abdication isn’t something happens enough in life generally, and when it does it tends to happen to the wrong people. A tsunami of abdications, for instance, among the folk who have something to abdicate would be a day to remember. Gracias, J
Cats are some of my closest friends. If I ever let myself down, I can handle it, but I would never want to let them down if they’re relying on me. In any situation I would gladly put a burden on society in order to make a cat happy.
I luv ’em. Keep you warm at night too.
Chuck: Indeed. J
Hi Andrew. I agree completely. J
Old Jules, You have earned the medical by the time you spent in the service of our country. And every day you paid SS you paid the medical and that is earned not a gift or a burden in any way. I’m getting a reminder after many years without a cat what they are like. My husband has an 18 year old farm cat…never knew one lived that long on the farm. He follows me around and demands to be fed. He has become my companion to the hen house just like my extra furry dog. I’m still struggling with his thoughts after so many years without one in the house. I think I have a new (cat) language to learn. Blessings and keep hanging in there. I enjoy your post and quaint sense of humor. Mary
To elroyjones, As a retired nurse who worked in the hospital in the early ’60’s and again in the early 70’s and once more in the early 80’s before becoming a nurse I have seen the evolution of doctoring and nursing. The new medical way of doing things has some problems that the old way didn’t. I agree with you about the waste. Waste in so many ways and some of the most needed people so underpaid.
Hi Mary: Thanks. J