Medicare for...Me, at Least

I have officially arrived at Senior Citizendom, and I’ve got the card to prove it. Turning 65 is a huge milestone in American culture. Medicare is designed for the elderly and disabled, and, since I don’t have any qualifying disability, I guess that makes me …

Medical studies in people my age usually refer to us as “older patients”, but the next demographic step in that parlance is to become the “oldest old,” which usually means those over 80, and I’ll reach that in 15 years. Fifteen years ago I turned 50, and that seems like yesterday. The absolute best gift I received at my 50th birthday party was from a friend named Patty Schwickerath, a T-shirt bearing the question, “Does a 50-year-old man wear boxers or briefs?” “DEPENDS” (and yes, the bathrooms now are too few and far between).

When I was growing up, I remember thinking adults were talking in a secret code sometimes: Who was Fibber McGee? There were cars named Stutz, Nash, and Willy’s?  Now if I bring up a name like Art Linkletter, Jim Croce, or Spiro Agnew, only Siri knows what I’m talking about, and she has to look it up. Not too many years ago, on a dreary rainy Monday morning at hospice team meeting, I commented that Karen Carpenter said it best. I got several, “Who?s” OK, don’t bother Googling it, The Carpenters, Karen & Richard were a brother/sister singing duo, and one of their hits included the line, “rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” And they recorded on LPs and cassettes (cassettes?).

 This week, I am thankful for Medicare. And I’m also thankful that I’ve made it to this age with only modest medical issues, a wife who loves me, reasonable financial security, and a family that more or less gets along. I have enjoyed aging, well, maybe not aging itself, but the comfort, stability, and wisdom that comes from getting to this part in my life. I remember George Carlin commenting on the magic words that work wonders at this age, “Grandpa’s tired.” How can I have so many great ideas of things I want to do, but, well, they can wait until after my nap.