Jul 20, 2015
Step 1: Go to the website. It has my address for mailings. Hmm.
Step 2: Call BC/BS Got a very nice lady who said she has my address for mailings. After some back and forth, she told me I needed to call Blue Care Network, which isn't the same as BC/BS.
Step 3: Call BC Network. Got another nice lady who was able to correct the mailing problem but had no idea why MiL got two ID cards (plus the new one BC/BS had sent). She said I had to talk to Blue Care Advantage.
Step 4: Call BC Advantage. Got a woman who re-checked the address for mailings, so we're pretty sure I'll get them. Then she confessed to being unable to figure out why we got two cards from BCA. She will call me back when she finds out the answer.
Total time: 45 minutes, which I understand is not too bad for these things, except only ONE of my three concerns is (presumably) solved. One is pending, and the other we didn't even get to because we don't know which customer number is correct.
I will admit that these people were more helpful and responded more quickly than back in the '90s when my mom was sick. But 3 departments just to find one little old lady in one insurance company? She also has Medicare, Medicaid, and a different insurer for her prescriptions. I imagine her care records as one big snarl: the nursing home, the insurance companies, the Hospice people, and the prescriptions, and I'm willing to bet no one knows for sure who's getting paid what.
I guess it helps that the 3 people I spoke with were all very nice. When dealing with a bureaucracy, that's about all one can hope for.
Jan 27, 2015
Being a student of history, I find myself wondering about what advice was like back in the day. We live in a world where everyone wants to tell us how to eat so we can live to be 100, what to wear so we appear cool and confident, and how to survive the next attack, the next storm, or the next epidemic.
Advice from our parents' day now seems quaint and often wrong. The ads that told us real men smoke Marlboros. The Singer instruction manual that advised women to put on a clean dress and makeup and style their hair so they'd be "prepared" for sewing. The general view that a woman should not work once she became pregnant and should stay in bed for two weeks after the birth.
So I wonder, did the Tudors get advice from their doctors about how to live to be forty? Of course they did; people have always hoped some "wise" someone could tell them how to achieve good health and avoid early death. The "frog stones" in the title were ground up and put into a person's drink as a preventative for poison. Tudor doctors turned over a rock on the way to a patient's home and figured out from what they saw beneath it whether the patient would live or die. Nice to know there's a way to know for sure.
I imagine the Roman Empire sending advice to its far-flung citizenry, suggesting ways to live through an attack by raging Goths. I imagine the Great Khan sending out messengers to tout the benefits of eating only Chinese rice and not that cheap stuff coming in from the south. Maybe Cleopatra gave interviews, telling her palace folk that if they copied her outfits, makeup, and habits, they could borrow a little of her glory for themselves.
People have always sought advice, and there's always been someone willing to give it. It's odd to think that things we're advised to do will someday seem quaint, even ridiculous, by those who come later. As long as we think someone else is more qualified than we are to tell us what to do and how to live, there'll be advice, so take that umbrella with you when you leave the house today, and slow down on those slippery roads. Maybe you'll live to be 100.
Dec 30, 2014
The answer I've chosen? To teach acceptance of ourselves the way we are right this minute.
When you're twenty, healthy, and quick-witted, it's easy to look down on those who aren't any of those things. We feel indestructible, and we're often impatient with those who are less so.
When you're forty, you work hard to stay healthy, to look twenty, and to keep those wits sharp.
But at sixty you begin to realize it's a losing battle. No amount of work or study can alter the facts of time's passage, no matter what modern gurus claim. We get older. We get old.
That's not to say we have to give up, but we need to acknowledge that our physical and mental faculties will decline--are declining. You need to think about balance when you walk on slippery roads. You need to remind yourself that you'll pay later for that piece of pie. And the mirror lets you know at a glance that you're no spring chicken.
Accept it. That's reality.
Once you admit you're less sure of your mental acuity, once you admit that if you sit down on the floor there might be trouble getting back up, once you stop buying stuff that promises to hide the signs of aging, you'll feel release from a crushing burden. You'll smile at commercials for anti-aging this or that. You'll tone down your exercise routine from high-powered to low-impact. And you'll forgive yourself for forgetting where you stored the family birth records when you cleaned out that closet last summer.
In other words, you'll accept that you're human, imperfect, and mortal. It's very relaxing, and I recommend it to everyone.
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