I had my 'medicare appointment' today. I mean, I thought I was going there to get my prescriptions for another year, but they informed me that it was my medicare appointment.
I am still learning my way around the medicare system, so I just took them at their word. It was my medicare appointment.
I went there with my book, but there was no time to read it. They had four pages that I needed to fill out because this was my 'medicare appointment'.
It started out innocuously enough, but by the second page, the questions wanted to know whether I needed a walker, a cane, a wheelchair to get around. What adaptive equipment did I need in my home. I was a little surprised to see that I was being asked about my ADLs. Could I do my own housework independently? Cook for myself? Do my own laundry? Could I make phone calls by myself? Could I toilet myself? Shower myself? Stuff like that.
WTH?!!! Of course I can do those things.
I drew an impatient line and wrote N/A. This is my family doctor, for heaven's sake, and there would be no reason for her to have any questions about whether I could do these things or not.
I continued on, and it moved into my mental state. How often did I socialize? I stopped ticking boxes and read ahead. Eventually, I got to 'Did I feel that everyone would be better off without me?'
You know, about 12 years ago, or so, my mother was hospitalized. The doctor sat us all down and explained that my mother was going to die and that nothing could be done about that unfortunate fact. She was sent from the hospital to a nursing home while her home care situation was being figured out.
She had to fill out a form too, a lengthy thing, and part of it was a self assessment of her mental health. One of the questions was 'Do you think about death a lot?' My mother answered yes. After all, she was still processing the news that she had a terminal illness.
The nursing home's response to that was to put her under a suicide watch. Let me tell you she. Was. Livid. If anyone had bothered to talk to her, they'd have figured out that she was grappling with her own mortality for the soundest of reasons: she was dying. But no one bothered to talk to her.
Now, all these years later, I sat there staring at the same questions. I don't go to the doctor often, but when I do, we always chat cordially. We always find something that strikes us as hilarious. She's never had a reason to ask questions about my mental state or what adaptive equipment I need, or whether I can still dial the phone and carry on a conversation.
So what was up with this form? This was my 'medicare appointment'. So who was asking me the questions, because it sure wasn't my doctor.
I drew a big line across the rest of the questions and wrote, "I can assess my own mental state."
I took the clip boord back to the window and politely said, "I am not filling this out. I turned 65 but this is simply the worst case stereotyping. Very little of this applies to me. Lyndsey would never have a reason to ask these questions, so who is asking them?"
She said, "It's okay. Don't worry about it."
I'm still curious why a 65 year old woman, just retired, walking into the office on her own two legs (slight limp: arthritic knee), carrying on a perfectly appropriate conversation, arriving 15 minutes early for her 2PM appointment would warrant that questionare? Did I mention it was four freaking pages?