Thursday, December 20, 2007


It's been exactly a week since my last post -- a week of running as fast as possible to touch all the bases and still running (breathless now), trying to reach home plate. (For anyone who's keeping track, that may be the first and only sports analogy I've ever used on this blog.) Thankfully, I'm almost there.

Last Thursday morning, because my prescriptions were all expiring, I went to the doctor. It was time for a check-up and time to discuss all the recommended testing I'd refused up until now because I didn't have health insurance. I'd intended to enroll in Medicare before that appointment, but didn't get it done in time. Nevertheless, we developed a plan for what needs to be done and a timetable for doing it.

I'm really lucky to have a doctor who understands my financial limitations as well as my health needs. The last time I went to see her, she changed most of my prescriptions to generic versions, which meant I could get them filled for $4 each at Wal-Mart. That saved me a bundle of money each month. On this visit she changed the prescriptions to 90-day (instead of 30-day) refills, cutting out two Wal-Mart visits each quarter. She noticed my delight at this suggestion and commented that it would save me from impulse shopping while I waited for the prescriptions to be filled. That's true, but that isn't what delighted me. All I was thinking about was saving the wear and tear on my feet and knees.

After the doctor's appointment, I called the toll-free number for Social Security, planning to set up a time to visit the nearest office to sign up for Medicare. As it turned out, I was able to enroll over the telephone, which saved me both a trip into Baton Rouge and a morning or afternoon of missed work. In addition to assisting me with Medicare enrollment, the Social Security representative thoroughly explained all my options for drawing Social Security benefits. She was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable (not at all the bureaucrat I'd expected), and I hung up the telephone feeling much more hopeful about the prospect of eventual retirement.

Since that call, I've been scrambling to get certified copies of marriage and divorce documents, the last of which came in the mail today. I'll mail those off tomorrow and scratch that project off my to-do list for now.

My other urgent project this week was to begin Christmas shopping, which I did on Monday and Tuesday nights. Both nights I came home, unloaded bags from the car, then collapsed without putting anything away. I was too tired to even read at bedtime. Last night I stayed home after work, did a little gift wrapping, and once again went to bed early. I'm hoping that my shopping muscles are broken in now and will hold up until I finish.

The good news is that I'm off work now until the day after Christmas. And the even better news is that I realized, at some point in the middle of Tuesday night's shopping expedition, that the Christmas spirit has finally arrived and kicked the bah-humbug right out of me. It's about time!


  1. Velvet, Yay! Joy is a good thing. I too am looking forward to Christmas for the first time in a long, long time.

  2. Hello Velvet,

    You sound like a woman who has caught her momentum and is on go.

    And won't it be a welcome thing to be retired! If I can provide a testimonial, retirement seems like summer vacation when I was a kid.

    Why did you have to provide marriage and divorce documents to Social Security?

  3. I'm glad things worked out for you! My doctor has started giving me prescriptions with larger dosages so I can cut the pills in half, it saves a little money and I don't have to go to the drugstore as often.

    Wonder when my bah-humbug is going to leave me?

  4. CreekHiker, I guess a week of Christmas cheer is about all I can stand. Where will you spend Christmas this year?

    Annie, I plan to work another year or two before I retire, but it's nice to know I'll be able to do it sooner than that if life changes my mind.

    I'm sending the marriage and divorce documents because the SS representative did the math and told me I can get about $300 a month more if I file on my ex-husband's (higher) earnings rather than my own. We were married 13 years (more than the 10 required). He remarried (more than once), but I never did, thus I qualify for "divorced widow" benefits. How's that for good news?

    Janet, I think we're both lucky to have doctors who work with us like that.

    As for your bah-humbug, I suspect you won't pay too much attention to Christmas while you're preoccupied with concern for Spot.
    I totally get that.

  5. Hey, I can't wait until I can get that insurance. Oh, happy day. I have to pay 1200 a month for insurance on Larry and I...well the state pays part of mine for me and I pay for Larry's. Hope Hillary has a plan to redemption.

  6. Hello Velvet, hope you are now taking life easier and enjoying Christmas.
    It's always good when people are understanding and go that little extra way to help you, such a relief.

    Wishing you and those you hold dear a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2008 Velvet

  7. Hope it won't be long until you can kick back and enjoy the holiday with your dogs at your side and a good book in your lap. I went the whole SS route when I turned 62. Sounds like they've made Medicare enrollment easy...I hope so because I don't understand it at all and its coming up for me. I found the SS Reps to be wonderful also...very patient. Have a very Merry Christmas and get some rest!

  8. wishing you a very merry christmas and glad to hear the humbugs have been whisked away!

    peace and blessings


  9. Merry Christmas, Velvet! and Butchie and Kadi too!

  10. Sister-Three, I think it's shameful that the cost of health insurance has become so costly. There has to be a better way, and I hope somebody figures it out.

    Sandy, it's so good to hear from you. Thank you for the warm holiday wishes. I wish the same for you.

    GTS Val, I'm off work now, so I'm able to alternate busy time with R&R. It's good to know my pleasant experience with the SS rep wasn't a fluke.
    Merry Christmas to you, too.

    Keepers, thank you, and the same to you.

    Janet, thanks. We're all set for a great Christmas (if you don't count the dreaded fireworks). Butch and Kadi send warmest wishes to Spot.


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