As if I needed a reminder of how much my life has changed in the past few years, I got my Medicare card this week.
Technically I can’t use it till October, but here it sits on my computer desk in red, white and blue. I was surprised to get it this soon—I thought one had to be on disability for two years—but I guess the Social Security Administration counts all the way back to the time one becomes eligible for benefits, not when they start drawing checks. Works for me.
For some odd reason, however, the arrival of my Medicare card has brought back memories of 2014, when I was reeling from the losses of my career, my home, my way of life. I really didn’t want to revisit that trifecta of unfortunate events; in fact, I do my best never to even think of those awful months because I miss my old life so badly sometimes I can almost taste it. Especially now, when it’s high summer…I used to spend so much time in my big above-ground pool, floating around in the sun and feeling the cool water swish gently over my tanned arms and legs. There were deer romping across the yard, roses blooming in my garden, grandchildren playing on the lawn, meats grilling on the barbecue. I paid dearly for it by working long hours and commuting two hours a day, but I thought it was worth it at the time.
As my longtime readers know, it all fell apart in 2014, and nothing has been the same since. Now, I have a perfectly decent life with my son and his family; they’ve been so good to us, even helping us make the vacation of a lifetime happen, and I’m glad we live with them rather than strangers. Still, I wish I could be content with what is instead of reminiscing about my halcyon days, which in all honesty weren’t really that idyllic—it’s just that the passage of time has blurred the hard edges of what was actually a very challenging existence.
I have to admit though, it’s my pre-2012 life that I really yearn for, despite the fact that it was no picnic either. That was before I became officially disabled, before I was even diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Ignorance was, indeed, bliss. I knew something wasn’t right, and I suffered terribly at times, but it didn’t rise to the level of needing professional help…at least not in MY opinion.
All of that changed at my very first visit to Dr. Awesomesauce, and the rest, as they say, is history. I can’t un-know what I know. I can’t take back my failures. Nor can I fix what’s permanently broken because of this insidious disease. All I can do is try to avoid triggers and not get bogged down in regrets over the past.
So maybe the best thing would be to sign my card and put it in my wallet where it belongs. After all, it’s something of a privilege to have Medicare at this time of life, seeing as how most people have to be 65 before they’re eligible (although it still feels weird qualifying for it because of my disabilities). It will come in handy this fall when I go back to my regular doctor instead of the one Medicaid picked for me (unless, of course, I like him better—I haven’t met him yet) because I’ll no longer be limited to doctors in this county. I can see any provider I want who accepts Medicare, including Dr. A if he stays with the clinic. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.