If you’ve been a caregiver could answer any of these five questions? I would be ever so grateful. And to show my gratitude to my faithful blog reading community three of you will get a signed copy of my new book, due in November 2016! If you’ve answered any questions just write, “Done!” in the comments here and you will be eligible! I will list the winners in June! Thanks again for all your support! Cathy
As we were discussing our daughters’ fierce food requirements when they come to visit, my friend, Pat revealed that she feels the same way as I do about the wonders of kale.
Pat’s daughter is a vegan and my daughter is very careful about her diet. When these girls come to stay at our respective homes, we grocery shop for them, we cook for them and we try very hard not to make a mistake, insult their food, or give them any excuse to never return.
Each and everyone of you knows that kale is the Super Woman of super food. When you ingest kale, you are creating a vortex of health, wisdom, happiness, hale(ness?) and heartiness throughout your body. Kale will not be denied. It will make all things well in the world, especially in your colon, pancreas, pituitary gland and all those other internal organs you play like a fiddle.
I hate kale. I hate mean girls and I hate kale.
Do not give me recipes for kale. Do not tell me to eat kale chips, kale salad or kale smoothies. I tried. I hate it.
This is where Pat explained to me, that her daughter explained to her, that in order to release the power and joys of kale you need to massage it.
Okay, seriously, I’m done now.
I don’t even know what that means…massage the kale. Do I need massage oil for that? Can instructions be found in the Kalema Sutra?
I’m not massaging my kale. I don’t even massage my husband. If anyone’s getting a massage here it’s me. I will buy non-dairy yogurt, gluten free bread, only shredded Brussels sprouts for the healthy visitors in my house . But even if it makes kale taste like anything from Ben & Jerry’s, I refuse to massage the kale.
Yes, I’m far from perfect. Yes, I eat and drink things that are naughty. And in the interest of full disclosure, I snarfed up all the Easter Candy. left over wedding favors and the real Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer last night before our daughter came home for a lengthy visit. I say that as a point of pride, not shame (about the food, not my daughter). After all, I was creating a healthy food environment for my house guest, right? Oh, the things we do for company.
As for my personal constitution, all my grandparents lived well into their 90’s and I’m certain that not one of them ever massaged a leafy green vegetable. So I’m good.
As I continue down this unrelenting path of caregiving, even in death, I can’t help but see the irony in statements that come my way like, ” what are you doing now that your brother-in-law has died?”
I’ll tell you what I’m doing:
“Hello, Medicare? I’ve now sent you a request for permission to speak to me as Executrix of my brother-in-law’s estate with all the supporting documents. I’ve waited the requisite 50 days for you to process it. I’ve waited longer than that because the first instructions I received were to take those documents to my local Social Security Office, which resulted in absolutely nothing, and now I have finally received a letter saying you will talk to me. Yay.
Medicare Person: What can I help you with?
Me: I’m trying to find out when a claim I have submitted will be paid?
Medicare Person: Why did you submit the claim Ma’am?
Me: Because the provider refused to submit it. They provide drugs and drug paraphernalia to the nursing home where my brother-in-law was residing at the time. They insist that they can only bill for the drugs to Part D Medicare and they have no authority to submit for the other items like IV poles, IV flushes and anything needed to actually administer the drugs.
Medicare Person (the THIRD Medicare person, because the first two couldn’t find the other conversations I’ve had and insisted that no such conversations took place). Yes, I’ve found the conversations you’ve had on April 4th , 11th, and 22nd.
Me: The last person I spoke with who connected me with you said she couldn’t find those conversations.
Medicare Person: Well, you’re both right. She can’t see these conversations, she’s in a different department.
Me: So, she couldn’t transfer me to you without wasting 30 minutes of my time and me insisting I speak to this department?
Medicare Person: I apologize for that Ma’am.
Me being Silent,
Medicare Person: Well, Ma’am I can’t find your claim. it takes 50 days to process.
Me: I filed that claim 120 days ago, and when your Medicare person CALLED ME ON APRIL
22 while I was standing in the middle of Times Square, and I popped into the closest restaurant and ordered a $12 glass of wine while on hold with your person, she told me that she was looking at my claim, it was paid to the nursing home and they would have to pay the provider. Then she proceeded to send me the wrong Medicare notices so I could prove to the nursing home, they owed the provider and the Estate of my brother-in-law was not liable for this bill.
Medicare Person: I can’t find that claim Ma’am. And so the only thing I can do is request a review.
Medicare Person: I’m not allowed to request a review until 150 days has passed and it’s only been 120 since you filed the claim. A denial can take up to 150 days to process.
A missing claim is like a missing person. Maybe they went missing on their own. Maybe they are just at a friend’s house and forgot to tell you. Maybe they will use a credit card and then we can trace where they are and stop all this nonsense. But instead of waiting 48 hours, you have to wait 150 days. Imagine telling any person you’ve ever worked with that it will take 150 days to look at a piece of paper you sent them.
Medicare Person and I then went on to discuss the many fun and esoteric ways that Medicare can screw up a claim.
Medicare Person: I know this is complicated and confusing Ma’am.
Me: I understand perfectly, everything you’ve told me. It’s not complicated or confusing to me, it’s just crazy! (Yep, I really did say that).
Medicare Person: Well, I know it seems complex, but we train for WEEKS to process this, so it would be harder for you to understand.
WEEKS? WEEKS? I’ve been dealing with Medicare for 25 years. And in all your weeks of training, the best you guys have ever given me is ridiculous, arbitrary waiting periods to process claims, a myriad of departments who don’t speak to each other, wrong information that has cost me precious time, and heartburn without the doughnut, wine or deep-fried food I deserve to go with it.
So glad your weeks of training have made you an expert.
I didn’t say any of that, I just got out my corkscrew and toasted the Universe for the never-ending supply of blog posts!
One can never have too many friends, or that ‘s what I used to think.
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in New York City with my great husband and dear friends. We took full advantage of our time there. We made plans to have dinner, see an intimate venue magic show at the Waldorf Astoria, spend the next day at the Chelsea High Line, Chelsea Market, have dinner yet again at a great restaurant and see the Broadway show, An American in Paris.
Sounds great, right? And it was, but logistics had to be implemented every few hours.
These particular friends are great for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that down time and private time is always built into our joint ventures. So, we are glad to have cell phones and texting at our fingertips to make plans to meet up after we go our separate ways.
Just to make sure everyone was on board, I sent a group text to each of our friends with our meet up place and time in a few hours after breakfast. Weirdly, I kept getting a text from the gal asking me things like:
“Who is this?”
“Am I supposed to be somewhere?”
“I don’t know, what this is about?”
Since her guy was the typical texter, I thought, “well, maybe she doesn’t have my cell phone number in her phone.”
So I’m texting her back with polite messages like:
“it ‘s me, Cathy. ”
“We already made plans, I’m just giving you the time.”
“Just meet us in the hotel lobby.”
But I’m thinking, “geez what the hell is wrong with her? Obviously, it’s me and where and when we are meeting should make perfect sense to her.”
I keep reading these messages from her and it hits me. Her name is Terri. I have three friends in my phone named Terri. Terri K, Terri N and Terry R.
Terri K. was not the one I was in New York with. Terri K was at least two hours away in Pennsylvania losing her mind wondering why I was insisting she get her ass to New York City in half an hour.
Terry R was wondering why her boyfriend’s cell phone was texting incessantly with a group text message from someone neither of them knew.
I still think I could always use more friends, but Terry R’s boyfriend said I’m not allowed to add any more people named Terri or Terry to my catalogue.
When Terri K saw my Facebook pics from the NYC trip, she was disappointed she didn’t make it on time, but hey, I gave her plenty of notice.