Tag Archives: Checks

Play Your Cards Right…….

Old people, sick people and those who take care of them are often faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks during the day. What may appear simple or an easy fix to others can be too overwhelming when dealing with chronic illness or infirmity.

My friend, Terri and I have been the go-to caregivers for our friend, Lisa for the past six years, since Lisa had a traumatic brain injury from a  fall down a flight of stairs. Lisa has had a miraculous recovery. But there will always be issues to handle to make her life easier. So Terri and I take care of her financial matters, and many of the medical paper work issues that haunt the chronically ill.

Very recently Terri was diagnosed with cancer. This woman is one of the bravest, most self-sacrificing people I know. And she is treating this journey like it’s just another dilemma to contend with on a day-to-day basis. There is no drama.

In addition to having her own bills, medical appointments and now the same run around and frustrations that invariably seem to accompany ‘getting healthy’, Terri has been responsible to write the checks for Lisa’s rent.

This is what happened:

Lisa: “Hey Terri, I just got a call from the landlord. They want the checks written out to a different party since they have new management.”

Terri: “Let me call them.”

Terri to Unsuspecting Rental Agent: ” Hello, this is Terri, I write the checks for Lisa’s rent.”

Unsuspecting Rental Agent: “Yes, hi Terri.  You need to write us a new check and bring it here today. Otherwise, you will be late with the rent and there is an exhorbitant and ridiculous  late fee that will seem worse punishment than the fires of hell.” (okay she just said “late fee” but we all know that she wanted to say the rest of that).

Terri: “You have my permission to change the name on the check. Just change it as you need it. ”

Unsuspecting Rental Agent: ” Oh, no we can’t do that. ”

Terri: “Yes you can and you will and I’m going to tell you why.  I have cancer. I am in the midst of chemotherapy and I cannot and will not drive to your offices to bring you another check. And there will be no late fee. That’s why you’re going to do this for me.”

Unsuspecting Rental Agent:  Long silent pause

Unsuspecting Rental Agent: “okay.”

Terri then called me laughing hysterically. Not because she didn’t believe what she said but because she was so proud of herself:

Terri: “I pulled the cancer card!!!”

Now that’s the way to deal with cancer….and unsuspecting rental assholes….agents, I mean agents.

“You Just have to Laugh…”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

Just checking………

As my life changes now from caregiver to Executor, trust me. the frustrations and the sense of humor still need to be in place.

I spent two hours yesterday calling all the places that send money to my brother-in-law to thank them, but notify them that he has passed away.

I called two pension plans, one health insurance company, one drug insurance company, and one health insurance reimbursement company. Five phone calls shouldn’t take that long. However, there is no “press 9” if your loved one has passed away. By the time I was transferred to each appropriate department and repeated my story over and over again, I started to feel the ghost of caregiver frustration rearing her ugly head.

Truthfully, most customer service people were quite kind and sympathetic.

But there’s always one, isn’t there?

The health insurance reimbursement company was set up by my brother-in-law’s former employer to reimburse each individual for their health insurance premium as a temporary benefit when the employer no longer wanted to be in the health insurance business. This started last year when I had to wade through 64 health plans to pick the best one and then send in a cancelled check to have reimbursement sent directly to my brother-in-law’s checking account. I am certain that I had to fax my Power of Attorney documents to this company so that I could conduct this business while my brother-in-law was in the hospital.

The second person I am transferred to deems herself helpful in this way:

“I can’t find your Power of Attorney document in my system.”

“That’s okay,” I replied, “because I’m just calling to let you know that my brother-in-law passed away.”

“Well,” she said tartly, “I think you have to call back and speak to customer service about that.”

“Okay,” I said slowly and a bit confused, “but will they take care of this then?”

“Well, I don’t know!” she sputtered, “but your Power of Attorney isn’t any good for dead people.”

Oh my God, did she really say that? Actually, I say that all the time in my lectures where I’m teaching about what you need to do get your affairs in order, but still….really?

“I know,” I told her, “because I’m also the executor.”

“Huh,” she mumbled, “Well, I don’t see any executor papers here in the file.”

“I know that too, he just passed away a week ago,” I said slowly and patiently, or so I thought. ” I just wanted to inform you so that you stop putting money in his checking account.”

“Well, we can’t just do that. Did you call his former employer?”

“Why, yes I did, with no difficulty.”

What she's really doing while talking to me.
What she’s really doing while talking to me.

“Well then,” she said with exasperation, ” they will take care of it.”

“So I DON’T have to call customer service?” I inquired.

“The employer will take care of it,” she said.

“Look, I just want you to note that so you don’t keep putting money into his account. Is that possible?”


I didn’t tell her I was closing those accounts. I’m just smiling knowing those checks would be swimming around in the direct deposit atmosphere for who knows how long.

And I did not call customer service.

’cause well………….in these times,

“You Just have to Laugh…………”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski