Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Soup and Medicare Wellness Tests


I was influenced by a late night TV commercial to crave a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich that I could have made at home but cooking didn’t appeal to me anymore than having a Slim-Fast diet drink for lunch which I contemplated doing in an attempt to lose twenty pounds by the next morning for my bi-annual appointment with my internist. The choice between being good and letting the Campbell’s commercial rule my life was postponed because I needed to get to the post office before they closed for lunch. As it turned out, they hadn’t even opened that morning because it was Columbus Day. Bummer! 

On my way home, my Chevy Trax auto-turned itself into the Guy-Land Cafeteria’s parking lot, probably thinking I needed some comfort food to compensate for my disappointment at the post office. They usually have tomato soup but that day it was vegetable beef and barley. I moaned and groaned and the chief cook and bottle washer assured me that it goes great with grilled cheese. He had no reason to lie to me so I went for it. Ohmygod! Was he right! It was the best soup I’ve had since my mom was alive to make vegetable beef and barley soup. I’m surprised I didn’t have a Meg Ryan, When-Harry-Met-Sally organism right there and then which would have been embarrassing, given I was the only woman among the twenty male patrons. Am I wrong? Women would have understood it was the soup, not the sea of gray-haired old men I was excited about.

The next day on my way home from seeing the doctor my Chevy Trax did it again! Only this time it turned into the Breakfast-Only Café. Apparently it thought I needed to celebrate the fact that the god of doctor’s scales was kind to me and didn’t give my internist any reason to tisk-tisk me for being a bad girl in the kitchen. Or maybe he couldn’t get a word in edgewise, my mouth was running like a rabid coyote. Not that I’ve ever seen a rabid coyote but fast moving coyotes are a common thing in old cartoons, aren’t they? The doctor was going over the Medicare Wellness questions about depression which got me started on how excited I was about my future move to the CCC. Or maybe I was trying not to get caught in a lie about having throw rugs on the floor. What’s Medicare going to do if you answer that you have them? Send the rug police to your door to confiscate them? 

The doctor said he goes right by the lake where I’ll be moving to on his way back and forth to work and I joked that he could stop by for surprise throw rug checks. He laughed and said he’d do that. He’s been my doctor for over twenty years, was my husband’s doctor, too, and I can joke around with him but I don’t usually talk so much at my appointments. I shouldn’t have this time either because he was already running forty-five minutes behind schedule. I guess I wanted to be sure he didn’t think I was one of those depressed old people that the Medicare questionnaires are trying to root out because I really needed a refill on my Ambien sleeping pills. 

Medicare would probably frown on a doctor giving a depressed senior a prescription of Ambien. Or maybe not. Maybe they’d encourage them to prescribe a double dosage to save the system money if we offed ourselves. Just kidding, of course. I can’t take those wellness test questions seriously. I will go to my grave lying about the Oriental rug in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. I just hope I don’t go to my grave because of that Oriental rug. If that happens, my niece has my permission to add a sentence to my tombstone that reads: “She lied on her wellness questionnaire and this is what happened.” 

This week the dog also had an appointment with the vet technician for a recheck on his teeth. At his spring appointment, which covers everything a dog can get at a yearly wellness and vaccinations appointment, the vet pronounced that Levi’s teeth were clean enough not to need his yearly cleaning but he wanted this recheck in the fall. This time the vet tech said he's got some tartar on one side of his mouth which means he's only chewing on one side of his mouth. "We should probably get in there and check out why he's doing that." They made him an appointment for cleaning on the first available appointment which was the Friday before Thanksgiving. But on the way home I decided I might cancel it. I only chew on one side of my mouth and I don't have a bad tooth. He's been getting his teeth cleaned every spring since he was three and I'm mad at myself for allowing the cleaning to get postponed to snow season. Not going to happen again! ©

25 comments:

  1. I am not familiar with medicare wellness checks but I will soon enough I suppose. I'm still trying to figure out how to sign Rick up since it must be done 6 months in advance. I have time but I am getting conflicting information. They just can't make it easy can they?
    I too saw something about tomato soup and grilled cheese on TV. So I made homemade tomato soup yesterday. I actually made 2 kinds of soup. One vegetable beef and one roasted tomato soup. We put one in the freezer for later since I never can just open a can of soup for myself. Nice to have on hand. And ate one for dinner. We ate the roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese.Oh it hit the spot for us both. Darn commercials.

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    1. I've never asked for or scheduled a Medicare Wellness test. I've always gone to the doctor twice a year and when the wellness tests came along the office just started calling one of my appointments a wellness test for billing purposes, I'm guessing. They do things like have you read an eye chart and ask when you've been to a dentist last, check your hips and ask silly yes and no questions that you want to quality to a maybe but you can't. (I have actually added my own box for that. Does that make me a control freak?)

      Oh, yes, those Campbell commercials work!

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  2. Ah, the Medicare wellness test. I'm a couple years into that one and it's kinda dumb IMO. One question is whether I have fallen twice in the past year. So far, I'm not able to answer no. But that's just who I am, not a factor of age. I took a huge face-planting fall on cobblestones in Italy a couple years ago (interesting ER visit in Rome), and I regularly trip on something or slip on something, etc. I've gotten so when my doc asks if I've fallen twice, I tell him I won't live long enough to answer "no" on that one. He's just let it go so far, as far as I can tell.

    One year his nurse somehow weighed me and noted a 10 lb weight loss that definitely hadn't happened. I didn't notice until he commented that I had lost weight, so wasn't sure what to respond. It was good for that visit, but not so much the next one where I gained it back. LOL.

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    1. Oh, the famous fall question. I guess I sort of lied on that one too. I was about to past out from the flu last winter so I sat down on the floor so I wouldn't get hurt falling down. I never thought of that in the doctor's office. I think falls only count if you can't account for the reason why. Tripping and slipping doesn't count. LOL

      When I got weighed this time it was 5 pounds lower than my scale at home and the nurse wanted to weigh me again. She said if you hold on to the railing when you first get on, it can under weigh you. I didn't' let her do it over. I just have to remember to hold the railing again next time. LOL

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  3. Yes, the old Wellness check is just a FREE annual visit. Doc asks me the same questions twice throughout the chat ... to see if my feeble brain answers differently. And the memory game? He tells me 3-4 words at the beginning of visit, then asks me to repeat them at the end.

    I never weigh myself. Only at Dr visits. Too depressing for me! AND I found a new style legging that has wide high waistband and boot cut bottoms WITH pockets. They look more like slacks so I'm updating my look! SOOO comfy.

    OH! Now I want tomato soup and grilled cheese on WHITE bread. My favorite too.

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    1. Thank goodness I've never been asked the 3 memory words question! I'd flunk it.

      We sure are different. I weigh myself an average of twice a day, sometimes more and I would sooner sleep with a snake (reptile kind) than wear a pair of leggings. Just the thought of putting them on wears me out and I see way too many women who look absolutely awful in them. I would be one of them.

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  4. I have refused my "wellness checkups" mainly because I see several different doctors each month. If they can't spot a problem then I must be good. Ya know, that tomato soup and grilled cheese does sound good.

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    1. Answering a few questions vs. paying for the doctor's appointment is a good trade-off to me. I go in for yearly blood work which is free with the Medicare Wellness code.

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  5. Great post! You are definitely not depressed and you lift our spirits too. :D

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    1. When I do get depressed it's never for more than a day or two and I sure wouldn't shard that on the wellness test.

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  6. Tomato soup and grilled cheese are gifts from the gods. Talk about comfort food; that was my favorite lunch as a kid. On the other hand, there's a certain bakery/cafe a hundred miles down the road that makes a grilled pimento cheese on homemade bread that even thinking about makes me ponder the day's schedule. A hundred miles isn't that far!

    I had an experience with one of those questionnaires. I thought maybe I ought to go in for a physical. They hooked me up to some machine that printed out a sheet of some sort of results, and asked a bunch of questions. I think it might have been in 2011, since I think it was the year Mom died. The whole experience was so stupid I never went back. I suppose I should make another run at it some time, but I'm even less inclined to answer government-sponsored health questionnaires now.

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    1. I love grilled cheese done with two different cheeses and a tomato slice.

      I'm thinking the Medicare Wellness exam is met to get people in to the doctors who never go because they can't afford it. If they can catch a few things early-on it saves everyone money. You probably got an EKG for your heart. The list of questions is the only part that is different for me than I've always gotten in my bi-annual appointments... except I don't a get an EKG every year be...I think it's every 5 years. The questions are stupid and not always the same.

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    2. Yes, yes, yes! Two cheeses, rustic italian bread, tomatoes and basil. Soooo incredibly delicious. (are we related??)

      I get NONE of those questions asked, and have never gotten the memory test. Hmmm.....

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    3. That's the best combination of all and I love that restaurants know have the "fancy" grilled cheese on menus.

      I'll bet you're not getting the Medicare Wellness exam at all and are paying full price to see your doctor. They must have some leeway with what they do because I've never been given the memory test either and I think this is my 3rd or 4th wellness appointment.

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  7. This post made me laugh! Definitely nothing wrong with your mind, Jean! Your brain is on fire 🔥. Keep ‘em coming! 💕

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    1. I wish I could type all my conversations in person situations. My words flow better. Sometimes I listen to myself and think I sound like a senile old woman.

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  8. I love your addition to your tombstone. Reminds me of Erma Bombeck's "Finally thin."

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  9. I just had my annual exam too (with a new doctor, whom I LOVED, so she will be gone by next year, no doubt) and those Medicare questions crack me up! I inadvertently fibbed about about the throw rugs --said they were rubber backed, but then came home and realized that's not true of all of them...hmmm. Last year I lied straight up about falling down. I figured it didn't count that I was making my way through the ruins of Hadrians Wall in England and tripped over some ancient rocks. I went down and bounced right back up with barely a whimper, so there! Yoga saves lives. LOL

    Grilled cheese and tomato soup -- ultimate comfort food!

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    1. Wouldn't count in my book either. But that tumble down the stairway you took---what---two years ago---sure would. LOL

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    2. I suppose. But I justify that one with just being careless. AND those stairs do need a carpet runner on them. That would have slowed me down. LOL You should see how cautious I am now -- lesson learned.

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  10. It's the grilled cheese. It goes with ANY soup! I trip on my own feet. Rugs, I'm aware of.

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  11. It is! I've had so many of them over the past week, my blood will turn yellow.

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  12. Just had grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner on a cold and rainy day. Sat in the living room, too, in my jammies and with a blanket. Wonderful.

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    1. The very best way to have tomato soup and grilled cheese!

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