Monthly Archives: June 2010

Life of a Salesman

The first full day I was in Elgin, mom and I visited the Senior Services Center and met with a lovely woman named Siamphay (pronounced c-m-pie). Most of what Siamphay was saying flew over my head as if she were speaking another language. I’d avoided the whole concept of Medicare Part D because it didn’t apply to me and it seemed far too complicated. I’d already heard a little about it a few years ago when my mom and I visited her insurance salesman, John. He talked about which of the 5 plans would be best for my parents to be covered under based on the medications they took.

At the time of the meeting with Siamphay, however, I didn’t remember that John was my mom’s insurance salesman — just that we visited him in an office near the tollway and he had science fiction toys in his office. Also he looked like Richard Dreyfuss (but I couldn’t remember Richard Dreyfuss’ name — just that he was in Jaws and “that movie about the guy who saw a UFO and sculpted things with mashed potatoes”). I said to my mom, “Don’t you remember — just after Larry died we talked to someone who wanted you to choose a Medicare Part D plan?” She didn’t. I brought it up several times.

Back home, several hours later, I was in my bedroom, unpacking and organizing my things. I reached into one of my bags and located my Gillette Venus Razor©. By “located” I mean that I shaved several layers of skin off my thumb. (are you cringing yet? I am). It hurt and it bled. It bled a lot. I ran downstairs and shouted, “Mom! I need a band-aid! NOW!” I wrapped my thumb in paper towel, but it kept on bleeding. Mom tried to find a band-aid and Dad, who’d gone to bed several hours earlier, came out of his bedroom to see what the commotion was. About that time I heard Mom in the living room, saying “I forgot about the insurance guy” just as the doorbell rang.

I turned around from the sink where I’d been trying to wash my wound without actually looking at it and saw my dad standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room wearing a blue button-down shirt and tighty-whities. He was in direct view of the insurance salesman who had just been let in the front door. I told Dad that he should go and put some pants on and that I was fine, my thumb was going to be OK. Then I looked in the living room and saw the very same man who I’d been trying to get mom to remember earlier that day. I pointed at him and said to my mom, “It’s him! He’s the one! That’s the guy I was talking about this morning.”

Luckily my mom’s insurance agent has a sense of humor. He ducked and said he didn’t do it. He also wasn’t bothered by Dad in his underwear and me in my blood-soaked, paper towel-wrapped thumb. We explained everything to him (except the Richard Dreyfuss part) and he completely understood, and was impressed that I remembered his science fiction toys. Then he tried to sell me some life insurance.

Donut holes and circuit breakers

Senior Services Center Elgin, Illinois Photo by Seth Gaines

As you may or may not know, I paid a visit to my folks in Elgin for a week starting June 15th. I drove there in one day by myself — an act that received exclamations of awe from a few people, but, in reality was pretty simple because there was little traffic and the weather was perfect.

I spent a few days hanging out with my mom — helping her go through some things in her “junk room” so she could donate some of it to her church for a rummage sale. When we weren’t going through old treasures or being ignored at In The Neighborhood Deli we could very well be found at Senior Services in Elgin.

Mom had gotten a phone call from someone at Senior Services suggesting she might qualify for help paying for medications and other things. This is called a Circuit Breaker. She was supposed to bring some documents to the center. When we got there the woman she was supposed to talk to was busy, but another woman was able to help us. Unfortunately mom didn’t bring in the correct documents so we were told to bring them in the next day. Basically they needed to know Mom and Dad’s combined income for the past year. If it was under a certain amount they would qualify for reduced rate on medications, license plate fees and property tax.

When we arrived back home mom located her income tax form and noted she qualified for the circuit breaker, so the next day we went back to the Senior Services Center and the same woman helped us. Mom feels as if she doesn’t deserve this — that someone else, more needy, should get it — but we explained to her that she was not taking it from anyone.

All told we spent a good 3 hours at the lovely art deco building on the corner of Fulton and Grove. Mom’s not ready to participate in the other activities they offer (dance lessons, bingo, celebratory dinners and lunches). I can see her point — doing things for senior citizens makes one admit to being one. Mom’s always felt (and looked) a lot younger than her years suggest.

I did a little research on “circuit breakers” and “donut holes”*, but still need to learn more about those terms as well as the whole Medicare Part D. It is far too complicated and even more-so to the older population to which it applies.

*apparently a donut hole “is the difference of the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic coverage threshold. After a Medicare beneficiary surpasses the prescription drug coverage limit, the Medicare beneficiary is financially responsible for the entire cost of prescription drugs until the expense reaches the catastrophic coverage threshold.” (thanks Wikipedia)

I’m still here

Yes, I’m still here and still blogging (in my head, that is). I’ve got a couple of drafts written, but cannot seem to finish them before I’m distracted by something else….SQUIRREL!

I want to talk about my 25th wedding anniversary and the day we were married (in a cemetery). I want to talk about my recent trip to Illinois. I want to talk about what I’m reading and what I’ve read.

I also brought a bunch of photos back from my mom’s house that I want to scan, upload and write about.

It’s not that I don’t have the time — my “work” workload is way down, but there is just something keeping me from actually finishing posts, scanning photos, and organizing my thoughts enough to put something in blog form.

Bloggers block? Perhaps.

See you soon, I hope…