The walking dead being penalized for being healthy

By Thurman Maness

Pittsboro, NC – I’m 88 and  reasonably healthy. So what? Should I plan my demise just to avoid complications with health insurance and make others happy just because they didn’t plan on me living so long? Screw that scenario. Being 88 years old doesn’t mean I’m going to leave my unfinished businesses and depart feet first from my cozy abode.

image by rorozoa on Freepik

Years ago I stopped paying mandatory premiums for senior medication. I didn’t need medication. For a couple of years now they have been penalizing me $17 a month for delinquent payments. Now Medicare has gotten a new and youthful computerized minion that says they are charging me $50 a month for delinquent payments. This leaves my social security amount to dwarfish proportions. I was self-employed for 40 years, never paid myself very much, so now my social security is pitiful. Under the poverty limit. “Poverty” as in not being able to make ends meet. Dramatic increase in everything but my monthly income. I actually cringe at the prices of meager food items I need to survive. My expenditures on food I’m sure are way below current normal middle class living. How I hate the term poverty and low income. No one brags about those terms, except maybe those playing the games of cheating.

For more than fifty years I have resisted selling a lot of my prized possessions. Figuring they would bring more in  my old age. More valuable with time? They are still valuable, but the folks that know and appreciate those artifacts are dead or past the age that such treasures will tempt them. And to further complicate this process, I don’t have near the energy I had five years ago. The very act of getting things together to try and sell is exhausting. And if they don’t sell, lugging back to secure housing is more than exhausting; it is mind boggling and nearly an impossible feat.

Then there’s the business of being remembered. Everyone wants to be remembered. I been writing on and off the Chatham Chatlist since 2011 I believe. Topics from informative to tear jerkers. I had hoped they might somehow be preserved in a form with easy access. Maybe book form. A couple of years ago, I did have someone that I thought would bring that book to fruition. But it fell through. Now in limbo if not the dump.

And then there is the story of my life from birth to the day I left home at age 18. I spent years writing it. Reliving the highlights and the heartbreaks. Gut wrenching details that needed to be revived to bind it all together. It’s all there, in an abandoned computer somewhere. And if memory serves me, it is also on a couple of those little plug-in things you save work on. My internet service via landline is no more; a landline destroyed by successive owners. Almost impossible. Most of my Chatlist entries are done on an iPad, one finger peck system. I can’t print anything anymore. It stifles my creativity, but that’s what I’m dealing with.

But, alas, I’m the last to complain. I’m having a more or less good run. Circumstances have a way to mapping out one’s life. In the seventies and eighties I knew an older couple, Lucille and Clearance. Devoted to one another. Clearance used to visit my antiques store and shoot the breeze. Lucille was devoted to him. When Clearance died, Lucille was a lost soul. Clearance was her everything. She once said to me, “I can make it just fine while the sun is shining. But when the sun goes down, my heart goes down.”  I knew exactly what she meant years later when my better half died. Sadness at sundown seldom goes away. Smile and stiff upper lip may fool many, but it’s still there, an uneasy undercurrent, disturbing your daily doings. Alone is a simple word, but being alone; there’s no simple word for it.

I suppose feeling alone is a big part of the few troubles I have. Making every decision. Decisions that can make or break your spirit and livelihood. But I still put on my socks one at a time. If I find one has a hole, I look fondly at the other and whisper, “It’s just a hole. Darn it!”

It’s just something you have to do.