Precious red, white and blue

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Just to look at the rectangular red, white, and blue symbol brought tears to my eyes. I’m not talking about “Old Glory,” although that has brought many a tear to these eyes. It’s the red, white, and blue Medicare card I received in the mail!

I’ve crossed a line and life will never be the same. I’m thinking that this particular red, white, and blue card might come to be more a part of my life than any other. For sure, I won’t be leaving home without it.

At the top of the card there is an encircled eagle with an inscription that is too small to read with my old eyes, but I imagined it read something patriotic like “e pluribus unum.” Or maybe the inscription was the officially voted upon motto of the United States of America, “In God We Trust.”

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I have a magnifying glass handy for such small print, so I reached for it, knowing that I was going to get a rich blessing of Americana from my brand new and yet-to-be wrinkled Medicare card.

“Not so fast, Kemo Sabe,” as Tonto used to affectionately say to The Lone Ranger. The inscription surrounding the eagle read, “The Department of Health and Human Services. USA.” Is that where technology wizard Kathleen Sebelius used to work?

My first name, middle initial, and last name are on the card. I am listed as a “beneficiary.” That’s a long word so I looked it up. A beneficiary is a recipient of benefits, as funds or property. Do I get to choose what I want to receive? I choose funds and lots of them!

It also listed my sex. There is a lot of talk about government ineptness these days, but they got that part right. I’m a male.

There is a little confusion for my mind, though. The card lists a Part A and a Part B. One is for the hospital and the other is for medical. In most of my dealings with hospitals, I have found that they do medical stuff. If the hospital does medical, I’m just wondering why I need Parts A and B.

I called the 800 telephone number listed at the top of the card. I figured since they put the number up there, they wanted me to call it if I had a question. All of you who have Medicare already are much smarter than I am and probably have never had questions about it. Right?

The lady who answered had such a nice voice, but would not stop talking when I asked a question. She just kept on and on so I looked online for my answer. I was led to a website to help me with texting my questions.

In texting there are acronyms for convenience: like LOL (Laugh Out Loud), FWIW (For What It’s Worth) or BTW (By The Way). The website offered new meanings to our texting language. Here are some of them.

BTW no longer is By The Way, but Bring The Wheelchair. FWIW is no longer For What It’s Worth, but Forgot Where I Was. LOL is no longer Laugh Out Loud, but for us Medicare people it’s Living On Lipitor. You have probably heard of BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle). Now, for senior texting, it’s BYOT (Bring Your Own Teeth). I’ve got a lot to learn.

I have had many rites of passage in my life, but this one is going to be a doozy.