Sitting on a rock…

0815/13th December, 2021

“It’s time we found you a hairdresser!” said Grant this morning at breakfast.


The nerve of the man.

“I was just thinking it’s been looking rather better lately”, I retorted, running a hand through it. “Just because I may not have brushed or combed it this morning…”

“Well you were very rude about my appearance” said the man in response.

“Yes, but that was when you looked like the wild man of Borneo”, which he did, for a while.

But the only people who see me these days are doctors and they couldn’t care less what I look like, so why spend money on hairdressing?

When I had my hair cut regularly, I always hated it for the first few days, then it was fine for about ten, after which it became unkempt again. Total waste of money.

Perhaps I’ll start wearing a hat.

Speaking of doctors, tomorrow I have my last appointment for the year. Nothing more on the horizon, in fact, until February.

Depending that is, what I decide to tell the nice lady at pain management tomorrow.

And I keep changing my mind. Right this minute, I have no pain in my hip, but later on this afternoon it will almost certainly be back. Most of the time I feel as if I am sitting on a pile of broken rocks.

The strange thing is that I have had 5 injections, targeting different parts of my spine, butt and hip, under x-ray guidance. But no-one has ever suggested taking an x-ray of the actual hip.

Did I approach the problem the wrong way? Was I supposed to request an x-ray?

At this point, I am completely confused and considering the expense of all these procedures, I wonder if I even have the right to request further treatment. Here’s why:

The last injection I received was charged thus:


Medicare approved $85.37

Medicare paid: $68.30

My supplement paid: $17.07, which is the difference.

Because that particular practice accepts Medicare, that’s all they will get paid.

In my innocence, I believed that the point in my purchasing supplemental insurance was to defray medical costs over and above the Medicare approved amount. Not so they could all play silly buggers.

If Medicare approves $85.37, why don’t they damn well pay it? If my supplement pays out a mere $17 here and there, why am I paying $232 a month for it?

As a part of my retirement “package”, I have a Master Card Payment Card, toward the cost of medications. The amount on said card diminishes each year so I’m never sure when it’s about to run out and I wanted to be sure I had used it up before Dec 31st.

After something like two hours of searching, I am none the wiser. Here’s why that is so confusing:

The card says UnitedHealthcare, but to sign in you need a HealthSafe ID and that takes you to Caremark, to CVS, to Aetna because everyone is now apparently in bed with everyone else and I for one could not penetrate their wall of obscurity.

In one doctor’s office I picked up a GoodRX card which helped me pay for the more expensive medication, but there is something dodgy about those plans too.

They are supposed to help the uninsured, not the insured who are getting screwed by the system.

There is an official sign-up period each year when you can change your supplemental insurance. You get besieged with offers from all sides, but good luck making head nor tail of any of them.

My feeling? It amounts to abuse of the elderly.

As far as I can tell, my brain still works reasonably well, but even when I was a sharp youngster, I could not have made sense of these plans.

Because they don’t damn well make sense.

And no-one can tell me they do.

So what I am debating is whether to just give up playing this absurd game and turn myself over to Nature.

She at least is honest.

8 thoughts on “Sitting on a rock…

  1. I still want to find the person that can explain a medical aid (even the person that sells it to you, sometimes don’t know exactly …)
    At least, the hairdresser is just one payment (and hopefully there are no hidden costs) … 😉

  2. I haven’t been to a ‘professional’ haircutter since late February 2020. Been cutting it myself. And me? I can’t see the difference. I am sure there is but as no one is judging and telling me – who cares?

    Hairdressers are at least fairly straightforward: “I do your hair for $X depending on how you judge my expertise and prestige.”

    Medicine – and especially the so-called health insurance industry – is a whole other level of nonsense.

    And you always know you are for sure being ripped off. It all depends by how much and in which way. And consider yourself very lucky if you have doctors who know how to code your needs to minimize your expenses.

    Anyway – that is all very negative although true.
    But cats in Cambridge (and elsewhere) are positive and true.

    All the best to you and yours.

  3. Thank you, Josie. Your comments are very supportive. I try not to be negative, but at times it seems to be the prevailing instinct. Ends of years are never my best time, either. I know I’m not alone in that.

  4. It’s why I generally try to ignore these things. With luck, I will be well asleep before midnight. (Growing up my parents never stayed up till midnight. Too damn tired from the work they did. But I do remember being in bed and hearing all the midnight steam whistles, shunting and hooting at the rail works in Swindon.)

    And – hey! Those photos are gorgeous. And every day it gets a little lighter.

      1. And that reminds me of the old Wilshire joke:

        Question: “Why can’t you buy chipped potatoes in Wiltshire?”
        Answer; “Because there bain’t no Devizes for Chippenham.”

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