My brother in Japan called last night (already today for him) to be the first to wish me happy birthday. He commented that now I would be able to go and get a free flu shot. This was a reference to the fact that I am now eligible for Medicare. My “Medicare-approved PPO plan” (Blue Advantage) has been inundating me with mail, including a reminder that among the preventive services I can get for free are not only pneumonia, Hepatitis B, and flu shots, but also bone mass measurement and colorectal screening. How’s that for depressing?
At this point I guess I’m ready to admit to being “middle-aged,” but I am not yet ready to be considered elderly. My grocery store has parking spaces (next to the handicapped spaces) reserved for Senior Citizens. I have yet to use one. Some years ago I saw a woman of my acquaintance, youthful, fit, and dark-haired (the last perhaps artificially) getting out of her car parked in one of these spaces. I remarked on her choice, and she said indignantly, “Well, I am 65 years old!”
I was actually rather surprised, since I hadn’t thought of her as “old,” and I hope that people would feel the same in my case, but I am not about to throw in the towel yet. Yes, I’m a bit arthritic, but walking is good for me; it certainly won’t hurt me to walk a few feet farther. When you see me parking in a Senior Citizen space, you will know I have one foot in the grave.