Anthem/Blue Cross is my Medicare supplement provider but they are beginning to seem as if they want to be my nanny as well.
I’ve always had a relatively hands-off relationship with whomever my health care provider happened to be. “I’ll try to cost you as little as possible; you write the checks without argument.”
And then I turned 65 and went on Medicare and evidently, Anthem believes that the onset of old age brings with it an onset of slow-wittedness, so that it became necessary to check up on me frequently. They make all kinds of recommendations. They want to send me pamphlets like – “Colonoscopies Can Be Fun!” and “The Sensuous Joys of the Diabetic Diet.” The gals who call are sweet, as if my good health is of utmost importance to them. They all have accents. They call me Bicki.
This latest call was the worst yet.
“Are you maintaining your diabetic diet?”
“Yes.” (What diabetic diet?)
“Are you satisfied that your current medications are having the desired effect?”
“Yes.” (If I didn’t, I’d tell my doctor and I assume she’d change them ... duh.)
Eventually, she moved from what she knew to be the case to the possibilities of what could be.
“Have you fallen in the last two months?”
“Have you discussed falling with your doctor?”
I’m surprised she didn’t hear my teeth grinding.
“No, why would I? I don’t fall.”
And then the piece de resistance – “Do you experience bladder leakage?”
She said, as if she didn’t believe me, “you know, many women your age experience bladder leakage.”
My voice was probably somewhat elevated and had possibly taken on a shriller tone. “Many women may, but I don’t.”
“Have you discussed bladder leakage with your doctor?”
“No! What is this fetish you have about bladder leakage?”
“Because, Bicki,” (with a somewhat patronizing attitude), “bladder leakage can be corrected if it is caught early but it may not be correctible if you wait too long.”
“Well, I don’t experience bladder leakage but if I do, my doctor will be the first to know.”
She changed the subject then, but at the very last she said, “I’m going to make a note to contact your doctor to advise her to discuss bladder leakage with you.”
I was seriously stunned — and furious.
“You will NOT call my doctor about discussing bladder leakage with me! Do you understand?”
Her feelings were hurt. “Well, you don’t have to become hostile.”
“I’ll be worse than hostile if you even think about making that phone call!”
We hung up.
When that call was over, I felt older and less capable than I had before. It was depressing to think I’ll probably start falling any day now and bladder leakage is most likely right around the corner.
Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at firstname.lastname@example.org.