Last week (March 6) I wrote bewitching and whining about what I understood Medicare's policy to be with regards to cataract surgery.
Today I decided to call them and find out what was going on with toric lens cataract surgery.
The good news is Medicare does partially pay for the surgery itself. What it will not cover is the cost of the higher-tech lens.
There seems nothing to do about this at the present time. You can't appeal a failure of Medicare coverage unless a file has been claimed but there is no category that the toric lens fits under so the claim can't be filed.
It's your classic catch 22 sit.
The bad news (besides the fact that I got through two surgeries before fully understanding the charges (if I do now)) is that I won't recoup any of the money I've already paid.
That is a lot less than the procedure actually cost so I am very grateful for Medicare - and for my new lenses.
This is the first time I've seen distances clearly without correction for over fifty years.
March 11, 2015 Madison, IN
This morning walking along the still-swollen river we startled a dark little duck that had been hanging out in some brush debris close to shore.
I didn't even see it until it was running away across the water.
Sure, it was flapping its wings madly but it wouldn't have become airborne if it hadn't run for takeoff like an athlete heading into a broad jump.
Never before have I realized how well a duck's feet are suited to navigating the surface tension of water.
Duck did manage to fly but not before I began to wonder.
Later we saw what looked like the same bird riding the river downstream giving the same impression of uncertain competence.
Hope he was a lucky duck!
March 10, 2015 Madison, IN
I'm so I glad I lived to see a black man elected for President of the United States of America! The fact that this was even possible is so wonderful!
Not so wonderful - except in an awful way - has been seeing our lawmakers (not our ordinary citizens but our LAWMAKERS!) treat this President with an unprecedented lack of respect.
Our lawmakers have shown themselves to be now shameless lawbreakers in undermining the President's attempts to make a workable peace in the Middle East.
Worse yet, the nation-wide scramble of precincts to gerrymander (and thus control outcomes of district elections) promises to guarantee our lack of individual equality for decades to come.
Gerrymandering was taught to my class in grade school as an archaic form of cheating that used to be practiced by the political parties to get and keep power now no longer practiced in our progressive country.
Even my word program did not consider offering the word as an active verb. Gerrymandering? Sure. That was something that unfortunately used to be.
But "gerrymander?" I had to type it out and add it to my dictionary.
Just goes to show you. No evil is too ancient or taboo to be resurrected.
March 9, 2015 Madison, IN
I guess the river didn't crest quite as high as expected but this afternoon only five steps were dry. It has already begun to recede a little and our experience of it is different from usual.
The Lighthouse Restaurant, which is usually much lower than the street, is now riding high. Same goes for Skunk Hollow Marina.
Tonight looking out the winning towards the river I saw unaccustomed lights that looked like the coals of a big fire.
Even with binoculars it took a while for me to recognize light reflected from the water. Very glittery, very close, enchanting and seductive.
Snow here, now departing. Waters rising, now falling.
We're enjoying the changes.
March 8, 2015
Yesterday walking along the Ohio River I counted the number of steps down toward the blue metal platform I could take without getting my feet wet. Nine.
This morning we walked across the bridge to Milton and bought a couple of Kentucky lottery tickets. Lots of debris in the river. On the way back I counted stairs again. Seven.
This afternoon seemed like the first day of spring. Beautiful! This time only six steps weren't under water. I'm looking forward to seeing what the river will look on the day it is supposed to crest - tomorrow.
I was a little concerned with the effect of all the snowfall in the East on our flood levels. Silly me! Of course, as a neighbor pointed out, we don't really have to worry about Boston record-breaking snows here. They are part of a different watershed on the other side of one of the continental divides.
March 7, 2015 Madison, IN
The Ohio River is predicted by the NOAA to be at flood stage at Clifty Falls day after tomorrow. It's already higher than we've seen it in our three years here, covering the blue metal platform and portions of the walk closest to the river.
We were awed by how much bigger the swimming geese seemed and there was only one big metal cylinder sticking out of the water where we usually see two.
The river supplies real-life optical illusions and lessons in visual relativity. When I watched the mockingbird harassing the vulture last fall I felt that I was looking up. Today the top of the structure looked much lower - more like the level of the walkway.
The trailers (mobile homes?) across the river are just gone. I wonder where their owners take them at flood time. I wonder where we will take ourselves if the river gets too high.
With all the snow in the East this winter we really don't know what to expect.
March 6, 2015. Madison, IN
Medicare refuses to pay for toric lenses, which the agency considers cosmetic. There are not merely cosmetic motives to improve your vision without correction.
I'll give my own situation as an example.
For decades I have been protecting my eyes from UV radiation on the advice of ophthalmologists. The wisdom of doing so seems obvious for that reason, but it became even more compelling when my mother developed macular degeneration.
Since my eyes are very sensitive to light I needed sunglasses in addition. Scatterbrained as I can sometimes be, transitions lenses seemed the way to go. The same pair of glasses rode my nose indoors and out.
This wreaked havoc with birdwatching and other distant observation, though. I could either get enough light to see color details or I could see clearly with too little light to see enough detail.
Okay, okay so maybe I'm expecting too much to be compensated for the corrective lenses in both eyes. But why does Medicare punish those who choose this option by refusing to reimburse the amount they always dish out for basic cataract surgery?#
There is one positive consequence to this circumstance, though. Now I am determined to ensure that my bucks haven't been spent in vain. I figure this lens choice will save me from having to buy new lenses as often. It will pay for itself only if I live long enough.
Well, I love a bargain. I will try very hard to live long enough to make my toric lenses a financial as well as a visual bonanza, collecting my social security all the while.
(Don't resent my attitude too much, young'uns, it's not enough to live on, really.)
# Later: As it turns out, this is not the case. See March 12 entry for correction.
March 4, 2015 Madison, IN
Listening to the furor over Hillary Clinton's use of a private server to send emails: well duh. Maybe it could have something to do with reliability?
Evidently she has been doing what her Secretary of State predecessors have done, including comply with the law.
Sigh. Over a year and a half before elections and I'm already exhausted.
Makes me nostalgic for the decades when I had no TV.
March 3, 2015 Madison, IN
Recently read a book called Kidding Ourselves in which the author argues that humans are biologically set up to believe.
Not only do we want to believe in someone or something we cannot necessarily see, but faith has real survival value.
The question becomes, then, not whether to engage in believing but what to choose to believe in.
One thing I believe for sure: this must be my choice and my right.
How great is that? What could be a burden or a duty becomes an exciting project in shopping - or creativity!
March 2, 2015
Trying to walk on snow and ice the last couple of weeks reminded me that the best way to keep your footing on ice is by lifting your foot vertically and putting it down again as vertically as possible.
In other words, by marching.
I can really see the survival value of that style of marching.
The goose step - not so much.
What could the goose step possibly be good for?
Maybe the display of sheer power necessary to make so many people do something so dumb?
March 1, 2015 Madison, IN
I know it's March but I can't believe it.
It's too snowy out there.
Between having surgery and a month of real winter my world has gotten way too small.
This method of "typing" has me bemused, though. (Do people still call this keyboarding now? I don't even know the terminology.)
When we were learning typing were taught not to look at the keyboard. With this word program I dare not look up from it. I might miss the word suggestions up at the top.
On the other hand, super sensitive responses to touch mean I have to constantly check or I will be unwittingly saying something entirely different from what I intend.
Watch what I come up with when I don't check:
Even though it is potentially much easier to write now with this program it still takes me much longer to write than it did before.
(Well, so much for my demonstration. I'm improving. Yippee!)