Doctor’s Offices Are Reopening, So It’s Time to Check Some Boxes

“The trick is to age honestly and gracefully and make it look great, so that everyone looks forward to it.”

Emma Thompson

Photo by Total Shape (Pexels)

It’s hard to believe, but life is slowly returning to a bit of our old normal.  All of our routines have been upended, and now we find ourselves desperately wanting to return to those things which were familiar.  And one of the most important is scheduling your very important healthcare appointments.

With limited access, our healthcare providers are once again open for business.  My BoomerGuy’s cardiologist is once again seeing patients, but only one day a week.  We call him our “Rock Star” because he saved my husband’s life and has kept him in good health going on 5½ years after his heart attack.  For the past year and a half it’s been all virtual, so it will be good to once again relate in person.  

Don’t think for a minute when you call to schedule that you’ll get in right away.  Hundreds of other folks are getting in line to do the same thing.  Be patient and expect that your request might not get filled for a month or so.  

Photo by Gustavo Fring (Pexels)

Be prepared for a few snags.  We pay for Supplemental Insurance through Medicare and have noticed over the past couple of weeks routine tests requested by our primary care physician are not being covered by Medicare.  We’ve called Medicare directly and were told these tests are not medically relevant.  What???  Never heard that before, so we then went back to our physician’s office to discuss the problem.  In virtually all the cases, the tests ordered were coded in error.  So the blood draw and the breast exam had to be redrafted with the correct ICD-9 codes applied.  Don’t be surprised if you run into this issue because the system is changing and new codes need be inserted or the test won’t be covered, and you will be expected to pay the load upfront.

It used to be we as patients could cruise in for our tests and cruise out without any problems.  I’m not saying you will experience this, but we as holders of our insurance coverage need to be aware and you need to ask upfront if the tests and exams being ordered by your physician are indeed covered.  Ultimately, it’s your responsibility so be proactive, don’t take anything for granted or you might end up with a bill several months later which does nothing for your health, and it will undoubtedly shock your system.  

While periodic check-ups are key to Boomer Longevity, if you are intent about checking off those boxes and getting to your appointments, do me a favor and either start or maintain your exercise routine before you head in and have to step on the scales and have your blood pressure checked.  

Exercise is the second best thing you can do for your health. Photo by Centre for Ageing Better (Pexels)

With all we’ve been through over the past 18 months we’re concerned about our vitals and lab results.  It’s really quite OK to be concerned, but don’t let it overwhelm you.  Get on your diet and get on that exercise plan and make certain you are doing your part to obtain those good results.  They just don’t happen on their own.

I even thought about postponing my next appointment with my primary thinking I could use the extra time to lose a few pounds, kick start my diet and side-step some of the stress I’ve been experiencing since both my parents passed away in January from COVID.

This my friends, is the first best thing you can do for your health–a great diet. Photo by cottonbro (Pexels)

That my friends is not the right approach.  Don’t postpone anything in your life, address it head on and get rolling.  The extra pounds, the diet and the stress will all still be there even if you postpone.  You’ll simply have new reasons for not addressing them, and the only thing you lost was a couple of months.

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”

George Burns, It’s Up To You

I always thought of us Boomers as more savvy, assertive, health-conscious and engaged in doing everything right for our care.  Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Baby Boomers are living longer but aren’t necessarily living healthier lives.  

I’ve always looked at exploring alternative treatments and trying to be proactive with more holistic approaches to improving and preserving my lifestyle.  

Being internet savvy and thus reading more about healthier preferences, we can approach our aging and healthcare choices with greater knowledge and insight.  And it’s good to note that Boomers are among the most avid consumers of health information.  Don’t sit back and let these years go by without taking charge of your own health.  Don’t always leave it up to your doctor or medical professional. You know more about your body than anyone, especially someone you might see only once every six months.

I had the responsibility of caring for my parents over the past 8½ years and I considered it a privilege and honor to help them.  But I soon realized that while I was giving so much to them, I wasn’t giving to myself.  I did everything to maintain their well-being, and my health began to suffer.

And then the pandemic hit.  Over the past 18 months it has taken an inordinate toll on myself and my BoomerGuy physically and emotionally.  And at the end of the day, it won out.  It wore me down and took my parent’s lives without remorse.

But it did not beat me.  Life as we know it is returning slowly, so  get back on your diet and stay there, hit the exercise monster and set all those appointments to give you peace of mind.  Don’t stress if things are not the same as before.  We were all scared, confused and emotionally spent because we didn’t know what to do or when to do it.  

It’s not all 100% clear, but what is clear are those things you can do personally to improve your health, and one of the biggest is making those appointments so you and your doctor, together, can get things moving in the right direction.  

Photo by Karolina Grabowska (Pexels)

Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, health practitioners and support personnel who remained calm and steady during this turbulent time.

So your mission should you decide to accept it is to find a medical professional that you trust and can rely on for years to come.  And be sure to put out a kind word on their behalf. If you’re fortunate as we are it means you’ve found someone with whom you can relate, trust and have open communication.  Our primary, my husband’s cardiologist, my dermatologist for skin care issues related to RA and once in while an orthopedist who I’ve used for over 20 years.  

On the diagnostic side of the equation, we have found Quest to be just superb in not only the quality of testing but also their responsiveness to providing the lab results.

The good news, our test results came back better than we expected, all in the normal range.  Woo hoo!  But it doesn’t mean we’re backing off.  In fact, we’re working harder at our diet and exercise routine to maintain optimal health. 

MAKE THOSE APPOINTMENTS, and you’ll be glad you did.  

Until next week, I’m your BoomerGal, Connie who is thankful and strives to be relevant every day with stories of health, wellness, kindness and inspiration.

“Getting older is fine.  There is nothing you can do to stop it, so you might as well stay on the bus.”

John Byrne

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