These are the thoughts and observations of me — a woman of a certain age (56). I'm single. I'm successful enough (independent, self supporting). I live in the burbs and work in the city (Chicago, the best city in the world). I'm an aunt, a friend and a colleague. I feel that voices like mine are rather underrepresented online or in print. So here I am. If my musings resonate with you, please visit my blog again sometime.
15. How would you describe your childhood in general? A mixed bag. My adolescence sucked, so I guess it all depends on how you define "childhood."
16. What is your earliest memory? Playing outside the cottage my family was vacationing at for a week in summer. I was rolling around on the grass and came face to face with a toad.
17. How much schooling have you had? 13.5 years
18. Did you enjoy school? No
19. Stop and count, Since you were born until today; how many homes have you lived in? Four. I HATE moving.Packing, unpacking. UGH!
20. While growing up, did you have any role models? Ann Marie from That Girl. JBKO, of course.
21. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family? They're why I said my childhood was a mixed bag. I got along with my mom and one set of grandparents. My older sister was pretty jealous of me. My dad and I clashed. The other set of grandparents was unpleasant for me. I got very lucky in the aunt/uncle department.
22. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher. A singer. A newspaper reporter. A veterinarian. A translator at the UN. Depends on which day you asked me.
23. What were your favorite activities 3 years ago? Reading. Going to the movies. Farting around on the internet.
24. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display? I was loquacious and generally pretty cheerful
25. As a child, were you popular? I made friends easily.
26. When and with whom was your first kiss? David, the older boy who lived three doors down.
27. Describe any influences in your past that led you to do the things you do today. The 1960s had a tremendous impact on me.
Since my mom's passing in mid-September, I have written about how expensive her funeral was ($12,000 -- and it was by no means elaborate) and the problems we have had accessing her personal assets. My mom was not a wealthy woman. She had only about $10,000 at the time of her death. I do wish she had life insurance. Even a $5,000 policy would have helped us now.
But you know, she enjoyed her money in her lifetime and ultimately I think that's what it's for. I wish she had planned things a bit more wisely, but I'll get through this.
What I would NOT have gotten through are her medical bills, if she hadn't had Medicare and Medicare Part B.
Another bill came today. $1,050 for the ambulance ride from the nursing home to the hospital. It was a tough one to review because it was in the ambulance where my mom actually died. However, I filled in her Medicare/insurance information and know I'm not responsible for that bill.
Or the ones for her x-rays and diagnostics. Which are separate from the bill for her two-week hospital stay. My mother got exceptional care, and it didn't cost us a cent.
She had also been hospitalized in March of this year for the same ailment. The care she got that time wasn't as impressive, but that's due a variance in the quality of the hospitals, not of her Medicare coverage.
Had it not been for Medicare, I'd be looking at bankruptcy right now.
I'm not kidding.
MY finances are in order. I have too much debt, it's true. But I still have a stash to cover 7 months' of expenses in case I lose my job and a retirement fund and a little "household emergency" account. (My "rainy day" fund is gone, but that's OK because if this doesn't qualify as "raining," I don't know what does!) The raise I got at this time last year -- only the second pay increase I've received in 8 years -- went to pay for my long-term care insurance. I have made mistakes and could do better, but MY finances have been, by and large, handled responsibly.
Yet if it had not been for Medicare (and Medicare Part B -- a very good investment at $2,500/year), my mother's hospitalizations would have bankrupted me.
I don't have a family of my own to support. But imagine if I did! I have friends who are also dealing with tuition costs for their college aged children as well as saving for retirement. Without Medicare, a family crisis like the one precipitated by my mom's health would have been damaging to two generations.
I took care of my mother in life. I paid that $2,500/year for Part B out of my own pocket. I paid for her snow removal and gave her money for little extras every month. Of course I did. She was my mom and I loved her.
But my point is this -- I spent $300/month to care for my mom. I was a responsible daughter. I did not just leave her to "the government" to care for. Neither did my younger sister. She and her husband did repairs around my mother's house to keep it comfortable for her.
And yet, without Medicare, this past year would have bankrupted me.
What is happening to me could happen to you. It's happening to people all over the country right now. We are the 47% Gov. Romney speaks of so insensitively.
This is why I am voting for Barack Obama, and recommend you do, too.