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Posted: January 13, 2006

Spousal Caregiving

Tickling the Caregiver's Funnybone

Bill AndrewIn this new year of 2006, I thought that it would be fun to lend a little humor to lighten our respective caregiver "work loads." I will try to include something humorous every month or so this year, but I will not guarantee that the subject of these respective columns has any real "meat" in them -- only something to laugh at. And don’t we all need that?

 
I received an e-mail newsletter that tries, in a humorous way, to explain the medical insurance concerns that many of us seniors run into. While this column may not -- in fact, it will not -- clear up any confusion, it should give you a hearty laugh. This particular humor comes from the Health Sciences Institute e-Alert, authored by Jenny Thompson, for January 8, 2006, and can be retrieved online at their website.

_____

MEDICAL INSURANCE EXPLAINED


Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "HEY MOE." Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Moe of the Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eye.

Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?
A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. The doctors basically fall into two categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away and a diploma from a third world country.

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No. Only those you need.

Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?
A.
Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.

Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick?
A. You really shouldn't do that.

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his/her office?
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $20 co-payment, there's no harm in giving it a shot.

Q. Will healthcare be different in the next century?
A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

 _____

Does any of the above "ring a bell" in terms of situations that you have run into as a spousal caregiver? Understand that I am not personally responsible for any of the comments made above -- nor is the Health Sciences Institute. The questions are certainly valid -- the answers are definitely "questionable." 
 

But I do hope that you got a good laugh. I did. We spousal caregivers -- in fact, all family caregivers -- need some stress relief and humor is a proven reliever of stress. See my column In Caregiving, He Who Laughs -- Lasts! for more information on the value of humor in the caregiving environment. If you have any good stories about how humor and laughter have helped you cope with the stress of spousal caregiving, send same to me at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.

WORDS TO CARE BY. . .

"Always laugh when you can...
it is cheap medicine."

Lord Byron (1788-1824)


Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.

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Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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