• Coleen Merk

Don't Push Me Over The Hill

Last month I turned 65 and shared my adventures in navigating Medicare. (You can read that post here.)

Ahh... I remember sitting in the doctor’s office at the young age of 64, having a normal, engaging conversation with my doctor. We reviewed lab results and discussed recommendations and ideas. He did not invasively dig into my personal life or ask me all sorts of questions about how I functioned within a 24 hour period or how my house was laid out.

Just nine short months later, upon turning 65, I went in for my first Medicare physical, and you would have thought I had landed on another planet completely.

I'm not kidding.



I suppose society still considered me a "functioning" person until I hit that magical age? I was shocked to be handed a questionnaire that made my mouth drop open in disbelief.

One of the fun questions included:

"Do you have a rug in the hallway or stairs going into your place or wooden floors?" I think I freaked the nurse out by answering "D - all of the above." Yes, I have rugs and wooden floors. But hello- I walked into this office just fine, didn't I? And since when does the layout of my house affect my physical exam or lab work related to my health? I work full-time, spend time gardening and even workout and do yoga and stretching. Perhaps we should just roll in the wheelchair and ship me off to the nursing home now? 

Some of the other questions were:

Have you had a fall in the last 12 months?

Do you have any problems managing your medication?

Do you have any problems doing meal preparation?

Do you need assistance getting dressed?

They genuinely wanted to know if I had anyone I can call if I needed help. I just looked at the doctor with my mouth wide open! You can’t be serious? Oh yes, they were very serious!

Oh, here is the kicker...

Ready?

“Are you sexually active?” Yep, they went there. And they continued, “If so, do you have any questions or are you interested in screening for sexually transmitted diseases?

I lost it!

Welcome to Medicare!

In my book coming out February 11, 2019, “The Starting Over Toolbox, How to Reinvent Yourself at Any Age,”  I talk about my tools that I used when my life changed a few days after I turned 60.

It has been five years since I was insulted and degraded to this degree!  After I picked myself back up off the floor of the doctor's office, I reached out and put my imaginary Hard Hat on to protect my mind! I was grasping for all my other tools that I needed to recover!

If I allowed this crap to go into my mind and deep down in my subconscious, I knew it would be damaging! I'm sure many start to question their own sanity and abilities after such ridiculous questions. 

Armed with my starting over tools, I immediately started to remove this.

I told myself .  . . .

I am not damaged goods,

I am not a burden to society,

I am not living a second rate life!

If society accepts this as the norm, this tells me that people in my age group and older are not considered an asset. They are saying, “the hell with you, you are washed up, not of value anymore!"

If each one of us speaks up, we can change this from a system of one that insults us with this kind of questionnaire to one that welcomes us with all of our life experiences and wisdom.

Everyone is unique and there is no one else out there like you! You were meant to make your mark in this world. so don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

Okay, what are you settling for in life that is second class?

I'm not ready to be pushed "over the hill."

I challenge you to stand up where you feel like you are being treated as second class and make a difference In this world! Need a little more inspiration? Be sure to sign up to attend my book launch next week!

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