Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment." Dale Carnegie

I am going to be 65 in November. (I don't know how I got to 65 so quickly, when it seems like just yesterday that I turned 21.)  Besides being a major milestone, turning 65 means delving into the world of Medicare.  I simply do not understand insurance, nor do I want to understand insurance.  I just want it to work and be there when I need it, and I have needed it many times in the past few years.

I have a college education and excellent reading comprehension, yet I am stymied by the vocabulary and the offerings/non offerings of the various insurance programs. As a Pennsylvania retired teacher, I do have some excellent choices, if only I could understand them!   And I do have some mounting health challenges that will dictate the plan I choose.  Perhaps the most important advice I received from a former student who is now an insurance broker was this:  All the plans are essentially the same- you just have to decide what you want to pay. But how to decide?  And there are some differences- but you need to create a chart to compare them. And then there is this thing called the donut hole.  (I don't even eat donuts!)  It seems to me that if you are a person who is not in perfect health, Medicare punishes you more with their prescription/lack of prescription coverage and this giant donut hole.  Suddenly, I feel like I am back in tenth grade Chemistry class, in an auditorium filled with 100 students for the lecture, watching Doc Holliday, the teacher, try to shout formulas to us while writing of a transparency on an overhead projector. Our new high school was being built, so lack of space forced Chemistry class lectures to the auditorium.  I could neither see his notes nor hear his words; and my frustration with those terrible conditions for learning, along my lack of any idea about science (I have a right brain) forced me to drop the class.  

As teachers, we try to teach our students using methods to help learning to be both easy and fun.  We want our students to grasp concepts, ask questions, compare and contrast ideas, and to be able to explain what they have learned.  After months of looking at Medicare and speaking by phone to endless talking heads who spout information that does not answer my questions, I still have not made a decision about the correct plan for me. I am exhausted from looking at these forms day after day, I am frustrated by not being able to get the information I need, and I resent that after all these years of working, I am thrown out of what is normal for me into this world of Medicare. 

I have an accountant do my income tax every year, because our tax code is just too overwhelming for a lay person to know and apply.  The government has made taxes so difficult!  (Personally, I can understand, and I like the flat tax.  Fewer rules and numbers.)  But just as income tax is so perplexing, I find all of this insurance and donut hole and out-of-pocket-maximums as confusing as I find Boyle's law of Physics and Euclidean Geometry.
All of this anxiety about Medicare makes me think of the students who are panicking about learning what schools and teachers set forth.  Not everyone learns in the same way, and what is simple for a left-brained child is like studying hebrew or Greek for the right-brained child.  I will get through this and make the best decision I can with the information I have, but I will tell you that I have lost sleep over trying to learn and understand the many facets of insurance plans and their offerings.  As a classroom teacher for 37 years, I hope I never made any student feel the anxiety that I am feeling now.  

Teachers, be kind!  Don't allow your students to have anxiety about learning!

United States Government, you need to improve your presentation skills! Have a teacher help to design your websites and FAQ pages so that they are comprehensive, sequential, and easy to understand!  Otherwise, we are all in my tenth grade chemistry class.

I will make a decision by October 6, and throw all of this behind me.  Onward to more enjoyable learning.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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