I think maybe shear TERROR struck me today about our upcoming retirement. We went to a briefing today that was supposed to be filled with information. Boy, was it ever!! Now I need to make it very CLEAR that we were never in the Army for the benefits or “perks”. You sure can’t get rich in the Army. But after serving 20 years, you sort of expect certain things to be there for you. Despite all the warnings that it’s no longer there, it doesn’t dawn on you until it literally hits you in the face.
K is supposed to be getting braces. The cost of that sent us into a tail spin. Then the Ortho, out for every dime finds out we’re retiring, so he decides that our price has to be recalculated. The reason for this is because as active duty, our insurance pays more than when we retire toward the braces. I don’t feel it’s quite the time to make adjustments since we’re not retired….YET!! Anyone who deals with the military knows that things can change fast and at any time. So, we’re fully aware of what the braces are going to cost….how much our down payment is and what the monthly payments will be for a year and half. We’re also aware that that price WILL go up. Fine!!
I’ve been putting a little money away here and there since we no longer pay tuition for school. It’s very little, but I figured we’d be in a good spot when retirement came. Should the worse happen and he not retire with a job lined up, we could survive. We’d get behind, but we’d survive. Fine!!
Here comes the slap in the face….
After serving 20 years, we know we have to pay for our insurance. No problem since it’s far less than the civilian world. We know and accept this. However, we have to pay the initial premium UP FRONT!! Where in the heck am I going to come up with that?? I have braces to pay for. I have medical for me to pay for. I have dogs to pay for. I have all my other bills. NOW, I have to come up with a year’s insurance premium. Can I just pull my hair out now!?!? I think this is getting to be far more than either of us expected. It’s not a matter of getting out and just moving on with a new part of your life.
Anyway, I wonder. Let me get back to the medical part. Not only do I have to come up with that premium, but I have to NOW find a doctor off post and get settled before we retire. Since we’re still active, I’ll have to pay to be seen off post. However, they request you do this so that you’re established with a doctor before you retire. After all, we have to make sure they’re “approved”. Now mind you, I go to the doctor every 3 months, if not more. We can’t be seen on post any longer because of over crowding and lack of doctors. I have to keep my diabetes and blood pressure controlled, so I have no choice but to go every 3 months. I’m going to have to start from scratch. I’m going to have to explain why I take the meds I take which ones I won’t take. I’m going to have to convince a doctor that this is the right method for me, that I’m happy and it’s working for me. Not to mention, the first doctor I might go to might not be the one for me. I have to find a doctor for Miss K. She’s only had 2 doctors in 10 years and I have to start from scratch with her too. With her allergies, meds and other things. ARG!!
This may sound minor to many of you, but this is what we refer to as culture shock!! Mind you, there’s more than just this. This medical aspect is just the tip of the ice burg. It’s a reality check when you find out just exactly what 20 years of service gets you now. Honest, true service and love of country and job. That’s more than ANY idiot in Washington DC can say and they have benefits for life. They’re set for life. Someone remind me when just ONE of them actually served you or I….please!!
And the beat goes on….