Monday, January 26, 2009

The Mail Order Pharmacy

In 2009 my wonderful HMO was dropped by my employer. We switched to Empire Blue Cross and a mailorder pharmacy which shall remain nameless. Last year my insulin co-payment was $15/vial and I could pick it up at a neighborhood drugstore 2 blocks away. This year it is $25/vial and has to come in the mail.

I began researching this back in November, when we were first notified. The conversations went something like this:

K: Hi, I'm going to be on your plan in '09 and have type 1 diabetes. How is the insuln shipped?

ES: How do you spell that?

K: Spell what?

ES: Whatever it is you wanted shipped.

Well, I knew this was going to be a long process. I found out that insulin is shipped overnight in cold packs.

2nd call.

K: Hi. I,m trying to get something figured out here - I take insulin and know that you ship it overnight. I work during the day and I cannot receive personal mail at work. Whar are my options?

ES: We can leave it with a neighbor.

K: All my neighbors work too.

ES: We can leave it by the door.

K: It was below zero here today.

ES: Then you might want to be careful it doesn't freeze.


The next day I speak with my boss, who says that due to security regulations, I cannot receive personal mail at work. Maybe I should rent a mailbox.
Closest PO Boxes are 22 blocks away. Hmmmmmmm. don'tcrydon'tcrydon'tcry

A few days later I enlist the help of our company's Health Care Advocate. She says don't call ES at night as they are losers. We'll call during the day and ask to speak with a supervisor. I secretively dash into a private office at lunch and the advocate and I call, get put on hold, and soom I must return to my desk.

The next day I'm walking home from the bus and have a revelation as I go past the Fed Ex/Kinkos store in my neighborhood - maybe it could be sent there and they could hold it for me? Go in and ask the manager, who looks like he's about 12. "oh, I've never heard of that - I don't know if we can or not".

3 days later, stop in when there is a more "official" looking person behind the counter. "Sure, we do it all the time. Just have it set to youself, care of us - you can track it onlne and the day it's delivered stop by and pick it up." Whew. Problem Solved.

Call ES.
K:I would like to have my insulin shipped and held for pick up at a Fed Ex location - is that okay
ES: Well, we can't guarantee that.
E: Why not?
ES: Sometimes that doesn't work. I think you'll have to speak with the pharmacist, but they're not here at this time of night. We let them be home with their families.
K; What is a pharmacist going to be able to tell me about shipping?
ES: Just call tomorrow during regular hours.
Me and the advocate call ES during the day and ask for a supervisor.

"Sure, we've done that before - just look your account up online, get the tracking number, and watch to see when it's been delivered to the store. Should work just fine?.

Well. I feel about 60% confident that this will work. One of my co-workers just told me today that they got 24 month's worth of her husband's migraine meds, when they were supposed to get 3. Luckly they were only charged for 3.

DB sure teaches us various aspects of problem solving. I feel sort of smug that I figured this out, and majorily pissed off hat I had to do it myself.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Practice Vlog

I have been very curious about putting up a video here. (Up until last week I didn't even know how to take videos with my camera.) Becoming a blogger has taught me a lot of things, aside from those related to db. Cool.
This was taken last weekend, when we went to visit my mom in a smalltown west of Minneapolis.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Winter of my Frozen Face

I have enjoyed reading everybody's recaps of the closing year and hopes for '09.

My holidays were reasonably nice - quiet, simple and stressfree - just the way I like it. I thought that I was cruisin' along quite balanced, until a clerk said a bright "happy new year" to me on Friday and I burst into tears. Yes, it startled me too.

Annual holidays always bring many thoughts of fear into my mindset. A lot can happen in a year. A lot can go wrong with diabetes in a year. Fear shouts to me, "where will you be a year from now, Kathy? - Think of all those decades that you did't take care of yourself. They're bound to catch up with you, sooner or later."

For whatever reason, my image of fear is a Humphrey Bogart man, dressed in a shabby trenchcoat, fedora hat, smoking a cig and standing at the end of my sidewalk, sneering. In the recent years, I have developed some pretty good skills to ignore him. So he comes - let him stand there as long as he wants. Just don't invite him in for tea and cookies. He will soon get tired and go pester someone else.

This winter we've so far had 13 days where the temperature has dipped below zero. Last winter, our total was 3. A co-worker and I were talking about this and she remarked that it's harder to deal with knowing that we've got at least 2 months remaining. It would be a lot easier to tolerate if the end was in sight.

Well, the end is never in sight with db, and that's what's been difficult these last days.

So, in the meantime, we all do what we can. I put on my fancy high-tech face mask (designed so that your glasses don't fog up).

And, if necessary, my Mary Poppins hat.

No, there isn't much of a smile under there, but a certain satisfaction in the fact that I know I'll be comfortable at the bus stop.

And, there is also a satisfaction in knowing that if I do all that I can to take care of the db, then I will probably be here a year from now. Maybe with some amazing adventures to look back on.

Happy New Year to all my friends. May you be served with peace, joy, and fulfillment in 2009!