bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘pharmacy’

I Need Charging

I went to the psychiatrist today.  Just a periodic check-in, but it came at a good time. 

The first thing I asked him was to check back into my file and see how past Mays have gone.  Last year was fine.  The year before:  very tired, sleeping a lot, weepy, losing patience quickly, etc.  I said, “Uh, yeah.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.” 

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been on a roller coaster for the last few weeks.  And, I’m about ready to shout, “Stop the ride!  I wanna get off!”After expressing my concern to the doctor, and telling him that I was very anxious about increasing the dosage of my medication, he suggested adding Lithium to the batch.  Oh, sure.  What’s one more pill?  Good grief.  I got teary-eyed and told him I was a little scared.  I was reaching the maximum dose of Lamictal (a mood-stabilizing drug), and so that’s why he’s suggesting Lithium (another mood-stabilizer).  I told him, “You know, I’m 43, and I’m almost at the limit of Lamictal, and now we are adding Lithium.  I’m scared about what the future will mean.  Will I be on 56 different drugs?”  He smiled and said, “Moods are not static.  They change, and so we need to adjust when they do change, so that you can level off again.  And, hey, let’s think positive, this may work!”  Then he told me of a patient that was on all kinds of mixtures and wasn’t doing well.  Probably headed for the hospital (aka looney bin).  Not exactly what I wanted to hear, since that was what kind of scares me.  He was telling me this, though, because he wanted me to know there are lots of things to try.

So, yep, I’m going to start supplementing my current drugs with Lithium.  Yep.  Like the battery.  Right off the Periodic Table.  AND, it’s been used in thermonuclear weapons!  Neat!  It’s also the original mood-stabilizer.

When I went to fill the prescription at the pharmacy, I suddenly felt very self-conscious.  Uh-oh, now this chick knows I’m nuts.  Then, I had to smile.  I think I’d rather be picking up a prescription for Lithium than one that is used to treat an STD.

Is that Pollyanna-y enough for you?

It’s Tough Enough Being Bipolar

Yesterday was a doozy. 

The day before was amazing.  I had so much energy.  You wouldn’t believe all I did.  It would have been a normal day for the rest of you, but for me…a big day.

Then yesterday I had a meltdown.  Not the worst, but not the smallest either.  I had to cancel having 3 friends over for stamp camp, an activity I normally look forward to.  But, after the meltdown, it seemed just too much to handle.

Today, I went to take my morning plethora of prescriptions, when I realized I didn’t have my anti-depressant.  Oh, yeah.  I’d refilled them through the mail order service, and they hadn’t arrived.  Great.  So I decide to call the toll-free number.  Ah.  Only for refills.  I check my insurance card for a different number and deal with the automated system.  Now, I’m 43, not 93.  I know that automated systems are normally a good thing.  And, this one is especially smart, because she told me “I can help you with that.”  But, she couldn’t.  And, there’s no going back.  So, I dialed again.  And again.  Finally, I just shouted, “THERE’S BEEN A BIG MISTAKE!”  to which she replied, “It sounds like you had a problem.  Let me connect you with a customer representative.”  woah.  cool.

Thankfully, Tom is sitting nearby, because things just got worse.  The customer representative was nice enough, but she just didn’t have the answers I needed to hear. 

CR:  That prescription is due to ship on Feb. 11th.

Me:  But, I’m out of medicine now.

CR:  We show that you rec’d a shipment on December 15th.  That was good for 45 days.

Me:  (crying)  But I’m OUT OF MEDICINE!

CR:  Would you like to talk to a pharmacist while I look into this?

Me:  (sniff)  Yes.

Now I hand the phone to Tom.  I am no longer able to carry on a conversation.  The conversation with the pharmacist was pointless.  She was going to counsel us on the effect the absence of the prescription would have.  As Tom said, “I think we know what that is.”

Back to the CR.

Tom:  You show that the last mailing was Dec 15?

CR:  Yes.

Tom:  Well, this is PAST 45 days.  She should have her medicine.

CR:  Oh.  Yes, I see what you mean.  Let me see what I can find out……..Oh, apparently, the insurance won’t cover it until after 65 days, which is why it is shipping on the 11th.

Can you believe this, people?  This is majorly screwed up.  We will only give you 45 days worth of medication instead of the 90 days you are supposed to get with the mail order, and even then we expect you to go without for 20 more days. 

Now those of you wonderful readers who aren’t on anti-depressants probably don’t understand the enormity of the situation.  Even when you decide to go off of an anti-depressant, you are told that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you just quit.  You must wean yourself off, or the withdrawal symptoms are unbelievable.  So, that’s what I’ve been going through for the past day and a half. 

Finally, Tom told the CR to cancel the order and that we would get it from our local pharmacy since we needed it ASAP.  The CR was kind and apologized for the misunderstanding.

Of course, that wouldn’t be easy either.  I no longer had a refill left, except for a lower dosage.  And, if you have ever called a doctor’s exchange, you will know “refills are not considered emergencies.”  Well, maybe not for YOU, Dr. Man, but it is for me!  I’m a donkey on the edge!  But, I called the pharmacy and after a long discussion withthe pharmacist, I ordered the smaller dose with the plan to take the equivalent, Tom took off and picked it up for me.

After a couple of Xanax, and a dose of my anti-depressant, things calmed down.  I slept for hours, and here I am. 

I am so frustrated with the insurance company (who strangely enough does a fine job with the prescriptions I fill monthly).  They endorse this mail order company as “a way to save on your prescriptions.”  On all the prescriptions I tried with the mail order company, they were all more expensive than with my local pharmacy.  Sometimes THREE times as much! 

So, beware my friends. 

And, prescription mail order companies…Remember, if I kill you, all that will happen to me is a lifetime of  free drugs and a box of crayons.

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