loose ends

I feel frayed.

My meds are a mess.  I’m nearly out of one of the gut meds that I use sporadically.  Unfortunately, for the past few weeks or so I’ve been in a higher use state and so I’ve blown through my short supply of this drug.  The drug is Levsin SL, otherwise known as hyoscyamine.  I take it for what I call balloon animal gut.  Balloon animal gut is more than just awkward noises – it often entails pain that is literally “gut wrenching” and of a type that can easily make me pass out.  So the hyoscyamine is a necessity, it takes the edge of the cramping, allows me to get out and going to work despite having a bad GI day.  And I have exactly two pills left on an expired prescription.  My insurance won’t pay for it and it’s not cheap.  This is how it expired.  When it used to be covered (prior to 2008), I stock-piled it.  Since I took it sporadically, I could fill it each month and know that I was essentially setting aside extra for when I needed it.  For the last few years, it’s been something I pay out of pocket for so I refill it sparingly.  My last fill was at the end of July.  It expired August 2.  You’d think the pharmacy would have a big warning label or something to let you know that.  Nope.

So I logged on to my drug store’s web-based Rx management system.  Ok, since I’m looking up the hyoscyamine (confirming my suspicion that yes, there were refills but they are inaccessible to me now that it’s expired and the doc  who ordered them was the worst GI doc I’ve seen in a long time and dropped over a year ago), I look up the other upcoming drugs I need.  Amitriptyline, which I take every night – not PRN.  Filled October 15, not due for a refill until November 20.  Think about that for a second.  Do you see the problem?  And then there’s Pantoprazole, which my current (and soon to be former) GI’s office made a mess of.  Saw doc in May, she wrote for the wrong dose (once a day instead of twice).  It ran out.  She was away.  I called and got a new script with several refills which would have taken me well past November, which was my next appointment with GI doc.  Then GI doc came back and got the messages.  She calls in a new script with only one refill.  The pharmacy apparently cancels the standing script with the multiple refills and fills the new one while I’m in the middle of a month – i.e. I didn’t need a refill or new script just yet.   The new one triggers my insurance company to flag the drug for prior authorization, although the pharmacy tells me that the insurance company wants me to fill this by mail and that they will only pay for two weeks on this new script.  I call the insurance company, they say no, it’s an authorization issue.  Ok, call the doc and find out she’s on maternity leave but her nurse puts through the authorization.  Also cancels my November appointment because, she tells me, the GI doc says I don’t need it and can be seen when she’s back from maternity leave.  So I have one half month of the Pantoprazole, then I get it filled “again” and get another month, which I’m in the middle of right now.  Online, I see that the old script from the fellow from the summer is still active.  I call the pharmacy and ask “Can we just fill that?”  Nope.  Because of the authorization, I can either have the fellow (or whoever is covering)  call in a NEW script with a NEW authorization or the GI doc can call in a refill/renewal under the current authorization.  “But she’s on maternity leave” I say.  Sorry, nothing they can do.

Oh, and my blood sugar strips are out of refills too.  Because you know, I clearly was going to stop being hypoglycemic in five months.

Sweet mother of god, does this have to be such a fucking mess?   Tick tock, it’s nearly 9:00.  Time to find out which, if any, of my doctors are in today and who’s going to call in meds and authorizations galore for me.

A significant element of this is that so many of my doctor appointments are not routine check up/follow ups.  They are sick visits.  And at sick visits, my maintenance meds are the last thing on my mind.

I’m already in a bad mood from having spent the weekend feeling crappy (feeling better now btw), so this is probably bugging me more than it should.  Or in ways that it shouldn’t.  But there you have it.  I’m in a rotten mood today and I’m feeling like my docs have sort of left me with a huge mess.  I really hope one of them is willing to help me out of it.

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  1. I always screw up my meds and forget about refills and sometimes that leaves me scrambling for drugs last minute. I love when nurses will call in refills to the pharmacy for you even if the doctor is not in. I called one of my doctors today to try to get an appointment soon cuz I’m feeling like shit. I have had a headache for weeks now,and LOTS of G.I. issues like you. I called him and it went straight to a message….blah blah blah….and the message informs me that if you are calling for med refills your pharmacy has to fax the request. I guess that means that he doesn’t want to write out scripts or call pharmacy anymore for refills. What a pain.

    Hope you get all this stuff sorted out, so you can have a good supply of your needed meds, with lots extra.

    Good luck..mo

    • It seems like there should be a better way to do this. The online thing for my pharmacy chain was decent initially, but they’ve made some upgrades and now it’s much less user-friendly. Pharmacy has to fax a request? I’ve never had luck with the faxing back and forth between docs and pharmacy. Electronic Rx system works ok, but not the fax. Too much getting lost in the shuffle. And sometimes, you just need them to TALK to each other. It’s like brokering a deal between middle school girls who hate one another, isn’t it? “Well you tell Pharmacy that I said she can’t have her sweater back until she gives me the skirt I loaned her last month!” And here’s you just looking for algebra notes.

      I feel guilty about it sometimes, but if I am feeling bad and need an appointment, I often will just press whatever key gets me a person. I’ve found that leaving messages for appointments ends up with calls returned days later if at all. That stinks that you’re feeling bad Mo. I hope you’re feeling a little better today.

  2. It is a mess and I completely empathize as I go thru similar with all the asthma meds. My mom is in another country and prescriptions are good for 2 years. I wish they would do something similar here.

  3. Just found this. Great post. This is why I have to chronically go to the doctor–the stupid check-ups which are simply to get scripts and line my doc’s pockets since the insurance companies are running her/him out of business.

    Where is this country where a script lasts for 2 yrs??? Oh, my life would be so much easier! I HATE going to the doctor, especially with my need to beg for a ride due to the Low Vision. Lol.

    The pharmacy’s online systems seem great, until you schlep all the way there and only 2 of 4 were received. I just call them in like before. We need everything to be electronic like you mentioned and no more handwritten anything (scripts, notes, etc). I’ve had 2 experiences just in 2013 where my script was put on hold as the doc forgot to put the dose or they couldn’t read something… Dumb!

    By the way, what is D.D.D (obviously not the spinal disease) or is it top secret? That’s why I perused this category–been wondering that one for awhile. Lastly, I take doxepin, a TCA that’s stronger than your amitriptyline. It’s my #1 pain reducer, but I was on it for yrs before for the Spastic Pyloric Valve. Great drug at a very low dose, otherwise add 30 lbs to your size, watch your cholesterol go through the roof, eat sugar from the bag, and deal with the “morning hangover,” which occurs at any dose. Prefer Elavil (your med), but doesn’t do squat for the muscle pain. Drugs, drugs, drugs.

    • DDD is deep dark despair. It’s a mood I get into now and then. Anger, frustration, and that feeling like you want to give up, it’s too much. It’s that feeling. I call it deep dark despair as a sort of half joke. I try hard not to live in that mood, but I have to acknowledge that it’s there, that there are legitimate reasons and triggers for it, do what can be done.

      • Great description and acronym. I’m there today after my 6 mos post-op exam. DDD. Been up all night trying to decipher the text in online medical journals that won’t “zoom up” in Chrome to figure this out. Will try to post about it soon (you know those take a while, especially w/these eyes!). I don’t like to be “here,” either. Par for the course, right? Well, now I know…

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