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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Believe...and Anything is Possible.

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday,
where the focus is on visual images.

Inspiring Words lucky number 7

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are You on a Schedule or Just Going with the Flow?

Welcome to another edition of the Question of the Week.

As you may already know, I started Hepatitis C treatment this past Thursday.  That means I am now on a very strict schedule when it comes to taking the 12 pills a day and the one shot a week that comprise the treatment.  And this new emphasis on being "on time" presents a big new challenge for me too!

You see, I am by nature a "go with the flow" kind of gal. I have never been big on detailed schedules or planning my waking time out hour by hour.  Sure, I have used these tools when I was working and when activities I was involved with demanded them.  But left to my own devices, I preferred to be more spontaneous and less clock and calendar driven.

Just ask my husband.  Since we have been together (way before I was disabled) he's been constantly frustrated by my tardiness and my "let's do this now" and "let's do that now" approach to life.

That doesn't mean I don't plan ahead.  In fact, I probably do more planning now that I ever have before because managing chronic illness well demands it.  It's just that my plans often get implemented when the time is right and my body is willing and able, since my level of functioning changes every day.

But now my life is ruled by a clock.  Every 8 hours I must take my medications with 20 gram of fat.  I have a little wiggle room, a window between 7 and 9 hours, but I'm trying hard to stay on time.  That's because I know myself.  If I start pushing my medication time back, I'm going to mess up one day and breach the 7 to 9 hour window, which might be all this darn Hep C virus needs to mutate and become immune to the treatment.

Talk about pressure.

Because I knew this in advance and planned for it, buying tools like a pill box and timer and preparing myself mentally, this hasn't been too bad.  At 4 days in and 80 days to go, I think I am off to a good start.  I just need to stay vigilant...

That said, I know some people with chronic illness who do really well with a detailed daily schedule.  For them, it is an important way the manage their limited energy and get the most out of life. I can't say I understand how it works so well for them; perhaps this is why I have not been able to replicate their success for myself.

But who knows?  Maybe my new pill routine will teach me a lesson about the power of scheduling I overlooked or missed the first several times around...

So what works best for you?  Does your chronic illness respond better to a daily schedule?  Or do you find flexibility is a more important management tool?  Either way, I want to hear what you have to say, so leave me a comment here or over on the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page.



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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Me & Hep C:
I Am Part of the Next Big Epidemic

Today I start Hepatitis C treatment.  Monday I learned that Hepatitis C (HCV) now kills more Americans every year than HIV. These two facts have inspired me to share a story with you today.  You already know I live with HCV, but what you might not know about is my personal connection to people living with HIV.

As I write this, I am realizing that in many ways this is really a story about life coming around full circle...

Helping Other People

Growing up, I always wanted to help other people.

For a while I thought becoming a doctor would be the way to do this.  When I didn't get straight A's in college, I shifted my focus to allied health professional careers and began to research a career in pharmacy.  Then I got cancer and my college studies got interrupted.

After I had the good fortune to beat cancer, I returned to school after a four quarter hiatus to finish my undergraduate degree.  I went back to planning for my future too.  Turns out, having cancer helped me discover the field of social work, which turned out to be a perfect fit for my childhood aspirations.

Facing Down Deadly HIV/AIDS

When I began social work school in 1990, I decided I wanted to work with persons living with HIV and AIDS.  Back then a lot of people didn't want to work with AIDS patients because of the stigma associated with this viral illness.  But I wanted to work with this group because I felt I had something to contribute since they were facing a lot of the same issues I had faced as a cancer patient. I strove to blend the knowledge from my personal experiences with my professional education to help make a difference in other people's lives.

This hard, challenging and important work really appealed to me.

I spent nine years working with people living with HIV.  I was there to witness the enormous change treatment with antivirals drugs made in 1995.  These new life-saving medications turned HIV infection from a progressive, life-threatening disease to a manageable, chronic illness.  With the new medications, my work became more about helping people figure out how to live their lives with HIV and less about helping them face their death because of it. 

Along the way, my clients taught me, pushed me and helped me evolve into one really good social worker.  For this I will always be truly thankful to them.

Now Hepatitis C is the New Killer

Today I know that Hepatitis C (HCV) kills more Americans every year than HIV.  Given my past with HIV and my present with HCV, that headline truly took my breath away.

First I got angry because:
  • It's about damn time the medical community started understanding the true impact of HCV infection.  They know so much more about HIV than they know about HCV.
  • It's about damn time more effort was put into a public health campaign to help people identify their risk factors and encourage them to get tested for HCV.  Look how well the public health campaign for HIV has worked.
  • It's about damn time there are antiviral drugs for the treatment of HCV.  After all, antiviral drugs have been around since 1995 for HIV.
  • It's about damn time the public understood the seriousness of the HCV epidemic and the toll it takes, in both lives and money, on our society. We all know how devastating HIV has been; why are we letting another virus do this to us again?
Then I took a moment to connect with my grief as I felt the impact of this news on me personally.  I am one of the 3.2 million Americans living with Hepatitis C.  But unlike so many others, I know my HCV status.  I know because I became sick with acute hepatitis after I contracted this infection.  Thankfully, this knowledge has informed a lot of healthy choices since 1988, choices I have made in the name of protecting my liver and doing what I can to prevent the progression of this liver disease. 

But even all these healthy choices haven't been enough to prevent HCV from quietly taking away pieces of my health over the past 24 years.

Coming Full Circle

Then I started thinking about my beloved social worker career, the one I was forced to give up almost eight years ago because chronic pain and fatigue disabled me.  I thought about my path leading to my social work career (which I described for you above.)  That got me wondering if someone today will be inspired by this recent news to seek out a career helping people living with HCV.  People like me.

The funny thing is, for years now, I have known that HCV was going to be the next big epidemic.  This recent headline finally confirms this.  Instead of an "I told you so!" moment, I can honestly say I was taken aback by the emotional impact this information is having on me. I feel shocked, overwhelmed and saddened by this news.

Most of all, I don't want to become a casualty of this war.  I don't want to be a HCV disability or death statistic.  So today I start Hepatitis C treatment secure in the knowledge that this is the right course of action for me right now.  And I'm giving this all I got because I want to beat HCV.  



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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Have a Little Faith

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday,
where the focus is on visual images.


Inspiring Words #6.



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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can You Help Me Get Through Hep C Treatment?

Ready to take the plunge!
Welcome to another edition of the Question of the Week.

Over the past 8 years, chronic illness has taken a huge toll on me. It has affected my ability to do most things, including socialize and keep in touch with friends as much as I would like.

But maybe that could change...

You see, I'm followed my Mayo Clinic doctor's advice and I am about to start treating my chronic Hepatitis C infection.  I summoning all my strength and rising to the challenge. After all, Hep C is the one chronic illness I might actually have a chance of getting rid of, if the rigorous 24 week treatment is successful.

But I won't kid you: this isn't going to be easy. And that is where you come in, because right now I need all the support I can get.

If you can, won't you please consider becoming a member of the Selena's Hep C Treatment Supporters event I created at SignUp Genius? You'll be committing to sending me some words of encouragement via email, my blog, Facebook or Twitter on one of the 168 days of my treatment.

Click here to learn more:

Sign Up Now!


I am using this free online service to make my request super easy for you. SignUp Genius will send you a reminder of your support mission the day beforehand and allow you to share this event with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter if you want to be a mega supporter (see below.)

In return, for each support mission you complete, I'll be entering your name into a drawing for some cool stuff from my new Etsy and CafePress stores (which I'm so excited to be starting up in the next few months.)  This drawing will be my way to say "thanks" to my supporters and celebrate the end of my treatment.

While I am asking ... consider being a super supporter by signing up for more than one day or a mega supporter by encouraging your family and friends to participate too. Anyone with a kind heart that wants to volunteer to support me is welcome, even if I don't know them personally.

Thank you for considering my request. I know how busy you all are managing your health, families, work and everything else in your lives. Taking your time to support me is quite a precious gift, one that I will appreciate for years to come.  Anything you can do to lift my spirits would be beyond totally awesome.

My hope is if I am able to beat Hep C I can regain some of the functioning this chronic illness has taken from me, so I can get back out there, everyday, like a normal, healthy person.

Wish me good luck for a treatment with small side effects and huge benefits!  I get started this Thursday, February 23 around 7 PM.



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Friday, February 17, 2012

Me & Hep C:
Sorting Through My Feelings as Treatment Is About to Begin


I picked up my Hepatitis C medications from the pharmacy Wednesday night.  When I got home, I inspected them, read the drug monographs enclosed with them and found a place to store them for the next seven days while I wait to begin treatment.

As I put them away, it felt weird to finally have my medications "in hand" and not be starting treatment right away.  All that struggle to get them and for now two sit in my hall closet and one in my refrigerator.

It just doesn't seem quite right...

It was then I realized that this was a watershed moment.  I was in the space between talking about doing Hepatitis C treatment and actually doing it.  It was then that the emotions flooded in:


Feelings Thoughts
anger I already had cancer...did I really need Hepatitis C too?!?
annoyance I have my medications but I have to wait a week to start taking them?  Aargh!  I just want get going before I change my mind and chicken out!
anxiety What have I gotten myself into?  Am I in over my head?  
concern I know this will be hard for me, but how hard will this be for my husband who has a front row seat to this craziness?
courage &
determination
I can do hard things!  I can beat Hepatitis C!  I am going to Fight Like a Girl and win!
fear Will this work?  How bad will it be? Do I have what it takes to endure this?
gratitude Thank goodness I have insurance that covers this treatment and a supportive husband and friends who will help me get through it.
hope If I can do this and if the treatment works, this might improve my overall health status for the better.  And that would be all kinds of AWESOME!
resolve I am doing this.  I am going to stick it out no matter what.  I will succeed.
overwhelm Two pills every 8 hours and three pills every 12 hours that must be taken on-time or the treatment might not work.  Can I be this perfect?
worry Side effects--which ones will I get? can my medical team handle them? will they derail my treatment? how will my level of functioning be impacted?


There is a lot going on inside my head and my heart right now.

So my plan is to feel these feelings and trust in the knowledge that, if I don't resist, they will sort themselves out during this final week of waiting. Plus if I feel overwhelmed, I can distract myself.  There are still plenty of things I want to do before I begin treatment.

Ultimately, the act of starting treatment will silence the doubtful emotions and allow me to take the leap of faith required to plunge myself into this treatment. 

In the meantime, on Thursday I purchased a mega pill organizer able to accommodate the blister pacts of Incivek and filled it with the first week of my medications.  Then I broke out the label maker and labeled the box with my daily medication schedule: 6 am, 2 PM, 10PM and midnight.  I also marked Friday as my Pegasys injection day.



While I worked, I observed that my pills are pretty shades pink (ribavirin) and purple (Incivek.)  Then a funny thing happened.  I began to feel grateful for these new "girl power" pills that are going to help my body do quite an extraordinary thing--beat Hep C!

I can't wait to get started...



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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just Breathe

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday,
where the focus is on visual images.

The fifth image in my series "Inspiring Words."


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Does Your Doctor Owe You a Good Break-up?

On Valentine's Day, this sick chick I can't help but reflect on the number of doctor-patient relationships that I am currently managing.  In fact, I took a moment to jot them all down and I discovered that I am currently seeing 10 doctors.  Wow, that sure seems like a lot of doctors!

My Doctor-Patient Relationships

Now don't get me wrong.  Some of my doctors are great and I truly enjoy working with them to tackle my chronic health problems.  Others are so-so, and at the moment, I am settling for their care until I have the time, energy and ability to search for another doctor that is a better fit for me.

Then there are two doctors that are causing me some real problems right now.  Over the past 12 months, two key doctors in my medical team have suddenly and abruptly "broken up" with me.

My Recent Bad Break Ups

At the beginning of 2011, my cardiologist literally vanished.  I found out she was gone when I called to make a follow-up appointment.  The first support staff member I spoke with simply had no idea what happened to her.  When I was transferred to someone who did know, I was told she was on a sabbatical to finish writing a book.  When I called back several months later, I was told she switched to seeing hospitalized patients only.

Whatever the reason for her absence, she neglected to make arrangements with another physician to take over her patient load and to send out a letter explaining she would no longer be seeing her patients.

My pain management doctor is my most recent bad break up.  I started calling at the end of December to schedule a follow-up appointment and finally got a call back January 10th.  Her staff left a message saying she moved to Fresno and gave me the number to call for an appointment.

Needless to say, a four hour drive so I can continue to see her in-person is so not doable. And finding someone to replace her is turning into a real nightmare.

I have called her office back several times trying to get some referrals from her.  On February 10th I finally got faxed to me the letter she allegedly sent out to all her patients--except me of course--which is dated November 14, 2011.  In it she explained her move, provided a referral list to other doctors and gave a consent form to use to obtain her medical records.  Only the fax I got didn't include those two attachments. When I called back asking for these items, I was told by the staff that they were waiting for the doctor to give these things to them.

She also stated in her letter that she could continue following established patients via telephone and email from her new location.  Wanting to explore this option further, I called both this past Friday and Monday requesting a registration packet and a telephone appointment.  I've been put into voicemail both times that I have called and I am still waiting for a call back.

I also sent the doctor an email, but so far I have received no response.

Not What the Doctor Ordered

While I guess I could dismiss these incidents as just two more examples of how the medical system is broken, the reality is that these actions are both unethical and illegal according to the American Medical Association website.  Unbeknownst to me, they are examples of "patient abandonment."  And according to the Medical Board of California, patient abandonment is a good reason to file a complaint against a medical provider.

I've gone on to learn that, due to their unique and powerful role on our society, doctors are tasked with a special duty of beneficence.  That is a fancy way of saying that they must take actions that are in the best interests of their patients.  What this means in my situation is that my doctors were obligated to give me adequate time to transition to another health care provider and facilitate this transition by providing me with referrals and access to my medical records.

Clearly this is not what has happened.

Now that I know this medical-legal lingo and what it means, I am going to use it in my correspondence with my pain management doctor in an attempt to get her to respond to me in an appropriate fashion.  If that doesn't work, then I will seriously consider filing a complaint with the medical board.  Why?  Because her actions have truly caused a delay in my medical treatment and, at this point, she and her staff are creating unnecessary roadblocks to my ongoing medical care.

Why You Need to Act on This Too

I share this information with you, my readers, because I want you to be informed and consider doing things differently should your doctor ever dump you.  I want to be clear that this isn't about doctors being inconsiderate; it's about doctors breaking the covenant they have with their patients.

Obviously trying to work things out through good communication with your doctor and their staff is your first line of action.  But if that doesn't yield results that are in your best interest, it is time to consider other measures.  

A complaint to a medical licensing board is one of the few tools we patients have to keep our medical providers accountable.  It ensures doctors are fulfilling their ethical and legal obligations as physicians, a career they choose to practice.  It also provides important feedback to medical boards about the conduct of their licensees and identifies areas where continuing medical education is vitally needed.

Most of all, making a complaint empowers you as a patient.  It sends a message that you are not going to put up with bad behavior from your doctor.

So now that you know your doctor's obligations to you, what are your thoughts?  Have you gone through a bad break up with a doctor?  Armed with the information above, how would you handle this situation should it ever happen to you?  How do you feel about holding your doctor accountable?


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Pep Talk:
Rediscovering That You Are Loved

Lately I haven't been feeling the love much.  I've been so preoccupied with my health care plans for this year and finding new doctors to replace the other doctors who have fallen off my team that all I have been feeling is a whole lot of stress lately.  Plus I have a feeling that some of the medical procedures I've undergone in the last few weeks have put me off kilter, which has only served to make me more of a Grumpy than a Happy.

So with Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I figured I might as well try and reconnect to the love in my life.  So here I go...

Getting in Touch With the Love in My Life

You know, rediscovering the love in my life was at first surprisingly difficult to do.  I mean, it's easy to say "I have love in my life," but when chronic illness locks you away like a fairy tale princess in some old, dark, dingy and forgotten castle, it's hard to remember who loves you, let alone what love is. It's just too bad a kiss can't break the spell of chronic illness!

No wonder I can't feel the love.  Chronic illness is the ultimate love buster.

Yes, I'm guilty of letting my chronic illnesses run the show lately, hence my current predicament.  Now that I have identified the problem, I definitely need to do some damage control and tap into the healing power of love.

Step One: Act "As If"

Since I was having a hard time feeling the love, I decided it was time to "fake it 'til I feel it."  So I made a positive twist on that old blackboard punishment, you know the one where you write a single phrase over and over again until it is permanently stuck in your brain.  Only I made it fun and poignant by writing I am so loved on a beautiful piece of digital art I happened to find over at the Microsoft Office website.  Here it is again below:


Then I really made the message stick by declaring it publicly.  I took that piece of word art I created and made it my Facebook cover image

Step Two: Fall Back in Love with Myself

I know when I let chronic illness take over, it has a sneaky way of interfering with my self-esteem and sense of self-worth.  Solely focusing on my chronic illnesses can really make me feel bad about myself, which makes it hard from me to feel or acknowledge anything good.  It is a dangerous vortex that can suck me down and drag me under in mere seconds if I am not careful.

So what can make a girl feel good about herself again?

I'm sure there are many answers to that question, but my answer was in a new tube of Mary Kay lipstick in the shade Really Red.  It gave me the opportunity to have some grown-up dress up fun trying out a new look.  I took some picture too, which, much to my surprise, turned out quite well!  Take a look:








Step Three: Write a Love List

The first two exercises were a good start, but I found I wanted more tangible proof of the love I received from others.  Now of course my first thoughts were of my pets and my husband, because they are the people that interact with me on a daily basis.  But they aren't the only ones who love me, so I waded through the fibro-fog and searched my brain for people I didn't interact with on a regular basis.  This was a little more challenging, but I put my thinking cap on and started by acknowledging these five people:
  • my friend Dina who makes room in her busy schedule to spend some precious time with me
  • my friend Beth who keeps in touch with me, even though I haven't been so good about keeping in touch with her
  • my friend Cyndie who recently told me that knowing me has made a big difference in her life
  • my friend Colleen who keeps telling me I am her hero for enduring so many trials and tribulations with aplomb
  • my mother-in-law Kay who has heart-to-heart conversations with me and taught me how to can tomatoes last summer
I stepped back and pondered my list.  In doing so, I verified that I am so loved.  I also realized that I didn't need a lot of names on my list, because being well loved by just a few people was quite enough indeed.

Now here is the weird thing: ever since I started this list a few days ago, I find myself adding to it.  It's like a snowball effect.  I started with just five people, but once I got rolling, I started remembering more and more people who love me, past and present.  The more people and love I reconnected to, the easier it was to truly feel that I am so loved. 

Take the "I Am So Loved" Challenge

Now that I have given you some ideas about how to reconnect with love, I am going to challenge you to rediscover that you are loved too.  Don't let chronic illness make you feel nothing by grumpy.  Try my steps or create some new ones of your own!

I want to hear all about the love in your life and how you work to feel it, experience it and appreciate it despite your life with chronic illness. 

XOXO,


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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Am So Loved

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday,
where the focus is on visual images.

Here is the fourth in my series of "Inspiring Words" images.



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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Can Money Buy You Good Health?

They say that money can't buy you love or happiness, but I am beginning to think that it might actually be able to buy you good health, or at least better health if you live with chronic illness.

I know nowadays there is a lot of talk about the uninsured and those with health insurance.  Correspondingly, you hear a lot about the two different health care systems serving these groups: the publicly funded health care system (think county hospitals and clinics) and the insurance funded health care system (think doctors in private practice, medical centers, etc.)

Having medical insurance and chronic illness, I've spent a good portion of my time and energy access care in the insurance funded health care system over the past eight years.  I've learned a lot of things about how this system care works, enough to write a whole series of blog post.  But perhaps my most perplexing discovery is that there is actually a third health care system that doesn't get a lot of attention, that of the cash-only or self-pay medical practice.

As the name implies, these are physicians and other health care professionals charge up front for their services.  So if you can't pay (or charge the bill to your credit card) you can't be seen.  They don't accept your insurance--in fact many don't belong to insurance networks and have opted-out of Medicaid and Medicare. Most will provide you with a superbill so you can submit their charges to your insurance company, but since their rates are usually above and beyond what your insurance carrier considers "reasonable and customary," you will only be reimbursed for a fraction of what you paid them.

So, in essence, this third health care system is for those who have money, lots and lots of money.

I don't have lots and lots of money, so in the past, whenever I have stumbled upon one of these medical practices, I have steered clear and not given them a second thought.  Which is all well and good except that, as time has gone on and the insurance driven medical system has failed to provide me with adequate care for my chronic illnesses, I now am getting referred to this third system of care because its members provide the services I am seeking.  In this system reside the experts in things like pain management, rare diseases and disorders and novel and cutting edge treatments that pick up where conventional approaches fall short. 

Yes, it seems that here in Los Angeles many of the doctors who are at the top of their fields convert to this kind of practice.

Now I find myself wishing I had the money, the golden ticket, to access this third level of care.  I'm drawn by the allure of better treatment that could potentially make a significant difference in my quality of life.  Granted, I don't think they could cure me, but from what I have heard, it seems like these upper echelon providers could reduce my chronic illness burden and help me regain some of the day-to-day functioning I have lost along the way. 

With all the hype, I have to wonder, 'Could being treated by one of these cash-only healthcare providers be the difference between living disabled and living more able-bodied?'

Unless I win the lottery or become the recipient of some fortune from a deceased distant relative, I guess I will never know.

So what do you think?  Can money buy you good health?  What is your opinion of cash-only or self-pay medical practices?  Are you able to access this top tier medical system or is the admission price preventing you from getting the kind of medical care they provide?  

Please share your answer to this Question of the Week below in a comment or over on the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page.   


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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Health Care Games
People Play:
What Should I Do?

It's been a long week.  I attended a plethora of doctors' appointments this week so could be ready to start Hepatitis C treatment.  My week included painful procedures Monday and Tuesday and ending with frustration on Thursday when I learned the new neurologist I saw wasn't a good fit for my needs.  Right now I am tired, grumpy and beyond annoyed.

So take what I am about to say with a grain of salt.  Oh, and I have purposely not named names to shield myself from any venting fallout.

A Really Slow Process

One of the things that is really bugging me right now is how long it is taking to get my Hepatitis C treatment drugs.  I saw my hepatologist on January 10th and I learned from the support staff (see below) that he didn't write the prescriptions until January 20th.  Then it took my call on January 24th to finally get the prescriptions faxed to the pharmacy. 

Unbeknownst to me, my primary insurance information got deleted from the hospital computer system, so my prescriptions got sent to a private specialty pharmacy that bills Medicare, my secondary insurance.  I'm not sure how that happened, since I verify that information every single time I come in to see my doctor.  

Getting the Ball Rolling

As I mentioned above, I called two week after seeing my doctor since no one had contacted me like the doctor said they would.  During my first conversation with support staff, I got a "song and dance" about how it takes 2 to 3 weeks to get things going.  It was after that lecture that we got to the business of checking on the status of my prescriptions and discovered the deletion of my primary insurance information.  I then went on to inform the staff of the details of my prescription benefit coverage, which is a separate entity from my primary health insurance.

I thought we ended the discussion with the staff person saying my prescriptions would be re-routed to my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy.

Confusion Ensues

A day or two later I got a call from the private specialty pharmacy saying that they couldn't find my Medicare drug coverage.  So I called them back telling them that Medicare wasn't my drug coverage and that I had private prescription insurance.  I told them the prescriptions were sent to them in error and were being re-routed to my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy.  Then this past Tuesday, the private specialty pharmacy called me again wanting my private prescription insurance information.  I called them back once again explaining that the prescriptions were sent to them in error and asking them to please forward them to my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy.

I then called the support staff at my doctor's office since I was getting the distinct feeling that things were not happening the way they were supposed to be.

Doing Things Their Way

Sure enough, the staff did not send my prescriptions to my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy.  No, I was told that working with my prescription insurance was a "nightmare" and they would rather use this private specialty pharmacy than deal with my prescription insurance directly.  When I told them I called my prescription insurance and was told the Hepatitis C medications would only be covered if they came from their specialty pharmacy, I was told that I was given incorrect information.

Yeah, O.K., whatever.  I'm not going to argue.  I figured that their private specialty pharmacy would be told the same thing when they called my prescription insurance.  No sense in belaboring the point when it was clear the staff was persistent in doing things their way and perceived my phone calls as "getting more involved than I needed to be." 

Prescriptions from the Barrio?

I decided I wanted to learn more about this private specialty pharmacy the staff is so in love with.  So I Googled the number they called me from and the first link was to their website--which was down.  So I went back to Google to search the other name the staff used for the pharmacy and this is what I found on Google maps: 

My prescriptions are coming from "Rx Farmacia"?
Where is the front door?
And is that crime scene tape on the street in front of the pharmacy? 
Is it just me, or does it seem ________ (insert an adjective here) that a big university medical center rated "Best in the West" is sending my prescriptions for Hepatitis C treatment here?  And O.K., so I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I certainly find it odd that this book's title is in Spanish.

What Should I Do?

In all seriousness, I feel incredibly uncomfortable with my medications coming from here.  I mean, I have seen other private specialty pharmacies and none of them looked like this.  I am praying the my prescription insurance gave me the right information and will deny coverage because I admit the look of this pharmacy conveys the messages "counterfeit medications," "money laundering" and "fly by night."

I mean, I hate to admit this, but based on appearances I trust my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy way more than this place.  Plus I did some more research and discovered that my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy can have my medications delivered to my local chain pharmacy location.  The pharmacy pictured above is in East Los Angeles, which is nowhere near where I live or could get to on my own.  So they have to ship my medications and I have to wait around to receive them so I can get them into the refrigerator ASAP.


This all begs the question: if you were in my shoes, what in the world would you do???

I can't wait to read your answers...

ADDENDUM: 6:01 am--After I posted this, I called my prescription insurance's specialty pharmacy and I am happy to report that they received my prescriptions for Hepatitis C treatment.  Not sure if they came from the private specialty pharmacy or the doctor's office; either way I don't care!  I am so pleased with this outcome!  I am now eagerly awaiting a call from Brittany who will facilitate the process.  Because I am worried about the "nightmare" comment (see above), the first thing I am going to do is ask Brittany to call me every time they need something from my doctor's office so I can keep in top of them.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Be Thankful for What You Have


Welcome to Wordless Wednesday,
where the focus is on visual images.

This is third in my series of "Inspiring Words" images.



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