Friday, August 25, 2006

8.25.06, The Joy of Insurance

In the middle of cancer, according to my experience so far, there are literally thousands of tasks, errands, calls, and other "things" to do. The experience of being sick and feeling knocked back and forth by either nausea or pain, or constipation or for some diarrhea, or whatever, tends to exacerbate the feeling of lots to do. Being behind the 8 ball is a metaphor that takes on a crazy number of possible meanings here.

Recently, as in last few days, there are meetings with nurses, doctors, and dieticians (this one with no "-tician" in her "diet") during the IV chemo session, calls to get Rx's, trips to pick them up, questions of leave of absence (calls made, forms out, forms in, forms forwarded, calls made again, etc.), and trying to just get the drugs I need to stay alive. This last one, I wish it were hypberbole, but no. Curascript, as I've described before, is the mail-order cartel I must deal with, says my insurance company Uniform Medical, or I will not be reimbursed for the drugs. Drugs in question are zofran, a 60-dollar-per-pill anti nausea drug, and xeloda, which is an anti-cancer drug (i.e., a chemotherapy drug).

The xeloda appears to be just too hard to get to me, so the people call and leave messages like "Your order that was supposed to get to you by Aug 21 won't be shipped until the 26th and that only if you call us within a five-minute widow at the end of February during leap year, send us biometric proof of your identity (eyes, finger and toe prints), and reveal to us the identity of the energy company CEOs who met with Cheney to plan the Iraq War a few years ago. Thank you. Call if you have any questions."

Really, they've only demanded two or three things. They say fax in the Rx and we'll send it; then not you, your doctor has to call it in to us; then, "OK, we'll send it by 8/22 when you need it for the only therapy keeping you alive." Then, nothing. I call and learn, "You'll get it on the 26th" or some such date. "Did I mention I have terminal cancer?" "Well, your insurance company won't approve the 90-day scrip your doctor called in. They only do 30 days." Jesus! So they can't apparently just fill that much and get it to me on time. I have to call the nurse, she calls the doctor, they call Curastript, I have to call them again too or the order's not valid, then we're all set. For Saturday, we think. In the meantime, I've already pushed back the start date for the chemo drug by a day — again, not vitamins here but kind of important ones for my life. Solution, I have to get a 6-pill temporary script filled locally, cost $101, no reimbursement because they're not from Curascript.

The people at SCCA, nurses Theresa and Foon, doctor Sam Whiting — they are great, wonderful "service," all very human and understanding and respectful, etc. Props to all of them. Curascript, I give them the Pile of Shit award for today. Great big pile. Yes, I can get through it all but it's wild how much one has to go through sometimes. If this weeks is successful, I'll get my chemo drugs and begin them only moderately late; I'll finally get my medical leave approved; and I just might get my Accelerated Death Benefit taken care of too. (Any cancer people out there who want to discuss details of insurance, leaves, life insurance, and the like, please let me know. Too much detail to just dump on everyone else but for those who want to know, it's here.)

Franky Scale, 7ish, before the anti-nausea drugs kicked in it was lower, so we keep our fingers crossed. This morning K and I headed down to Pike Place Market and the little hole-in-the-wall crumpet shop, coffee and crumpets with ricotta and boysenberry preserves. Fresh flowers and nectarines. Yummy.

3 comments:

tossing salads said...

i really just want to bitch slap someone. w(why)tf would they do this to people who are dying is beyond any concept i understand. ive been a blubbering fool this entire day cuz of the comment from, i think, frankys brother. it just fucking hit me very hard. so i spent most of the day crying in patients rooms, of all places. oh well. glad you had some joy with k. it truly makes me heart bounce with joy. be strong and know you are loved and appreciated, more than you know.

Slarry said...

Sat. August 26, 2006

Dear Scott:

To Curascript I add, not only the pile of shit award, but I POOH ON YOU award.
Insurance companies can drive people to the brink of insanity--- and this run around game they are playing with you, especially when considering these are pills for terminal cancer,
just makes me so mad. What a bunch of butt heads. Now that’s a mature, grown up word.
But that is how they are behaving---- like babies. To them I say:
“Where is your heart? Where is your brain ? This is my brother who you are messing with .... a precious, priceless man, fighting for his life. “

What a bunch of goobers--- I’m so sorry you have to go through such nonsense,
such ineptness, such Bush / Cheney prototypes.

I finally freed myself from the restraints and control of the cardiac unit. Geez-- they monitor you like you are in a concentration camp. I felt like they had implanted some metal device somewhere so they knew every movement I made. In addition, they wouldn’t let me off
of the cardiac floor. They followed me around like I had a magnet up my rectum. I don’t know where they got the idea that I would actually leave, if given the chance. : )

I couldn't get to, or use a computer to write to you. Thanks to Gerri for writing for me. So very much appreciated. My lack of control, obviously pales in comparison to what you can and can’t control. Yet again, however, you do it, handle it with more grace, wisdom and style.

This was my little “wake up” call,
My body telling me, it had had enough of me being a fatty and was sick of being neglected. The event scared the hell out of me-- hopefully, scared me enough to get healthy.

Oh well .... time for me to quit talking and start doing. Be more like you.

I’m glad you got to go to Pikes with the Princess. I love it there.

I hope you finally get your medications. It was good to hear from Franks bro. Mr. Tom C.
Have always been a fan, but especially loved the piece from Oprah’s about breast augmentation or the real deal. You really are Frank’s brother. !!!! And a handsome little devil
too.

We love the Frank--- Tom, thanks for your words of comfort for my brother. He has spoken of you fondly.

Scott, it is time for me to do a little tread milling, eat some celery and make some decisions.
I miss you my brother and think of you always.
Hope to be up there soon. Just a little detour on Wednesday. But I’’m home now and ready to kick my own butt. : )

I wish you peace and NO PAIN.

Love,

Sheri

Anderson Imes said...

The Crumpet Shop! So good. I'm jealous. Texas does not have a "The Crumpet Shop" nor a Pike Place Market. You are 2 for 2 sir. I've only been there once, but it was memorable.