On the shelf where I keep Savannah’s medical supplies, there are several outdated prescriptions. I hang on to these bottles the way a needy child’s clings to her security blanket. Years will pass before I’ll throw those suckers out.
When you have a child with a medical condition that requires several medications, especially if one is expensive, you’re on constant alert for that one insurance company glitch that will prevent the specialty pharmacy from refilling your order. It keeps you on the defensive and you become a Nazi with your record keeping. You also do crazy things like keep old medicine “just in case.” In an emergency, something is better than nothing, you theorize.
I thought I was alone in my secret until recently Dr. M, Savannah’s endocrinologist, admitted she too stockpiles medicine.
Dr. M is a short, perky blond with a mop of soft curls. There’s a kid-sister quality about her that makes me want to give her a hug at our appointments. She also has type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, so having lived through her own share of personal battles with insurance companies, understands my frustration. I consider her not just a doctor, but an ally.
For anyone outside the medical maze, it’s difficult to fathom the stress that comes with managing a chronic condition. Years of standing on the front lines battling the big boy insurance companies have transformed me in ways I’m embarrassed to admit. I’ll go to my grave blaming Aetna, United, Blue Cross/Blue Shield for my most pronounced character defects.
A case in point is what happened last December. While the rest of the world was enjoying holiday festivities, I was entrenched in yet another battle royal with my insurance company who insisted my coverage had expired. By New Year’s Eve, I had clocked more than 10 hours of calls in which I begged and argued with a bevy of client services specialists and billing representatives to just refill the “damn thing.”
The specialty pharmacy was guilty of complicating matters as well. They added to the heap of problems by relying on outdated records. Later, after they had exhausted all excuses, they claimed they couldn’t refill the order because the doctor sent over a blank prescription.
“There is nothing you can say that will convince me that someone who spent years in medical school was stupid enough to fax over a blank prescription,” I barked late one night.
I was shamelessly sarcastic but felt momentarily justified. Not only were they trying to deny my daughter her medicine, but were now talking trash about my favorite doctor.