St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Counting Pills

 The old drinking song goes "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, Ninety-nine bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, Ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall..." 

I was thinking about that as I waited impatiently for my refill of mestinon, the drug I take for myasthenia gravis that lets me keep breathing and otherwise functional, to come by mail all week long. It finally got here today--800 pills, a 100 day supply. 

I had gotten down to two days left (16 pills) and being so dependent on them, got more nervous each day as they didn't come in. The problem is my insurance company and its vast array of administrators looking over my shoulder hire extra people just to make sure I don't have any extra pills on hand--they must think I will go into business selling them or something. 

My doctor does her best to fudge the prescription: "take 4-8 60 mg pyridostigmine per day as needed" knowing that I take about 6 each day along with a time release overnight (sometimes). The pharmacy says my insurance allows me 100 days supply per prescription, but only a few days ahead of running out. So, as I have been increasing my number per day, with the doctor's OK, she has written a new prescription each time--that states the higher dose. 

I can't fill the new prescription until the actual count of pillsxdays on old prescription + pillsxdays prescription 2 + pillsxdays prescription 3 add up and show I am almost out. When I renew my prescription (my pharmacy lets me do it through the internet), the phamacist says he has to call the insurance company and update/negotiate them into reality of a patient with no more pills left. Isn't it wonderful how private insurance companies are so eager to keep us on the edge of a relapse to the hospital! 

Anyway, I have my 800 pills, good for 100 days at 8 per day, hopefully giving me a cushion for a few extra weeks if I just take 6 per day so I won't run down next time. God how awful it is to be so dependent on the pills that you don't dare run out. Prednisone is the same--a gradually increasing dose, and if you run out you go into withdrawal too. I guard my pills and fill the 99 bottles and spread them around so if I happen to lose a bottle or one gets stolen, I have a stash on hand. Just like the drug addicts. 

I suppose it could be worse--not have insurance and have to scrape up the money myself. My vent for the week!