On November 26, I wrote about a several week battle to receive medication for my rheumatoid arthritis. Today the battle still continues.
I’ve placed over 30 calls to my health insurance company, to the online pharmacy that needs to provide the medicine, and to my rheumatologist in a vain attempt to speed up the system. My symptoms have flared up to a new high and the disease is busy damaging my joints permanently while I wait. I won’t wait quietly, though.
Others are experiencing the same frustrations that I am. And it’s not simply an inconvenience. Our doctors prescribe medications because they are vital to our daily existence. No one would voluntarily inject this poison into their abdomen. This drug has no street value. It gives me no pleasure. But I’m hoping that an increased dose of Humira will help me function without extreme pain – and stop permanently damaging my system.
I am asking the right questions. I’ve navigated the hospital and patient care system for the last 15 years for one relative or another, so I have experience with keeping on task. Each representative that I speak with has a different answer. Three times I was told that my insurance approved this medicine and delivery was scheduled. And all three times (over the last seven weeks) the Humira did not arrive. When I called to ask about the shipment, I was told that there was no insurance approval.
I have documented my conversations all these weeks and am sticking with the basic conversations. Although I’m extremely frustrated, disappointed, and feeling horrible none of those emotions are entering into my phone calls. Because none of those things make a bit of difference to the insurance company or the pharmacy.
A call to my rhuematologist’s office for suggestions resulted in the nurse, Rose, serving as my advocate. She placed numerous phone calls in the last two days to help resolve the issue. She seemed genuinely surprised that she could not resolve the issue and have my medication on it’s way to me. It’s oddly comforting to have another intelligent, capable being who cannot find anyone within my health insurance or online pharmacy company who can resolve the issue. No one seems to know why the prescription is being rejected, but since their system says it cannot be shipped….. well, it just can’t be shipped.
Instead of an increased dose for an increase in disease activity, I have nothing. I’m left with the disease and given nothing to fight it. Willpower, positive thinking, good nutrition – not much help.
But at least there is Rose.
P.S. If anyone missed Giving Tuesday, it’s not too late to give a gift of independence to those who want to work to support themselves and their families.