I visited the pharmacy today and left $74 poorer with a large medication stash. I whipped out my credit card to pay for the portion that was not covered by my insurance plan. I am lucky that I have adequate funds to pay for my drugs. Some people don’t take their drugs as prescribed because they can’t afford to.
The prohibitive cost of drugs in our land of universal health care has been in the news recently. The reality of the problem hit me last week, when Dr. Foie Gras seemed overly preoccupied with the prohibitive cost of the new gout-busting drug he thought might help me. He actually checked whether my drug coverage would be adequate during our visit.
Then yesterday at the Cancer Centre, I asked Dr. Blood’s fellow about the safety of my taking this new medication. Dr. Fellow noted that, in order to cover the drug, the insurance company would need a letter explaining that I could not take the cheaper alternative. Since the cheaper drug may have caused my liver to fail 4-1/2 years ago, I’d imagine that letter would be fairly straightforward: I’d be taking my life in my hands if I took the cheaper drug.
Then Dr. Fellow questioned who would write the letter, asserting that hematology was too busy and that I should ask Dr. F.G. or even Dr. Family, although he wondered whether Dr. Family would have the authority to speak to my exceptional status, blah blah blah. After Dr. Fellow left the room, I became overwhelmed and even a bit teary.
J., a master at not reacting prematurely, ignored Dr. Fellow–or is that Dr. Roadblock?–and hushed me up so she could listen to his conferring with Dr. Blood. Dr. Blood immediately recruited the clinic pharmacist, who wrote the necessary letter.
Then Dr. Blood came in to inform me that she would be facilitating my approval for that drug. She noticed I was a wreck and said, “You look teary.” Of course her compassion sparked more tears. As I collected myself, J. said, to my surprise, “Annie is just worried about your leaving.” Why hadn’t I thought of that? Of course I was, and am, worried about Dr. Blood’s departure and how I’ll manage with her replacement. I’m worried that simple things, like getting approval for a new drug, will become more difficult. That’s enough to make anyone cry, isn’t it?
There is an ease that comes with a doctor’s knowing me and understanding my needs. Were I not so overwhelmed by her imminent departure, I’d have trusted that Dr. Blood would solve that day’s problem on the spot. And now I must trust that whomever she chooses to replace her will do the same. I am relieved to report that Dr. Roadblock won’t be her replacement; he told us as much.
I have one more appointment with Dr. Blood before her sabbatical starts. I’ll probably cry since, among other things, she’ll be missing my fifth cancerversary. Without her, there would be no fifth cancerversary. But there’s a more important matter at stake: what if the new doctor doesn’t like my baking? I’d rather worry about something trite for a while, if you don’t mind.