Saturday, October 14, 2006


If anyone other than the staff at my favorite pharmacy had seen me yesterday they would have thought that I was crazy and definitely had anger management issues. I was embarrassed the moment my brief tantrum was over. All I wanted to do was grab Bill and get the heck out of the store. At that moment, I knew that he wanted to help me by asking for an emergency supply of Lamictal, but I was angry, embarrassed, and had the need to flee.

After three days of trying to get myself and Bill out of the house I realized that we needed to go and get the Lamictal refill that was called in to the pharmacy on Tuesday. Billy practically bolted out of bed when I told him that I would not have the med on Saturday (today) if we didn’t go. Poor guy, he has been taking care of me so well since my spinal surgery (I can’t do hardly anything, yet). He has also been so caring and uncomplaining since my little break from health following the deaths of Dad and Gary.

He has watched me walk around like a zombie and shake uncontrollable as the psychiatrist tested and tried different medications to stabilize my mood. He is depressed right now and still grieving with me. He also lost a father. Dad loved Bill and gave him the ultimate compliment the first time Dad nonchalantly introduced Bill as one of his sons. My brother Gary loved Bill, too. In Gary’s last days, Bill was at his side when I couldn’t drag myself out of bed to be there. Bill had an active ministerial role in Gary’s memorial service.

Anyway, I exploded yesterday after spending over twenty minutes on the telephone trying to get an explanation for the $220 charge for my Lamictal. I had the pharmacist run the prescription a second time and they called the Blue Cross Help Line and couldn’t get a reasonable explanation either. You see – the last two times I filled the script – the cost was $0.00. While on the phone, I was scolded by the customer service agent for not having obtained a 90 day prescription and sending it to the required mail order pharmacy. I knew that there was a penalty for filling a script more that 3 times without sending the 90 day order. I didn’t believe that I had reached that point because I had only just last month reached the highest dosage of the medication. Apparently, that didn’t matter. Though all the other prescriptions were for fewer tablets and an increasing dosage it just didn’t matter.

I did get a real shock. In January, the new medical coverage year begins. I will have to pay 20% co-pays on all of my medications until I have reached $850 of out-of-pocket co-payments. After that, all approved “formulary” medications are free and non-formularies continue to cost me a 20% co-pay. Yes, thank God, I am one of the lucky ones that have insurance and prescription benefits. The shock is – my Lamictal costs nearly $1000.00 for a 30 day supply. When I submit the prescription for a 90 day supply in January or February, the bill will be over $600.

The good news is that it will not take long to reach that $850 maximum. The bad new is that I will have to take out a loan to pay for my medications. My credit is in the toilet so that isn’t likely to happen unless I can borrow towards my tax return. Unfortunately, my Federal tax return has been shrinking and even that won’t be enough and perhaps not arrive soon enough. I am screwed. My pension can only stretch so far to take care of us. I am literally one paycheck from financial disaster.

As for my medication, I didn’t get it from my favorite pharmacy. I don’t have an extra $200 this month. Yesterday's order had to be cancelled.

My psychiatrist wrote me the required 90 day supply and I took it to the “approved” local pharmacy and they gave me a 1 month supply. They couldn’t explain why they were only allowed to give me the short supply. More anger and another telephone call will be required on Monday.

This damn bipolar coaster ride sucks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh man, Lee...I know how you feel. I know how the rollercoaster is.....Sometimes it's pleasurable, even in the midst of a tantrum it feels great to get it out of your system. But the second it's all out there, all you want to do is just get the hell away from the scene.

Don't worry, okay? I hope everything will be all right for you...and me, and all the BPs out there who also have to deal with anger issues...

Try to keep smiling!
My condolences on the deaths of your loved ones...If ever you need someone to talk to, I'm right here!!