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Friday, June 24, 2011

Just pure tenacity

I hate migraine headaches. When I get one I feel like I am in slow motion and something is sucking my brain out of my ear. And it won't stop....

But what I love about migraine headaches is someone, somewhere, in a far away lab invented a medicine that chases these deadly brain sucking headaches away. On the down side the headache is replaced with kind of a bombala fatigue that makes doing anything short of laying on the sofa impossible. However when compared with searing, brain sucking pain, a little fatigue is just fine.

But sometimes things don't go according to plan. In other words when I went to the medicine drawer where I keep Advil for constant muscle pain, Excedrin for the times I can't find diet coke and a few other things that the Hipaa privacy rule prevents me from revealing.....there was no migraine medicine.....oh the agony!

Last night I was teaching an institute class so I had to wait until that was over to drive like I was on fire to our favorite Walgreen's pharmacy. I pounce on the pharmacist at exactly 8:50...time to spare....and then I see the blood drain from her face. She knows she has to tell me that my prescription has no refills and she knows I am going to freak out.

Shut up!! How will I sleep? Better yet how will my husband sleep?

Fast forward to 8am this morning. The race has begun. I am a proud member of Health Plan of Nevada (which basically means you can only get sick in Nevada - sorry about Mikey's almost broken leg in Cedar - and it also means you pay and pay to get less and less)....on the other end of my first phone call is someone who has the power to refill my prescription. I will myself to be nice, patient and did I say nice? Could I actually pull that off? But at 8am?

For the next 40 minutes I speak with one person after another...finally at the end of the phone call (and of course one time we were disconnected - start over contestants!) I am told they will send a message to my doctor who may or may not call the pharmacist. It might be Monday, sorry.
But it is Friday I tell them frantically! (will hysteria work?) I am helping my husband cook for 300 tomorrow, I can't have a migraine. They are sorry...and then the ridiculous memorized end of the call..."is there anything else we can help you with?" I had to ask her.... "so far, what have you helped me with?"

Oops, not nice.

Suggesting to a group of people who have that much power to give you something you truly need that they indeed share a brain, is not helpful. I see any hope of getting my medicine fading quickly away.

At 11am I decide to wait no longer and simply go to the doctor's office. I can explain to them that I am in great pain and maybe they will just hand me the prescription. Off I go. On arrival I see that there is a line...what luck! When it is my turn I explain everything to the receptionist. She is quite nice and she takes my pathetic story to the nurse who may or may not go to the doctor with my request.

There is a clear chain of command.

At this point, I make up my mind to see this through. I am NOT going home without the medicine. It has become a matter of honor, or something. I imagine a group of people symbolically standing behind me, hundreds of people rejected under the same circumstances. Beaten and dejected leaving without their meds. I am doing it for all of them.

The nurse comes out after about 20 minutes, quite annoyed, to tell me that they have 2 or 3 days to fulfill these requests. I looked at her straight in the face and said, "not if you have a migraine." She told me it would take "some time" to get the doctor to write the prescription. I can wait I tell her...So I sit down for a long wait and start texting everyone I know...I saw the picture of Erin's new baby, organized a meeting, and generally caught up on life. Nothing wasted!

The nurse came out to tell me my request was called in, give it 20 minutes she says..hooray! Score! I can feel the pain lessen. Off I go to the pharmacist at Walgreen's after about 30 minutes, (I had to get some diet coke) only to be told my prescription was expired and the doctor was not responding.


This is the message from last night, they don't have the new information, I am screwed, this is awful....oh the humanity!! This wild chase for geese has ended with nothing, not even geese.
And then it occurs to me...the doctor called the wrong pharmacy! That has to be it! I go back and stand in line, stand in line, stand in line....the same poor pharmacist looks at me with such pity, (or disdain?) I explain to her that they must have called the Target pharmacy..."please (I am almost begging) call them and see if my medicine is there."


No? They didn't have the number (yes they do) the time (you are in business to have time) or inclination....(I am using sheer force of will for them to be inclined)
I explain I have come too far and I am in far too much pain to stop.

She blinked and then she called Target.

Score! They tell me to sit down, the prescription is indeed at Target, it is being transferred over. Give us a minute.

Finally at 1:22 I leave Walgreen's with 9 imitrex (actually their generic brothers) pills. I got into my car and took one of those pills right there in the parking lot with almost scalding water that had been in my car for who knows how long.

And I smiled.

I did it.

Rack up another metaphor of life....


  1. Thank the gods of managed care (yeah, right) and may the bluebird of happiness poop upon their shoulders! Haven't we come so far...

  2. Claudia, I wish you had been there with me today...

  3. I have a migraine just reading about this process. I went through a very similar routine with my doctor in Idaho and my pharmacy in AZ. If you throw up on their floor while waiting for the doctor, it sometimes speeds things along. I get 18 of the lovely little sumatriptan or whatever Imitrex is generically. I thank the migraine pain relief gods every day for that drug. It doesn't work for every one. Thank heavens it works for us. My migraines are more like someone stepping on my eyes and pushing my brain out the back of my head. Only a fellow sufferer would understand your panic. I so understand.

  4. The Mirgraine pathetic. I have the same dance for a bladder infection.

  5. Oh my, you poor thing...Migraines are horrible and you had to GO THROUGH ALL THAT??!!!

  6. Am so sorry to hear you had all that pain.

    Sorry to hear you had a migraine too.

  7. It is just wrong that you had to go through this! I'm glad your tenacity finally won out. Hope you are feeling much better by now!! blessings ~ tanna

  8. I was almost feeling your pain until the end. Sorry. That sounds so miserable. I'm glad you finally got the meds.

  9. I have lived in the migraine world and I felt your pain. Keenly. I had a similar situation when I had to fill a prescription for Enbrel. My insurance would only pay so much and that left me with over $700 to pay for a month's worth of syringes. So I did what I had to do. I cried. And it worked! All of a sudden they remembered that the good folks at Enbrel have a program to help people pay for their prescriptions. I signed up and now it's $40 for 3 months. I can attest that crying works. Especially if it's hysterical. Either that or throw up, as Jo suggested above.

  10. Further proof that we all have to be our own advocates with our health care. We can't sit idly by while the system/doctors muck around.

  11. Being a chronic migraine fan club member myself, I understand your pain...literally. Also, when the meds aren't available. I am glad that my insurance does pay for part of the costs though or I'd be in agony nearly every day...

  12. oh my gosh, you poor thing. I am glad that you got your medication ~ finally!! Yikes.
    Have a great Wednesday.

  13. phew!!! i am sooo relieved that you conqured and lived to write about it. lovely story! :)