I Will Crush You, Ivan!

Our son has to receive Remicade infusions every four weeks to keep his Crohn’s Disease in check.  Our insurance changed this year – because why the hell not, I’m a stay at home mom and have nothing but time on my hands – and I officially had it with our new prescription service this morning.

Normally, the meds are shipped to our house, I schedule the infusion appointment with our nurse, the nurse comes to my house on the assigned day, bada bing bada boom, the thing is done and we’re good for another four weeks.

CVS Caremark apparently thinks that method is a load of horse shit.  They ferreted out my Remicade scam almost right away and called me on it.  I just got off the phone with Ivan, who is probably in the CVS Caremark bathroom right this very minute with a makeshift ice pack on his asshole.  This is how Ivan’s last 10 minutes went:

Me:  I’m just a bit confused, Brandon took my $250 copay the day before yesterday without any problem, told me I’d have the meds yesterday.  Guess what, Ivan?  I didn’t get those meds.

Ivan:  Yeah, let me check to see what’s going on here.

Me:  I know what’s going on.  I didn’t get the meds.  The meds I paid for.

Ivan:  It looks like, uhhh, you don’t have a plan in place for administering the med.  Like, what do you once you get it?

Me:  I get the med, I call the nurse, the nurse comes to my house and gives it to my son.

Ivan:  How is it administered?  

Me (MAKING myself not say “We usually put all 9 vials in a tranq gun and shoot him in the ass with it.):  Via a pump.  

Ivan:  Gravity drip?

Me (talking as I would to a very frightened, lost four year old):  A regular battery operated pump, Ivan.  No sorcery involved.

Ivan:  It looks like the reason it wasn’t shipped is because you don’t have a plan on file for administering the drug once you get it and we also don’t have what we need from your Doctor. 

*At this point, I’ve developed a tic in my right eye and I’m popping Bayer aspirin in hopes of living through my impending stroke.  Ivan’s waded into the shit pool without his floaties on and he doesn’t even know it yet.  Also, when I’m getting very angry, I repeat your name a lot.*

Me:  Brandon had all the proper forms the day before yesterday or surely he wouldn’t have taken my $250 copay, Ivan.  Brandon transferred me to the pharmacist, who informed me of all the med warnings, which I know by heart by now, Ivan.  Surely your pharmacist wouldn’t waste time for a call on a med he couldn’t fill due to a lack of Doctor’s form?  Right, Ivan?  Also, the Doctor’s nurse said she had faxed it to y’all twice.  Twice, Ivan.  This is a Doctor we have used for several years and they have never screwed us over.  You have, Ivan.  I don’t have the meds that were supposed to be here yesterday.  Ivan.    

Ivan:  Well, again, I think the problem is a lack of an administration plan.

**I have officially lost my shit.  My shit has left the building, saying “I quit this bitch!”  Also, when I’m past the point of anger but I can’t curse, I use the word “freaking” a lot.  Okay, too much.*

Me (I’m so pissed that he’s forced me to use the tranq gun line now):  This isn’t my first freaking rodeo, Ivan.  We’ve been doing this for 4 freaking years.  I don’t know your process because no one has told me.  I am not Nancy Freaking Drew, Ivan.  Please enlighten me.  Send me a nurse, send the meds to the Doctor, send it to the hospital.  Hell, let’s shoot it up his ass with a tranq gun at this point.  I.DO.NOT.FREAKING.CARE.

Ivan (clearing his throat and nervously laughs):  I mean, what are you going to do with $3,000 worth of medicine that just shows up at your door?

Me:  Seriously?  Congratulations, you got me, Ivan.  I’m freebasing Remicade.  Call me in, do what you have to do to sleep tonight but I do not have time for this SHIT.  IVAN!

Ivan:  Can I put you on hold?

Me:  Sure, Ivan.  I need to step up evasive measures against stroke at this point so it’s good timing for some smooth jazz hold music.

If you are a mom to a kid with health issues, stay at home or not, I just want to send you love today.  It’s not easy keeping up with all this shit, the meds, the appointments, the insurance, all the different offices, all the back and forth, all in the name of keeping your child as healthy as possible.  I hope you’re taking care of yourselves, too.  Go to Starbucks by yourself and just BE.  Take a bubble bath.  Drink some wine, eat some chocolate.  You deserve it.

Ivan does not deserve it.  Wherever you  are, Ivan, I hope that makeshift ice pack gives you frostbite on your asshole.  Bless your heart.

Paying It Forward

I’m in Texas, sitting in a hospital room with my Dad.  I told my Mom to get the hell out of Dodge for a while and I’d look after him this afternoon.  He had major surgery yesterday which lasted 8 hours, total.  It was successful but there’s a lot of rehab in his future, discomfort, and another surgery eventually but we hope to get Dad to a much better quality of life.

I fed him his dinner just a bit ago.  Cream of Wheat and applesauce, with a spoon.  I had to force myself not to make airplane noises as I was inching the spoon toward his mouth.

It’s a very new feeling to me, the tables being turned, when even just for a few hours, I am taking care of my Dad’s most basic needs.  Sure, the nurses help with the bathroom stuff.  I fed him dinner and feed him ice chips whenever he needs them.  I prop pillows where they will make him feel more comfortable.  It’s a classic case of role reversal.

I’m the strong one.  I do for him now what he did for me during so many childhood illnesses.  I was never hospitalized until I had children but I suffered with horrible ear infections when I was a kid.  I remember Dad dabbing “monkey blood” on my tonsils when I had a sore throat.  God, I hated that shit.  He pulled my loose teeth with, yes, rusty pliers that he cleaned up.  He put warm drops in my ears when I had ear infections.

The best memory I have of my Dad taking care of me was when I was in labor with Landon.  I’d been in induced labor since early morning and it was well after midnight the next day.  I was exhausted, in pain, and just so over the whole baby thing.  A thunderstorm moved in and the lightning was incredible.  During one of my bouts of whimpering, Dad asked if he could rub my back.  It was wise that he asked first because earlier, I’d told E that if he touched me one more time, I’d perform an impromptu vasectomy on him with my own bare hands.  I was willing to give anything a try, so I said yes and he rubbed my back for the longest time while the storm roared on outside the hospital room window.

My parents have helped take care of both of my children in NICU, ICU, post-op, regular hospital rooms.  They’ve changed diapers, emptied colostomy bags, been peed on, pooped on, puked on, fed and burped my babies, sang them lullabies when they were so very sick.  They’ve encouraged E and I when we were so down after yet another hospital stay that yielded no solutions.  They’ve cheered us with hot meals and prayers when all we wanted to do is curl into a fetal position and hide inside a tiny closet and pretend the medical horror with our children wasn’t happening.  Parents continue to take care of you far longer than the required 18 years.

I know a lot of you have done things for your parents that you never thought you’d have to do.  Some of you have went much further than feeding your parent to take care of them.  Some of you are going through it now.  Some have already been through all that and had to bury their parent much too early.  I hate that some of us are getting old enough that we have to face these things.

But at the same time, it’s comforting.  It comforts me to know that this is truly the circle of things, the way it’s intended.  Our parents cared for us when we were young, they raised us up to be caring, loving, responsible adults so that we can be the kind of helper we need to be for our aging parents.  There’s nowhere, other than with E and my kids, that I’d rather be right now than with my Dad, who has given me so much.

It’s time to pay it forward.

I hope y’all are doing well.  I hope to catch up and start reliably posting new blogs at least once a week.  I haven’t felt very funny lately so I don’t want to write but I just figured out that I don’t have to be funny.  Just write.

I love you all!  Thanks so much for all the messages, thoughts, and prayers.  I have amazing friends and family.