Remicade

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.

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Selfishness, Stupidity, And Ebola

This isn’t my normal “thing”.  This isn’t my comfort zone.  My instincts are to make jokes and go into hiding for the rest of the year.  My panic button wants to cancel our Orlando Halloween vacation, tell E’s brother he can’t fly in to visit us for two nights next week and basically go full-on Charlie Daniels “A Country Boy Can Survive” mode.

Just a disclaimer:  This is an impromptu spilling of my guts.  I don’t work for Fox News or CNN.  I’m not exactly breaking journalistic ground here and I’m not trying to.  I’ll link to a story if I think it’s necessary but otherwise, this isn’t a thesis.  No footnotes, no outline here.  You know the basics of the story just like I do.

When this whole thing started, E was so secure in the thought that our government, our hospitals had this shit handled.  I wanted to believe him.  I really did.  E works in the healthcare field, he knows the workings of a hospital.  He’s done this for 23 years now, in some form or another.  But even when the ebola tally was one guy in Dallas from Liberia, I told E that people are, at their core, selfish.  And selfish makes you stupid.  And stupid is really hard to contain.

Stupid causes you to break quarantine to go get yourself some soup.  A Doctor, a highly educated American, employed by NBC to report on ebola, broke quarantine to get out in public and buy soup.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Yeah, yeah.  She sent a man in to the restaurant to pick up the soup.  She sat in the car, wearing huge sunglasses.  She knew she was wrong because she was wearing the huge sunglasses in an attempt to disguise herself.  She knew she was wrong but she did it anyway.  And this is a Doctor who has been on the front lines of this awful outbreak.  She has seen the hell and darkness and death it brings yet even with all that, it was too much to ask her to stay in her lavish home for another week or so.  It was too much to ask her not to risk exposing anyone.

The man who went in to pick up her soup order had obviously been around her, rode in the car to the restaurant with her, I’m assuming.  Now he’s touched the door of the restaurant, he’s touched a counter, he exchanged money or some form of payment with the cashier, who has touched countless items in the restaurant by now and come into contact with possibly hundreds of customers since.  You can tell me all day long that the good Doctor didn’t put anyone in danger, you can tell me the “scientific, medical” facts that CNN just confidently gave you, of how one actually contracts ebola.  I have just one question for you:  Would you go today to this restaurant to eat?  Would you let your child go to this restaurant to eat?  Or even use the restroom?

I could look at the odds, I could look at the scientific “facts” and the reassurances from our government that this is contained and the rational side of me would accept it.  I desperately want to accept it.  But the government does not have a handle on this.  You can’t look at the second nurse, allowed by the CDC to board a commercial flight while running a fever after caring for an ebola patient, and tell me our government has this under control.

A friend of mine ranted (his word) this morning on Facebook about the needless panic and the chances of one actually contracting ebola.  It was nice to hear a rational voice in all this scariness.  It did make me feel a bit better after a night of truly worrying about this.  Worrying about our Halloween vacation in the very populated Orlando area next week.  Worrying about my brother in law flying in next week for two nights.  It’s easy to let fear grip you in the dark of the night especially as a Mother.

That brings us back to that “stupid” thing.  Landon is getting his Remicade infusion as I write this.  His nurse has just gotten the I.V. in and we’re underway for the next 3 hours or so, getting meds into Landon that he needs every 4 weeks to control his Crohn’s Disease.  Landon couldn’t get his flu shot on Monday because the Remicade lowers his immune system for a bit after infusion so we had to put the shot off until next week.  If Landon gets an illness, runs a prolonged fever, a hospital visit complete with blood transfusions is pretty much routine for us by now.

Yet Landon’s teacher has to send emails, pleading with parents to not send their child to school sick.  Screw the other kids, the parents need their days off.  They need their breaks from their high maintenance special needs kid, other kids in the class be damned.  This is the reality my family lives in.

As the mother of not only a special needs child who happens to also be very medically vulnerable, I know the selfishness of other people.  I have witnessed church “friends” bring their toddler to the church nursery, knowing they were running a low grade fever, knowing Landon had a blood disorder which had already landed us in the hospital many times.

And some wonder why I have a very hard time trusting other people?

I’m not declaring an ebola apocalypse.  I’m just saying that this isn’t over.  It is not contained.  How do you contain selfishness?  How do you contain stupidity?  And our government, the very definition of selfish and stupid are the ones responsible for its containment after their inaction/missteps have only added to the count?

Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical right now.