Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Does the one in my other pants count?

Since my birthday, I've become good friends with my insurance company. It changed in January, and I thought I was on top of those changes, but sadly not so much.

Around my birthday, I faithfully have a well woman exam. "Happy Birthday", said my doctor, "here's a slip for a mammogram". I dutifully accepted it and made an appointment right away. I'm not messing around with cancer if I can help it. Sign me up for any and every screening available, that's my motto.

While there, I asked about this patch of eczema that I've had for six years. Yes, since before Clay was born. And the only reason I asked is because Drew has eczema, and so I wondered if maybe I had an allergy that he also had (he's been tested, but only peanut had a reaction), and my doctor said "sure, why not" and referred me to an allergist.

The allergist said "see a dermatologist. You're a grown woman for cryin' out loud! Allergies don't manifest like this in adults." I may have paraphrased that last part, but I'm pretty sure she kicked me out of her office with a 30 second comment such as this after a 90 minute wait on my part.

And that is how I found myself at a HUGE dermatology practice. The doctor/resident looked at my spot and said: "Do you still have your uterus?" Confused, I explained that I was 40 and had my two kids and further children were unlikely and what the heck kind of phrasing was that anyway? She said she specifically asks female patients if we still have a uterus because if so, we could still get pregnant and the medicine she was going to recommend was SO POTENT that you couldn't even think about getting pregnant for 3 years after your last dose.

"Oh. Well, does the one in my other pants count?", I asked.

Dermatologists have no sense of humor.

"Of course we'd have to test you weekly because there are other side effects like liver damage and kidney failure. So are you interested?"

Less interested in my uterus but more so in my kidneys and liver, I asked if she had anything else. She shrugged. "Just some of the same stuff you have been taking, although there is this new cream that might not be covered by your insurance. I'll write you a scrip anyway. If it's not covered, I'll write you two others. Get those filled, mix them and it'll be almost as good."

I dropped off the three prescriptions and sent Mike the next day to pick them up. He called afterwards. "Did you know that one prescription was $500? So I asked about the next one and they said it was $100. So then I asked them what else they had and they said the third was a generic for $15. I picked that up for you." I thanked him, but reminded him that I needed BOTH for it to be "almost as good" as the $500 cream.

A few days later I went to the pharmacist. "Exactly how big is this $100 tube anyway?" She brought it out, and I inspected the merchandise. It would probably last me a long time. Was I worth it? Could I just continue to live with the scratchy patch? Ultimately I made the decision to buy it, not because I thought it would help me, but because I couldn't stand the thought of losing the $15 bucks on the one prescription I already had. Plus I considered it a 40th birthday present to myself.

It's helped, and I'm supposed to go back to the dermatologist in a month for a follow up. But I think I'll skip it. I could save the co-pay. But if I do go, I'm going to take my uterus. I might lock up the liver and kidneys, though.

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