Editor’s Desk

Health care is stressful

December 21, 2013 

At the risk of sharing too much, I have an under-active thyroid and high blood pressure, conditions that require daily medication.

As misfortune sometimes has it, my insurer requires me to purchase my medications from its online pharmacy, which, while cheap, can also be inconvenient and frustrating. Here’s the latest example:

In late October or early November, I visited my doctor because it was time to renew those so-called maintenance medications. While there, he wrote prescriptions for my thyroid and blood-pressure drugs but held off on faxing them to the online pharmacy pending the results of blood work. A week later, I got the lab results by mail and expected the medications to arrive by mail in a few days. As of this writing, I’m still waiting.

Three weeks ago, I called my doctor’s office because I was starting to run low on my prescriptions. The folks there said that was odd because they had faxed the prescriptions to the online pharmacy on Nov. 13.

My next phone call was to the online pharmacy, where a pleasant-sounding young woman told me the pharmacy had not received the prescriptions. The young woman said she would contact my doctor to request the prescriptions. If the prescriptions did not arrive in a couple of weeks, she would call the doctor’s office again and contact me.

One day last week, I had a voicemail message from the pharmacy saying it had not been able to reach my doctor; the computer-generated voice said it would try again but encouraged me to call also, which I did this past week.

Throughout this ordeal, now in its fifth week at least, I have called my doctor’s office three times to request enough meds to tide me over until the 90-day refills arrive from the online pharmacy. I have filled those prescriptions at Carroll Pharmacy in Smithfield; thank God for a local, brick-and-mortar pharmacy where the people know my name.

A five-week wait for the 90-day prescriptions is frustrating enough. What makes it worse is that I feel helpless in a matter that is, by definition, all about me. I can call my doctor and my online pharmacy, but ultimately, they have to talk to each other, and I have no control over that. I’m on the outside looking in even though the drugs are for me.

The good news is that my insurer is relaxing the mandate to buy all prescription medications from its online pharmacy. Thank goodness. I was about to ask my doctor for a Xanax prescription to deal with the stress of trying to stay healthy.

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