Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On drugs, and doctors.

I love my insurance. Honestly this is the best health insurance plan I've EVER been on in my life. Most of my previous jobs didn't even have an option, or if they did, it was really expensive or didn't cover much of anything, the co-pays were really high, or getting set up with it and choosing a plan required a PhD in advanced applied insurance theory. My favorite method to pick my plan was to sit down to dinner with all the paperwork laid out in front of me then close my eyes and then jab the nearest piece of paper with a fork . And that would be my plan.

So I'm lucky to have my wife who bills insurance for a hospital. She took one look at our insurance options and said, "Yep, this is awesome. Here's the one we're getting, it has the best co-pay, and the best coverage, and my hospital is covered." (She also thinks she's lucky to have married a geek BTW to help her with her electronics, so you might say we're complimentary.)

This was especially useful when recently I decided that all the tiredness that I was feeling was actually not normal after all, so I said about the task of finding out what was wrong with me. Well... apart from the obvious. 

But that SOUNDS a lot more simple than it actually is.  First off my main doctor left the hospital clinic to go to a private practice with another doctor, but their staff was horrible, getting even the simplest of details wrong, such as times and dates which are of course the most important thing to get right. So she starts the process, and due to one cock-up after another we eventually decide not to see her anymore. 

So instead we decide to see the physician's assistant that works in the clinic at my wife hospital. She's fantastic, and very thorough, and proceeds to order several blood tests on me. Most of these blood tests don't show anything that we didn't already know, but there's one that shows markers for mono, which she believes could be a sign of inflammation internally. 

She in turn then refers me to a Rheumatologist , who says that the markers for mono will show up for the rest of my life because I had mono when I was younger. He however listens to all my symptoms and is the very first person to suggest that I might have narcolepsy. 

He in turn refers me too a Pulmonary doctor, who is also one of the inventors of my C PAP machine, who orders the sleep study, and something called a multiple sleep latency test, and confirms a diagnosis of narcolepsy. Once he does that able to prescribe, Hallelujah, drugs to help keep me awake! And all of this was made possible by my employer's incredible insurance plan. 

And I can't help thinking, that if I had had this kind of insurance much sooner, like when I was living in Des Moines, or maybe even sooner my life might have been dramatically different. I wouldn't have lost so many jobs for one thing, and if I'd figure this out in high school, I may have gotten much better grades. And in fact I might have been writing all along, and would be much better at it now. 

But even with the drugs and knowing what's wrong, the treatment of this condition hasn't been entirely smooth. For some reason there always seems to be confusion about the type of drugs but I'm supposed to be taking , and whether they should be a time release capsules, or immediate relief. Then the pharmacy has questions and concerns about the drug, but because the doctors office closes at 5, they are not able to contact them until the following day. And unfortunately because the drug I'm on is technically considered a controlled substance, they can't call the prescription in to the pharmacy, I have to actually take a physical prescription note into the pharmacy for them to bill. 

In short once a month my life becomes a three ring circus with lots of clowns and I end up having to take time off work to deal with the problems that arise. 

I thought this was all going to be over with once I started my most recent drug , which is not a controlled substance, and so they can call that into the pharmacy, but that drug turns out to be a case of "the cure is worse than the disease." The side effects include blurred vision,  dizziness, dry mouth and a few other choice things, but I only experienced those 3. However they were bad enough but I didn't feel safe driving, and it made it difficult for me to work. 

So why do I mention all this? What does any of this have to do with writing? Being tired and probably asleep while trying to write are the biggest things that have prevented me from writing up to this point. So for me, this is the story of how I was able to start writing again. Also its a reminder to me that all of human experience is fit to be written about. You never know, I might one day want to write a story about someone who has narcolepsy. Chronicling my own trials and tribulations with not only the disease itself but also the treatment of that disease is good experience in case I ever have to do it again, or anything else which might require the level of care and attention as this. Of course this is just an outline of the full story, but enough to get the feeling across should I ever need to expand on it. And I hope it hasn't been completely uninteresting for you the reader. 

By the way, nearly this entire blog post today was written using Android voice to text which has performed admirably under the circumstances, as much of the voice usage is in my car. Don't worry though, I kept my eyes on the road the whole time. As a result there were a few mis-translation and other types of issues, which I can fix,  but the overall benefit and time-saving has been invaluable. 

As always comments and suggestions are welcome, and thanks for reading!