Sunday, October 29, 2006

High Price of Medicine

I am sick and tired of American drug companies putting the squeeze on my limited wallet! Because of my COPD, I take many meds and inhalers. Even with insurance, the co-pays are high. But as of October first, I no longer have health care coverage. No more co-pays. So the 8 meds I take will now cost me more than $500 per month and if I couldn't afford the $400 health insurance premium under COBRA, I certainly cannot afford these outrageous prices.

Last year I was without insurance for a month and applied to the Partnership for Perscription Assistance. I had to pay them $5 per perscription to get applications to the pharmaceutical companies. Upon receipt of the applications, I noticed that many of them have their own charges. However, by that time, my insurance was re-instated and I didn't need to apply. I never received my $40 "guarranteed" fee, even after requesting it 3 times. A year ago I never would have whined about it but now I don't have a full time job, don't have health insurance and money is tight. I have to pick and choose where every penney goes.

I made the choice to buy my meds from India. I know many many people who do this and some of the meds are from the same pharmaceuticals that supply the US. The big difference is that I only paid a fraction of what I pay with a co-pay. I am estimating that I am saving at least $1,000 over 3 months! This is HUGE to me! And not only do I save money, I am able to get Symbicort, which isn't even available in the US until next summer. It has been approved overseas for quite a while now. I am very excited about starting this and yes, my doc is aware of it. Symbicort will take the place of Advair, which on some days is very hard for me to inhale.

I don't know what the answers are to the high cost of drugs in the US, but until the FDA and the big drug companies stop playing favorites and trying to see who can make the most money, I am going to keep getting my meds from India. They are good quality, they work and I can afford to still eat.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Daughters Rule!

My daughter gave me the most awesome gift this past Sunday. She's been gone for a month and a half and she called me to say that her husband was dropping off a present that she gave him for me...I answered the door when he knocked and THERE WAS MY GIRL!!! I was totally shocked and totally happy and absolutely love this little girl (who is now 27) who is the only person who can make my day like that! What a wonderful surprise. Daughters really take care of their moms! Daughters Rock!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Welcome Home

I can't believe that it's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted, read or done much of anything online! Well, I'm moved and functional and haven't gone nuts from working and moving and breathing and getting to know the neighborhood.

I love that I'm closer to town and the college that I teach at. However I have been sheltered from pesky neighbors for the past 10 years. I remember now why I loved it so much out further in the country. No one bothers you for anything out there.

In the almost 2 weeks that I've been living here, I have been commissioned to take my next door neighbor shopping tomorrow. My own fault, I have to say. Dumb dumb dumb! I saw her walking home one day carrying a ton of groceries. She and her husband don't have a car so I told her husband that I would help her out and take her grocery shopping so that she didn't have to walk home with tons of bags. The next day, she came over and said "Mickey said you like to shop. How about if we go to Walmart and Big Lots?" Umm, I hate to shop but I guess I haven't completely rid myself of the inner jerk who feels that she has to please everyone. I didn't want to make HER feel bad so I said ok and we're going tomorrow. I love to shop online, but tomorrow I will drive 25 miles to sit in the car while she shops her heart out. I am definitely having a good long talk with my inner pleaser person and she's taking a hike!

My other welcome to the neighborhood happened on Monday afternoon. I was working on lesson plans and all of a sudden I heard yelling. "Shut up you crackhead!" "I am not a crackhead you pothead!" "Go do your crack and leave me alone!" "You asshole!" And it got more intense from there. I abhor drama and I guess I'll have to get used to having it on the periphery until I can tune it out. It was a nice reminder of how I should be grateful for my little world that is free from the drama queens and crack heads.

But overall I love my little space and get insanely good feelings being here. I didn't keep anything that I couldn't remember who gave it to me. So what I do have are things with meaning and comfort and peace for me. My pound kitty loves it here too. I adopted her from a shelter a few years ago and she is like a kitten again with hardwood floors to go racing around on and views from the windows that she could only dream of before. Yeppers, we are loving it here.

Welcome to the neighborhood. Home Sweet Home.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Songs to play at my funeral

I was tagged by MotherJones to list 5 songs to be sung at my funeral. Here we go:

How can I keep from singing by Enya

The Pilgrim by Kris Kristofferson

The Last Laugh by Mark Knopfler

Massachusetts by the Bee Gees

Everything Must Change by Barbra Streisand

I will not be around until probably next Tuesday ~ moving day is Saturday!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When life throws you lemons

I am bone weary tonight. I have been going like the exerciser bunny for a month, dealing with the drama (or is that trauma?) of having to move on short notice, trying to find a place that I can afford, packing for the place that I can afford but don't like, keeping up with lessons and classes and teaching.

I want to scream and cry but all that does is make me short of breath so I don't. But I'm afraid that after the move is over (it's this weekend) I will crash and burn. I have been so stoic that I haven't even begun to process how my life is changing. This is surely causing me stress and I already know that stress is just plain bad for my mental health and physical health. It's usually after a stressful situation that my body gets in an uproar and I wind up with an exacerbation (an acute worsening of my COPD symptoms). That justs gets me a trip to the hospital and twice already I have been on a vent in respiratory failure.

So I have been making lists of things that are good in my life and I have plenty of good things. Gifts, really. A loving caring extended family, a profession that I love and do not have to give up completely. A healthy daughter who is 27 and an adventurer and a wonderfully gifted and giving person. You know, someone you're proud to say that's MY daughter!

Most of all, and the best gift of all is that I am alive. I can see hear feel and taste it. It may be harder these days to get things done, but the alternative sucks. So things aren't really that bad after all.

Okay, enough warm and fuzzy. Tomorrow I might have to do this again...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Into each life a little rain must fall

It's amazing how a rainy day will land like an elephant on my chest. Ugh. I am fine if I'm still but the minute I move around, I have to crank up the oxygen and try to go slow. Slow is not something that comes naturally to me. I've received comments all of my adult life about how fast I walk, how fast I accomplish things. That all changed over the past year.

In order to complete any task I have to move at a snail's pace. Un-natural and frustrating in so many ways. It also means that I need help to do some things, like move furniture or lift things. The oxygen it takes to move my arms over my head is amazing. I know that I won't regain any lung function, but I also know that if I improve my muscle function, they can use oxygen more efficiently so that my oxygen can go to the vital functions of keeping me alive. Important task.

However, in the past few months, I've begun working again part time and struggling with the task of finding a new place to live and other life issues, and consequently have let exercise go by the wayside. I have attended Pulmonary Rehab in the past and really need to get back to get into shape again. I have gained weight and know that contributes to my shortness of breath.

My short term plan is to go back to Pulm Rehab after I'm settled at a new place (I'm moving next week) and begin to get back some function so that I am not living such a sedentary life. Before pulm rehab the last time, even something so simple as showering was pure torture. I'd be gasping for air by the time I was done. Through rehab and support groups and internet searching, I have found many ways to lessen the torture. But I was functioning so much better and feeling better while I was doing the required exercises. Even mentally, I was so much better by exercising. The more I did, the more I wanted to do.

I'm looking forward to getting back to that feeling of well-being despite the limitations. Instead of this feeling of helplessness in the face of the limitations. Then the rain might feel less like tears.

A Helping Hand

Last week we sent one of our students out by ambulance with a cardiac event. We accepted her into our CNA/HHA program knowing that she had come from an abusive relationship, she was without her job of 18 years due to a facility closing, and she was practically broke.

We didn't know that her cardiac issues were not stable. And we didn't know that she still lived in her ex-husband's house and that he still abused her. We didn't know how really broke she was until someone told us that she paid her ex her entire unemployment check every week for rent.

What we did know was that this woman was trying to rise above her challenges and be a caretaker to others. And because she found within herself a spirit of giving and caring and a need to nurture, we found a way to have her program paid for by a grant.

So out she went during class last week, feeling dizzy and nauseous and with a BP through the roof. I watched the class come together as a team to make her feel cared for. And once information was shared, they began making plans to make sure she has friends to get through this and to help her catch up with the class. They also made plans to make sure that she has food to eat, rides to places and friends to watch out for her. What a class. What class.

People in the helping professions ROCK!