So much has happened in the last two weeks. For one thing, no one I know of was snatched up to heaven, although I have a theory that IF such an event were to occur, most of us wouldn’t notice anyway. Jesus came for the lost, the broken and the sinners so it seems to me that it would be residents of the prisons, the halfway houses, the rehab facilities and the poorest slums on the planet that would be the first to go. The last shall be first right?
A little closer to home, after a long talk with the doctors, it has been decided that it’s time to up the ante on my RA medications. I already know I don’t have a lot of options. Four to be precise. One drug has such awful side effects that my rheumatologist won’t prescribe it. One drug is so new that my eye specialist won’t recommend it yet. And that fast, I was down to two choices: Rituxan and Orencia. Rituxan kills people and it stays in the system for six months at a time. This is good since it’s only two doses a year but a bad reaction can have lingering side effects for six months too. Did I mention it also kills people? I have two boys to raise and I’m not willing to gamble with their future. So, that narrowed things down mighty quick didn’t it?
This is where the fun part starts. I’ve been warned that my insurance plan won’t like this treatment plan. It’s expensive running approximately $2000 – $4000 per treatment or up to $64,000 per year. That doesn’t include the cost of the infusion center, nursing staff and assumes there are no infusion reactions or complications. Oh yeah, and all of that will be on top of the $7200 annually for my other medications. All totalled, it’s about six times what I make in a year. My rheumatologist told me the Orencia will probably be denied at least once. Then he put his hand on my shoulder and told me he’d fight for me. He’ll get it through on an appeal.
His words really knocked me for a loop. I had quitely literally said those same words to a client at work. “Mr. Doe” is an insulin dependent diabetic who has carried individual insurance for a long time. He could no longer afford the premium and had to drop it. The state plan denied him coverage. I told him we could appeal to the state. I told him I’d fight for him and I wrote an appeal for him. On a second review of the appeal, he was accepted into the state healthcare plan for a fraction of what he’d been paying. More importantly, he had coverage. He called to tell me the good news, saying he owed me his life. I didn’t see things quite so dramatically. The way I saw it, I just did what I could to help. Two days later, the shoe was on the other foot. Someone was now going to fight for me. As the doctor went to get the forms I needed to sign, I remember thinking, How did I end up on the flipside?
On top of everything else, I’m feeling quite old this week and it’s not just the RA or insurance stress. My son Andrew, my first born, is going to be 13 on Friday. We went to Step Up Night at the junior high last night. The baby boy who I once rocked to sleep is now looking me straight in the eyes at least when he isn’t checking out 8th grade girls. In another inch or so, he’ll be taller than me. It doesn’t help that my younger son Eugene likes to point out that my hair is going white. I keep telling him those aren’t white hairs, those are wisdom stripes. I suspect there are lessons yet to learned.