Monday, April 17, 2006

I Can't Find My Camera Cable, And Other Societal Ills

And thus I am sad, because I have a kazillion pictures to post here and at flickr. Dang it, where could that thing be?

So, I can only post the latest news: Just got the call that the poodle has landed, and she and her new family are racing for the last ferry back toward home tonight--else they have to sleep in the ferry terminal, a prospect which horrifies and guilts me, but seems not to phase them in the least!

Just now, this spousal exchange:

"Oh, I want to TiVo "Medium" tonight, because--"

"She finally becomes a large?"

And my two new flash-in-the-pan TLC faves are on tonight: "Honey, We're Killing The Kids," and best of all, "Shalom In The Home." I'm totally digging Rabbi Shmuley, and of course will now be forced to read his books. And those computer-generations they do of the fat kids on "Honey,..." are scarier than anything on television...except maybe that Howie Mandel show where people open briefcases for half an hour to suspenseful music.

And now for today's rant: The fat cats in the pharmaceutical industry must be going straight to h**l. I just can't see how they could possibly have any sort of consciences or souls, and I'm not buying the "the cost of these drugs pays for new research" argument, for a number of reasons.

How did this get stuck in my craw today? We picked up Alex's two new medications, a month's supply of each. Now, we are among the lucky Americans who HAVE health insurance with prescription coverage, however pitiful it is. Our co-pays are either $10, $30, or $50, if the drugs are covered. Since most of Alex's meds are relatively new ones, from the asthma and allergy remedies to his bipolar-management drugs, almost every co-pay we have is $50. We're used to that. So today we picked up the two scrips. One of them was not covered, because he'd had a "similar" drug filled too recently. So that baby was $109 for a month's worth. OK. It hurt, but we had to have it. Scrip #2 was covered, and had a $50 co-pay, which, as I said, didn't surprise us. What did knock me for a loop was the fact that I happened to notice, on this occasion, what this month's worth of pills would have cost us had we NOT had insurance. $479.99. Read that again. Four hundred seventy-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents. For one month's worth of the very drug that, depending on your particular illness, would serve a purpose from keeping a lid on your mild-to-debilitating mania, to quelling psychotic episodes, to turning off hallucinations and the voices in your head. (Fortunately for us, it serves as a mania-tamper, which while serious, is not nearly as serious as the needs of, say, a schizophrenic.)

So, if you're uninsured, and need these types of drugs...well, I guess this is from whence cometh many of the homeless we see muttering and gesturing to themselves, or the folks who finally lose the battle with their broken minds and kill themselves and/or others.

It oughta be a crime.


  1. I have a couple of Reb Boteach's books, Kosher Sex and Kosher Dating, and I like him a lot, but he's CONTROVERSIAL as heck within the O community. Just saying...

    email me about the meds. I know how tough it is even with copays. Fortunately we don't have any copays YET, but with the new universal health care that Ma just passed into law, my healthcare coverage and the kids are both screwed to the wall... and we'll be paying through the nose for what we have gotten free for years. it really really sucks. My monthly drug costs are almost $2000/month if I had to pay for them myself. Now who can afford this besides Donald Trump?

  2. My heart goes out to you, really. I would not be alive right now if it weren't for medication. Here is my take on meds as I posted on Jen B's site - and it may be a bit out of context, but I think the gist is still relevant:

    Here's the thing -- if you truly have a chemical imbalance, you cannot "logic" or "intellectualize" your way out of it. If we could, we would not be on medication -- duh. Most of us are very intelligent, accomplished, successful people. If there were a way to think my way out of the way my body and mind feel when I'm chemically imbalanced, I would have found it by now. All I know is that when I'm unmedicated, life is a misery and death is nigh. Even though I can think to myself, "You know, today is no different than yesterday, yet I want to throw myself off of this 11th story ledge today", and know that I'm right, and nothing has changed, but the imbalance has become intolerable, that's when I realize that meds are necessary -- possibly forever, and that's OK. It took a long time to get the cocktail right, but I'm finally stable and so very grateful. I don't have bipolar disorder, but I do have unmanageable depression, without appropriate medication. It's so frustrating and scary, but I'm stable now thanks to a wonderful doctor. People that have not been in our heads and bodies will never understand. Especially because most of us are fully functional. I did a BA and an MBA when I was completely nuts, and I look back and marvel at that, because I was one scary thought away from death at all times. It was so miserable. I'm just grateful I'm in a stable place now.

    I'm so very sorry that Alex's meds are ridiculously expensive, but I also thank the powers that be that he was born in a time where medication is available. I can't imagine what his life, or my life, would have been like 100 years ago -- too scary to contemplate!

    Keep up the good work and thought-provoking posts -- I very much appreciate you.

  3. You're right - it oughtta be a crime. The pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies get me about as close to homicidal as I get. I don't know how those people sleep at night. I'm bipolar, too, and suffer from a few other ailments as well. I'll be taking meds for the rest of my life and it's not like I have a choice. Ugh, makes me ill just thinking about stupid pharm companies.

  4. almost 500 dollars for one drug for one month? seriously? i am not even going to tell you what we are paying. that is awful. criminal actually! criminal!!!

    i will bring you a huge bottle of 222s when i see you in july though.....

    much love

  5. My monday night has become Anthony Bourdain night.

    I used to watch Medium, and I really like it, but it's on the same time as No Reservations, damn it!! (And, I have to watch that, because he's SO FREAKIN'ADORABLE!!)

    I've heard of the rabbi dude, but I'm pretty sure my kids would end his career.

  6. I take a lot of medication related to my diabetes, and once in a while Mrs. Fab will remark how much it would have cost had we NOT had he insurance, and I am always blown away.

    Drug companies and oil companies. I'd invest in them if all my money wasn't tied up in staying alive.

  7. "She finally becomes a large?"


    As for camera cables, I have three of them. One on my work computer, one on my home computer, and a backup at work. I'm set. I find I often actually need the backup, too, since both my digicam and Palm Pilot use the same cable.

  8. Our ins changed recently and we, too, are paying a buttload monthly for meds. My doc has suggested that I double my dose of Topomax to better control my migraines, and I know that's a good idea, but it's a costly one, too.

    Did you see the show recently about the differences in filling prescriptions at CVS and Walgreens vs Sam's and Costco? Sometimes the former were 10 to 15 times as much!!

  9. margalit, I did kind of wonder about that. I want to read the one about kids and the one this show is based on. I'm a sucker for the "no bad kids" philosophy, so I should like them. I also totally agreed with the book, "No Bad Dogs." ;-) Fortunately, re the meds, so far our co-pays, even when they're $50, are far less than the cheapest cost of the actual drugs, even if we were able to get them from Canada.

    jessica, thanks for your input. You are so right. And as bad as depression is, it's not usually (except in extreme cases) destructive to other people, the way unmedicated or improperly medicated bipolar disorder can be. I just ache for people who need medication and can't get it. I think there is a justification of "Hey, it's not AZT, it's not Interferon, etc." Like the fact that it's a *psychiatric* drug makes it somehow OPTIONAL. Save me from that kind of logic!

    karl, you are absolutely right. And then on the other hand, we thank God the meds are available, and that Alex (and you, obviously) are among the <20% of BP sufferers who have the insight to even REALIZE they have a disease. I weep for the that other 80% and their families.

    jenB, YES. That was for Risperdal. Fortunately, it only cost us $50. BUT the monthly premium on the health insurance that makes that $50 co-pay possible...ugh. I won't even go there now. Thank God for our employer. And you can bring a CASE of 222s, and I will bring you Cotham's hamburger seasoning and McClard's barbecue sauce. And keep Char in stylin' clothes for the rest of her life.

    adena, one word: TEEEEEVOOOOOO!

    "Drug companies and oil companies. I'd invest in them if all my money wasn't tied up in staying alive." Mr. Fabulous wins the BEST COMMENT OF RECENT HISTORY AWARD.

    kevin, I didn't even know they were cheap things. Alex is picking me up a spare on the way home, so hopefully I can post pics tonight. And yes, my husband, he is a LAFF RIOT.

    divine c--can I get a "hallelujah?"

    Anne-Topomax for migraine? No one has suggested this to me! Although after Alex's experience with it as a mood-stabilizer, I'd be hesitant. It tore up his G.I. tract something awful.

  10. Very true, Belinda. Bipolar is a much more isidious disorder than clinical depression -- a bipolar is more likely to injure others while a depressive will injure him or herself. I hope Alex's new cocktail works out -- switching meds sucks big weenies. My thoughts are with you guys. And, he's very lucky to have you -- you seem like you are truly soulmates from all of the posts I've read, and that warms my heart very much.

  11. jessica, our "joke" (which isn't really all that funny, when you think about it) is that we have an agreement never to go off our nuts at the same time. So far, it's worked out that way. And YES--big weenies. BIIIIG WEENIES. And he has to change so often, it's not even fair. And then things happen like, oh...lithium killing his thyroid so that he has to take Synthroid...which induces mania. What a fun ride!! I wish there was a sarcasm key on this computer.

  12. Awwww honey -- I'm so sorry. Although it's a really good thing you don't go off your nuts at the same time! There's a bright spot! Hang in there - if anyone can make this work, you guys can.

  13. I think there is much more blame to be levied at the insurance companies, who are making out like bandits. Seriously, scientists cost a lot more to hire than claims reps. And I know that when I was jobless I had medicaid and it paid for all but a $5 copay for a couple of months worth of meds. So really it's the insurance companies who are ripping off people. And it's the middle class that suffers.

  14. I hear you on the drug prices! One of our boys had severe eczema on his scalp when he was an infant, and a tube of ointment they prescribed would of been $289 if we didn't have insurance. Come to find out later that that same ointment got a black box warning that it may cause cancer in children. Lovely. $289 for a few ounces of cancer cream.

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