Monday, August 29, 2016

She's My Daughter She's My Sister

Some of you may remember the iconic movie China Town which was a fictionalized account of how water was gotten from the Owens Valley to supply the growing metropolis of Los Angeles. That was the subplot. The main plot involved an investigation into the murder of an engineer married to the local power broker's daughter, Evelyn Mulray, by private eye J.J. Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson. All this was part and parcel to the subplot of stealing water from the Owens Valley.
Somewhere along the line J.J., confused but smelling a rat, tries to get the truth out of Evelyn, played by Faye Dunaway, and he slaps her as she says, "She's my daughter. (slap) "She's my sister". Finally, breaking down, "She's my daughter AND my sister".  It turns out that the power broker, Noah Cross, played by John Huston, molested his daughter and a child was the result.

My recent turmoil of not being able to get my Valley Fever medication - Itraconazole, it controls the spores in my lungs, keeps them from taking over - felt just like China Town.  In a moment you'll see why. But first let me preface it by saying three months ago I found out my meds were not going to cost $100 a month any more but over $400. $424 to be exact. Humana, the health coverage, couldn't/wouldn't help.

I went into hyper-drive to find a solution, calling internet help sites but none of them covered my weird medication. Would something else work? No, I patiently explained. We've been through that. The cheap meds give me excruciating joint pain.
Finally, I contacted the pharmaceutical and my Madera primary care doctor. Both my PCP and I made application to Johnson & Johnson to their Patient Assistance Program. I made application, too, because I didn't trust my doctor to make the application in a timely manner. I only knew her for a couple months and I wasn't sure if she had True Grit.
Two days before I was going to run out I got word from J&J that they denied my application.

I then went on GoFundMe to get by with a little help from my friends (I was desperate) and sure enough my friends were my friends and I was able to get a month's supply. Whew. Now I had 30 days to keep working on it. I then saw Dr. Thompson, my Valley Fever doctor,  who has been with me since 2012. I told him what was going on and he said we'll get the UC Davis Infectious Disease Pharmacy working on it. Now we were getting somewhere.
The very next day I got a call from my Primary Care doctor saying that J&J had called them and had approved assistance after all and that they would be sending a retail card*. This was two weeks after I would have run out had my friends not helped out.

A week later I got a letter from Humana saying they would help, too. Actually, it was a letter (and I was copied) to my Valley Fever doctor Dr. Thompson.

I don't understand how this "system" works.
I think I could call this blog The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease but She's My Daughter is what it feels like.
* a retail card means I get my medication free for a year! Yippee!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dust If You Must

We got back yesterday from the Memorial for my friend Georgia who found out she had a terminal brain tumor 3 years ago. It was a fine memorial and I walked away thinking what would Georgia say if she had been here to contribute? Many people had recollections of her and they were all wonderful. They said things like she was brave until the end but I had a different experience of her. She was human until the end. She was not brave. She was confused. She was angry. She was extremely sad. And she was also sometimes brave. It's ok to eulogize her as being brave until the end. I don't have a problem with that. Much. It's a bummer to pass but as Mark Twain said someone has to do it.

So I think I will videotape a short speech before I pass and have those guys play it at my memorial. I want to make a contribution, too. Don't worry. I'll try to be nice.

Life goes on as they say.

I'm going to visit my sister in Colorado. I'm really looking forward to it for a number of reasons. My sister turned out to be a really cool person who I get along with really well. Oh boy. It could have been different but it's not and for that I feel grateful. It's really nice to get along with someone who understands you and your family dynamic. It's really nice to have someone like that who you can talk to about anything and they won't judge you. Yes, I'm really looking forward to being with her. Lucky me.
She also gives me free laser treatments because she's a part time aesthetician. The treatments are a drop in the bucket of wrinkles and brown spots but I'll take whatever I can get. Also the weather is so much better out there. It's in the tolerable high 80s instead of the intolerable low 100s. She likes to do things I like to do. We're going to the best second hand store on the planet. I'm going to tell you what it is and I'm not afraid that you will get all the good stuff. There's plenty there. So here it is. It's Mile High Thrift in Denver. I don't even much look for clothes anywhere else. I see something retail and then I think, no, wait until you get to Mile High.

Then we're going to the Peach Festival and maybe learn how to line dance and walk and talk and walk and talk. Yah. We have fun.
So I'm running around trying to prepare so when Marty's here holding down the fort things won't degrade too badly. Marty is actually quite good at holding up his end of the stick. The house will be clean when I return and I'll not worry one lick about the animals. Maybe I'll worry about the plants because he has that black thumb. So I'll call him once a day and say how are the tomatoes looking? And they'll be fine.

I was out in the horse barn this morning after rounds and noticing the accumulation of dust.

I really wanted to get a rag and then I said no. I thought of my favorite poem.
Dust If You Must
by Rose Milligan

Dust if you must but wouldn't it be better
to paint a picture or write a letter?
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must but there's not much time
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb.
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must but the world's out there
with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
a flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must but bear in mind,
old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go and go you must,
you yourself will make more dust.

So what are you going to do today?