Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Struggling with your Health Care Provider


If you have Fibromyalgia then you know, dealing with a health care provider can be the absolute pits.

Since the onset of Fibromyalgia, which has been about 10 years, I have been with Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield & United Health Care.

Out of all of them, United has been a real thorn in my side. Every pill that I’m on that is the least bit expensive, they require that I go thru their mail in service. To give you an idea of how much I pay a month, taking all into account, it’s nearly $300 with all the Co-Pay’s put together. The mail in service requires that I pay for 2 months at a time. I don’t know about many of you, but I know that I cannot afford $600 at a whack, even if I’m getting one month ‘Free’.

In addition, and particularly with Lyrica, United Health Care consistently incorrectly reads the prescription dosage. I require 3 of the 150mg pills a day to keep the aches and pains down. If I have any less than that, then I ramp up on the Hydrocodone because the muscle pain becomes more apparent and noticeable to me. If I’m on a consistent 450 mg of Lyrica, I don’t have near as much trouble. However, since requiring me to go through mail order, they have regularly filled my prescriptions for 150 mg a day. It’s appalling and irritating and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s completely and utterly intentional. After all, Humana & BCBS NEVER had these types of problems. Ever.

Particularly when “Health Care Reform” is on everyone’s minds, I can say that I’m at a loss as to how to make it better for me. Clearly, my Dr. and I have been working together for years now and know what dosages work for me. To have me change health care providers and then suddenly have all these problems, is not just irritating, it also effects my health. United Health Care has no better knowledge of my health and what works for me than my Electricity provider. My employer and I pay good money to have this  health insurance. I should not have to fight it every step of the way to get my basic needs met, especially needs that other providers have met with out question.

So, when I hear about “reform” or the repealing of “reform” I can say that so far, until I can get my monthly prescriptions with out a fight, I will have to be on the fence. I’m weary of fighting on this one. I’m weary all the time, so when I have to fight for this… well it just makes me exhausted & bitter. Yet there is hope that it will all come together in the knick of time. I’m just not going to hold my breath! 


© ‘Fizz’ 2011

Traveling with Fibromyalgia

If you have Fibromyalgia, you know about the worry that comes with a trip either by flying or by driving. The worry is very real, will I be able  to handle the pain that will surely come with the trip? Will I be able to get enough rest when I’m visiting others? Will they understand if I have a bad pain day?

This year, I did something I haven’t done since my Fibromyalgia got very bad, I flew to Florida. I was worried. I made sure to warn my family in advance. I may be ok. I may not. We’re going to have to pace ourselves. I will take pills to help my pain. It may seem like a lot of pills. It’s not, it’ll keep me moving.

When it was all said and done, I did much better than I thought I would. On the trip over, all the walking & the pre-arrival excitement ramped me up so that I was in good shape through the flight and then the hour drive to the house.

The next day, we drove back to Tampa, had lunch with the cousins & then drove around looking at the neat and rich houses of South Tampa. A tour which was guided by my Uncle. The hour drive back to the house wasn’t bad at all and, while feeling a little tired, I was in no way feeling bad.

The next day, we hit the Ft. Meade Historical Museum, which is a nice Victorian House and train with older rail cars. Then a drive back to Tampa was in order so that we could see the museum attached to the old Tampa Bay Hotel. Lovely, the self guided audio tour took the better part of 2 hours and was really a lovely time. By the time it was over, I was feeling pretty wiped out & still had that hour drive back to the house.

Unfortunately, at that point, I’d pushed my luck too far. When I feel good, I try really hard to take advantage of that time and will frequently over do it and/or press myself to the point of dropping. This was no different. I over did it by running around 3 full days in a row. So by doing that, I was on “rest” duty for the last two days of my visit. I didn’t go anywhere… just stayed at the house.

Surprisingly, once I got motivated and moving on the day to leave, I felt very good and loosened up quickly for all of the walking in both the Tampa airport and Houston Intercontinental Airport.

By and large, while I did push myself too hard, I bounced back quicker than I thought I would. Furthermore, I went back to work feeling much more rested than I thought I would, given that I spent about 1/2 my off time flying between cities, sleeping in strange beds and running around.

So what I’m taking away from the whole experience is that my fear of the trip and the possibilities was a great deal larger than the actual event. I need to be more confident about traveling and going places.