Blessed by Nurgle

I’ve been under the weather for nearly the whole month! That’s gotta be a new record.

First, it started out as some sort of cold/flu bug, then my allergy-induced asthma kicked in overtime and stretched it out. Normally the asthma isn’t a big deal, and I used to be able to keep it in check with an over-the-counter inhaler. Unfortunately, all OTC inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbon propellants were taken off the market on December 31, 2011. Apparently, a few years ago, some green eco-friendly legislation was passed by Congress to ban CFCs because they make the hole in the ozone layer bigger, and the clock ran out on December 31 for Primatene Mist.

Anyway, that means I now have to visit a doctor and get on a prescription regimen if I want to feel like my old self again. That’ll cost me $150 if I go to one of the local clinics. We’ve been eating ramen noodles and pretzels for most of the month because my wife got screwed out of her January teaching hours at the last minute by her pointy headed boss, and my earnings alone are barely enough to keep the bills paid. I don’t have $150. In comparison, a Primatene Mist refill only cost me $18 at the local grocery store back when it was available. That was nice while it lasted.

I’ve had to improvise by substituting the Primatene tablets, which are still available. Unfortunately, the reason I was using the inhaler in the first place is because it was faster-acting, more effective, and didn’t have the side effects that the tablets do. The ephedrine (the bronchodilator component) in the tablets is a stimulant that also wires me like caffeine, and the guaifenesin (the expectorant component) makes me pee like a racehorse every 45-60 minutes. So, between the overstimulation and the full bladder, my sleeping patterns are out of whack.

In addition to that, the 20-plus minutes it takes for the tablets to kick in and their relatively short half life means they’re just not an adequate substitute for a fast-acting inhaler if an actual attack occurs, and I’d just as soon avoid an expensive trip to the emergency room, which also means I have to use them prophylactically instead of only when I need them. It’s not an ideal treatment regimen by any stretch, but it’ll have to do until I can afford to see the doctor.

I guess nobody told our politicians that sunburned Antarctic penguins aren’t a voting constituency! 😆

5 thoughts on “Blessed by Nurgle

  1. Tommygun

    Do they have any Med-Stop like places in your area?
    They are supposed to be a lot cheaper for a simple Doctor’s exam and routine illnesses.

  2. Christopher Roe Post author

    Yep, we have walk-in clinics here. That’s where the $150 figure came from–the clinic visit itself is about $70, and the rest is for the prescriptions. I might be able to make it happen in a couple of days if a couple of things work out like we hope they will. I’m looking forward to being able to sleep normally and actually get some work done. 🙂

  3. Glenn Williams

    A perfect time to write your congressman as their election season is about to start! Out here Wal-Mart advertises a prescription plan, but I’ve never even checked into it–but then again, companies think that $150 is cheap, so maybe it’s not that good. Does Texas have the medically needy only type of Medicaid?

  4. Christopher Roe Post author

    Yeah, we have things like the Medical Assistance Program, but the way the bureaucracy and requirements work out, the only way you’re gonna be approved immediately for it is if you’re a hobo or an illegal immigrant. There’s so much weasel language in the whole thing that you could have been eating boiled pig squeals by candlelight with $1.33 in the bank for the past 8 weeks, and you’d still be considered too rich to be eligible for assistance.

    In fact, back in 2009 when Mrs E was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we were in a position where paying for the necessary surgery would have put us on the streets immediately after her release from the hospital and landed us in heavy debt to boot. The alternative was for her to just wait and die. So she applied for MAP assistance, but they told her she was SOL because we had too much in the bank. Mrs E spent that whole evening and the next day after the application interview crying because she thought she was basically condemned to death or destitution.

    We lucked out and found a hospital (St. David’s) that was willing to give a massive discount for self-pay patients, which brought down the total from “homeless with crushing debt” to “on the verge of homelessness” instead. The surgery was a success and she fully recovered form it. Now it’s 2012, and we still haven’t gotten back on our feet financially.

    Stuff like that is why I have a distaste for politicians and government in general. I *want* to appreciate them and support them, I really do, but sometimes it just feels like I’m a mouse in a roomful of blind elephants, and the only thing that changes every 4 years is the color of the elephants.

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