Trains, Buses, Cars, and Walking- For a Prescription- Oh My!
As many are aware, I’ve been in San Francisco for over a month. As many are aware, I live with multiple chronic illnesses. If you know me, you know I like to prepare and make lists and be ready. WHICH. I thought I was…
Considering I was hired for my new job right before heading to diabetes camp in GA. Then starting my new job the day after I got back from camp and then moving to San Francisco temporarily a week later….
I feel like I did pretty well being prepared and getting ready for the move- all in less than three weeks too! AND I was getting ready to launch my Kickstarter. (this transition was not in my Kickstarter plans at all).
Diabetes management is often at the front of my mind when preparing. But so is everything else- the kitties, my other diagnoses, logistics, etc. I spent the week I was getting ready- a lot of which went well and easy even with the timeframe. Including getting a gift for the kittens for their 1st birthday! However, there was one part that was not like the rest of this. I spent the week scrambling to get an appointment to make sure I planned for my mental health. Long story short and a lot of phone calls later, (and a bit of a fight of sticking up for myself and advocating for what I needed), I finally had scripts in my hand- the MONDAY BEFORE I left for San Francisco.
Only the learn that I couldn’t fill my prescription until several weeks later. I talked with my doctor and was told that I would be able to fill my out of state prescription. This is where my planning and usual way to go about things didn’t continue. It was 5PM that Monday and my flight was before 7AM the next morning. I decided to take his word for it- without research or questioning it.
Fast forward a few weeks- I see the sticker in my bullet journal signaling it was time to refill my prescriptions- this was a Monday. The diabetes supplies were a breeze. I then submitted my anxiety medication to the pharmacy near my accommodations. I then planned to go after work to bring the hard copy of my prescription for my ADHD meds.
That’s when everything went horribly wrong. That’s when I lost it at the counter. That’s when I was told they couldn’t help and sent me on my way….
Because of laws, insurance, and the care provider I had (I say had because I am switching after this), I only had about a day of those medications left. It was all a “perfect” storm.
I started panicking. I had over a month left here at a NEW job and this is not a moment where I want to “play around” with my mental health (especially where I was mentally at the time too). This was NOT the time. At this moment, it’s past 9PM in Boston, I cannot call my pharmacist there- I knew she would do what she could to help. But- they were closed. I start researching. I called people to ask questions and for help to calm down. I searched online.
Don’t we just LOVE how laws aren’t crystal clear in their language- making it difficult for someone to understand what is being said?!? I was trying to figure out what situation I was in, and I what I could do. But I struggled to make sense of it all and that’s even with my background in pre-law!
From what I started to gather, I went from one state with strict laws regarding prescriptions (especially for ADHD meds) to another state with a different set of strict laws. (Also keep in mind- I HAVE ANXIETY- so I’m doing all I can to calm myself down- but it’s hard in situations like these).
I couldn’t sleep that night- and the humidity and allergies were not my that night either and the following day. I might have gotten a few hours of not great sleep…
I woke up drained with my blood sugars all over the place.
I couldn’t function.
I tried. I tried all of my go to things in my tool-box for things like this- but it barely made any impact. There was no way I would be a real live human that today- I was in zombie mode- the kind where I’m a combo of angry/feel threatened and very hungry for brains (iZombie on the CW comes to mind if you’d like visuals).
Moments like these. Where I know I’ve gotten to the last item in my tool kit… It sometimes hits me in all the wrong ways. Where I judge myself and feel like I’m failing- where I need to take a step back and not just take care of myself- but have to say not today- maybe to a to do list, maybe to plans, and on this Tuesday- it was work. I have to do a lot of things to remind myself that I’m not failing- that I need this. (etc. etc.)
I took a sick day because I was sick from the humidity and allergies, exhausted from lack of sleep, not feeling great from roller coaster BG’s that mostly ran higher, had to figure out logistics for my prescriptions, and golly…. I needed a mental health day. Basically a threatened, angry, and hungry zombie.
I was able to connect with my pharmacist- I went to a different pharmacy near me- and I was able to work out my anxiety medication by mid-afternoon. Thank goodness! The ADHD medication? Well that was another story. But between the two pharmacists- I was more aware of the situation I was in.
I started calling doctors- travel clinics- urgent care- different types of providers, etc. Usually they would say they wouldn’t do anything. Maybe they would, but they wouldn’t give me even a percentage or anything like regarding chances of that happening. I would have to pay an insane amount- etc. I was only here for a short period of time, not a resident, young, etc.
I spent the entire day doing this getting nowhere or sleeping off my blood sugar and emotions hangover. It was frustrating and disheartening. I ran out of options on my end. I also ran out of energy. The feeling of- why me and WTF started hitting me at full force. I had to stop at one point.
I went to work the next day not on the proper medication- trying all of those “tips” to manage it without what I needed and a very high temp basal to try and combat lack of proper medication and stress. This was where things started going in another direction though-
I am so grateful that where I work cares about my mental health and values that it is important! I shared a tidbit of what was going on with the people I’m working with- and things got moving. They went to bat for me. They fought for me. They were determined to find a way.
Eventually, THROUGH SO MANY CONNECTIONS WITH MEDICAL PROVIDERS!!!! I was able to get someone to agree to see me. This took several days and endless phone calls.
It took well-connected and well-respected people two days to get someone to see me.
That someone was in San Jose. That meant a two hour plus trek from San Francisco via train, walking, cars, and buses to get what I needed to go. Might I add…. on a day that BROKE records for highest temperatures all over the Bay Area (and overall just hot across the country).
I left at 7AM that Friday for my “adventure” and was able to work remotely. I didn’t get home until 9PM that night to find the pharmacy closed. Then I made a mistake. Pharmacies in my area close pretty early on Saturday and are closed on Sunday. After the entire week and adventure from the day before… I slept in- and by slept in- I mean I woke up to discover that the pharmacy was already closed. So I was able to finally get my prescriptions that Monday.
It was an incredibly frustrating, time-consuming, and stressful situation. It my mind it shouldn’t be this much work though… this many hoops to jump through. In general- but especially for situations that might not line up or be the usual.
I would like to note… I do understand why things they way they are- to an extent. But there’s a point where I cannot get over how hard we have to fight. That- often the hardest part of chronic illness is all of the logistics and things you have to do so you can take care of yourself (now- the care can suck too- but situations like these are the ones that impact me the most in terms of my emotions). How I’m lucky that I am connected to people in the space… What would happen if this wasn’t the case??? Well I know- I have been in those situations before.
And it really shouldn’t have to be that way- it shouldn’t have to be that hard. It shouldn’t have to mean that people might not be able to get what they need…
Some people didn’t believe me that it was so hard until they started talking to people.
But here’s the things- it’s ADHD meds- people have done things to get us in this particular situation- so there is a point where I get why these things are in place. I was 24 years old. They didn’t know me. Basically- no way.
Even though I had the hard copy of the prescription. Even though I had medical records and information with me.
I had a lot of why me’s- but I got out of it. I’m still feeling “WTF” about it though. But it does add fuel to my fire.
With the Kickstarter and this transition that I’m in- that’s why I’m just now sitting down to write this post. To share this experience and how I felt.
I’m glad it got handled. Not glad with what happened. So many things came together to lead to this situation. In my mind, I would only go back and change one thing, I would have researched that I could fill my script and not just blindly trust what I was told- it felt like a lot of time then, but it ended up costing me more time and sanity later. But that is the only thing I would have done differently.
Hey you! Yes, you!
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