So I call the doctors office to schedule an appointment. They tell me the first available is January 29th. What!!???!!! Did you not hear me say this is a breathing issue? We could be dead by January 29th. For sure I would be fired, if I have to keep leaving work to go pick her up every other afternoon. I'm speechless. Finally, after about 10 minutes of pleading and whining, they give me a next day appointment at noon. I quickly email my boss for a day of vacation (gotta love email - personal begging on your knees no longer required).
I start the morning placing a phone call to apply for SSI - it is hard to tell from the website whether you can do it online or not - but that's a whole different story for another day. I then spent an hour or so on the American Lung Association website reading up on all the different medications to treat COPD and asthma. I have learned over the years that it is wise to be one step ahead of the docs if possible, at least informed with what they might present.
Sarah was happy, happy, happy. It is rare, very rare that she is in a doctors office basically healthy. No IV lines, no shots, no hysteria over her oxygen saturations.
The nurse comes in and takes her blood pressure 98/60 -excellent. Then the pulse which is 90 - great. Then she takes her down the hall for her weight, 138 - super. That means she has lost 10 pounds - way to go Sarah. We are aiming for 135.
After a few high fives from the nurse and me about the weight loss, she is still smiling. Then the nurse remembers that she needs to take Sarah's pulse ox...84...what!!! Damn. That's not good. Actually that's cause for being ordered over to the Clinic. Off the nurse goes to get the doctor. While she is gone, I am mentally preparing what I need to do if we have to head over to the holding tank - that's what we call the clinical observation wing of the hospital that we usually start out in. John is in Columbus meeting with new clients, so I will need to make arrangements for Matt to be picked up, the dentist appointment this afternoon rescheduled...
Oh here is the doctor..."So Sarah, how are you today? Good, good. Have you had your flu shot yet this year?" Ooohhhh, if looks could kill. Sarah whips her head around and glares at me and immediately gives me the stubborn, defiant stare and then comes the watershead...
I just had to get the camera out...partly to hide the fact that I really had no sympathy at this point because I am relieved that the doctor didn't come blazing in focusing on the low pulse ox.
Oh this is really pitiful.
"Are you kidding me? Mom...You said no shots today."
And now some more crying. The pictures really don't give the full sobbing effect. A few times I hold the tissue so she can blow her nose and hack up some mucus.
Lot's of tears and more sobbing as I help the doctor recall that we don't give Sarah flu shots because she had a very bad reaction to one a few years ago. "Oh right, OK, Sarah. Let's put this little magic light on your finger again." Oh, here we go... 96... what!!???...96... YIPPEE!!!! See, that crying was for a purpose. It broke up that lung crude that pulls her oxygen saturations down.
Now on to the task at hand. I explained my theory about needing an extra puff of Albuterol in the afternoon, to which the doctor readily agreed to. Then we spoke at great length about changing her corticosteroid. We have been using QVAR for several years and I wonder if she hasn't become almost immune to it. So after much discussion we decided to try Advair. It is a combo bronchodilator and a steriod.
Off we go to the pharmacy for our three prescriptions. After a short 10 minute wait our name is called. I already have my check written out for $45 to make the transaction quicker knowing we have a $15 per medication co-pay. The pharm tech scans each label and says, "that will be $294.00" WHAT!!???!! How can that be? She studied the computer screen and then says, " the Advair is not on the approved co-pay list." Well why did the doctor prescribe it? She is supposed to know what drugs Kaiser has on the approved list.
Now who is the one crying? Seriously, I wanted to just stand there and start balling. My Visa Care Card is worthless as we've already used all of our pre-tax medical dollars for the year. So Sarah, I guess you are getting Advair for Christmas. Sigh...at least it is in a pretty purple discus.