Monday, August 6, 2012

PAs and PFTs

There are some days where my health causes both really high highs and really low lows- sometimes within a very short period.  Well, today was one of those days.  Since returning to my Maine home after my 2 week visit to my New York home, I’ve felt like I’ve been fighting a cold or an infection.  I’ve done well fighting back, what with my crazy awesome compliance streak as of late, but every few days I felt like it was kicking my butt a little bit more than I was kicking its.  I decided I might as well nip it in the bud, so I called in for a script for some antibiotics on Thursday and scheduled a visit with the doc.  I have also been taking Zen Pep for my pancreatic enzymes over the last few days, which doesn’t work as well for me as Creon (my script had run out and I decided to wait until my appointment today to get a new script for it).  I’ve lost a little bit of weight and have been having some pretty bad nausea recently, so I was hoping that getting my Creon would help curb that trend.

Now, it’s important for me to note here that I make a point to go to this one pharmacy, even though it is out of my way.  As someone who fills a lot of prescriptions, I may look for different things in an ideal pharmacy.  I rarely if ever expect to be able to run in and out with no wait.  I don’t usually expect the process to be free of complications.  What I do expect is to be treated with respect.  Specifically, I expect that they listen to my questions and concerns and answer them without being rude or acting like I’m wasting their time.  I do expect to be able to walk to the desk when it’s my turn and be waited on, especially when there are 5- 10 people (that’s just counting those that I can see) working.  

There is a pharmacy 2 minutes from my home that is RIGHT on my way to and from work.  I do fill some standard scripts there- normal antibiotics and such, but no more than 25%.  I actually drive to a pharmacy all the way into Bangor (about 20 minutes away) for the majority of my medicine.  It’s definitely out of my way.  I definitely have to wait MOST of the time.  And they are ALWAYS super busy.  But they are super polite, they make a point of explaining any issues, and most of all, they are awesomely understanding about insurance issues- sometimes I’ve gotten my scripts before getting billed, or given a discount, because they recognize that it’s important for me to get the meds I need, even if there’s a temporary problem with insurance. HOWEVER, they obviously can’t change insurance requirements.  My insurance covers a lot of things I need, which is awesome, BUT it is a pain in the butt when it comes to prescriptions.  Many of them need “Prior Authorization” from my doctor before they’ll pay, which takes a couple days to go through and get approved- and they need to be renewed every year.  And in fact, right now is that fantastic window of time in which all of my PAs are expiring and need to be renewed!  Awesome, right?

So, now that I’ve rambled on with the back story, I’ll explain my day.  Following my doctor’s appointment, I went to my usual pharmacy to fill my enzymes and vitamins as well as to pick up my hypertonic saline that they had been out of over the weekend.  I waited about 20 minutes for them to fill the saline, but they hadn’t gotten the other scripts that my doc’s office was supposed to call in.  So I called the office to remind them and after about 5 minutes the people at the pharmacy let me know that they had received it.  Score.  So I’ve waited another 15 minutes or so when a woman came out from the back and called my name.  That’s NEVER a good sign!  Turns out BOTH my enzymes AND my vitamins need a PA.  AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I was so frustrated -this is the 4th time in about 2 weeks that I’ve had to wait due to a PA- but I tried to be polite.  As frustrating as it is, it’s not their fault and at least I got my saline.  Ultimately, that was a bummer and I get pretty caught up in being angry when trip after trip has the same result.  It’s bad enough that PAs extend the wait time, but it’s obnoxious when you have 10-15 prescriptions to fill every month!  Oh well, I get over it.

Ok, so now for the good part of the day.  After struggling with a potential infection for a week or two, with less than a week on antibiotics, as well as being without my saline for a day and a half, I was expecting my pfts to have dropped since the end of June.  It’s been about 2 months since I started being really great about doing my treatments including my vest and making sure to get the most out of it.  I also just recently tried starting to get some cardio on the elliptical.  I haven’t done a lot of it, but I do have more stamina than I expected to.  So how did my pfts look?  Better!!  My FVC was down, but last month was abnormally high and my doctor tends to be less concerned about that measurement.  My FEV1 went from 51% to 53%!  Considering I’ve felt sick, that’s pretty awesome.  I came home to add today’s data to my graph and it looks like I’ve been slowly but steadily increasing since December when I was at 47%!  I’d say that’s something to celebrate and be proud of!  So overall, it was a pretty good day.  :)