Having complained in these pages about my fuzzy brain with its lack of focus and concentration, it's only fair to let you know that over last weekend, it improved dramatically.
Or, maybe it has been improving a little at a time but was finally far enough along for me to notice only a few days ago. Either way, I'm glad to finally be more cognitively functional again.
I just read a book in three days, can now get through news articles I care to read and, as you might have noticed on Monday, can actually write something that involves a little research and more organization than I've been able to handle for the past few weeks.
Best of all, Crabby Old Lady has reappeared and she would like me to shut up now so she can get on with what she came here to say.
Crabby's attention and energy level have improved enough that she could probably drive her car again – at least for short distances - but she's not willing to try it quite yet. Over the past weeks of her recovery from surgery, she has relied on neighbors and friends to get her around but does not like to burden them any more than necessary.
With that in mind, Crabby arranged with Cathi Lutz to drive her to a doctor appointment this morning and on Monday, intending to combine what would otherwise be two trips, she telephoned her pharmacy to arrange to pick up a couple of medication refills – just a small detour on the way home – while Cathi would be driving.
Sorry, said the pharmacist. You cannot refill prescriptions until one day before you run out.
Listen, folks, this is not a controlled substance like, oh say, oxycodone. It's a drug that replaces enzymes Crabby's pancreas no longer produces. She will need to take it a minimum of three times a day for the rest of her life and without it, the pain resulting from eating is agony.
Secondly, people with life-threatening diseases, people recovering from surgery and people who rely on others to get them out and about cannot easily pop over to a pharmacy at the pharmacy's convenience.
The difficulty might be the availability of a friend to drive. Or, maybe it's being too sick or too fatigued or in too much pain on that particular day to be able to leave the house. Crabby knows all about those problems these days.
Crabby knew she was well on her way to being her old mental self when she told the pharmacist all this, making it abundantly clear at the same time that she was – well, miffed would be putting it mildly.
There was a long silence on the other end of the telephone connection and then: “There is nothing I can do about it.”
Unable to control her indignation – or, perhaps, relishing it – Crabby asked the pharmacist how it is not cruel to inflict this stupid rule on people many of whom may be at their most vulnerable. Or, what if Crabby were going out of town for a week or two and needed the medication to have while she was away?
Long silence at the other end of the phone again. Then: I can't help you. It's not a pharmacy rule; it's the insurance company.
Is that the dumbest rule you've ever heard – that the insurance company decides how soon a customer can refill the prescription? The company that may be hundreds or thousands of miles away?
Then it got weirder. The pharmacist told Crabby that the earliest she could refill the script was on Tuesday, the next day, but Crabby would need to phone again then to make the request. One day's difference.
To make matters worse, this pharmacy does not deliver. So, apparently, they are willing to let a customer go without what, in some cases, could be a life-saving drug because they allow an insurance company to dictate when they can dispense it.
As has been discussed in these pages before, being old is hard. Being old and sick is even harder and it is harder still when a person can't easily hop in the car or on a bus to get somewhere.
It may seem to be a small thing but Crabby Old Lady believes such a refill rule as this is of a piece with the kind of awful healthcare the Congressional Republicans and President Trump are trying to foist on Americans too young for Medicare.
The operating principal of the lawmakers and the insurance companies appears to be to make it as hard as possible for people of all ages to get the care they need - even simple things like prescription refills.