I decided to start the new year out by getting my papers in order. That is the term they use right before they tell you your time is short, but that is not the reason I'm getting my stuff in order. I'm just feeling so much better and the chaos and disorganization is starting to get to me. I'm taking my life back so to speak. Part of that required getting a new address book and making all those entries up to date. It is a good time of year to do that as you reflect back upon the previous year (I usually get about four years out of an address book, and then it just screams for editing) and make changes. Some additions, some deletions, you know who you are. I was also adding in all the new doctors, and that led me to making a phone call to the insurance company as I needed a prescription update. One of my regular scripts (nexium) is no longer covered by my insurance company, and so I had to call them and find out which one was covered, and then call the doctor and have him write a new script for the new med. Sounds simple doesn't it? Silly rabbit. There's more. After discussing the prescription with the insurance "healthcare associate" I was able to gather information on all the drug substitutions for me, and inadvertently found out that if I don't use my local pharmacy but have my scripts sent via regular mail from the insurance company, many of the prescriptions I take would have no co-pay. NO CO-PAY? Are you kidding me? This is great! I will call my Doctor and get new prescriptions written and send them to the insurance company. But wait! the agent said. "Your doctor must call us. Here is the number - Give it to your Doctor. You cannot call us, the doctor must call us". This seemed like a simple request, but the front desk person at the doctor's office would not call them. "We don't call them", she said. "We will only fax them the prescription". "Yes, I said, but they will give you the fax number when you call them. They won't give me that number, because they have a special number for doctors to call so you don't have to go through the endless black hole of automated telephone attendants they way the rest of us poor slobs do, you just get to call the 800 number and they will give you all the golden frigging super-secret information that the rest of us paying idiots can't have, and it will take seven seconds out of your incredibly busy frigging day! How would that be?"
As you can tell, I was getting increasingly aggravated because I was just telling her what the insurance company had told me, and she was busting my chops. Why? Why? WHY? I should point out that this is the cardiologist's office, This inflexible and irritating woman (who was giving me chest pains) actually works for a cardiologist who, by the way, had prescribed Nexium for me. Nexium is the Anti-aggravation pill. the little purple pill that they keep pushing on TV. I now really needed that pill. What, is she drumming up business?
Anyway, after I hung up the phone with my Doctor's office (whom I happen to really, really, really like) and called back the insurance company, I spent two additional hours on the worst automated telephone system I have ever experienced. Welcome to United Healthcare. Have you ever argued with an automated attendant? I have. I'm not proud of it, but it is true. Do you think they have a red flag on the calls where people are freaking out? Is it being recorded? Are they laughing at us all on their lunch hour - playing back the lunatics who are losing it on the telephone. Because truth be told, I was a little snippy with Miss Automation. She kept asking me the same questions over and over, because I refused to answer with the only options they kept giving me. None of them applied. I kept pressing the zero because I've heard that it is a sure-fire way to circumvent automated phone systems. Wrong. It just kept prompting Ms. Automation to start her whole routine from the beginning. Again. I finally got through to Mark who, God bless him, had the patience of a saint. He understood my frustration, he would be happy to help me get this whole mess sorted out, and he was terribly sorry that it had not gone well for me. I wonder what medication Mark is taking, because he was taking my abuse rather well. It has taken me the better part of a full day to get my papers in order. My phone book is up to date, my calendar is neat and organized, and tomorrow I am considering cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Five days into the new year and I'm checking things off the to-do list like the tazmanian devil. I wonder if there is a medication for that? I may just call Mark back. If I could just find that number. . .