A Boomer Lifestyle Blog

Monday, May 20, 2019

Good Rx and Drug Price Research

At Peg's urging I did check with Good Rx to see if I could find any deals on my insulin.  I had done this many years ago, but like auto insurance, it pays to check each year. 

Long story short.  I take two insulins every day.  Toujeo is a long-acting insulin taken once a day.  Novolin-R is a short-acting insulin taken before each meal.  The dosage of Toujeo stays the same each day.  The Novolin-R has a base dosage but is bumped up by a formula depending on my blood glucose readings before each meal.  The Toujeo is a slow release insulin meant to keep my sugar balanced all day.  The Novolin-R is meant to address any high readings of blood sugar and cover the set number of carbs allowed for each meal. 

I did check Good Rx and as I remembered they have a caveat:
  • I am not currently eligible for prescription coverage from any state or federally funded programs, including but not limited to Medicare, Medicaid, VA, DoD, or Tricare
There you have it.  And why?  Why should the US Government not get the best price?  I have to wonder if it is because the 1% and the Stock Market depend upon the stock in US Drug Companies to make lots of money.  Why else would the same drug be cheaper in other countries?  Debra mentioned, and I have read multiple articles about, US Citizens going to Canada to buy their insulin.  I haven't priced airline tickets lately but I'm wondering what the comparison of an airline ticket vs. the donut hole price of my insulin would be.

Sanofil, the maker of Toujeo, does have a discount card for uninsured, again excluding Medicare. Good Rx has a coupon for $308.17 for the uninsured Toujeo user.  Why then is the US Government through Medicare paying $1,500?  It is the damnest thing. 

I must just face the problem that the drug will cost more and adjust my meager budget.  It is a shame to go into the increased electricity bills for the Hot Houston weather and the increased Insulin bills at the same time but there is no choice.   I will survive. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Will the Insulin Problems Never End?

I received a copy of my monthly statement from the Medicare Drug Insurer last night.  I had just looked online last week when I pulled that snafu and ran out of Novolin-R late in the evening and had to go to Walgreens for an expensive refill.

I didn't look at the total of the amount Medicare had paid, and only looked to see the extra $100+ Walgreens had charged over the price at Walmart.  Truthfully though, I'm extremely lucky to be able to get one of the original insulin drugs over the counter at Walmart.  They have some kind of deal with the manufacturer of Novolin-R.  Once again, you have to know this to get the deal.  My doctor said Novolin-R is not nearly as good as the one she would like me to take, but understands that I am caught between a rock and a hard place.  I only wish the other drug, for which there is no generic, of course, was equally available.

So I decided to give the statement a good read.  As my doctor has been increasing the amount of insulin I take every 3-4 months, it had been on my mind that this would affect the bottom line of my insurance coverage before I reached the dreaded Gap period.

You heard this coming, right?  With my next refill of Toujeo which charges Medicare $1560 for 54 days, I will reach my Gap period.  The normal coverage period ends at $3,820 in drug expenses and the Gap period lasts until $5,100 has been incurred.  If you know Medicare coverage, they have a fancy formula for what they pay and what you pay while in the Gap period. I tried to figure out what it would be: 70% of the negotiated price, less 5% paid by Medicare, then 25% paid by me???  Too complicated for this old brain to figure out.

The only good thing is that with the price of my insulin I should get through the Gap period faster than most.

Tut.  Tut.  Tut.  In what world does this make sense.

On the other hand, my friend's mother has Alzheimer's.  She is living with my friend and her husband and trying to run away daily and becoming frightened over so many things.

There you go.  There is always someone who has it worse.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sharing a Post

I read a really good post by Leslie at OnceUponATimeHappilyEverafter about helping her Mom maintain her dignity as she becomes more dependent upon the help of others to maintain her personal cleanliness. 

Some of you may have already gone through something similar with aging parents.  I had not so the information was appreciated as I plan for and think about what my aging will entail. 

I'm one of those people who like to be "mentally prepared" with Plans A, B and sometimes C.  This post will just add information and choices when I have to put the "Plan" into action.

Hahaha.  Goodness knows.  By the time I'm in disposable panties, they may come in multiple color choices of high waist, low rise and high cut thighs.  I'll be the one in tie-dye disposables.  We Baby Boomers are big business as we age. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Foreign Films

You know I'm a weirdo already, right?  This will add to the list.  I like foreign films.  You know, the kind with subtitles.  And no, it has nothing to do with my poor hearing, although I can see a time in my future when I might have to keep the closed captioning on all of the time. 

Anyway, I was watching a Swedish film this morning and all of the female characters had long blond hair.  I'm sure many of you, like me, went through a period in your younger days when you wished you were blond.  For me, the California Surf Bands played a major role in those high school years.  Barbara Ann played on the lunchroom school jukebox every day.  Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys were everywhere and I wanted long blond hair and a Woody (the car/station wagon) with a surfboard on top. 

Now Houston is about an hours drive from Galveston (as in Glenn Campbell's Galveston, Oh Galveston).  But, as far as a beach like California goes, it is a long way from desirable.  However, it is all we had so, me and my 1950's Ford, beach towel, baby oil and a gaggle of girls would sneak down there.  Of course, I was not allowed to drive that far.  Teenagers, what can we say.

Back to the point of this blog.  I never did get blond hair no matter how much lemon juice I put on my brown mop.  A little orange was achieved at some points, but never have I reached a blond stage. 

So looking at all the Swedish blonds on the program made me think of this craving to be a blond.  I have to say, I still wish I had seen myself as a blond at least once.  But there you go.  Another unfulfilled item on the bucket list. 

And yes, I know I could get a blond wig to try on but really, the face looking back at me would not satisfy that 16-year-old craving.  Oh well, it could have been worse.  My Mom could have caught me driving to the beach and I would have been headless, blond or not. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Look at the Neighborhood

Here is an interesting transformation I've been watching. 

This cute little yellow cottage has been completely gutted on the inside.

In this close up you can see all the way through the house 
to the addition in the back.

This is the same addition from the side street.  I have seen many 
of the cottages in the area that have undergone a similar
renovation.  I don't quite understand the need for so 
much space but the kids tell me I am out of step with 
the times. 

Lastly here is a ladybug some child has painted and placed
on their mailbox.  I am trying to think of some way to let
that child know someone has seen the ladybug.  Any ideas?

Saturday, May 11, 2019

I've got a Question

Does anybody wear a necklace or bracelet made out of wooden beads? Are they are natural wood or dyed wood?  I am thinking about making some necklaces out of paracord and wooden beads.

If you or anyone you know has worn this kind of jewelry I'd love some feedback of any kind.  What size beads?  How comfortable was the weight of the beads?  Really anything you might know about it.

I found some information about using the same dye I used to ice dye on the wooden beads so I thought I would try.  You know I'm always looking for a new craft to fill my day.

Here are some examples:

Emily Green necklace

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cataract Update

Yesterday I went to the Endocrinologist who was very glad I came in to discuss how to handle my insulin and the surgery since the colonoscopy sent me into a serious drop.  She continues to be very concerned about my numbers.  I had a think about alcoholics or heart patients or other medical problems people get and they refuse to take care of it.  How often we hear that they'd rather die than get a grip.  I don't want to die slowly and maybe painfully if it can be helped.  The doctor thinks I'm doing something wrong like not counting carbs right, taking meals to close together or I can't remember what else.  Bottom line it is up to me.  So I ordered several Diabetic Cookbooks from the library in hopes of finding a dozen easy to cook, low carb meals that I actually like. 

Then today I went back to the eye doctor for a follow-up and she said cat scan but I don't know which test that was.  She said my eyes were in incredibly good shape considering how bad my diabetes is.  I talked to her a long time about my fears both over the surgery in general and the surgery as far as problems a diabetic might have.  She made me feel better and told me that I would get some kind of drugs before the surgery!!  Yes. 

Since I can only afford the manual surgery (the lasik was $2000 per eye after medicare), we will go with that.  Since my darling son is paying for my AARP supplement, she believes my bill will be paid in full except for a compound medicine they use for antibiotic eye drops which be $230 for the two eyes.  If I sail through the left eye, I'm going to do the right as soon as possible. 

So on June 7, I go for the pre-op which is where they measure my lens for the replacement.  Today is May 8 so June 7 being the first available appointment tells you how busy they must be.  At that appointment, they will schedule my surgery.  I will see the diabetic surgeon and he only does surgery on Tuesdays so I hope I won't have to wait too long. 

My stress was so high this morning I had diarrhea (TMI I know), but I felt better after talking with the doctor.  Some doctors just have that ability and some you just click with.  I feel lucky to have chosen her. 

Well, that's it for the eyes.  The Rockets play tonight.  I hope it is on one of the main channels because I have had to watch some of it on the laptop to get TNT through Hulu (long story).  My legs were jumping around so much during the last game I'm surprised I didn't have leg cramps that night.  Hahaha. 

And..... I did find a solid red shirt in my closet ... watch out... Team Spirit at work here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Telephone Conversations

I have a dear friend of over 40 years.  We had our first apartment together with another girl.  We went through dating, marriage, childbirth, divorce and now aging, together. 

Yesterday we had a long telephone conversation.  She has always been a telephone person.  I have always been an I'll pop over and see you type of person.  I think part of it has to do with working in law offices all my life, hence constantly being on the phone.  This also means I was surrounded by adults all day and did not miss the adult contact that some professions lack.  In fact, when I got home or on the weekend I never wanted to talk on the phone and didn't feel guilty if I didn't answer.  My friend, who is a very social person in the first place, was a kindergarten teacher so adult conversation was a guilty pleasure of hers.

I realized that evening after we talked that phone conversations just do not do it for me.  I want to sit down with a cup of coffee and look at you.  I want to be enveloped in that special world that we share.  I want the intimacy of sharing thoughts together. 

I always knew, and everyone close to me knows, I want my conversations short and sweet.  Hello.  Goodbye.  That's me.  I always felt I was the strange one.  Now I realize that I want a deeper contact than I can get with a phone conversation.  I thought that was very interesting. 

Today is another doctor day.  Endocrinologist.  You know I'm hoping she says I can't have the cataract surgery.  On the other hand, as everyone shares with me, I would love to see clearly again. 

I watched the Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors last night.  I'm not a big sports fan.  I used to watch the Rockets when my law firm had great tickets I could use but I didn't really care for it on TV.  Long story short.  We are 2-2 and it is terribly exciting.  These players have incredible talent.  If you remember, I decided that watching basketball would be one of my new hobbies. 

Finding hobbies that don't cost an arm and a leg and where you don't end up with gadgets that you don't have room for and no one needs, is a problem.  So basketball is working out just fine on the no cost, no residue front.  Except that I think I need a Rockets shirt even though I sit in the living room and watch the game.  Ok, maybe not totally cost free.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Eye Exam and Possible Cataract Surgery

Well my little trick to fool myself worked pretty well.  The week before last I went to the new doctor I told you about then to the foot doctor.  I first went to a podiatrist about two years ago.  I had a little something on the bottom of my foot and, as a diabetic, I didn't waste any time getting it checked out.  He had a good bedside manner and when I went to go back a year later he had retired so I had to find a new doctor.

I don't know about you but I am all about finding a doctor close to my house.  So the next doctor I found was a foot surgeon.  I went to her as meet and greet type of appointment.  I explained my diabetic history and since my brother-in-law had just lost part of his big toe due to diabetes, I wanted to be extra careful.

My feet have a tendency to really build up calluses.  I often got manicures when I was a working person but did not really care for pedicures because they tried to rub the callus down to the bone.  The foot doctor told me that diabetics can get ulcers under the callus that you never see.  How can she see it then?  I didn't think to ask her but she told me not to get pedicures to removed the callus and to come back every 3 months.  Of course, I would not have done this in an earlier stage of my life, but I'm kind of in a proactive stage of my life right now.

But I digress.  I purposefully scheduled two appointments that week to try and numb my anxiety of doctors a little.  So this past week I went to the eye surgeon, another yearly requirement for my stage of diabetes.  The cataract in my left eye is really blinding me.  I kept telling myself that it was just an exam and I didn't have to agree to the surgery if I didn't want to.

I nearly canceled the appointment several times that day and could hardly sleep the night before.  I did manage to get there and the Surgical Eye Center was like a well-oiled machine.  My prescription hadn't changed much so nothing there but my cataract had continued to grow.

My sugar levels have been particularly bad since the move and I managed to gain weight.  I find all this strange as the amount of walking Buddy and I have been doing and the amount of energy required to pack and unpack should have brought my numbers down.  Somewhere along the line I have been fooling myself about my food intake, I guess.

Anyway, my eyes are in good shape as far as the diabetes goes but the eye doctor wants to do a cat scan of my eyes before she schedules surgery.  So while that happens next Wednesday, I have scheduled an appointment with the endocrinologist the day before the cat scan to make sure she thinks I can undergo this surgery from a diabetic standpoint and to see how I handle my insulin while doing it.  Remember that the preparation for the colonoscopy played such havoc with my sugar that I almost fainted trying to get a shower the morning of.

So next week coming up I have two doctor appointments back to back.  I am hoping that it will continue to numb me so I am brave enough for the surgery.  I am planning forward as if it will.

On to more important subjects...  Buddy has finally recovered from his dew claw episode.  I was really worried over the little limping midget of a dog.  Yesterday I took him on a short walk outside and he did fine.  He has been housebound for about five days and boy was he glad to use his nose again.

Didn't mean to go into another long post about my medical woes but, there you go, that was what was on my mind.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Walkers, Boomboxes and Cell Phone Talkers

I woke up at my usual late hour and enjoyed a great cup of coffee.  I gave my sister a quick call to see if they wanted to come over but they were on a road trip around the nearby countryside.  The weather has been beautiful down here, but she reported very few Blue Bonnets to be seen.  I wonder if that is because we have had so little rain?  I hope this is not an indication of a long, dry summer.

Anywho....  After the phone call with my sister, Buddy and I went out for a nice long walk.  A lot of other people had the same idea.  So, of course, Buddy had to make a fool of himself and me with all the barking until he got tired and then we just strolled along. 

I usually take my cell or camera with me and snap a few flowers along the way.  I had a song in my head a friend had mentioned (darn her, I couldn't get it out of my head) so I looked on my phone's playlist and decided Donna Summer would be a good second choice.  So with the phone in my pocket and a barking dog on my leash, I strolled through the neighborhood enjoying a mishmash of old Rock N Roll, Disco and Classic Country.  Hahaha.  A few people who were working in their yards looked up at the sound of my music so I waved and kept strutting, only slightly embarrassed for playing my ancient music.  Several other walkers gave me a smile.  I'm sure they were asking themselves if I knew the Disco Era was over.  Ha.

Then I got really tickled thinking about when teenagers used to go around with those big Boomboxes on their shoulder and aggravated everybody with their loud music.  I rode the bus some while I worked downtown and I remember those kids listening to their music and ignoring the emblem of a Boombox in a circle with an X over it plastered all over the walls of the bus. 

Then I got to thinking about later on when I rode the Park N Ride to work downtown.  A fancier and more expensive bus ride that went straight from one location where you parked to a major downtown street and dropped people off along that street.  Cell phones had become commonplace by then and many people would get on, get seated and immediately get on their phone.  It was ridiculous all the conversations - some of which should never be heard by others - floating and mixing together.  These days the bus ride has been replaced by shopping.  Forget trying to get down the grocery store aisle unless you are there with the "on the way home from work" shoppers who are moving fast. 

Anyway, enjoyable walk and fun trip down memory lane.