Do you remember the Soup Nazi from Seinfield? Well, since Seinfield is now off the air, he has a new job. He works for my health insurance company.
No Xtandi for you!
You would think that my oncologist would be the one to decide what drug I need to be on to fight my cancer and, for mercy’s sake, to stay alive. You would be wrong. My doctor might choose the drug (actually, I chose it, but that’s another story), but then the choice gets sent to the Soup Nazi at my new health insurance company for his stamp of approval. Apparently, he has no such stamp and has never approved any drug request. For anyone. And if you ask him to do so, he gets really pissed.
Yes, I did say, “new insurance company.” You noticed that, didn’t you? I know, I know. “Why did you change insurance companies, Ed?” Another long story. I was on a COBRA plan and the clock was ticking. This new plan promised lower premiums and better coverage. I heard the call of the sirens’ song and bit into the Affordable Care Act. It was all sunshine and roses. The devil, of course, was in the details.
I guess from the quote above, I can’t say I wasn’t warned! I was just so excited about the pre-existing conditions limitation finally being lifted that I closed my eyes and signed up. I have stage 4 prostate cancer. I have been a type 1 diabetic for almost fifty years. Heck, sometimes I feel like I am a pre-existing condition. But, finally, I can’t be turned down for health insurance. I’m covered. I can relax. No more worries.
Unless, of course, I actually want the drug I’m on that is, in fact, keeping me alive. Apparently that is not allowed. Never mind if the drug is in the company’s drug formulary. Never mind that I am currently on the drug with great results. Ultimately, it is up to the Soup Nazi whether I get a refill or not. And we all know what he is going to say.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining (much). During those five days of medical high stakes shenanigans, I wasn’t angry or freaking out (much). Instead, I was with my dear sister and her husband in beautiful Boca Grande, Florida being treated like a king – except for the fact that I pretty much slept through the entire vacation. Here’s a photo of what I missed.
Yes, the “wake up so you can sleep all day again” fatigue came back with a vengeance. We are trying to find a pattern as to when it is going to hit, but it’s all just a guess at this point. Maybe it only happens when I am on vacation. Lovely. The point is I was just too exhausted to do much of anything about this growing medical crisis. The clock was running out on my $7k/month Xtandi, but I was just so amazingly tired I just didn’t have the energy to care.
Now here comes the good part – the kindness of friends who intervened. I don’t mean by this a pat on the head, “we’re sorry you’re having such a bad time,” type of kindness (or friend). Instead, I mean a, “this will not stand – let us take care of it for you,” warrior type of kindness.
So while I slept, people prayed. They researched alternative ways to get the drug. My insurance agent did her thing. My sister kept me in vodka tonics. My brother-in-law thought the president of the company might be a client of his and was standing by to “intervene” (I didn’t ask what that meant, lest I become an accomplice).
My oncologist suited up for war. Something called a “peer to peer review” was scheduled (think “duel at 20 paces”). His medical assistant worked the fax machine until smoke was billowing out of it (you’re the best, Alda!). She just kept saying, “We will take care of this for you, Mr. Hague.” And somehow, she, they, and everyone involved, did.
The Soup Nazi surrendered unconditionally. He relented the very day I ran out of my drug. Thanks be to God and my warrior friends! In the ceremony that followed, I was given his “no drugs for you” stamp as a keepsake and a new one year prescription for Xtandi. The next day, I have never been so glad to see an overnight box arrive for me at the door.
Do you know someone in need? Of course you do. Let me encourage you to do what my friends did for me. Go a little crazy for them. Suit up and go to battle for them. Fight on their behalf. Pray like you have never prayed before. Intervene. Call. Wear down the opposition until they surrender just so you will go away.
Whatever the issue is, use all the resources at your disposal to make life better for someone you care for and love. The world is a tough place – show warrior kindness and make it a little brighter.
Then maybe when your friend wakes up or heals up or is able to stand up again, they will rub their eyes in amazement at the fierce love they have been shown. After all, it’s not often that someone just takes care of things for you – especially while you sleep.
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. ~ Psalm 127:2