I miss the olden times.
Oh, not the REALLY olden times, like when you ate what you grew or killed yourself, because that seems fairly messy and also girls weren’t allowed to wear pants. That just seems like a drag. But I mean the halcyon days of middle America when every modern invention was fabulous and nobody knew or cared that it might not exactly be good for you. Sugar cereal? YUM YUM! Canned veggies with cups of salt in ’em? DELICIOUS!
And as for things like medications… well, if your kid had allergies or whatever, you didn’t have to get special medicine for it. Silly! You just gave them a spoonful of cod liver oil or honey or maybe you gave him a shot of brandy, I DON’T KNOW, but it all just seems like it was a lot easier.
No, I wasn’t alive then. And neither were my kids. But we miss it, anyway. And here is why:
EXHIBIT A: Like most of the rest of the people in the world who can 1) afford to make choices about food, 2) think, and 3) read, I’ve started trying to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from our diets. It’s a lot like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, only MORE DIFFICULT, because HFCS is in just about everything. (And no, Corn Growers Association, I am not buying your crap about it being a Sweet Surprise. A sweet surprise of screwed up metabolism, maybe!) These days I make more of our food from scratch than ever before—owing to both health concerns and the discovery that two-parent households actually allow for the time to cook/bake some things I never had time to, previously—but there are items, obviously, that it’s just convenient to be able to buy, pre-made.
I bake bread, sure, but sandwich bread is a handy thing to be able to buy. And crackers. And cold cereal. (I do make a mean granola, but still.) You know the sort of stuff. And it’s all got HFCS in it, or could, and so I am back to reading labels and being more deliberate about my choices.
This has caused my daughter no end of grief. She taps her foot while I select the non-HFCS-containing bread (sometimes wailing that I no longer buy her the bagels she likes), but it becomes full-scale battle when we get to the cereal aisle. Because all the GOOOOOD cereals have HFCS. And WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE ANYWAY so why does a little bit of CORN SYRUP matter? GEEZ. (Note: There are plenty of good cereals without HFCS. Someone is a little melodramatic, though I am not naming names.) Eventually we come to agree on an inferior cereal (or I just pick something and move on), but the muttering continues for several aisles.
Why, this weekend I found out that I am the ONLY MOTHER IN THE COUNTRY who doesn’t buy her children apple juice, too. AND THAT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE CORN SYRUP. Clearly I am just trying to make life as miserable as possible.
It kind of makes me yearn for those days when they told everyone that powdered formula was nutritionally superior to breast milk. I mean, it wasn’t TRUE, but everyone believed it, and everyone was happy! No one read the label! And all the moms bought their kids apple juice, too!
[Note to self: Stop taking the deprived child to the grocery store.]
EXHIBIT B: My son has been taking a 10 mg dosage of a medication, and his doctor recently decided to up his dosage to 15 mg. This particular medication, however, comes in a 10 mg tablet or a 20 mg tablet—but not in a 15 mg tablet. That’s fine. We can cut the pills in half and he can take 1.5 pills every day.
“Am I going to have trouble filling this prescription?” I asked the doctor, as he handed me the script for 45 pills as a 30 day supply.
“Nah, you’ll be fine. It’s written out,” he told me.
I have been trying to fill that @&$^! prescription ever since. Because it couldn’t possibly be that the doctor wrote the prescription for a 1.5 pill dosage when a 1.5 pill dosage was called for. DON’T BE SILLY.
Given my recent issues with our local pharmacy, I decided to try out the pharmacy located at our grocery store. I’m there once a week, anyway, and they seem friendly enough. So I brought the prescription in and they told me it would just be a few minutes. I wandered off and discovered that pasta was on a 2-for-1 special, so I loaded up with noodles before returning. (This is not relevant to the story. I just thought “I loaded up with noodles” was a mental image you needed. You’re welcome!)
I returned to the counter only to be told that they were so sorry, but the insurance was rejecting the claim. 30 days, 30 pills. Period. Did I want them to try to get an override? Well, yes, I certainly did, but it was past 5:00 and they’d need to call the doctor’s office.
We were out of medication, though. So the pharmacist was nice enough to give me 2 pills and told me to come back the next day.
The next day they hadn’t heard back from the doctor’s office. Oops! It was Friday, then, so the pharmacist gave me three more pills to get Monkey through the weekend.
This morning I called my doctor’s office, and they said they’d call me back. An hour later, this is what happened:
Chirpy Doctor’s Office Hag: Is this Monkey’s mom?
CDOH: Yes, I see that you’ve had some trouble with his prescription and the insurance.
Me: Yes. And I specifically asked the doctor if it was going to be a problem, because I suspected the half-a-pill thing might be.
CDOH: Well, yes, the insurance company requires a Prior Authorization for a dose like this. I can help you with that.
Me: Oh. Well, great! I would appreciate that.
CDOH: That’ll be $10, which you can either pay over the phone or by dropping off a check.
CDOH: You see, the insurance company makes us do this a lot, and there’s just a whole lot of paperwork involved, and so we need to charge for it.
CDOH: Um, so, did you want me to go ahead?
Me: You know, I’m not often speechless. Do I want you to go ahead? Yes, my child needs his medication, so obviously we’ll do whatever needs to be done to get it, but the fact that you are CHARGING on top of what we pay for a visit there? That’s ridiculous. I mean, you KNOW that, right? That it’s ridiculous that I should have to pay an additional fee to get you to tell the insurance company to honor the doctor’s prescription?
Me: So if someone didn’t want to or couldn’t pay this additional money—on top of the doctor’s visit, and on top of the prescription cost—you would just let a patient go without their meds, because it’s too much trouble for you?
Me: I’m sorry, I know it’s not your fault, but I am just stunned. That’s preposterous. That’s everything that’s wrong with health care in America, right there.
CDOH: So did you want to pay by check or credit card?
I have to go back to the pharmacy today for two more pills to get us through until the prescription is authorized. (And the next time we go to that doctor’s office I am tracking down that Chirpy Hag and getting a piece of her hair. I’M JUST SAYING.)
Maybe this is a sign that we should just ditch the meds altogether. I’m sure I could find some cod liver oil or something to give Monkey, instead. Oh, wait. I KNOW! I could just give him a big spoonful of high fructose corn syrup! That would solve ALL my problems!