Fair warning: I am likely going to drop an expletive or two in this post, because I’m very annoyed. Current frustration level: F-bomb.
For mast cell activation disorder (MCAD), I take a medication called cromolyn. Actually, if you want to get technical, its “cromolyn sodium oral concentrate”. It consists of these little tubes filled with clear medication that come latched together in a discreet package. Discreet shiny, glittery, crinkly “let me see how many people I can make stare while I open this shit” silver package that could be used in place of a mirror if you’re ever stranded in the desert and need to signal a passing search helicopter.
Each silvery packet is then packaged in a larger cardboard box – large enough that it doesn’t fit with the other prescription bottles at the pharmacy and you have to direct the pharmacist behind the counter where to find it. “It should come in a big box. No, it won’t be with the other prescriptions ready for pickup. I think that’s it in the corner, over there on the second shelf. The second shelf. No, the second shelf. The shelf below the first shelf. Yes, that second shelf. It’s right there next to someone’s giant bottle of – what does that say? – OH. Well this is awkward.”
The boxes are only about a square foot, but the three that I am given at each order weigh enough to set off the seat belt alarm in my car. Sometimes I like to put a hat on the boxes so I don’t feel like I’m driving around talking to inanimate boxes wearing a seat belt.
I mean, in the event I were to actually talk to them. Because I don’t. No, YOU’RE crazy.
The little tubules in each shiny packet are squirted into a glass of water, although apparently the amount of water with which they should be mixed is some state secret that cannot be disclosed at my current security clearance level, because NO ONE WILL TELL ME. Are we talking an ounce? A trendy BPA-free water bottle full? Should I just get the hose? I have no idea.
Sorry, I digress. So, you squirt the tubules into some *undisclosed amount of water*, stir, and drink it straight (not on the rocks). It’s all very bourgeoisie.
On July 30th, I ran out of cromolyn. Naturally, I called the pharmacy to refill the order. It typically takes a day or two for the pharmacy to special order the prescription as they don’t keep any on hand, so I knew it would take a few days. I’m trying to get better about ordering it when I start to get low so I never run out, but I have been busy spending countless hours researching what new toy I’m going to buy my dog. Don’t judge me.
So, five (FIVE) days later, the pharmacy calls to tell me they’re out of cromolyn, the manufacturer is out of cromolyn, the world is out of cromolyn and we’re all going to die. Maybe they just said the first two, I pretty much stopped listening after that.
I called a few other pharmacies in the area. They’re out, too. I’m starting to panic a little. At that point, I had already been without cromolyn for almost a week.
Cromolyn is one of those medications I don’t realize is working until I’m out of it for six days, and every inch of skin on my body starts to burn. It feels like a bad sunburn, except I’m not a gorgeous lobster-red, and I didn’t get to spend the day chasing my dog or making out with the BF on the sand. Then it starts to itch. Then I get a rash. Then I get stomach pains and digestive issues and am constantly clutching my stomach as if in labor.
It’s kind of sexy.
So, I sent a casual email to the drug manufacturer that produces cromolyn to see if it was true that there was a shortage in production. It basically went like this:
I’m just, you know, inquiring whether you guys are really out of cromolyn. My overbearing pharmacist said you were, and I’m just, you know, seeing what’s up. Whatevs, no biggie.
and NOT like this:
WHEREISMYCROMOLYNFORTHELOVEOFGOD. GIVE IT TO ME NOW. You have one job – How can you be out of the drug that you manufacture???? It’s simple – JUST MAKE MORE. Don’t make me come down there.
Lindsay N., Esq. Attorney at law.”
Yeah. Not at all like that.
After calling every other pharmacy in the area I could think of, a chronic illness friend or two suggested calling the mail-order pharmacy. I feel like some of those mail-order spouse companies could really hit it big if they included drugs free with your spouse. Although if that was the case, I’d have like 12 husbands. And maybe a couple of wives. I’m really not picky when it comes to free meds.
So I called Express Scripts, and apparently they’re the doomsday preppers of the medical world, because they have a shit ton of cromolyn. Awesome. Can I have the
assholes friendly neighborhood pharmacist at Rite Aid fax you my order? Great. Assholes Friendly Neighborhood Pharmacist at Rite Aid says that’s not how it works, Express Scripts has to call them. Express Scripts says that’s not how it works, I need a new prescription from my cardiologist. Cardiologist says no, the script was just written three months ago and they can’t write another. Insurance company says no, I can’t have two outstanding prescriptions for the same medication with two different pharmacies.
Explain to insurance company I’m switching to mail order pharmacy and they can
shove the other pharmacy order up their ass ignore the other order. Insurance company says Done. Cardiologist says okay, they’ll write the script if the other is cancelled. Express Scripts says “Give it to me, baby” (uh huh, uh huh). So now I’m pretty fly for a white guy gal.
Two days pass, Express Scripts says Cardiologist still hasn’t sent order. Cardiologist says bite me, yes we did. Rite Aid calls and says, “hey, guess what. That prescription you wanted filled? We have it in stock now. But we can’t fill it for you anymore, because you said to cancel it. Just called to tell you. Oh, and I did your mom last night. Love you! Buh-bye.”
Meanwhile, Manufacturer responds to my
paranoid pleasant inquiry and says yeah, there was a shortage, but we should have cromolyn soon. And, from your email we can tell that you’re a very beautiful, intelligent, put-together lady who is not at all crazy.
Aaaaaand that’s where I’m currently at. Twelve days without cromolyn. Like I said, Frustration level: F-bomb.
I found one last glorious silvery packet of heaven cromolyn hidden in my desk at work, but I can’t bring myself to open it. Because then I would really be out, and what if there was an itchy/burning-related emergency? Besides, once my order is finally filled, I’m going to open that silvery packet and slowly and seductively empty it all over my body and bathe in that shit.
With an undisclosed amount of water, of course.
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” – Herman Melville
Smell ya later.