Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pharmacy Savings, Book Review, and Other Randoms

I digress today from my travel memoirs, but I have more of those!  

Some strange thing is going on with me where I can't sleep at night.  I stay up most of, or sometimes even ALL of, the night, and then once the sun comes up ...and I mean, sometimes it's like the recorded minute of sunrise for the day (as I'll later find out) ...I fall into the sleep of the dead.  I mean, the phone rings, people in my building slam doors and yell and do their usual shit ... but I do not wake, or I wake a little bit, enough to be aware of it.  It's more that I know these things go on all day when I am awake, so I assume they are taking place when I'm in this deep sleep.  Thankfully, the alarm clock does still rouse me, probably because nowadays I use it so infrequently.  

Speaking of whatever goes on here while I sleep, just yesterday I left my building and saw that Sheriff's Office had placed a sort of "sorry we missed you" note on the main door.  It referenced a court case number and the officer's badge number; then at the bottom was handwritten "c/o [someone's name]".  Now, I know that this was not regarding me, but I was still curious.  The name at the bottom, the "c/o" which in usual terms means "in care of" ... does that mean the person to be contacted at the Sheriff's Office?  Because, um, I can assure them that no one in this building will be taking it upon themselves to call up the police and go "um, were you looking for me?  Hi!  I'm home now."  And if that name referenced the person they were looking for, um, is that really okay?  Like, isn't that invading my privacy to post a big notice with my case number (so anyone interested could look it up and see what I have been arrested for or whatever) and my name?  Shady, you Sheriffs Officers, shady.

Okay, so what else?  Today I learned that Walmart is NOT playin' when they talk about their discounts on generic drugs.  I don't mind sharing with you that one of my billions of prescriptions (it sure seems like I'm at some pharmacy every single day practically) is Ultram, the generic of which is called Tramadol.  It's for pain, you know, like killer migraine pain.  Anyway, I've been getting it at my local Walgreens, because they have a savings club and all my meds are there and blah blah.  But I went to Walmart today basically on a whim, because I had pictures to pick up and it was on my way to the dentist.  I thought, hey, they have a pharmacy, why not?  So the lady who took my info said it's a 30 min wait, blah blah, and I went to the dentist and came back... 

Okay, when I get it at Walgreens ... and I'm not singling them out, because they have pretty comparable prices in my area to other pharmacies, and they're cheaper with the savings club ... but when I get it there, it is well over $50 for say 90 pills or a 30-day supply or something.  That's the generic, and that's a pretty typical script.  At Walmart today, to pick up those 90 pills ... drum roll ... SIX DOLLARS!!  SIX!  6 U.S. dollars.  Shit man!  It makes me want to go return all those other months-worth of pills and get refunds.  You know?  The same medicine, the same amounts, the same manufacturer and everything, and they charge you $44 more?  Outrageous.  Wow.  Well, I know where I'll be getting my generic medicine from now on.  

Now, if you have medical issues like I do (and God bless ya if you do... sheesh), I have to add that the pharmacist at Walmart told me they have considerable trouble even getting certain other drugs, brand-name ones.  Like, say Adderall and the newer Vyvanse are some examples I know of.  She says they don't keep them in stock and when she orders them, they "may or may not come."  And if they did, it would take over a week.  That's super odd, if you ask me.  At the ol' W-Greens, they just order stuff they are out of (which is rare), and it comes the next day.  So I would say Walmart specializes in drugs that are generic.  

And what else did I have on my mind as I sat down to write today?  Oh well, I've been reading an outstanding book that I would recommend to anyone who is even remotely interested in one or more of a variety of topics including:  Law, Society, Current Events, Politics, Philosophy, Morals & Values, and more!  It's called Justice:  What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel.  I actually received the book as a Christmas present from my dad, who told me that the parts he read were so fascinating that he couldn't bring himself to wrap it up for me until Christmas Eve.  He said he kept reading it and worrying that if he didn't hurry up and wrap it and put it away, he'd end up with it all dog-eared or spilled-on.  

The subject matter is heavy, but Sandel sort of spoon feeds it to us, as I can imagine him doing as a teacher.  A really fun, inspiring professor.  I've heard there are long waiting lists for his classes, and when I read this book, I can almost hear him talking (minus the timbre of his voice, which I've never heard).  But seriously, you know how some people can write in that way where it really is just like listening to them talk to you?  I would be surprised if I learned this book was not just like his lectures and lessons.  And they are good ones!  They're like your favorite teacher, who really gets you to love a subject that maybe you sort of liked going into it or maybe you couldn't have given two shits about when you were forced into the class.  But he makes it exciting.

The thing is, while I'm reading this book, I am simultaneously watching the Tea Baggers (if that's the low-brow name they originally desired, then by all means, I'll be happy to oblige them) carry on with their blatantly ignorant signs and carrying monkeys with them to their protests and the whole bit ... and I'm watching President Obama, what he's doing, what he's saying, because that's what I do, I watch the man I helped elect and whom -- I proudly tell you-- I greatly admire, but do not blindly support, do not always think he's right and all that garbage that "they" accuse "us" of doing ... and I'm thinking to myself as I read this beautiful book ...

Everybody should read this. No, REALLY.  Because at the heart of this book is the history and evolution of OUR current society and its laws and it's morals and values, conflicting and complicated as they are.  There are things that I feel ashamed for not knowing as I expound on my own political beliefs.  Sandel really tells you where to find the root of our ideas of what is "right" and why we think that.  I love the challenge that the book is giving me as I read:  I have to ask myself Why do I believe that x, y, and z is the "right" way to run a government, a country, a church, my SELF?  Yes, we say, it's RIGHT that every citizen of an industrialized country have access to basic shelter, food, and health services (maybe you say something else, but this is my example, so just roll with it, kay?  Sandel offers all sides of that theory)... But then we have to ask ourselves...What makes it "right"?  And if that is the end we seek, how do we achieve it without crossing our own morals and doing something that is "wrong" in our view?  Or do we not care about the means if the end is met?  And so forth.  It is fascinating to me.

So when I see people spouting off on TV or on their little crayon-drawn signs (as they do around here), I wonder whether they have asked themselves these questions.  It's not enough to just say what your neighbors or church or parents have told you.  This is the fabric of our changing world, our changing nation within it.  And so if people are going to get passionate and go protest and rally and speak out against the war or the government or the President, then for God's sake, I pray you, I beseech you, read this book or at least ask yourself this type of question and know your answers.  I don't feel like we have any business blowing smoke out in the public square until we understand where we stand.  

So, okay.  Off my soap box.  I'm not usually one to preach or tell others what to do, but I just really was moved by what I learned in the book; and I'm not finished with it yet.  Probably some people have already asked themselves these moral questions, through their education or their church or wherever.  But I'm pretty educated and come from brilliant parents with a wide range of experiences, and I know that I have not really dug down to see what my beliefs are all about.  Okay, so that's that.  I said I'd stop!

And my sweet Dorian is patiently (sort of) nudging me to go out on the porch and play now, so I must attend to that.  I hate when I sleep half the day as I've been doing, ESPECIALLY because someone else (even if that someone is not human) depends on me to get my ass up and feed him and play with him and generally tend to his well-being on a schedule.  This guy who, as I've written many times, has been patient and uncannily sensitive while I've suffered through illness and pain and whatever ... I just think he deserves the most respect and fun and exercise and good life that I can give him when I AM well.  So I'm trying.  Even with the "new" routine (which I do NOT wish to make a trend) of waking up at noon (if we're lucky) and thus, not filling the food dish til then, etc., he complained for about a day, then he just settled in; now I find my guy sleeping in his favorite box, also til noon.  He's just a cat, but he's enough to make me want to do better.  Yes, for myself, of course, I'm not an idiot.  But for him too.  I'm all he has.  Food, play, sleep, treats, toys, and me, his human.  And that's good, I realize his cat-ness means he doesn't need what humans need, but still.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that he has given me so much, whether he knows it or not or whether it's a sacrifice or anything, for him.  That's the least I can do in return.  

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