Apr 13, 2015

doctor-pharmacy-gluten free triangle of hell

I'm on hold with the pharmacy.
Nope. Back on hold.

This is fun. I'm trying to get antibiotics for the start of an infection.
My doctor prescribed me Bactrim. It's gluten free, but it's also a brand name. My insurance is not a fan of using the brand name if there's a generic substitute.

Six months ago, I tried to get a birth control prescription. My doctor found the brand she wanted - and it was gluten free - so she just wrote it out. I didn't realize it, and when I picked my script up, it wasn't the brand version. There was no information on it being gluten free... and luckily, the pharmacy took it back. (Not a normal thing, FYI.)
What happened, as I'm sure you've figured out, is that the pharmacy did what it does and switched out my "normal" script with the generic version.
I ended up finding a different version - one that was already generic - and had my doctor write a script for that. One issue dealt with.

So back to today (or, okay, Friday. In the interest of full disclosure, I started this Friday while I was on hold, and finished it today while watching NCIS: New Orleans).

I asked my doctor to write "must be gluten free" on the script, so when they switched it to the generic version, they'd check.
Instead, she wrote "brand medically necessary. Must be gluten free". What that meant, of course, was the pharmacy couldn't switch it to the generic version. It also meant that two week's worth of pills would be around $50 (like I said, my insurance doesn't like brands). The generic is $2. So.

You know what? Let's do this as a timeline of my day.

9:15 am - doctor's appointment
9:20 am - went into the room
9:45 am - the doctor came in
10:38 am - left the doctor's office
10:45 am - realized the $50 vs $2 difference; picked up one prescription
10:49 am - sat down to wait for a shot
11:06 am - actually got my shot
11:10 am - called my doctor and left a message about the script I wanted
11:20 am - went home for lunch
12:07 pm - called my mom, updated her on what was going on.
12:54 pm - got a call from my doctor, telling me that the medicine I wanted wasn't available in the US.
12:57 pm - finally logged into the Express Scripts website and found out what they say is the generic version of Bactrim. It's something called sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim. I couldn't find it on the gluten free drugs website.
1:18 pm - called the pharmacy to see what they subbed Bactrim out for normally. The answer? SMZ-TMP. That was staring me right in the face on the drug list. It's the same thing as the sulfamethsomehtingoranother. I hate drug names and abbreviations.
1:51 pm - called the doctor back to see if she could prescribe me Bactrim, without earmarks. Turns out, she wasn't there anymore. The receptionist said that if the pharmacy called her, she could verbally change the prescription
1:54 pm - called the pharmacy and the pharmacist that gave me my shot agreed to call the doctor. All's well that ends well.

I thought that would be a little more interesting. For the record, I didn't make up the times. I used my phone's call log. I'm a nerd like that. It's okay, I know.

So what's the takeaway from this? I learned a few things. Cue a numbered list, below.

  1. If possible, check the generic options of drugs while still at the doctor's office. Get her to write a script for that specific generic, and note that it can't be changed. 
  2. Call the pharmacy and find out what their go-to generic is. Check that against glutenfreedrugs.com. If it's safe, your doctor can write the script for the regular, brand name drug. DO NOT label "brand medically necessary". 
  3. Don't trust the internet blindly on generic versions. Use resources provided by your insurance (I use Express Scripts). 
  4. Always make doctor's appointments in the morning. 
  5. On glutenfreedrugs.com, try searching the web page for the drug in question. I searched Bactrim and found the actual drug, along with the SMZ-TMP listing which had "generic Bactrim" listed in parentheses after it. Sigh. 
  6. If you do need to get a script changed (because of a handwritten notation; I'm not sure about changing it totally), the pharmacy can call the doctor and the doctor can verbally change it. 

Oh, the real kicker? I'd gotten prescribed Bactrim last May... and it was subbed out for SMZ-TMP. All of this could have been avoided. I thought the name Bactrim sounded familiar... oh well. Live and learn.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Apr 8, 2015

Thoughts from State: 2015

Well, the number one thought from State is that I really should have written this AT the SLC. Sigh. Maybe someday I'll learn.

Here we go with the 2015 Dallas version of TFS. (If you're unfamiliar with this, go read the others here and here).

  • State really is always cold. I flew up to Dallas in jeans, a comfy sweater shirt, and my business heeled boots. That was great - until I actually got to Dallas. It had snowed the night before, so I was navigating the DART bus/train system in heels and with a suitcase... through snow and slush. Not fun. All in all, it wasn't terrible. 
  • The DART was great leaving the airport. I paid $5.00 for a day pass - and in hindsight, I could have gotten away with a $2.50 2-hour ticket (I thought I would leave the hotel again...) - and it got me from the airport to about a minute away from my hotel. 
  • I really need to plan better for leaving the conference. This year's trip was littered with cancelled flights and last minute plans... It was a mess. Don't ask. 
  • The Dallas Love Field airport has a Jason's Deli on the secure side. If I ever fly through or to there again, I need to check out their gluten-free options... even if I have to go get my bag from baggage claim. I'll have time. (I didn't this time, and regretted it later.) 
  • On that same note, I should just take a sandwich with me when I fly. 
  • I still never leave the hotel once I get there. Even with the DART system as an option. 
  • I would really like to visit downtown Dallas in the summer. Or whenever it's not freezing cold. 
  • Always check delivery times in the morning. I waited too late one night, and Pizza Hut wasn't delivering anymore. 
  • Both room service and delivery take at least 30 minutes... give yourself an hour wait time. 
  • Never order milk (for cereal) from room service. Put your cereal in a cup and go downstairs. The conference has milk for coffee. Use that. 
  • Eating cereal out of a starbucks cup will get you some weird looks. It's a great plan regardless. 
  • If you're working behind the curtain, make sure you have a snack. Once you get there, you don't leave. 
  • The same goes for a phone charger. 

This year, I tried on my business outfits before I left and made sure that I packed things that worked together. It was great. It saved so much time in the mornings, and I knew FOR SURE that what I had would work. 

I also helped two teams prepare for prelims. Here's what I have to say about that: 
  • Financial Analyst Team: Your reports better be damn good. Not only does your technical score determine if you make it to finals (and get to present), but it also plays a role in your final score. If you have the lowest tech score at finals, you probably won't make it. Mathematically, it doesn't work. Trust me. We tried to send a team to NLC, but their tech score was so much lower than another teams that we had no choice but to send the other team and make them 3rd. 
  • If you make it to finals, bring a copy of your report to the judges. 9 times out of 10, they didn't get a copy of your report. If you're the first group to present, be aware that the judges might not even have the prompt. Be careful about asking, but don't be surprised if they ask you what's going on. 
  • I've said it before and I'll say it again - don't believe that your judges don't know what they're talking about. I have a BBA in Finance and Accounting, and I asked more than one group if Earnings Per Share was what the investor got back for investing in the company. (Note: it's not.) I also asked if the current ratio should be high, because "higher is better, right?" I also asked how "that stuff" worked. The point here is that if you don't know the answer to that, don't just blindly agree. We don't always try to trick you, but in finals, it's a matter of sending the best team to finals. (And a note: the team that won first place knew that the CR shouldn't always be higher. There's a range, and they knew it.) 
  • A note that doesn't come from judging - if you have an issue that makes presenting unfair, go to headquarters and tell them right away. In this case, it was an issue of people in the hallway being loud and playing music, which distracted from the student's presentation. After hers, the judges made them quiet down. By the time she told her advisor and the advisor told us, there was nothing we could do. If she had told us right away, we could have let her present again under the quiet (non-distracting) circumstances. 
  • Use the WSAP. Seriously. Look at the grading rubric's and follow them. That's what the judges get. 

I'm sure I'm leaving things off - I always do. If you have questions, feel free to ask me! Whether it's now or next year or whenever - ask, and I'll either know the answer or find out. 

The 2016 SLC is in Corpus Christi, so let me know if you'll be there! I will :p 

Apr 1, 2015

March Favorites

We're already several days into April now, so I'm going to only hit a couple highlights and catch the rest at the end of this month.

First up, Udi's Gluten Free Italian Sausage Lasagna. It's easy, tastes great, and is the first frozen meal that I finished wanting more. I'd like to do a whole review of it, but school is tough right now, so just bear with me on this one.
Next, the decaf iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks. It's my summer drink, and in South Texas, March is summer enough to switch from hot coffee to iced.
I've also been loving the kinnikinnick gluten free Vanilla Wafers. Can you say, GF Nilla Wafers? FINALLY. They're a little harder than I expected them to be, but I really enjoy them.
 To put a bow on this month's (short) favorite's post, I'll leave you with the Pillsbury Funfetti Gluten Free Cake and Cupcake Mix. It's sweet, but not too bad. I'll do a full review of it later, but it was great. The batter was thick, but the cupcakes were light. I really enjoyed them (and so did my non-GF boy. Also: my parents)!