We live in a small town and our pharmacist is approximately three blocks away. Lou isn’t a franchise, he’s a small store with a huge heart that takes care of my family when a need for medication arises.
When you have diabetes that need is a constant. While I was thrilled to have Hannah start pumping, I was saddened to have to order pump supplies from Animas. I was truly hoping that Lou could handle that for us. I want to give him business, it’s not easy trying to keep a business afloat in the best of times, let alone in this economy.
Now, to make matters worse, with some recent insurance changes I am forced to use a mail order company for our test strips. This past month I called Lou for our standard order and to give him my new insurance number for Priority Health only to find out that Hannah is restricted to 200 test strips a month regardless of Doctors orders.
Let’s do the math on that one. Using a 30 day month, that is allowing Hannah 6.6 times per day to test.
2am check, breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, bedtime. Six times at the barest minimum.
No allowances for highs or lows. No taking into consideration those long nights where we battle a resistant low, watching the Swedish Chef on YouTube (börk!) to pass the time. Zero thought for the need to basal test (a blood test every hour for 24 hours to make necessary adjustments to her insulin pump) They’ve never seen the look on my daughters face when she says, mom, I need to test, I feel really low. What do you say to that? No, I’m out of test strips? Wing it?
On average, that child tests between 10 – 12 times PER day. Not 6, not only when she’s hungry, 10 – 12 times per day. Her A1C proves it too, at her last checkup with her Endo, her results were 6.75 which makes me very happy considering her age and the myriad of other crazy things her body is going through right now, all of which affects her glucose readings. We can’t possibly get by on 6 tests a day, Hannah’s health depends on doing more.
Here’s the rub, they will do more, they’ll fill that script exactly as the doctor wrote it but only if we order mail order. Now, I’m sure the very nice lady on the other end of the phone has a family to feed as well but she’s not Lou. I can’t walk into that tiny little store where they know my name, know my kids, ask how Hannah is doing and genuinely want to hear the answer.
This makes me sad and I see it as a kick in the teeth to small business. I was never so embarrassed as I was this past weekend when I had to explain to Lou that I wouldn’t be ordering test strips from him any longer. For Hannah’s sake, I have no choice and the insurance companies know it. I’m curious just how big that discounted rate is to make it all worthwhile for Priority to make these kind of demands. Something tells me it’s more for their billing convenience than anything else, and that’s just wrong.