Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Writing Your Thanks

One of my children has recently been diagnosed with a serious disease, and I’m still learning how it will affect his life. For one thing: Medical insurance is a necessity. During the next two months, he’ll take an unbelievably expensive medication. In fact, a one month supply costs more than the value of his car. Our insurance pays over $4,000, but the co-pay, or our portion, is $994.

At Walgreen’s picking up the prescription, my mind reels with a kaleidoscope of questions: What are the side effects of the medicine, especially since my son is being given three times the normal dose? How can I understand a disease that causes him to need such powerful drugs? I’m researching, but I’m not sure that I’m asking all the right questions. And, gulp, the practical—how do I afford the co-pay?

Then, I remember my son has given the pharmacist a card from his physician that reduces our co-pay, but the pharmacy tech can’t find a record of it. I whip out my cell and call my son. He speaks with the tech and jars her memory. When she looks again, she produces the card. My jaw drops when she tells me my portion: $0.

My son watches a video on how to self-administer the medicine. He’ll need to vary the injection sites and watch for signs of infection or symptoms of a long list of life-threatening diseases. He learns that the medicine is supposed to be refrigerated. He breaks into a cold sweat and feels as if he’s going to throw up. He prays, “Please, let the medicine only need to be refrigerated after it’s opened.”


And my son still needs the medicine.

I’d been overwhelmed when the prescription was being filled and the tech hadn’t told me to refrigerate it. Since my son had to wait for instructions on how to dispense the drug, he hadn’t opened the bag where the fine print said it needed refrigeration.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday . . . The Condensed Version.

After my son pleads, Blue Cross and Blue Shield agrees to write off their portion, but the pharmacy charges me the original $994 co-pay, since the card is only good once each month. I know that my family will still eat, but I’m thinking Christmas is going to be slim. I speak with the manager, who asks the corporate office to waive my charge. In the end, my family was blessed tremendously.

You agree: it’s a wonderful story, but how is it writing-related? After all, this is a writing blog.

Well, (1) I’ve written this down so my family will remember a time when we were very blessed. Also, (2) I’ve published this story here to give Walgreen’s and Blue Cross and Blue Shield well-deserved recognition. Finally, (3) I’m writing letters thanking the local manager and the corporate offices for their generosity.

When someone in your life is kind or thoughtful or gives service beyond what’s expected, I urge you to put your thanks in writing.

~Roxanne Sherwood~

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