MY day really began fifty-two hours ago, when I, recently informed by his assistant that the Methadone Light my doctor had been prescribing for the searing night pains in my knee which were probably his fault to begin with would not only no longer be made available to fuel my nightly one-pill freakouts unless I shelled out for another visit, at which time I would be further informed that he wasn't going to prescribe more anyway, but that I'd have to start contributing to Pfizer's Advertising, Lobbying, and Hooker fund or say Good Day, Sir! and Welcome, Never Sleeping Again!, walked into my local apothecary and presented my prescription for CelebreX!, having exhausted the generous three-day supply I'd been given as a free sample. Post-meridian pain had been manageable in the interim, so I figured what the hell. The tech took my script, asked me the usual eight questions designed to foil pharmaceutical terrorism or hedonistic intent, and, satisfied, told me it'd be about fifteen minutes. I resisted the urge to ask whether she still had to call Homeland Security or whether it just took that long to count to forty, and said I'd return.
Which I did, two hours later, to be told there was no prescription waiting, then told that they couldn't fill one because my insurer insisted on prior approval for CelebreX! prescriptions. "Do you know what that means?" asked the helpful young man at the counter, helpfully. "I understand the English, but maybe you could fill in some around the edges if you're not busy," I replied. Turns out they had faxed my surgeon's office for a reply and were still waiting. Okey-dokey.
Now it is about eight hours later, and we are rapidly hurtling towards another sundown, or, roughly, 11:30 PM, M(itch) D(aniels) T(ime), and I have no medication. I return to the pharmacy where, again, there's no prescription, and I'm merely informed that the situation hasn't been resolved. Tough titty.
So I went home and left a message on what used to be the Cheap Thrills Line, the answering machine for the medical assistant, who has a three-minute-long voicemail message I can now recite from memory, and which begins by claiming she's away from a desk which, no doubt, doesn't even exist, or have a phone on it. And she returns calls with the expediency of Amazon sending you something that qualified for Free Shipping.
It was the first she'd heard of it.
Now, in these cases I don't really wonder who's lying, since they both are, and having slowed considerably with age and near-fraudulent medical care, I no longer imagine resolving the issue with an AK-47 and a string of jerry-built propane bombs. On occasion, this being one of them, I may indulge a brief reverie centered on how wonderful it would be to be the sort of Christian who is certain these people will burn in Eternal Ghenna Fire for crossing him.
"CelebreX! is probably the biggest single medication we have trouble with," she tells me, oblivious to the laundry list of questions she's begging. "The protocol is that the patient has to have tried two other NSAIDs, have familial adenomatous polyposis, or some forms of cancer." I'm not sure she said "familial adenomatous polyposis", which I got off the Wiki; it's possible they've got some all-purpose Latin handy for just these situations. At any rate, why they'd have prescribed something which was going to be rejected was never made clear, although I'm guessing it has something to do with two-weeks, all-expenses-paid, at CelebreX! Island GolF Resort and BunnY Ranch. She'll get right on it, and they have 72 hours to reply.
In the meantime I'd been considering just getting hold of some C17, some H14, a couple ounces of F3, a snifter of N3, a soupçon of O2, and a dash of S, and mixing up my own.
So I've slept in two-hour blocs for the past two days, and it's Thursday, which means I have to go out to the Westside to fill my mom's pillbox, a responsibility which devolves from Sunday free-time to Thursday find-time in warm weather because my sister and her family weekend at The Lake, which is somewhat ironic because I've never known her to even enter a body of water larger than a standard bathtub without waterwings, nose-clip, and swimcap, which serve as a sort of visual Greek chorus to her laughable dog paddle. That is, my sister spends weekends around a body of water despite the fact that even when swimming she manages to stay 85% dry. So I head out there as soon as I imagine rush hour has ended, only to discover that the entrance ramp to the Interstate I could have avoided by turning five miles earlier is closed, a condition which had not been predicted by any local signage as recently as ten days ago, so I go on another mile and turn, which course proceeds true for about three-fifths of a mile before I'm detoured again, then yet again. Three separate, unrelated detours. I finally got there by way of Little Mexico, which, relatively at least, is not all that far from Big Mexico. This is not to say the remainder of the trip was uneventful, oh no. By the time I got home I'd been stopped at, by, detoured around, or simply aggravated by (in no particular order):
• Three stoplights being repaired.
• Two stalled vehicles abandoned in the middle of their respective streets. No flashers, in case I need to say it.
• Three separate Public Works vehicles whose drivers have apparently been informed, perhaps as recently as this morning, that getting their pick-up trucks over 20 mph, regardless of the posted speed limit, will cause them to explode and erase all records of the driver's pension.
• A train.
• Two streetlights being worked on (separately, a dozen miles apart).
• A small pickup truck with forty-two pallets strapped atop the bed at an angle usually described as "frightening". (It was forty-two, believe me; I had several minutes to count them while going 15 behind the guy--who couldn't possibly have seen what was behind him, by the way--and wondering if I could get far enough behind him to survive their inevitable collapse except by stopping dead and being rammed by the guy behind me, who, judging from the fact that he insisted on going thirty-five anyway, evidently couldn't see the two stories of industrial accident in the making two cars ahead.)
• A guy standing up on his motorcycle, arms spead like a crucifix, doing forty in the opposite lane. Actually in the inside lane going the opposite direction, since by that point had he been in the lane next to mine so help me god I'd'a swerved at him.
• A public works paint truck (not included in the tally above; this one, as we'll see, was going the opposite way) passed on the blind curve of a two-lane roadway by five cars at once, apparently under the impression they constituted some sort of legal entity akin to a corporation by virtue of proximity. The truck was painting a double yellow line along a stretch of Kessler Boulevard which has been a no-passing zone since the Klan ran things.
I'm not even going to begin to tell you what happened when both cashiers at the pet food place I stopped at on the way home managed to freeze their registers within five seconds of each other, leaving me with a slipping bag under one arm, opposite the throbbing knee, and apparently convincing the woman in front of me who either stocks up by the year, owns her own rout of wolves, or has one 700-pound dog, to give up in exasperation what minimal effort she had heretofore been making to keep her five children (all under the age of menstruation, mutatis mutandis) from ransacking the joint. And y'know, for the first time in my life, I understood.
So, if you'd like to know what crossed my mind the other evening when I heard John McCain criticize His Democratic Opponent for voting for a bill which gave tax breaks to oil companies! all I can tell you is my head had already exploded.
[UPDATE: While I was out again--just don't ask--the medical assistant called to say that the CelebriX! prescription had been expeditiously approved and was waiting for me, or so she was assured, at my local pharmacy. Which I take to answer the question of who dropped the ball in the first place.]