Saturday, November 14, 2015

Easy to Learn / Difficult to Master - Part 1 of 2

There are numerous games that are simple to learn but difficult to master. We even have a book that came with small, round, white and black pieces and game boards for 10 games. All of the games are easy to learn and difficult to master. I can only remember that it includes mancala and checkers. I am now at the point in time where I can safely say that weight loss, while not a game, is definitely easy to learn and difficult to master. More accurately, easy to learn but nearly impossible for me to master. The rules for weight loss: 1. Eat Less 2. Exercise More. Everything else is refinements. To add in developing that mastery, I went to my doctor to ask for some medical assistance. It is called Contrave (8 mg naltrexone HCl and 90 mg bupropion HCl in extended release tablets).

I started researching weight loss drugs about a year ago with an article in the New York Times about liraglutide. I was put onto the naltrexone/bupropion combination while talking to a supervisor of mine. I was about to take my second leave of absence from a teaching position because of my ill-health brought on by my morbid obesity. He is a heavy-set gentleman as well. He said he couldn't afford the medication but his doctor had given him prescriptions for the components. His doctor had provided instructions for making it work after researching it.

While researching the drug, one of the things I discovered was that my prior health insurance company, Blue Cross of Idaho, didn't cover it. And then, wouldn't you know it? I get a great position at Boise State University and it puts me right back on Blue Cross of Idaho. I didn't have to sign up for Blue Cross. I could have stayed with Mountain Health Co-op. I had a much better experience with Mountain Health Co-op than Blue Cross of Idaho. But in order to get the dental and vision benefits, I needed to sign up for medical benefits. *heavy*sigh*

I finally say enough is enough and make an appointment with my doctor for some basic blood tests and ask for his thoughts on increasing my blood pressure medication and prescribing the components of Contrave. My blood pressure is doing well but he knows I have a blood pressure machine. He trusts my efforts so that request went smoothly. The second request didn't happen. He would only prescribe the Contrave. I said I already knew it wasn't covered by my medical insurance. He said there was a discount card that I could obtain from the company. Having spent a fortune on Weight Watchers and a greater fortune on Positive Changes Hypnosis, I was already anticipating sticker shock.

But there was to be an intense case of sticker shock. Sticker shock - The difference between the romanticized expectation of cost and reality. I called Blue Cross of Idaho for pharmacy delivery. Insert at least 5 minutes of navigating the phone menu and being on hold. They have contracted their delivery pharmacy out to CVS and transferred robotically to them. Insert another 20 minutes of navigating the phone menu and being on hold. I asked to have it delivered to see if it was now covered. They said it wasn't covered so it would be $50 per month. Now I have a starting number to work with. I take it to my local home-town pharmacy. They manage to induce sticker shock. Expecting to pay about $70-$80, they inform me it is $219. Ouch! Time to research other options starting with CVS.

Only CVS has started singing a different tune this time. This time, they confirm that it is $50 per month but say that if Blue Cross doesn't cover it, they cannot fill the prescription. Argh! On to the second option, the information from my doctor concerning a discount plan. Click-click: Open Chrome. Type: {enter}. Click here; click there. Type a few things. Click a few more times. Discount card printed! Good news: $70. Bad news: For 2 months. *heavy*sigh*.

I started the Contrave two weeks ago. I will report on its effects tomorrow. In the near future, I hope to report on the surprising and yet thoroughly depressing outcome from hypnosis.

Yours in the need for an improved future,