Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Post Apocalyptic Pharmacy

I went to the pharmacy today. Usually that would be just one more thing in a list of places but today it was a trip in and of itself.

I don’t have a general practitioner or as the insurance people say, a primary care physician. I don’t have insurance right now so I use the public health system. I go to Parkland. My pharmacy is on the hospital campus.

I ran out of my blood pressure meds with this last refill of my meds box so I called it in. They told me everything would be ready Monday. I made my daughter get up and go with me in the morning to get them.

When I got to the pharmacy building, only one door was open. A path was cordoned off so you could only go one way. Two nurses in masks stood at the corner. First they asked why you were there. Some people had appointments but most of us were for the pharmacy. Then they took my temperature. 97.5. I feel like a radio station.

Next I was directed down the line to get a wristband. It was like a concert wristband with a tribal design on it. Then another nurse directed me to the hand sanitizer. After that I was finally able to enter the pharmacy.

The check-in line had X’es taped on the floor showing where to stand. The receptionist didn’t take my ID as usual. Instead I held it up to the glass partition for her to read. The glass partition has always been there, with just a slit to talk through and have her hand me a ticket. I always figured it was a physical safety issue, to keep violent people away like at a bank only for drugs not money, but now I think it has always been about disease.

Turned out my meds were not ready and they needed me to come back after 1230. I left the building and went with my daughter back to her place for a few hours. Coffee and kittens made the wait pass quickly. Just after 12 I got an automated call from Parkland that my meds were ready.

My daughter and I drove back to the pharmacy. I brought my daughter to wait in the car so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking. My budget is that tight right now, that $5 for parking seemed exorbitant. I went through the process again and was let into the building. This time the receptionist gave me a number.

I went into the waiting room. Usually it’s packed. The seats are arranged in rows of 6 and I’m used to 4 or 5 people sitting in each row. Today there was only one person in each row. Several people were wearing masks.

I was number 807. When I arrived, they were on number 788. I figured it would be a solid half hour wait. It was about half that. Things progressed smoothly and rapidly. I got my meds and by the time I left, it was pouring rain. Fortunately my daughter had been waiting nearby so I didn’t have long to wait to be picked up.

Now I am home. It seems so strange now, just going to the pharmacy. I also wonder what I will do the next time. I am now out of refills and insurance. I don’t know how I’ll get my meds next month. Even if they do an automatic refill extension like most places are, I don’t have any income and I don’t know how I’ll pay for them. But I have faith that something will have changed by then.

The world is all different right now and it changed practically overnight. I believe it can change again just as fast, in ways I can’t predict. I can only wait and see.


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Getting Meds

I am currently waiting for my pajamas to get out of the dryer. I like clean warm pajamas. Laundry had to happen.

I went to Metrocare for my prescriber appointment today. It was rather surreal.

First of all I was late. I did call and let them know I was behind, but I had to leave a message. Not efficient, I’m thinking, but what do I know?

I stood in line and the lady at the desk seemed surprised to see me. “Didn’t you get a phone call?” she asked me. It turned out that someone should have called me to say that they were not keeping appointments for the next 30 days. My appointment had been cancelled.

There’s only one problem: I was out of one of my meds.

I take a pretty standard bipolar cocktail of an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, and an atypical anti-psychotic. To my knowledge, I’ve never been fully psychotic but it’s preventative. I had run out of the anti-psychotic.

I told the lady, and she said she’d email the prescriber but it would take about an hour for him to respond. I said I’d wait, and sat down in the waiting room.

Domino’s delivered a pizza while I was waiting. It was such a normal thing that it seems not to belong in the world any more.

Then a lady came out and said she had to clear the waiting room. She gave sticky notes to everybody who was a hospital discharge or corrections release. The rest of us were ousted. I was told it was okay to wait in my car, I just couldn’t be in the lobby. So I went to my car. Considering that I had been there the other day and had been told I was a walk-in, only to reach the end of the day without seeing anyone, I had even less faith in the system working if I was out of sight.

After a while, my phone rang. It was Metrocare, following up on my phone call from earlier. He wanted to make sure I’d made it. Apparently he didn’t know my appointment was cancelled. It gave me the idea to call the pharmacy and see if my prescriptions were ready. They weren’t, but at least they’d been received. I tried to play on my phone but actually ended up napping, at least until the rap truck drove up. I don’t care what kind of music people listen to, but I do care that I could hear it clearly through the walls of the car. Since I was awake, I checked my phone and my meds were ready.

I went inside to pick them up. I don’t know why I’m not in the system for free care since I have no insurance and no income. I needed $20 for all three, but I particularly needed the anti-psychotic. I tried to pay, but I only had $15 in my account. I took what I could afford and left the anti-depressant. Embarrassing, and frustrating.

I went to my daughter’s place. Her boyfriend was there and one of her roommates was home, but mostly there was a herd of cats. A clowder of cats, I believe is the collective noun. There is Ryder with her 5 kittens, Angel who belongs to one of the roommates, Persephone and Perseus who belong to the other roommate, and pregnant Pumpkin who belongs to the boyfriend.

Now the boyfriend doesn’t live there officially but. But there is a closet full of his clothes. But he’s been there for a week. But his cat will be happier having her kittens there than at his house. Hmm. I see a change in the future.

I had coffee, daughter had wine, boyfriend played a video game. Skyrim, I believe. Roommate came in while I was talking about what happened at Metrocare.

“Do you need $5 for your mental health?” she demanded. Then she went in the other room and came back with a $20 that she gave me.

“You are a goddess!” my daughter said.

Then the roommate told us about an opportunity for waitstaff in Deep Ellum to pick up produce that was going to waste now that restaurants are pretty much shut down. She was working, but it seemed like a good deal. I offered to drive someone to pick up the produce, if someone else could do that. Turns out they can, so tomorrow I will pick up my daughter, go to Metrocare to pick up my remaining meds, and we will go get the food. Then they will share the food with me, they have already decided.

So things are weird, but we are all pulling together. The kids are helping me and I am helping them. My new job will put me within 2 miles of them, so I’m hoping to be even more help. They’re good kids.

Seems like the dryer is done. Time for a shower and clean jammies, then bed.


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Starting a New Week

It’s late Sunday night and I will be going to bed soon, but I want to think about what’s going on next week.

First of all, bank. I finally got my debit card and it is now activated, but I don’t have the pin. Apparently Citibank mails it to you under separate cover. So I have a card that is active but no money in the account and no way to put money in the account without a pin. So this is a little frustrating.

I already heard from unemployment. The turnaround time was really fast. I got paperwork and a handbook and a decline letter. They said I didn’t earn enough to qualify for unemployment. Now really, people who earn less money probably need unemployment more than people who earn the big bucks, so that already is annoying. But also the unemployment people didn’t have all my income for the year. I had to print out and send them a copy of my W2 for 2018. I mailed it Friday, the post office says they’ll have it Monday. Hopefully so, because I need them to pay me. That reminds me, I need to update my banking information with them.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at the USPS to get my passport. Or rather to order it. I have to get up and stay up long enough to do that. Standing in line will be the hardest part. Actually, turning over my birth certificate will be the hardest part. I can stand in line any time, but it’s a right bitch to get the correct birth certificate. Someone with my name was born in the same city but 3 years before me. Every time I request my birth certificate, they send me hers. Standing in line is cake compared to municipal bureaucracy.

I also need to stop by the pharmacy and pick up my prescription. That’s the blood pressure med. I am out of mood stabilizers, so the next couple weeks should be interesting. I called the pharmacy who says there are no refills on the script. However, it’s not like my doctor to put in one month for one med and 3 months for the other 2. I asked the pharmacy to contact him, but I left a message for the doctor myself.

Tuesday I need to drive up to Denton to go to the office. Now I need to do it anyway because I am having issues with my enterprise password so I need to see tech support. Besides that, work is doing a background check on me. You may well ask, haven’t I already been there for 2 years and shouldn’t this already be done? Well, yes and yes. In fact I asked the officer about it when I called them back. I figured, since I’ve applied for a few jobs while I’m off work, that it was one of them doing the check. But no, it’s my regular job. And the reason? “We’re catching up,” is what he said. But I will go up to the office, so that is my safety catch. Hopefully that night I can meet up with friends for dinner or drinks, though I really can’t afford it.

Elcie is working again, starting Tuesday. Full time for her. So that’s a good thing. Maybe she can pay me back some of the money she owes me. I could sure use it.

Also, I set up the hotel room for Vancouver. I had points from being deployed last fall so I was able to reserve a room for July 4. Something good from all the time spent at the Hilton Garden Inn.


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Brrr. Well, For 4 Days, Because This Is Texas

It’s cold. It’s so cold, the dogs are sleeping on my roommates. It’s so cold, both cats are sleeping next to me, under a blanket. It’s the “under a blanket” part that is unusual.

It’s so cold that I have a blanket over my lap because my feet are chilly. It’s just plain cold.

It was colder today in Texas than it was in Connecticut. Probably the only place colder is Alaska, where several of my friends are working.

Ah, I wish I was working. But that’s another matter. That’s just because I live better when I’m working. Of course, last time was such a good experience, I was quite spoiled. I would do that again, it was that good.

The regular facilitator for DBSA Monday afternoons is gone for the next 2 weeks so I’m taking over for him. I actually like facilitating. I want to get the peer support specialist certification so I can lead more groups. That would be wonderful. Then I can figure out how to get paid for doing it.

I am really pushing for a geriatric group, though we should no doubt call it something else. We’ve had several people who were over 70 come through, and they are dealing with end of life issues that could be addressed separately from the rest of us. I mean, younger people (and I am younger in this situation) don’t really understand in a visceral way what it feels like to deal with your body slowing down or facing mortality. Well some do, some are facing those issues, but not most of us. It’s not that older folks don’t belong in a general depression group, it’s more that they have issues a typical group is not prepared to understand. And being understood is the biggest thing any of us get out of peer-led groups. I know this because we all say it.

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras and I am meeting a friend for early dinner of pancakes. Yep. I am knowingly blowing my keto, but every once in a while that’s okay. Plus I’ve wanted pancakes for a while now. Fat Tuesday indeed.

I sent out a round of postcards, St Francis of Cape Fear, to a list of mailartists I found online. I have heard back from a few past mailings. I hope to hear from some real mail art / fluxus type people, not just the arty-crafty folks. I love the work the arty people do, but fluxus is more within my aesthetic and ability. I am working on developing my eye more. I need to draw, that would really help. Drawing is pretty basic to almost all art.

I am out of Lamictal. I called the pharmacy to refill it and got a message that 2 scripts were ready, I just assumed the Lamictal was one of them. I was wrong. So I called the pharmacy again and was told that there isn’t a renewal available. Now I have called the doctor’s office, but I don’t know if they got my message. I’ve left one earlier today and one after hours since I didn’t hear back from them. I’ll call them again tomorrow. Hopefully I can get back up to regular dose soon. It’s the one that helps manage my mania and I am seldom manic but I don’t want there to be any backlash from missing doses.

Looking forward to tomorrow, Recovery International in the morning, see my daughter, then pancake dinner. Should be a good day.