Monday, November 29

Narcolepsy and the Guilt Free Girls' Night

A couple of weeks ago, I went out for a night out on the town. I got all dolled up, went out for dinner, and then to the theatre. It was a fun, lavish, wonderful evening.

My husband wasn't there.

When my friends first invited me, my automatic reaction was to decline. A night out without my husband? Without my toddler? Without guilt? Without worry? Without.... narcolepsy?

It was just what I needed. 

For the first half of the evening, I couldn't stop thinking about my husband. I worried if he was OK alone with our daughter, I worried that he wouldn't remember to take his medication, and I worried that he wouldn't remember to put the casserole in the oven on time. I went back and forth over whether or not I should call to check on him. I hoped that he wouldn't resent me for going out to have a good time while he sat at home. It turned out that all of my concerns were silly. My husband and daughter were fine. He put her to bed early and enjoyed spending some time alone. He was also actually relieved that I went out and had fun. It turned out to be a great decision for me, for him, and for our marriage. 

In an article that I often refer to about living with a chronically ill spouse, it recommends finding individual interests other than the illness. It also mentions having friends to spend quality time with. Both of these things will go a long way toward ensuring that the focus of your marriage is not the illness. I thought that was sound advice, but I never really put into practice until the other night. It really did make all the difference. It was a nice break for me... and for my husband. Just as I sometimes am emotionally drained from worry and concern, my husband gets tired of feeling like a burden. It's a relief for him to see me lighthearted and happy. 

When I later asked him why he didn't take the opportunity to have some friends over or something while I was out, he said something that really struck me. He said that he really enjoyed spending some time alone. I said, you always spend time alone. He added, 

"Yes, but this time, I wasn't asleep."

Thursday, November 11

Prior Insurance Authorization and Narcolepsy

This last hiatus from my blog was not a good one.

Several days ago my husband ran out of his medication. When he attempted to get his prescription refilled, our insurance company told us that he would he need to obtain prior authorization from his physician. That authorization is a real pain because the insurance company asks for it every few months - we never know when - and they won't pay for his medicine without it. Typically it takes a couple of days, but this time it took several. 

My husband's first day without his medicine wasn't intolerable. He was a little tired, but he made it through.

The next day, however, he was exhausted, irritable, and slightly depressed. It was as if he had a bad hangover.

By the third day, he was a zombie. He slept for the entire day, until I eventually woke him to eat something. After eating, he promptly went back to sleep. It had been a long time since I had seen him sleep for an entire day. I'd forgotten how scary it was.

Watching him go for days without the medicine he needed to function made me sad - and angry. I started to wonder, just what is a prior authorization anyway? Why is it still required after years of being with the same company, and getting the same medication?

A prior authorization is something the insurance company requests when they aren't sure they want to pay for your medicine. This is more likely when your medicine is very expensive, has an age-limit, or is not usually covered by insurance (among other reasons). Usually the insurance company sends a form to your physician, they fill it out, and send it back. Once your insurance company decides to pay for your medicine - or not - you may still have to get prior authorizations every now and then. You may need to get them every 3-4 months like my husband, or maybe once a year... it depends on the company.

Because my husband's authorization took longer than usual, I called the insurance company to complain. As his advocate, I wanted them to know just how detrimentally he was affected by their dragging feet. They approved the medicine the next day and today he's back to normal.

For now, I'm relieved, but I know it's just a matter of time before we'll go through this rigmarole all over again.