Monday, January 19, 2015

For weeks now I've been saving up my pennies toward the purchase of an IPhone 6 ... .

... a luxury, surely, when I have a perfectly adequate flip phone and -- these days -- except for calls from Dorian -- I'm rarely taking calls except at my office.   In a related case, after being frugal for weeks I've accumulated nearly enough to get myself down to the MAC store after being convinced that I owe myself this one luxury.  (Stupid, since next month I'll not owe myself anything.  The debt will be to my credit card company!)

However, on Friday I woke with the vaguely familiar tightening of the throat and a raspy voice and all signs of the onset of a fresh cold.  Called my physician who suggested that this may be just a common cold, but that -- since this is flu season and -- (despite the fact that I had dutifully gotten my flu shot in October), at my age we need to err on the side of caution.  "Come in and let me check you out and order up an anti-viral."

In a few hours, with prescription in hand I found myself before a pharmacist who informed me that the hospital was totally out of the drug, but that he would make some calls around to see where I could pick it up.  No luck.  Walked back down the hall to my doctor's office who then wrote out a prescription and told me to take it to my local outside pharmacy.  Returned to the hospital pharmacy to release them of the need to continue to try to locate a supply.  The manager took my doctor-written prescription and replaced it with a blue card saying, "you're going to be charged an arm and a leg, but since we can't fill this until another shipment arrives on Monday morning (there's a 48-hour window in which to act before it becomes ineffective against this year's flu bug) you need to present this card at Walgreens and then we can reimburse you the difference between the Kaiser price and that of an outside pharmacy."

Twenty-four hours later (after driving around for what seems an endless search) a supply was located at a pharmacy in the next town of El Cerrito.

Picked up the prescription yesterday, handed my credit card to the clerk, then stood in shock as I signed for the transaction,  $196.83 for ten 30 milligram tiny pills taken twice daily for a 5-day regimen.

My IPhone 6 would have cost $199.

For a few minutes there I considered whether I wouldn't just prefer to suffer the flu for a few days and drive down to Emeryville to pick up my new phone.  I opted to be sensible, but for a while there it was a toss-up.

What ridiculous choices we're called upon to make these days.