Through the Looking Glass

A month.  That’s how long I’ve been gone from here.

A month.

At one point, I was writing at least three times a week, but no more.  Gone are the days of me thinking that such a thing is even possible – why is that?  I have ideas, but I don’t have the energy or the wherewithal to put pen to paper – or fingers to keys, as the case may be.  But it’s been a busy month, so maybe there’s some justification in taking so long to write.

I’ve never read Alice in Wonderland, nor have I ever felt inclined to do so.  As a story, it just never interested me, an odd observation given how I actually enjoy surreal imagery.  Maybe it’s because I always associate the book with Disney, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the House of Mouse.  But the last month has felt somewhat surreal (although not Dali-level of surreal), and thus the title of the post seemed apt.

Where to start?

Well, there was the hacking . . .

One evening while reviewing e-mail, I came across a note from a commercial site with whom I do business.  “This is in regards to your password change,” the note read, and I sat there somewhat agog, knowing that I hadn’t made such a request.  Hell, I hadn’t been on the site in over a month.

Now, I get a few of these every year, and usually they’re from some attempt to reroute my account to some far off land.  For example, I learned that one such attempt was made by a guy in Vietnam.  Another buy a guy in Eastern Europe.  Occasionally, I get an American based attempt, but those have been rare.  It’d gotten to the point that I didn’t take such notices seriously because in virtually all cases, the site contacted me to confirm that I wanted to make a change – which obviously, I don’t.

But this instance was different.  The note further went on to tell me that the change had indeed been processed.  The only way for this to have happened was for the person on the other end to have my e-mail password as well.

To say that I flipped the f*** out is an understatement.

I don’t discuss this often, but I was the victim of an identity crime many years ago.  I was in the process of rebuilding my credit from my own disastrous behavior, and here came someone who thought it’d be funny to ring up a ton of charges on my dime.  I did what they tell you to do – go to the police, file a complaint, contact the feds and make a complaint, and check with a credit bureau, but that did little to help me.  The desk sergeant at the police station acted as if she’d never heard of computers, let alone computer crime – I kid you not – and after twenty minutes of gasping like a fish out of water, she ended my visit (no complaint filed) by giving me some fliers and sending me on my way.  The feds offered some tips, but little else, and the credit bureau – their philosophy was, “Let’s wait and see what happens.”

Fortunately, nothing happened.

Well, in the end, everything came together and the problem was solved.  I still don’t know what happened, but I do have a theory, which is only that – a theory – so I won’t share it without proof.  Still, you can appreciate my apprehension when I made this discovery.  Again, I was able to resolve the matter – in minutes this time, rather than days – and I was able to reacquire control of my web account, only to terminate it a short time later.  The whole affair put me off computing for a while, and given the hours of my existence that I’ve surrendered so that I could sit at a desk and type, that’s saying something.

. . . and the headaches . . .

Yes, my headaches have returned, and with gusto.  I’ve visited a physician and he’s put together a plan to identify the causes of these mega-migraines.  I’m baffled, to be honest, because it’s as if my entire being has been compromised.  I can’t remember the last time I was this physically tired without any kind of exertion.  I can spend nine hours in bed, sleep for three of them, and wake feeling like I’ve never closed my eyes.  Walking has become a challenge, as has holding my head up.  I’ve never been a big fan of medication, but I’ve been downing Tylenol PM and Aleve PM as if they were Good and Plenty.  Yes, I know that’s not good, but I’m open to suggestions.

The most recent medical visit ended with a prescription.  I hate taking medicine during the week.  I don’t know how I’ll react, I don’t know if it’ll make me oversleep, and I don’t know if it’ll interfere with my work.  Those are important things to consider.  It’s also important when considering the rather lengthy route I drive each week – can’t get out there and fall asleep while driving 70 on the highway, you know.

Anyway, I’m at the point where all of that caution isn’t just being tossed to the side; it’s being hurled down into a massive chasm.  I want relief.  I want the pain to go away.  I want to feel normal – or at least as close to my normal as possible.  So give me the drugs, doc.

Nice, except it wouldn’t be my life if it were that simple.  No, sir – it started with the prescription.  It’s been so long since I’ve gone to get a script that I did not know that doctors no longer hand you a piece of paper.  (Yeah, it’s been that long.)  They e-mail it directly to the pharmacy!  That’s so damn cool!  But it’s not out there, hanging around in cyberspace; it goes to the pharmacy you tell it to go to.  So, I asked that it be sent to one about three miles away, and the physician pushed a button and responded, “No problem.”

Well, yes, problem.  Seems that the pharmacy does not like my pharmacy insurer, so after waiting for about five or six minutes, I was given a lengthy, “Sorry, but beat it, kid,” speech.  Okay, I get it; no big deal.  There’s another pharmacy, also about three miles from me, but in another direction, so I go over there.  This is trickier, because I have to get the first pharmacy to transfer the script to the second pharmacy.  They can do this – “We do it all of the time,” she said, “but do you have their number?”

What?  Don’t you guys have that information?  I mean if you do it all of the time, you should know, right?

Again – no biggie; it’s not her fault.  So I pull out my phone and look it up.  Pharmacist lets loose an easily recognizable and universal sigh.  I’d recognize that sound anywhere, probably because I’ve made it myself a thousand times.  It was the gasp of an overworked employee – and with a sad look, says, “It’ll take about an hour, but we can do this.”  I honestly believe that she thought I’d flip out over the time, but I smiled and said, “Cool.  I’ll come back.”  She seemed relieved and I was content – my meds they are a-comin’.

Er . . . slow down, Cowboy.

Turns out the pharmacy insurer didn’t like the medication.  They approved one prescription, but rejected the other (the one for the actual headaches – the reason for the script at all) for reasons that I still don’t understand.  So rather than paying the anticipated eight dollar co-pay, I was hit with an unexpected bill of $44.  Now before you jump on me about the costs of medicine, I get it.  I’m blessed because I’m not some single parent paying out $500 per pill for their child, nor am I a diabetic on a fixed income who needs insulin.  Although it was a completely unexpected expense, the forty-four dollars I was charged was not the end of my world; it’s impact will be minimal to me.  But I question why I’m paying for drug insurance if the insurer can arbitrarily decide which drugs I should take.  If my physician, who’s in good standing with the AMA and otherwise qualified to do so, decides that I need Drug X, then my insurer should get no say in my access to it.

I paid the bill, trying very hard to not get snarky with the pharmacist.  It wasn’t her fault, but she was the person on the other side of the desk, and I have to admit that at one point I came very close to saying something that I’d likely regret.  Thankfully, I didn’t.

Still, I don’t get it, but I’m not going to say more because I’m still so angry that my thoughts are jumbled.  Hopefully, the medication alleviates my headaches and life will be good.  If not, there are other options.  But I hope that the insurance is on board because if not, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do.

And then there was the incident with the pie . . .

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