Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shots....not the Jello kind either

Well, it's that time of year again. Last year I didn't get the Flu Shot because of all the controversy surrounding it. I made it through the year without getting sick at all and I know I'm lucky in that regard. However, I don't need to press that I decided I'd better get one this year. Last year was the first time I'd missed getting a flu shot in more than 30 years.

Last year I had also researched getting the Shingles vaccine but was told my insurance didn't cover it and it was just too expensive for me. So I didn't get it. Since that time I've heard of several friends and co-workers who have come down with Shingles and it's not pretty. Matter of fact, I'm hearing about a LOT of people who have gotten the Shingles lately. It can be triggered by stress and everyone is under a lot of stress these days. I looked into getting the vaccine again this year and discussed it with my doctor. He wrote out a prescription for me and told me what to do. I then called several pharmacies as well as the health department. The cost at the pharmacies.....those that even carried it....was in the neighborhood of $220 for the vaccine, including receiving the shot. The cost at the Health Department was about $156 and they would only accept CASH as payment, which tells me they must have had plenty of bad experiences with checks or credit cards.

Now I must say right here that my present pharmacy has been skating on thin ice with me. I've had numerous occasions in which I've been shorted pills, one time as many as thirty. They have a very bad record as far as making you wait.....and WAIT....for your prescriptions, even when they are called in ahead of time. What put the icing on the cake was that a friend of mine has a niece who worked for this particular chain and in her training she was advised to make the customers wait at least 30 minutes for their prescriptions so it would give them time to browse the store for additional purchases. I decided to switch over my prescriptions to another pharmacy that's been in business just as long and furthermore, it's a mile closer to me. I'm making the transition as each prescription comes up for refill.

So the pharmacy I'm using right now was the first one I called regarding the Shingles vaccine; they were rude (as usual) and the girl further said "we don't carry it because it has to be frozen and I don't know nothing about it". (bad grammar always makes my spine straighten). So I called a couple other pharmacies, the one I'm switching to included. This pharmacist at the one I'm switching to went that extra mile and actually questioned why my insurance company said they wouldn't cover it. They checked a little deeper and found out I have supplemental coverage which DOES cover it and so I was able to get this vaccine without having to pay $220 all because a pharmacist was exceptional at her job.

So, I've had my flu shot and the Shingles vaccine. I think I'm all set as far as that goes. As soon as I get the last mess straightened out that my present pharmacy has done, (only giving me a one month refill on a 3 month prescription and saying the insurance wouldn't cover it when it covered it the last time I got these refilled). I'm not looking forward to all the phone calls I will have to make and I'm not sure if I even can get it all straightened out. These prescriptions were supposed to carry me through to the end of February since they've done this, I'm not sure about anything. Why would an insurance company fill a script twice for 3 months supply and then the third refill say they won't do 3 month refills.....and it's the SAME prescription. This just shows you the difference in present one, they expect YOU to call your insurance company....the one I'm switching to....THEY call the insurance company on your behalf. See why I'm switching? The name? Why yes, I'll give it to you proudly......the name of the pharmacy I'm switching to is Rite-Aid.

We have enough stressful situations in life, we certainly don't need it from a place of business we utilize. So, til next time, keep smilin'. My next post is about a Halloween adventure I had many years ago that's still vivid in my memory.

Update: I've received some emails about Shingles since I posted this. From what my doctor explained to me is that if you've had the chicken pox, then you can get the Shingles. The pox virus lays dormant in your system forever once you've had it, just waiting for the right trigger. If you've never had the Chicken Pox....what you would get would be chicken pox instead of Shingles. (if you're going to get it at all) The vaccine is good for the rest of your life and may not totally prevent you from getting the Shingles, but you will only have an extremely mild case. Shingles are contagious as long as there are blisters; as soon as the blisters scab over, then you are no longer contagious. You are contagious this way: If you happen to touch the blistered area, then say pick up the phone for example....the germ would be on the phone and could be transferred to someone else. Some people may never get the chicken pox and those who have, may never get the Shingles. It is thought that the Shingles are brought on by stress. The most vulnerable are people over 60 who have had the chicken pox. As to your doctor about your own particular needs. Hope this has helped.


forsythia said...

It is SO annoying to have to do all this stuff. Isn't that what the professionals are paid to do and are supposed to be doing?

Happyone:-) said...

I've never had a flu shot!
I never had the chicken pox and I've been around a lot of people who had it including both my kids. I think you have had to have the chicken pox to get the shingles. I could be wrong about that though.
If that's the case I guess I don't need the vaccine.

Leann said...

I am fortunate to work within a health care system. I don't have to worry about that kind of thing because well, they look out for their own. I've heard a lot of people talk about shingles this year and I'm not sure why. Shingles is the same virus as chicken pox. I don't know the specifics as I've never researched it, but it seems if you've had the chicken pox, or been vaccinated against it, shingles should not be an issue.
Blessed be

Pearl said...

Had my flu shot yesterday. :-)

I had no idea there was a vaccine for Shingles, and oddly enough, I've been hearing a lot about it, too, here in Mpls.

Shingles is a "pox". It is possible to get it after the Chicken Pox, as it is a virus and can lay dormant for years, even decades. (You can also get Bell's Palsy in this very same way, as a friend of mine did. The dr. told him that the Chicken Pox he had as a child is more than likely how he contracted it...)


Beau's Mom said...

Whew. I know what you mean by misdirected information.

I had chicken pox. The virus lived in my body and decided to attack me at age 48.

The ONLY good thing about shingles is: Once you've had it - if you get it again, it will be in the same area. Left alone, Shingles SURROUNDS your entire body in the "area" you have it, front to back.

The unlucky ones get it around their scalp,forehead and eye area.

Mine was at the small of my back and would have surrounded my trunk if not for taking the anti-viral meds by the third day of it.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Wow, that's one bad pharmacy! Good that you are leaving it. I belong to an HMO and get my meds by mail, three months' worth for the price of two. And I am amazed at how much stuff I used to buy when I went to Walgreen's, even if I didn't have to wait. Interesting post. (And thanks for the discussion of shingles vaccine, which I didn't know about.)

Peruby said...

My daughter works in the pharmacy of our Rite Aid. Smiles.

I inquired about the Shingle vaccine last year and it was "no dice". I will try again this year and pound the drum until somebody listens.

ordinaryjanet said...

Why, in this day and age, are we still having to wrestle with doctors and pharmacies? I've been going to the same pharmacy that my parents used when I was a baby, so I don't have complaints, but you're not the first person I've heard of who has to struggle with this stuff.

Shingles sounds horrible, I can't believe people have so much trouble getting approval for the vaccine. You'd think that the insurance companies would want to avoid the medications and lost work days that probably translate into more than the vaccine costs.

dc said...

good job on researching the Shingles vaccine. We got them when we were in Co. 2 years ago from the health dept FREE. Lucky us. Since hubby and I have both had mild cases of shingles in years past we thought it was a good idea to get the vaccine. Just as a side, my husband was 65 when he got chicken pox. Everyone says he is lucky to be alive, lol. He just laughs and says that his nurse (wife) just went off to work and left him home sick. Well it is sort of true. LOL