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Where to start? I started to feel better and actually ate a small baked potato with a bit of cream cheese about a week or so ago. Fortunately the russet was mild enough that it stayed down and I’m feeling much better now. The weather has been insane. Like 88-92F (31-33C). Crazy. The interior of this house is colder than it is outside. Sorry for annoying those in the bizarre polar vortex 2 with these temps.

Since I am out of food (yes, I even used up all my cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup) I was about to take a shower before venturing out. Which leads me to today’s “excitement”. A gas leak. Not having poked my nose outdoors, I turned on the little gravity furnace and heard a loud “pop” from the little box in the floor. At first I though it was just an overly energetic furnace. But on emerging from the bathroom where I was about to to take a shower, I was faced with the distinctive smell of gas. Swell.

So called the Southern California Gas Company. Okay, they’ll be out as soon as possible, stay away from the furnace. Kind of tough in a 650 square foot house unless you stand at the end of the railroad style (long and narrow) kitchen, in the laundry area. Okay after 30 minutes of standing on my cartilage-less knee, I gave up and went to my office figuring the front and back doors were open and I had turned the thermostat down to 49F (9.4C). Plus, I no longer smelled the heavy odor of gas. That, or I’d grown used to it and would be keeling over shortly. (just kidding) It’s now been one and one half hours since I called the Gas Company.

This is not normal, a few years ago the pilot light blew out and they were here within ten minutes of my call. It did however, afford me a chance to write this post.

Okay, so as I wait, what’s happened in the last two+ weeks? Well, a lot of phone calling. First, over an hour with my childhood friend S. in Wisconsin which is always enjoyable. Not so enjoyable is waiting and waiting, blowing my rollover minutes on Anthem Blue Cross hoping a human will answer.

You see, about a week ago I had my first appointment with the new dermatologist who has a (yay!) UVA/UVB photo therapy booth which I call a “light box”.

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Also info on light boxes.

So far I’ve only made one visit because the stomach flu decided to return this week. I did however get a bunch of tiny steroid shots all over my left knee last week, in hopes of making the psoriasis start backing off.

Back to the phone calls. I also almost picked up a generic prescription refill at the drugstore till I heard the price. What cost me $10 in 2013 now cost $130! No way. So I spent a half an hour on the phone trying to reach the pharmacy department at Blue X. No luck.

That’s not the worst of it though. I then spent about 1.5 hours total trying to get through to the manufacturer of Taclonex that the new derm prescribed, to see just how much of a discount I could get. The max was $300 unless I had a special card from the derm for a rebate of the entire cost. Kind of reminded me of trying to get a dispensation from the pope.

Well, the prescription for the Taclonex solution had been called in so I decided to go pick it up. Back in 2008, the last time I bought it, Taclonex cost $400 which is steep but since I’m facing surgery, I needed to clear the skin up.

Now, are you sitting down? You should be. It currently has a retail price of $1,676.96! With the $300 discount card from the manufacturer and the measly adjustment by Blue X, I would have to pay $1,162.96 for 60 grams. Well, you could have peeled me off the floor, that’s more than half a month’s rent. Is that obscene or what? So I told them to re-shelve it while I made some more calls.

This does not bode well since the surgery is scheduled for March 10. Which brings me back to phone calls. Last Friday I spent over an hour waiting to talk to pharmacy customer service at Blue X. I finally gave up. Since I’m the group administrator for my company’s policies, I called their number and after 20 more minutes got a human who told me the pharmacy lines had been swamped for weeks due to questions associated with the Affordable Care Act and pricing. On top of that, he couldn’t help me. Sigh.