When I see the future, I close my eyes

First, we’ll take a look at the past.

In the recent past — yesterday, in fact — Steve celebrated the 65th anniversary of his natal day.  Here’s a picture of him with a couple of party guests:

Steve (in flowered shirt), Catbus, Totoro.  July 31 2015.  Picture by Sharon Lee
Steve (in flowered shirt), Catbus, Totoro. July 31 2015. Picture by Sharon Lee

In keeping with the Cat Farm’s well-earned reputation for housing party animals, we partied hearty.  Some of us, heartier than others:


Going a little further into the past, here’s a fascinating slide show of the Baltimore that was.  I don’t remember all of the places shown, but I do remember an astonishing number of them. There’s even a picture of the General Motors Assembly Plant on Broening Highway, in Canton, where my father worked for many, many years, as a spot-welder.  This may be of interest to those who ask where Surebleak “came from.”  It came from Baltimore, folks.

Putting our gaze now firmly on the present and near future, I have today received a notification from the people who review our health insurance provider’s “formulary” that they will no longer be covering my thyroid medicine — levothyroxine.  They will be requiring me to accept an alternate — synthroid.  I think this is the first time in my life I’ve ever received such a notification from a health insurance company.  On the other hand, I’m fortunate in that I don’t take very many medicines, so maybe this is A Thing.

Here’s what’s funny, though. When I first started with the underachieving thyroid, my doctor prescribed synthroid, which I liked as much as anyone can like a drug they have to take for a chronic medical condition.  Such relationships are, at best, complicated.  But!  The insurance company at the time did the thing that I’m Very Familiar with, that being the notification that they weren’t paying for any fancy-schmancy name brand medicines.  The generic would do me — and all the rest of the people in the network who took thyroid medicine — just fine.  If I wanted to, I could continue with the name brand medicine, but I would pay full price for it, which I couldn’t afford, so it was levothyroxine for me.

. . .which, at the time — we’re talking years ago, here — I thought didn’t work as well.  Pooh-pooh, said the insurance company, generics work just as well — in some cases, they work better! — than name brand medicines; stop making a fuss.

(Honestly, I was required by the day-job to attend two presentations about medications given by our then-insurance-company, and the Utter Contempt displayed for name brand medicines was really off-putting.  You’d think name brand medicines were one step below Mrs. Pinkham’s Medicinal Compound.  What’s with that?)

In addition, this change comes at an. . .interesting time, when we’re trying to work out exactly the right dose of thyroid meds I need to function correctly, using levothyroxine, which will no longer be available to me, starting, um, today.  The letter from the formulary counsels me to get with my health care provider and have her write me a prescription for the new drug.  Which. . .OK, though that does raise the issue of cost.  It’ll be hard to beat the price I paid for my last refill of levothyroxine, which was $0.

So, all of that.  Time for me to get to work, since I’ve already done the vacuuming.

On deck today, Author Commentary for the final chapter of Shan and Priscilla Ride Again, and more work on Droi, which will eventually be part of The Gathering Edge.

Why, yes, even in the midst of All This Excitement, we’re writing a book.  Because we’re just that awesome.

In order to reward the two people who managed to read all the way down to here — I offer two songs.

The first, which brings you the title of today’s blog post, Excellent Birds, Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel.  Here’s your link.

The second comes from the Irish Rovers, Lily the Pink.  Here’s that link.

4 thoughts on “When I see the future, I close my eyes”

  1. Steve looks ruggedly handsome, as always. Cats look wonderfully catlike and relaxed, though maybe a wee tad partied out. Insurance companies are…annoying. Esp. medical insurance companies.

    No time for songs today. Deep in a Bach organ toccata & fugure, about to return to my own monster of a storyline.

  2. I have at least one friend on synthroid. As I recall, figuring the correct dosage for her was tricky but maybe they’ve already solved that issue for you. It *might* be listed as a generic drug now. There’s some kind of half-life to how long they can market a particular drug exclusively before it becomes public domain…I don’t know what that period is.

    Be well, both of you – and I hope the feline overlords and overladies recover.

  3. Love the kitty and people party photos! Also, I empathize about insurance companies…they are the pits. I am always having to wrestle with them about procedures, Remicade, etc. Frustrating at best.
    Oh, and thank you for the link to Lily the Pink, the savior of the human race! My best friend, now deceased, LOVED the Irish Rovers and used to play their albums incessantly when we were in college, sharing a dorm room. To be fair, she also played Gordon Lightfoot albums, the Weavers, the Wolftones and the Clancy Brothers albums.

  4. I’ve been on levothyroxine since the 90’s, and yes, there’s a difference between it and Synthroid. The difference isn’t massive, but it’s there, and it can take a little getting used to. My shift went the other way, from synthroid first to Levoxyl, a brand name levothyroxine, then to the generic. I was on a lower dose of the Synthroid originally, and they had to do a little fiddling to find the sweet spot with the levothyroxine. They wouldn’t listen at first when I complained of hair loss, and constant flu-like symptoms because my blood work was “in the normal range”. I had to browbeat my doctor to give me a higher dosage to put me at the top of the normal range instead of in the bottom third of it. But eventually she relented and upped the dose. Since I’m also on HRT estrogen replacement, I have to make sure I take the estradiol in the MORNING and the thyroid in the EVENING, since estrogen can neutralize thyroid if taken too close together, but when I found the right timing and dosage, I’ve been much more comfortable.

    It’s surprising they’re putting you on the name-brand instead of the generic, instead of the other way around, but you never know the connivances of these insurance people. Grease a palm here, make a deal there, and the formulary changes. It’s all quite mysterious and rarely makes sense. I had to argue and fight with my insurance over a maintenance painkiller for YEARS. The doctor had tried a half-dozen meds before finding this one, and it’s the one he wanted me on, so the insurance company kept pestering for a recertification every 90 days or they wouldn’t cover it. They did that for two years, until they finally relented and took it off precertification status. It was a headache each and every time they demanded a pile of paperwork from the doc essentially saying “yes, yes, I’ve tested other stepwise drugs and this is the one that works! Stop pestering me!” I can’t deny that it works. It’s sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. (I have chronic neck pain that goes throughout my body, due to a car accident. Some days are worse than others.)

    If the initial dose of the Synthroid has you feeling too jittery, it may be too high. I’ve noticed that it usually requires a lower dose of Synthroid than levothyroxine to achieve the same feeling, regardless of blood titers. Sit on your doc’s neck until the dose makes feel right, regardless of the numbers!

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