Thursday, July 26, 2012

Auntie Natalie!

The next morning I felt like crap, having lost the battle to a full fledged sinus infection.

I buckled and called in for some drugs, which took most of the morning to coordinate with my MS doctor calling in to a pharmacy in ME, and then figuring out insurance after seeing what the retail price on the drugs was.

Note on insurance:  I opted to buy private health insurance for the family after leaving the corporate group plan.  After looking around I found several options with comparable coverage in terms of copays and maximum out of pocket, PPO plans allowing us the freedom to go to any doctor we choose, at a little under $400 a month for our family of 4.  The COBRA option of extending the group plan we have enjoyed for the past 6 years as part of my employment package would have run us around $1,000.

A component of our new insurance takes an interesting approach to prescription drugs.  Rather than a copay, we pay outright for any prescription drugs we buy, but at the best rate the insurance company has negotiated. 

I wasn't sure how this would stack up against the standard copay model, but we don;t use many prescription drugs, so I was more curious than worried, and the costs apply toward the out of pocket maximums anyway.

My prescription was for some steroids and a 14 day course of antibiotics.  The specialist who performed my surgery has kept me moving through different antibiotics to avoid building up immunities, so most of the generics I've been through in the past 3 years.  

Which put me on something exotic this time around.

The bill when I first checked was $20 for the steroids, and $250 for the antibiotics.

After plugging in my insurance program, it came down to $2 and $17.

First, good for me. 

Second, what is wrong with the drug company / insurance company collusion in this country?  Yes, this was probably arrived at through natural forces of the markets and regulation, but at some point shouldn't we stop and assess where we are, regardless of how defensible the way we got here may be?

The drug companies have so inflated their prices on their products to combat the intense purchasing power and resulting favorably negotiated price breaks the insurance companies enjoy.  In the above case the insurance company is paying, what, 6% and change of the retail price on the antibiotic? In most cases copays on this type of drug are in the $25 to $50 range, which would mean the insurance company would make money off that copay.


While waiting on the drugs and feeling miserable, something awesome happened.

Auntie Natalie pulled up!

The kids suddenly had, instead of a grouchy parent, a fresh and happy aunt to play with, and I had someone to watch the kids while I went to the pharmacy.

Limeade to go with lunch.  If you haven't mixed up a can of frozen limeade in a while, do, you've forgotten how good it is.  (Side note: a.Kitty, we've used up all the limeade mix.)

With drugs taken, and the kids freshly napped, we headed out to the barn to clean the stalls and play on the swing.

We cranked up some tunes, and while I made quick work of the stalls, a.Natalie kept the kids in a cycle of ten-push-swing turns.

They loved it.

We went upstairs in the barn and unearthed the ping pong table.  When Natalie first arrived we played a game of Othello during the kids nap, (two sided pieces, white and black, a challenge to turn the board to your color,) and she whooped me.  

And gloated loud and long, in true Coughlin fashion.

Since then, we have played Othello many times, several games of Dominion, and lots of ping pong.  

She has been trounced thoroughly at each. 

Not gloating, just stating facts.  The last ping pong game I won by 30 points.  How, you say, since most games are only to 21?  Someone decided I had to win by 30 instead of 2.  So I did.

The kids helped fetch ping pong balls, and played in the fort a.Natalie built them out of hay.

A lovely view of Phantom Farm from the upstairs of the barn.

We found a pair of carts made for the mini-horses. After a little dusting, and a challenge of getting the tires pumped up, we had a perfect rickshaw.  We loaded the kids up and decided to take a quick run to the beach.

At one point A.Natalie was in the cart with the kids, but I couldn't spare a hand to take a picture.

We hit the beach at high tide.  Caspian is apparently unafraid of the ocean now.  He headed out on this ledge, even with waves coming in that came up over the top.

Despite his insistance that he wasn't stuck, I performed a rescue in between waves.

We collected a pile of rocks to bring home and paint, and headed home.  (Following up on the Portland Children's Museum and the poor experience with the rock painting workshop Alexe and Caspian went to, after receiving Alexe's note, the director is sending us two additional passes to the museum, which we'll try to use before we leave.)

a.Natalie made a noble effort of trying to run all the way back.  The kids did their part by shouting "giddy-up" over and over.

A lovely evening with a delicious brie on bread, pasta with a sauce made with zucchinis fresh from the garden, a bath and story time with the kids, a second story time with the kids over a group-pooping session, (their excuse for the third trek downstairs after being put to bed,) and a late evening of board games (Dominion) with Natalie.  She lost every game.  

After 11, when the house was dark and everyone was in bed, I rumbling vehicle pulled in the driveway, and someone started walking towards the courtyard door with a cell phone for light.  

It was u.William, here to surprise Natalie, and get a few hours of sleep before the kids found him!

The night was rough, what with my body playing battleground for drugs and infection, and Annaliese having nightmares. (When my 4 year old whimpers and calls out for me in her sleep, I scoot.  I know there are various theories on child-development; I personally have no tolerance for scary things happening inside my little girl's head.  And I admit, I love wrapping her up and whispering in her ear that she is safe, and listing all the people that love her, while she nods into her blanket without waking up, and settles back to a restful sleep.) 

But this morning some time after 6, I heard squeals of delight form the kids, followed by screeching and laughing from all over the house.  Since then the kids have barely given u.William breathing room.  Moments ago the three of them were sound asleep in the bed where u.William was fulfilling his promise to snuggle and read books after lunch.

Yes there will be pictures.

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