Last November I faithfully took the flu shot as I do every year. It didn’t work. I was felled by the flu in March and spent a week in the hospital, in isolation. I really thought that this would be the end. Fortunately, it wasn’t. It took me a little over a month to fully recover and a few months more to pay off the hospital bills, even though I had Medicare and a Medicare advantage plan. Those frigging deductibles can kill you as easily as your disease. This country has the worst healthcare unless you have the big bucks, which I don’t.
This year, with the memories of last year’s serious bout with the flu, needless to say, I am a bit apprehensive. I got the flu shot again, even though last year’s version was a complete failure. I stay as far away as possible from anyone sneezing or coughing, especially little kids. I’m scared stiff of catching a cold that could develop into something worse. I have chronic sinusitis which acts up every year at this time and on an almost daily basis and I hope that too won’t lead to the flu.
Along with the television ads urging everyone to get the flu vaccine are the ads from our thoughtful and benevolent pharmaceutical companies pushing their flu medications. These ads push drugs that are to be taken within a couple of days of the first signs of the flu and promise that your symptoms will be improved in three days. If you check the company’s website you will see their comparison to a placebo. The drug reduces symptoms in 3 days, while the placebo takes 4.3 days. What a frigging deal, 1 1/3 days!
I don’t know about you, but if I call my doctor and request medication he wants to see me first and it’s not usually within the next few hours. Then if I have a fever and chills and am coughing pieces of my lungs out into a wadded up tissue or napkin, I really don’t want to climb into a freezing cold car and drive through the snow and traffic to sit in a doctor’s waiting room for 3 hours. Then I will have to crawl to the pharmacy and wait in line for another few hours until my prescription is ready. Then I can make my way home to die.
Now for the best part of this whole process. The ads for this wonderdrug offer a deal in which you could, if you qualify, receive a coupon for $60 off. If the coupon is for that much, how the hell much does the damn medication cost? According to GoodRx the cost of this drug is anywhere between $156 and $183. Holy shit who has that much money laying around? Even with my Medicare advantage plan, I would have to pay $50!
So what are the choices we face this flu season? As soon as you sneeze call the doctor for an appointment. Keep stashing away your spare change in case you get the flu and need the medication. Move closer to an emergency room or an urgent care center. Move to any other country in the world, since whichever it would be, it would have a better and cheaper system than ours. Quickly become a millionaire. Or the best choice of all is staying inside and avoiding all contact with other human beings. Stay healthy my friends!
Originally published in Rogue’s Gallery on Medium.com