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Unexpected Help

Unexpected Help

I admit that I can get feeling cranky and down about things. Lately, I’ve battled the pharmacy benefits manager and been let down by my doctor. It got me thinking “people are bad and evil!” because I was so disappointed and frustrated. Why is it so hard to do the right thing?

A reminder: people can be good and helpful in the most unexpected places

Just when I needed it, I got a kick in the pants—a reminder that people can be good and helpful. Even more: that help when you need it can come from unexpected places.

It happened that I finally am starting a new treatment and the injectable medication was set to arrive. Since I have not been on a working treatment for about seven months, I am desperate to start. But when I called the doctor’s office to make a nurse’s appointment for training on injecting the new drug, no appointments were available for a whole week. This was doubly frustrating because I had called the previous week to schedule the appointment and was told I had to wait to get my medication and that getting an appointment at that time would be no problem.

I was devastated. I’d have to wait another week just to have five minutes with a nurse who could show my husband and me how to inject the drug. It seemed so unnecessary to have to wait so long for literally a couple of minutes when I’m already in agony. Additionally, we are not novices to injections—we just need to be briefed because this one is new to us.

Not knowing what to do, I put out a desperate plea on Facebook. I asked if any friends knew a nurse who could do the first injection with us. People shared my plea with others. They posted videos they found about the type of injection. And then a friend from high school (a trained pharmacist) said she could help over video chat. It was a miracle!

We texted back and forth about the details, and I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. Plus, I was smiling to have heard from this friend because it had been a while! It was both a relief and an emotional bonus.

The medication had arrived while I was at work. When I arrived home we opened the box to take a look at the syringe. From our research, my husband and I had expected a pre-measured syringe with the medication. All the previous medications had also been pre-measured but with auto-inject mechanisms. We knew we could handle a syringe, but that training would be needed to learn how.

Yet the box revealed a surprise! Change in plan: the new medication was also an auto-inject. Simple instructions were printed on the box (actually, it looked simpler than previous medications) and we had our concerns allayed. No help needed, but very much the offer was appreciated. I let my friend know we were all set, but thanked her so much for swooping in to offer a rescue.

Injected with a boost of confidence

The next morning I had my first injection and all went easily. But more importantly, I was injected with a boost of confidence in others. I didn’t feel so alone in my struggles. I felt heard and supported from unexpected friends who wanted to help.

It can be so hard for me to open up, to ask for help, to admit my many weaknesses and fears. I’m the rugged individualist patient who “does it all herself.” But that’s no way to live and no way to problem solve. I wasn’t going to be able to get myself out of this pickle on my own. I needed to ask for help from others.

I am so glad that I did. It didn’t hurt! Ha ha! And I gained so much by making the ask—getting information, receiving support, hearing from old friends. Don’t ever fear asking for help when you need it. Help will come—likely from wonderfully unexpected places.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    7 months ago

    Brava Kelly! We want so much to continue to do it ourselves, because we want so much more. However, we gain so much more when we do ask for help. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thanks Mary! I need to be reminded (and reminded again) of this lesson all the time! LOL! It’s a hard one to remember, but so true! 🙂 Best, Kelly ( Team)

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    7 months ago

    Can I ask what exactly a pharmacy benefits manager is? I’ve been dealing with insurance companies for years, but I havn’t heard that term exactly. Thanks. DPM

  • Richard Faust moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi Daniel. Considering your level of experience I’m a little surprised (and happy for you) that you haven’t had to deal with a pharmacy benefits manager yet. Considering the recent experience Kelly and I just had, I’ll refrain from saying too much right now and point you to this article from Michael on the subject: Best, Richard ( Team)

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    7 months ago

    Is it just my part-d prescrption plan insurer? Cigna? Because I deal with them directly. I’ve got court orders for the medicines I take that are above and beyond normal limits, so maybe that’s why I never had any issues. I had to fight for a year to see an adminstrative law judge about ten years ago to get my meds. I have had Cigna for my part D for almost 10 years now, though. If thats’ what a PBM is then I’ve dealt with them. I just call it insurance. DPM

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    7 months ago

    As much as I dislike PBM’s I did have one interaction with a person from a PB that I can say was helpful. I (hold on) found someone who broke a rule and sent me a medication 48 hours early. Heck its hard to knwo what a polite request can sometimes bring.

    OK this was a 1 in 100 thing with a PBM, but it was one.

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