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4:23 pm - Thurs 7.03.2008
Jimmy's Little Helper

Jimmy's Little Helper

Last week, I went to my doctor, to get a prescription for a drug I'd recently read about called Provigil.

Why was I seeking out Provigil, you ask?

From the website

Provigil is an anti-narcoleptic agent used to improve wakefulness in patients with narcolepsy (sudden uncontrollable attacks of daytime sleepiness), obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome, or in patients with shift work sleep disorder. Provigil may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Actually, I'd read about Provigil before, maybe a year or two ago. But at that point its only FDA-approved use was for narcolepsy.

So when I read it was now also approved for treatment of sleep apnea, I thought, "Hey! I have sleep apnea, and would very much like to improve my wakefulness - Maybe Provigil is the drug for me!"

Anyway, while the good doctor was a little reticient (As I guess he should be when dispensing a "controlled substance"), he did write me a prescription for 30 100-mg tablets.

Later that evening, giddy with a sense of possibility, I went to my neighborhood Walgreens to fill the prescription. I had some misgivings, to be sure (risk of addiction, potential side effects, etc), but the dream of feeling more awake and energetic made it seem worth whatever the risk.

I walked around the store for an hour, waiting for my bottle of "Provigil: The Quicker Picker-Upper"(The "massage chair" by the pick-up window was broken, or I would have just spent the entire hour getting a mechanical rubdown), when finally, my drugs were ready.

As I walked up to the window, the person behind the counter said, "And how did you want to pay for that, Mr Hoffmaster?".

I thought it was a pretty stupid question, since he had my information right there on file.

But then he continued, "...because your insurance doesn't cover it".

He explained that my insurance considers Provigil a "lifestyle drug" ("Like Viagra", he for-exampled). It doesn't fix anything - it just makes you feel good - and they don't want to foot the bill for my good feelings.

And at this point, my "lifestyle" can't support a $250 monthly bill for prescription speed, whatever good feelings it might generate.

I was talking about this with Javier during my session yesterday (Javier had been very supportive of my efforts on this front), and he suggested I look into getting the prescription filled in Canada or Mexico.

So I checked online, and it looks like Mexico's the big winner - I could get the 30 100-mg tablets that cost $250 here for $89.99.

But I don't have any money coming in right now, I don't know what's going to happen with SAG, and working at Weight Watchers is still, in all likelihood, another couple months away.

And I'm looking to cut down my bills (maybe dropping my gym membership and my land line, for example), not add to them.

So I don't think a monthly $90 drug bill is in the cards right now.

But maybe it's for the best.

I don't know if the world's ready for me on performance- enhancing drugs.


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