The Pharmacist Knows Who Doesn’t Sleep in This Town

The pharmacist knows who doesn’t sleep in this town
but not why.


I’ve spent the past two days fighting with my insurance to cover my prescription for Ambien because they said it was too early to refill it–despite that it was refilled on 3/28 for 15 days. Last night was the 15th night.

This is a repeat of last month’s fight, when they would only cover 15 pills at 10 mg¬†because their formulary says I should only need half of a 10 mg dose because I am a woman. (There is a poem somewhere in this too, but I am too fucking tired to suss it out just now.) If I take the 5 mg dose, I am fully awake at 2:00 am with no hope of sleep, just the same as if I’d never taken the pill in the first place.

Now they will cover 30 pills for 30 days at 10 mg because my doctor’s office called today to “clarify” after I called the nurse this morning and practically burst into tears because I am so terrified of not sleeping.

I got to Walgreen’s this afternoon to discover that they had not, in fact, filled the prescription because their notes still said “Insurance refusing to refill until 4/18/15,” and no one had checked in again to make sure that the waiver was in. I went to the grocery store across the street for avocados, and when I went back to Walgreen’s, the pharmacist smiled at me and said “It’s all taken care of,” and handed me the bag with my deep, mostly-dreamless sleep in it.

For people who sleep, four days (or nights) of bad sleep might not seem so bad. They can still get up and go to work, maybe come home and take a nap. The deficit isn’t insurmountable. They may feel crappy until they get back into their routine, but they’re fine otherwise.

I have no trouble falling asleep. I fall asleep, only to have the needle drop on the jukebox in my brain around 2:00 am, and only if I am very lucky and able to “happy place” my way away from whatever music is playing do I get to go back to sleep.

In fact, the terror bad sleep¬†engenders in me bespeaks the language of addiction: junkie. If I am not “holding” I am extremely anxious. I have no reserves. I am married to a man trying to get his small business going, and mother to two kids under 12. I have no reserves.

I work in the University of Wisconsin Colleges, and as part of the $300 million in cuts to the UW System, we are facing $6.51 million in cuts on top of cuts we have had year after year for the past decade. My job as an English professor is demanding and lately, frequently soul-crushing.

My friend Marnie’s blog post today captures it, if you’re interested: https://marniere.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/heres-what-its-like-uw-system-cuts/

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