Too Old To Cut The Mustard: Really?


Medicare’s formulary is so restrictive. I even had to look up the word formulary to be certain I heard the pharmacist correctly. It is, an official list giving details of medicines that may not be prescribed to me if I am a person over the age of sixty-five, no matter the need. The age is the calculated risk. I may fall. That is all the doctors can say to defend themselves. This means to me that there is a list that is prescribed for me personally, without even seeing me, without studying my health needs, and the only consideration is that I am over 65. Also, you should know that I am grouped into a category with other men and women 65 and older that does not take into consideration my medical history, and my mental ability to use drugs according to the directions, and my ability to medicate myself.

All of the drugs that I have used most of my adult life to keep me upright have been taken away because perhaps I will fall. Damn right, if I cannot sustain myself, and you take away my sustaining recipe, I will fall. The only drug you have not banned for me is Levothyroxine, but you have decided to lower the dosage so much that I have to crawl on all fours to get up my stairs. How do I know this is your fault? I know because on my own, I raised the dose to my normal dosage for the past 25 years and 6 weeks later I am my old self in the energy category? Still I am considered a geriatric patient with no mind at all.

If I have repeated muscle spasms in my back, I will end up with a back attack if not careful. It happened and I spent 10 days in the hospital. I swore that would never happen again and it has not, due to my due diligence. I had muscle spasm pills and I made sure, with the assistance of these above stated pills, I never got in the back attack mode. The formulary has taken those pills away. I got them from an angel and have maintained good back heath so far and so good. Skirting the Medicare formulary is going to be life long as I see it.

If I had too much anxiety I would take 1/2 of a 5mg Valium and be on my way. No more. I get migraines less often now that I am older, but still they come. You took away my migraine meds because of its rebound effect and may cause dizziness. I counted on those pills to take away the horror and gloom of repeated headaches. I inherited them from my blessed grandmother D. Tell me why it was okay for the first 3/4ths of my life to get rebounds and dizziness and all of a sudden it is not. It is sickening to hear my doctor say that I cannot have my pills or he will get fined. Fined? What does that mean? Is that something like Big Brother is watching you? Sounds like a sham. Do I really want to give up my sacred pills and my sanctified life so you won’t get fined, Doc?

I don’t even need to think about it. Now that I really need my sleep, you took away the teeniest, tiniest pill on earth, Lorazepam. It is a mild anxiety drug with just enough power to put you to sleep. I have been without it for three scary nights. Did that little pill really take away the nightmares and the unearthing of the past foolishness and fears? I haven’t been this tormented in years. I terrify myself with telling myself things when in the past I have always be peacefully asleep. I feel burglarized and it is an inside job. I should have my continued opportunity at a good nights sleep, so, please, let me sleep. Give me back just one little teeny tiny pill. It seems that Medicare is saying under the table of course, you are “Too old to cut the mustard,” and so we will slowly and methodically cut you out of your heretofore life.

The last pill I had in my arsenal was a pain pill like everyone I know has stashed. Right? I think I can get an anti-inflammatory, but Advil is the same and no need to get my doctor fined over inflammations that mount as you hit the 65-year mark. I do not wish to be an advertisement for Advil and I think it has side effects, but what is an old lady on a restricted formulary to do?

Let me assure you that if I took one of each of the pills I mentioned everyday and perhaps together, that would be irresponsible and I might get dizzy, but I guarantee, that you as a person, should be prescribed on your need, your past judgments, and not a formulary developed by youngsters.

P.S. I just saw a movie that mirrored life, but set in the late 1800’s. Many of the characters were in their early 60’s. The actors got it right. They were hunched over, limping, coughing, had facial rashes, and died horrible painful deaths. I realized that we are living in a day and age of modern medicine, but when our society has a 65th birthday, they can’t enjoy its benefits because of something called Medicare and some words like restricted formularies.

Dear God, be kind.

Someone throw me some pills under the formulary fence and those that have, share!



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pat Rieffanaugh
    Apr 16, 2015 @ 12:31:02

    Sorry to hear of your dilemma. Fortunately, I haven’t yet faced the same fate. When I hear the word “formulary,” I just think of it as the insurance company’s published booklet outlining the drugs they cover and the tiers into which the drugs fall and what the cost will be depending on the tier. I had no idea that Medicare was inferring in so many lives. What’s a senior citizen supposed to do????


    • Sandra Lipschultz
      Apr 16, 2015 @ 14:15:10

      I hope you are right, and that if we an afford what we want (and legitimately need) we can buy it. That doesn’t help the economically disadvantaged. But why is it we all have to be cared for at the lowest common denominator?


      • Sheila Clapkin
        Apr 16, 2015 @ 14:27:53

        Oh the age old common denominator. Here it is again and again, the lowest common denominator. I just know that I want to enjoy what I am enjoying and hope to keep it up. I think more doctor patient talks might help you get something, but not so far.I think the Medicare police have the doctor’s spooked. Ahhh

    • Sheila Clapkin
      Apr 16, 2015 @ 14:23:32

      I suppose those with the formulary in hand, or they who write it hope all of the seniors will curl up and blow away. Gosh this is one of the better times in my life, so I hope I get to stay around awhile. Next year for the HPHS reunion we are going to take a hotel room and stay longer, have more conversations etc.


  2. Vera Wall
    Apr 16, 2015 @ 12:36:25

    This is so true. I went in for a physical and what did I get……a Medicare Wellness examine. If I’m well, I don’t need an examine. Its like you turn 65 and everyone has the same needs……wrong. So far they haven’t changed my drugs though.


    • Sheila Clapkin
      Apr 16, 2015 @ 14:30:23

      Oh Vera, this is so funny, you got a Medicare Wellness exam and I got sent to Geriatrics.
      Oh you are so lucky to have a few drugs to fall back on…keep up the wellness, right?!!!
      Thank you for reading and commenting!!!


  3. Dina
    Apr 17, 2015 @ 15:23:20

    HMOs 😒


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