Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I started radiation yesterday afternoon.

It was... interesting.

I just lay there with my mask, anchored to a table and this machine moved around me and stopped in eighteen different positions and radiated me.

At this point I don't feel anything. But they told me that sometime around the tenth session I'll start feeling the sore throat, and by the end of the third week I won't be eating solid foods anymore because it'll be too hard to swallow.

I'll lose my ability to taste for about six to eight months, but they tell me that will come back.

Radiation kills saliva glands. So Dr. Copps, my dental oncologist, gave me some medicine called Salagen. The medicine will help create more saliva from the glands that make it through the treatment.

With my luck, the radiation won't kill any saliva glands and I'll be drooling like a St. Bernard.

But that wasn't the end of it.

There's a prescription drug called OmniiGel. I need it for post-radiation. My prescription co-pays fifteen dollars for it. But today I was told by the pharmacist that my insurance company says OmniiGel is an over-the-counter purchase, not a prescription drug and refuses to pay its share.

So now it costs me sixty dollars.

When I got in the car, I called my insurance company and told them this was a prescription drug.

The person said I was wrong, that it's an over-the-counter drug.

So I asked herwhere I could go and buy this medicine over-the-counter, without a prescription.


She put me on hold.

A supervisor came on. We had a similar conversation.

Then I asked her the same question: "Can you please tell me where I can get this medicine over the counter?"

No answer. She'll get back to me tomorrow.

What happened today is a perfect example of how the insurance companies make it up as they go.

As for me? Just twenty-nine more radiation sessions and I'm done.

Today, I start chemo at noon and radiation at four.

Really, the only fun I'm having is working on that live album with my brothers from 1978.

I'll let you know what the insurance company says.

If they ever call me back.


  1. Did they ever call you back?