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Overwhelmed by Minutiae

A fully-cooked John Kelly here again, subbing again for Raw Fisher....

For the past two months there has been a yellow Post-It note stuck to the mirror above my dresser. It bears these cryptic markings:

1/8 56.50
12/10 40.00
11/9 40.00

I know what these digits mean, I just don't know when I'll get around to doing anything about them.

The numbers show how much I paid for my cholesterol medication. It jumped from 40 bucks per bottle in November and December to $56.50 every month since then. Add up the increase, multiply by 12 and that's close to $200 a year.

I don't understand why this would have happened. Aren't prescription drug prices supposed to go down? I can think of a lot of things I could spend that 200 bucks on. The Post-It note is there to remind me to do something about this. But have I called my insurance company to give them hell? No.

The reason is, I'm just too damn busy. I'm so busy living my life that I seem increasingly incapable of performing the little chores that actually constitute my life. In the garage are three boxes of books I need to donate to the library. In the basement is a book case I need to assemble (to hold the books I'm not donating to the library). On nearly every horizontal surface in the house are piles of mail of varying levels of urgency. Every time I brush my teeth I remember I should really make a dentist appointment. I consider it a great triumph that I finally got hair--which was starting to get caught in revolving doors--cut earlier this week.

What is wrong with me? I seem to be able to function with a sort of base level competency: feeding and clothing myself, putting gas in the minivan. But encountering any deviation, any complication, no matter how slight, flummoxes me. I write it on a Post-It yet never get around to dealing with it.

I don't know how well-organized people do it. They must have a system, something involving accordion files or desk blotters. Or maybe they have a staff, trusted people who handle the minutiae.

Of course, it's all minutiae. That's the bitter truth, and as drudgeryesque (drudgeryesque) as these tasks are, I really need to address them. And I will. Soon. I promise.

By John Kelly |  March 23, 2006; 10:11 AM ET
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I have an idea. I can come pick up your boxes of books. I have none left to read. :)

Posted by: Dan Telvock | March 23, 2006 10:43 AM

Anything that I know that *I* have to handle, I get done. The problem comes in when my spouse could conceivably handle it instead. Then we end up in the Great Chore Stand-off and nothing gets done.

Posted by: Shannon | March 23, 2006 10:57 AM

Make that dentist appointment. I kept putting it off, and off, and off. Years passed. When I finally got around to going to the dentist I needed a tooth pulled, a couple of fillings, and 3 caps. All at once.

Posted by: wiredog | March 23, 2006 11:04 AM

Dr. Steven Kahan. 301-656-6708.

Posted by: TLW | March 23, 2006 11:07 AM

John - I hear you. Every time I look at the piles of paper on my dining room table I think of how horrible a person I am. Why can't I get the little things accomplished? I really beat myself up over it. And I promise I'll take care of it soon, and then my "real life" can begin.

Posted by: Overwhelmed , TOO | March 23, 2006 11:56 AM

Have you looked into mail order? Sometimes they charge you one co-pay for three month's of medication. My plan does that. And they have a quick turn-around. Of course, you can't wait until you're out to refill unless you have a back up of free samples from the doc. Nor should you do that under normal circumtances. You'd be amazed at the folks that call in for refills on the weekend when they're out only to be told the prescription has expired (in MD, they're good for one year from date of fill) or they have no refills (since no one can read their bottles/packages where it says ZERO refills).

Posted by: pharm tech | March 23, 2006 12:00 PM

Inspired by my own pathetic mewlings I vowed this morning to tie up at least one loose end in my life: the aforementioned Zocor price disconnect. The people at the other end of the 800-number were actually very nice. It appears that my "co-pay" plan changed in January (I still need to look into that; wonder when that will happen) or maybe the pharmacy raised the base price of the drug. It does appear that mail-order will be cheaper: $70 for 90 days rather than $56.50 for 30 days. They gave me the number I have to call to set up mail-order. Here's hoping I can overcome the inertia to actually do that.

Posted by: John Kelly | March 23, 2006 12:30 PM

I'm glad to hear somebody else has these problems. My current list of things to do includes:
- return things I bought on line but decided not to keep
- get pictures framed and hung
- take stuff to recycling center
- get rid of old books that I won't read again

. . . and that's just what I can see from my desk! In my next life, I'm going to have a personal assistant, personal chef, and personal trainer.

Posted by: JRG | March 23, 2006 12:33 PM

The pharmacy doesn't set the price -- a co-pay is the same no matter where you go (except when it comes to mail order as you have found out).

It does pay to shop around if you're paying "cash" for the prescription, however.

And it's good to ask about generics, though Zocor is one that doesn't have a generic yet.

Posted by: Pharm tech | March 23, 2006 1:01 PM

Don't they give you prescription coverage at the Post? Is that the co-pay amount? It seems really high. (I get several prescriptions and with my federal Blue Cross, it's almost always $10 or $15 apiece.)

Posted by: BitterLittlePill | March 23, 2006 1:08 PM

It's the people who pay for the drugs, which is to say your employer (or union? I don't know how Post benefits work), that decide how much they're going to pay and how much you're going to pay. And what they're going to cover. Maybe they'd prefer you to be on a generic.

Posted by: h3 | March 23, 2006 1:19 PM

While you're tying (tieing?) up the loose ends, would you please quit smoking for me? I honestly think that illegal drugs are cheaper these days, so it's not like you don't have alternatives. I would write my entire to-do-list in here but it would crash your server. I'm going to go see if I can fall asleep during Rumsfeld's briefing.
Check out Russ Feingold on The Daily Show at, and elsewhere.
And if you ever feel useless while blogging, remember that Kurt Vonnegut said that we were put here on earth to fart around. I'm getting back to it!

Posted by: Jim Preston | March 23, 2006 1:30 PM

John, don't worry about the dentist appointments. There are enough soft foods out there that you won't have to chew!

Posted by: Worker Bee | March 23, 2006 2:17 PM

I hope tomorrow's blog topic is more interesting than this one, but so far it seems to have been pretty downhill all week. Given the trend, I'm afraid tomorrow will be about personal hygiene, kids' soccer, junk mail, or taking out the garbage. Isn't there an American Idol blog somewhere?

Posted by: Looking forward | March 23, 2006 2:44 PM

John, has anyone ever told you you're cute? Not in a Gene way, of course, but... still panty flinging-worthy, I think

Posted by: panty thrower | March 23, 2006 3:03 PM

I think John is cute also. Not as cute as Tai Shan, though....

Posted by: Worker Bee | March 23, 2006 3:18 PM

I think Fisher should buy that cymbal for you because you are doing this blog for him all week. He owes you, John!

Posted by: Loyal Supporter | March 23, 2006 3:35 PM

I’m between jobs and just filled my prescriptions with no insurance. Instead of a $28 co-pay it was $177.98. ¡Ay Caramba! For that much money I’d want to feel like I was near death, expect I guess I don’t.

In my job interview today we talked about how no one seems to have time for a life outside of work and paying bills and all the other chores. My parents, and my mother stayed at home until I was seven, made about 30% of what we make in a two income family today, and they lived in a house we can’t afford with our 6 figure combined income, had vacations (my last job had no paid vacation or sick leave) and even had a lawn. Not that I want a lawn, I’d have to cut it after midnight with my current lifestyle.

I’m ready to give up progress and the new productive society we live in if we could have that quality of life.

Posted by: Way Overworked | March 23, 2006 5:31 PM

AH....the Quality of Life issue! I agree wholeheartedly that people need to stop competing and start connecting. I am pessimistic about that happening though. Until American society stops equating success with financial worth, it just isn't going to end. I raised my kids far away from here, in a rural area, a real Norman Rockwell expereince. Came here after they were grown and on their own - being open-minded, I took the opportunity to pursue a new career here. That part is going great but I'd change it all in a heartbeat to once again sit out under the stars in my country backyard, maybe enjoying a beer with good friends (who are not really interested in what my bank account is like or whether or not I drive a Jag) and listen to the crickets. Even if the night sky here was dark enough to see the stars (REALLY see the stars), like others have noted, the time factor involved in just being able to make a decent living leaves little room for down time. Food for thought for all of us caught up in this rat race. As for me, my stay here is time limited - the stars are calling.

Posted by: country girl | March 24, 2006 9:01 AM

Don't even remind me about the prescription thing! I figured out at one point that I was paying close to $500 a month for mine. That was enough to get me to put that issue ahead of all the piles of mail on my dining room table, and figure out how to fix it. I've now ended up getting my prescriptions mail order--some from or, others from (an international pharmacy).

For Zocor, for example, you could get a 90 (not 30) day supply of a generic equivalent from for no more than $95 (including shipping), if you are taking the 40 mg. dose. You could be right on track for those cymbals with that!

Posted by: Carol | March 25, 2006 11:52 AM

Final Four!

Posted by: Tom | March 26, 2006 5:14 PM

What do you think of these new cars? Do you think its a good one?

Posted by: New Cars | June 8, 2006 6:22 PM

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