Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just Breathe -- Oh, Wait, I Can't!

I SO FREAKING HATE stupid bureaucracy!

About five years or so ago I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea -- I occasionally stop breathing in my sleep. This can be a serious health issue, so I was issued a CPAP. CPAP stands for Constant Positive Air Pressure. A CPAP machine is a small air pump that forces a steady stream of air at slightly higher than atmospheric pressure throungh my nose to create an "air splint" that keeps my airway open and prevents the apneas from occurring.

So yesterday I went to the local medical supply store to get some needed replacement parts for the CPAP -- a filter to make sure I'm breathing in clean air, a new pad to protect my forehead from the mask, a plastic piece that holds the nosepiece in places, and a new strap that holds it all in place. I went in to this place when we first moved to Eugene, so they have my data on file -- which machine I have, what sized mask, and what size filter. They suggested that I just get a whole new mask assembly.

But they couldn't give them to me.

Why?

BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A PRESCRIPTION LESS THAN A YEAR OLD!!!!!!

*deep breath*

OK, I understand requiring renewed prescriptions for things like drugs, especially for conditions that can change. But this isn't a medication -- it's a few pieces of plastic and a 1"x2" piece of hepafilter. And it's not like I'm some schmick off the street -- they have my data on file. And apnea is a long-term condition. But thanks to Federal regulations, I have to make a doctor's appointment, go see the doctor, make sure he gets my medical records from the sleep center in San Diego, pay the copay, just so he can tell them it's ok to give me a freaking face mask! Unbelievable!

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