I've got a confession to make.
I an on an artificial testosterone medication.
Yeah, I know; sorry, TMI. But that little fact is fairly critical to the rest of this post, so I had to start with it. Try to scrub the image out of your brain. I'll wait.
OK, so, we good now?
So, anyway, the bottom line is that as I headed into my forties I noticed that I was having some problems just dragging my ass out of bed in the morning. That and, well, the usual sort of problem associated with not being packed with robust man-juices, but we won't linger on that particular issue.
I went to see my internist, who ran the usual blood tests and pronounced me perfectly functional, 100% mission-capable.
Which left the issue of "Why the hell is my dead ass dragging so badly?" and I asked for a referral to a urologist. Since it didn't cost my GP a nickel she happily wrote out the referral and off I went.
The dick-doc then ran the same blood tests and proceeded to inform me that my natural testosterone levels were down there with those usually associated with very masculine women and pre-pubescent boys. I could creep up into the low three figures on a good day with a following wind and a strong current, but that was that.
So he prescribed me one of those artificial testosterone medicines that help professional bicycle racers win the Tour de France and off I went.
And the stuff works as advertised, let me tell you. In a couple of days I felt positively bursting with masculine energy; I wanted to seduce something or go start a war.
Kidding. But, seriously, the man-juice works. I felt "back to normal"; my energy levels in all respects returned to what I expected to feel given how active I was and how hard I worked to keep in shape and eat a healthy diet.
Well, OK, except for the whole pork-rind thing. But, damn, who can resist that crackly, greasy goodness? Seriously.
And because the urologist explained that this stuff was to restore my testosterone to natural levels as a matter of health and quality-of-life issues and not because I wanted to become some sort of mad harem-tester in my off-hours my insurance - after some initial suspicious sniffing - proceeded to cover the damn stuff.
Dick-stiffeners, though? Viagra? Cialis? Not a chance. Despite the usual whining about how all those boner pills are covered and female products aren't...they're actually not. That's just so you know the deal here.
Anyway, this was some ten years or so ago. I've been taking these testosterone supplements regularly ever since and, although the damn co-pays go up and up every year, paying just a portion of the actual price of the stuff.
Which is pretty ridiculous, mind you, given that the drug is decades old and is manufactured at some sort of drug-maquiladora in Mexico for probably pennies a dose. I mean, we're talking hundreds of dollars for a little pump-bottle that lasts about a month; well over $3,000 a year at full price.
Three. Thousand. Dollars.
But the damn insurance has been paying for this, so for the cost of $500/month or so in premiums I get a reliable supply of man-juice.
When my Bride returned from the grocery pharmacy without the testosterone bottle, explaining that the pharmacist had input the prescription and it had spit out that the drug was no longer covered by my Blue Cross/Blue Shield formulary.
Now I am faced with the unlovely prospect of having to call my goddamn insurance company and 1) find out why the hell they are no longer covering my drug after ten years of doing so and 2) figure out how the hell I can get the goddamn insurance company to stop dicking around (if you'll excuse the expression) and cover the goddamn drug again. This will undoubtedly involved repeated conversations with unpleasant insurance company phone-bots whose purpose will be to find reasons not to spend the money I have been ladling into the goddamn insurance company's bank account on my health care.
And to make it as difficult and unpleasant for me to find a way to jerk that money out of their ass a nickel at a time.
And as I'm staring at my phone with a sense of deep loathing for this entire process, I keep thinking: remind me - this is that "best healthcare system in the world" we keep hearing about, right? Because we don't have some faceless bureaucrat deciding what and how we will get for our health care. Right?
Because right now I'm about ready to shove every goddamn insurance company up the gigantic bung-hole of the Universe and replace them with a single faceless government health care organization just like the one I had when I was a GI that paid for whatever my docs said I needed without so much as a whimper.
That, or go score some fucking Enzyte.
What a goddamn disaster.