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Puppy: An Excerpt from You Are a Dog

Because I’m participating in the Twitter Fiction Festival as @YouAreaDog and revisiting my whole dog self, I’m also going to post a few excerpts from my book—You Are a Dog—here on my blog (did I miss an opportunity to call this “You Are a Blog”?). Not long, life-changing excerpts. Just good punchy ones you can read on the bus. So here’s the first.


You want to play you want to play you want to play you want to play you want to sleep. You eat. You want to play you want to play you want to play you want to play you want to sleep. You eat. He takes you outside. You respond to this. You smell what it is you have to smell. You don’t know yet what it is you have to smell, but you know that you have to smell it. You have to relieve yourself so you do that. What a nice big green place to explore. What a nice big green place to smell.

The back steps are giant. He urges you up the back steps. The back steps are giant and nearly impossible. But you want to play so you try and you try and you try and eventually he picks you up and takes you inside and you want to play you want to play you want to play you want to play you want to sleep.

You sleep. You dream of your mother.

The Drugs

So I got this new prescription (though it wasn’t actually new… I’d had it before) and my insurance company was not prepared to pay for a non-generic drug. So. Fine. The nice people at Rite Aid sent my prescription back with this information, to which they are accustomed to a reply within 24 hours.

But 48 hours later I still don’t have my prescription. So I call. And I find out (from a “customer service representative) that my doctor “has not heard from the pharmacy.”) Annoyed, I call the pharmacy and they reply that they very will did fax a request to my doctor with an attached note explaining my situation with my very simple request, but they’d send a second fax post haste.

Right now I don’t know who to believe, as you might imagine.

After a second 48 hour period has passed, I call my doctor because I’m not seeing any updated prescription on my pharmacy’s online thingamajig.

This time the customer service yahoo put me in touch with a nurse (who had to call me back and I had to answer the phone while I was driving because there is no way I would get to talk to anybody with any kind of medical authority if I didn’t take that call right then.

“Well, we haven’t heard from the pharmacy,” said the nurse. “Can you ask the pharmacy what drugs your insurance does cover?”

Stunned, I somehow did not respond “no I fricken cannot do that because it is NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY TO BE THE FRICK FRACKIN’ MIDDLEMAN IN THIS FRACK FRICKIN’ CONVERSATION.”

What I said instead was: “Sure.”

So I called my pharmacy back, in the mean time realizing what a mistake I’d made by not dressing down the nurse in my doctor’s office with my biting, sarcastic, misunderstood wit.

The pharmacist confirmed my mistake, saying that she’d already sent them a list of alternative meds with her last fax, and that it was absolutely not my responsibility to be sneaker net in this situation, and that she’d fax another request and be very specific about what my options were.

Now you don’t have to tell me that the prime suspect in this entire affair is the word “fax.” I get it. Who in the Hell is Using a Goddamn FAX MACHIN—isn’t this the damn 21st century? But I’m steadfastly still thinking this is just a matter of the pharmacy sending information and the doctor’s office putting it in a pile of requests that my overworked doctor has not had time to deal with yet. And I’m way too worried about becoming a nuisance to my doctor (who I like, but who I have a Hell of a time getting in to see because she regularly double-books her time). But this was also late on a Friday, and I’m pretty sure my doctor really isn’t going to be able to deal with this until at least Monday.

Which I verify on Monday when there is no update, and call my doctor again on Tuesday because it still appears that nothing is happening.

“Actually,” says the customer service voice, “Our fax machine has been down, so that’s probably why we didn’t get your request.”

I’m sorry. What?

No wait. I think I actually said that out loud.

“I’m sorry, what? How long has the fax machine been down?”

“I’d say about a week.”

Yes. About a week. That is exactly how long I’ve been waiting for my damn prescription to be filled. “Is there a reason nobody told me and/or the pharmacy that there was a problem with your obsolete technology?” I might not have worded it quite this way, but she could hear the wicked irony in my voice, I’m sure of it. It was wicked, and I was ticked off.

“I dont’ know… but we did give out alternate fax numbers. Oh and it looks like we did get your request, but your doctor wasn’t in the office yesterday.”

Gah. And huff. And do not take this out on the person you are on the phone with this minute because she is actually being helpful and honest so do not be a dick do not be a dick do not be a…

I wasn’t. I don’t think I was. She said she would make sure to give me a call as soon as my doctor sent the information back to my pharmacy… and she followed through on that promise.

So I got my prescription filled, and it only took a week. I have to cut my pills in half because that saves my insurance company something like two dollars a month, but I got it, and I’m taking it. And now I know what is causing all the world’s problems: fax machines.

And there’s the rub: Fax machines are killing us. And it has to stop.