Our 14 month home ministry assignment is just over two weeks away and it is beginning to feel like “crunch time.”
We’ve been still working with our classes which are slowly winding down. I finished my ESL tutoring leaving me with two regular classes, and Beth finished a literature tutorial leaving here with two other tutorials plus five regular classes.
But many details have to be taken care of before we hit the road and sky. Bethie’s mother will still be residing here while we are away, so I’ve needed to take care of a couple of bills and make sure she is prepared for handling them while we are away.
We are about to need to purchase a reliable vehicle in what is shaping up to be one of the worst car buyer’s market in decades if not ever, so I’ve been researching new a d used vehicles and reading up on the market and how best to prepare for what lies ahead.
We’ve accumulated a large suitcase-full of gifts for our ministry partners and hosts as we travel in the coming year. We’ve packed some rarely used winter clothes along with those gifts as padding. We will undoubtedly use those winter clothes this winter.
I’ve been making travel plans for visiting with ministry partners, family, and friends. We have a four-plus month of travel ahead of us just to kick things off. These travel segments will see us rolling up nearly 15,000 miles (not including our travel from here to El Paso, TX which is mostly in the air).
We’ve been helping Dayton navigate various details relating to his enrollment at LeTourneau and making sure he is focusing on his final semester of online community college.
Then there is one of the trickier details. Medications. Between the two of us, we take 7 meds on a daily basis. A couple of these are for acid reflux, but two others are beta blockers for my heart, and the other three are related to Beth’s essential tremors (benign Parkinson’s). These last five meds are the most important ones. Bethie can’t function with out hers. I wouldn’t live long without mine. The last time my dosis was a bit off, the cardiologist said that I had a “heavy heart” which meant the blood wasn’t pumping through the heart and was backing up into the lungs. He told me months later after changing the daily dosis that he was surprised I had survived that. I remember being exhausted and sleeping a lot, but I had no idea I was possibly dying.
All that to say, these meds are very important and an extended time in the USA makes this part of our planning critical to our ability to function and even stay alive.
But, medications are not easy to obtain in the USA. These meds require prescriptions in the USA, and these prescriptions are for conditions that must be treated by specialists (a neurologist and a cardiologist). Those can be difficult and time-consuming to locate and see, and then work through the medication regiment that we need.
They also are not cheap. These are typically $200 per visit types of specialists. Sometimes even double that amount. Our specialists here typically cost between $50 and $75 a visit. Of course, there is also the medications and their cost. The last time we priced purchasing an annual supply of medications in the USA about 5 years ago, it cost us about $1,000 out of pocket after insurance. As I recall, just one of these meds without insurance was quoted at over $300 per month.
So, what do we do with this? Our solution has been to try to buy enough meds to take us from now through August 2022. We expect to be back here no later than mid-August 2022. So far, I’ve managed to procure about 3/4th of the medications. A couple of them I’ve managed to purchase all of the amounts needed. One of the meds hasn’t been available at all. So, I am still looking.
Since we bought some of these awhile back, I am not sure of how much all of this has cost, but the past two days have cost us only around $225. I would guesstimate that we are at or under $300 for the total accumulation of all these meds.
The last time we were dependent on purchasing meds in the USA, most of our meds were $25 or $30 per month, per med as a flat payment. Thus, we were running $150 to $200 a month in out of pocket med costs.
Thus, we should be able to come up with all of our meds for 14 months for about two months of medicine purchases in the USA with insurance. And down here, this amount is without using insurance. Since we are purchasing so far ahead, I don’t know if our insurance would cover much of this, but even without coverage we feel pretty good about the cost and absorbing all this cost.
So, praise the Lord for medications needed and provided and for making them relatively affordable. We would not be able to live and minister without them. It’s good to know there are no pharmacies in heaven as no one will ever need one.