I’ve been such a diligent patient for so many years now, nose to the grindstone, completing all assigned tasks diligently, that I’m amazed I have not yet merited an administrative assistant. This past weekend, I got a harsh reminder of my need for one.
Over the past six months or so, I’ve become a teensy bit overwhelmed with my drug regimen. I’m up to 12 pills (medications and supplements) each day split over four doses from two different pharmacies. I used to have many of my pills coordinated for simultaneous refills, but I’m well beyond that point now. Yes, I’m officially pharmaceutically challenged.
I reluctantly broke down and bought a granny pill case. You know the kind: they have four compartments each day. Trying to manage more than one dose in a little compartment was becoming too challenging for my indelicate fingers.
Last Saturday, when I started my regular pill sorting, I realized I was short two medications I had recently renewed. I found three other prescriptions I’d ordered that day, but these two drugs were nowhere to be found. I first checked my cluttered medication drawer. (Yes, one full kitchen drawer looks like an overstocked pharmacy shelf.) After an hour of searching, I spent several more fretting.
I know I lose a lot of things. I leave the house without my keys, my wallet, my common sense and my better judgement many days. But I’ve never lost my pills.
To understand what happens next, you need to appreciate that there are several pharmacists at the local pharmacy. Some are lazy, others abrupt, and when those ones are behind the counter, I avoid stopping by unless it’s urgent. The kind and accommodating pharmacists I’ve known for many years are my go-to guys.
I swung by the pharmacy on Saturday and spied a lazy one. When I was last there, she told me I owed $121 for my prescriptions, which are covered 100% by our health plans. No other pharmacist has ever made this mistake with me. Her careless error delayed our transaction significantly. I, unfortunately, lack patience or forgiveness.
My favourites would not have made this mistake. They would also have mentioned, when they saw my file, that my doctor had never gotten back to them about the renewal request on those other two medications, and they’d offer to renew them or send another request for me.
Yes, the two prescriptions had never been filled; I hadn’t lost them. Which is exactly what my beloved pharmacist told me when I showed up Monday panicking but apologetic (a minor relapse on the apology front), thinking I had been a bad patient.
There are three morals to this story: 1) A good pharmacist is worth his weight in expensive prescriptions; 2) I need to learn Excel. A spreadsheet would have alerted me to the problem and preempted this panic; and 3) Most importantly, J. is always right. While I was stressed out, she calmly told me that the prescriptions were probably never filled because, however scatterbrained I am, I never lose my drugs. Then she made me say, “Yes, honey, you are always right.” Sometimes it’s hard living with perfection.