Sometimes the inspiration for a post comes while I’m in the comfort of my own home. This is one of those stories, but it is not inspiring nor comforting.
For 4 years now, Alberta Health Services has been providing my very expensive chemotherapy drugs for free. But just so I don’t stockpile them or traffick them, I am only allowed 30 days’ worth of drugs at a time. When I need more, I call the pharmacy, and receive a refill pronto.
I can either pick up the refill at the Cancer Centre pharmacy or have the drugs mailed to me. Since finding a parking spot at the hospital is less likely than finding that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I usually opt for the mailing. Sorry, taxpayers, that’s on you.
I recently requested a new chemotherapy stash, knowing the trusty pharmacists would send me what I needed forthwith. Late on Friday afternoon, less than an hour before the pharmacy was to close for the weekend, I realized to my horror that I had not yet received my drugs, so I made a frantic call to the Cancer Centre pharmacy. “Yes, frantic caller, your chemo was mailed,” the kind pharmacist said, “and here is your package tracking number.”
And so I tracked my package online. This is how I learned that my drugs had been rerouted…twice. They were to be delivered that day, but dinner hour was quickly approaching so I was not hopeful. So I called. After I explained that I was not seeking my new frock from the Home Shopping Channel but my chemotherapy, the nice fellow told me he had no idea why my package had been delayed, he had no idea where it was, but he could escalate the urgency of the delivery if appropriate. And then he asked: “How urgent is it that you receive this package?”
I told the fellow that I’d place the urgency at 100 on a 1-10 scale. (No, that is not a typo.) I cannot speak for other cancer patients, but I take my chemotherapy to stay alive. I don’t pop these pills recreationally.
So the nice fellow received permission to escalate the urgency of the package, whereupon he placed me on hold. Fifteen minutes later he told me he had been unsuccessful at reaching someone but could have someone call me the following Monday. I nixed that, telling him that Monday morning, I would be at the Cancer Centre pharmacy seeking a replacement for the drugs his company had lost.
Ever the optimist, I continue to check my tracking number diligently. This morning’s message, for the third day in a row, was simple and to the point: “Item rerouted due to processing error; possible delay.” I’ve learned from this experience that tracking numbers aren’t much use when the company loses the package altogether. Just sayin’.
Might God be punishing me for being too lazy to pick up the drugs at the pharmacy? Or for all the money I’ve cost the province by needing these expensive drugs for four years now?
I’ll pay the ransom if you tell me what it is. You can take my first born child. Oh, I don’t have one of those. No, you can’t have Jelly instead. You’d just lose her.