Being A Pill About The Pills

, , , , | Healthy | March 12, 2020

(I work in a community pharmacy. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this story in some variation, as have my staff and coworkers in this field.)

Patient: *comes up to the counter* “Hi, I need to fill my medication.”

Clerk: “Oh, of course. Which medication did you need today?”

Patient: “I don’t know; it’s on my profile.”

(The clerk reviews the patient’s profile, which has more than 25 prescriptions dating back years.)

Clerk: “Do you know which one? There’s a bit of a list on your profile.”

(At this point, they will usually say one of two things:)

Patient: “I don’t know. Just fill all of them.”


Patient: “It’s the white pill.”

(This is where the clerk will grab one of the pharmacists.)

Pharmacist: “I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t just fill everything on your profile, as we don’t know which of these medications you take or have stopped taking.”

(Also, the staff hate having to fill a dozen or more prescriptions, only for the patient to say they need one or two of them; the rest we have to put back, wasting all the time and effort we needed to fill.)

Pharmacist: “Do you know what you take it for? Diabetes? Blood pressure?”

Patient: “I don’t know. It’s the white pill.”

Pharmacist: “Most of the pills on your profile are white. Do you know how many times you take it? Was it big or small? The first letter of the name or the doctor who wrote it?”

Patient: “How am I supposed to know?! You’re the pharmacist! You should know this! IT’S A WHITE PILL! I KNOW IT’S ON THE COMPUTER!”

Pharmacist: “Sir, I need a little more information to go on than just the color. Here’s our card; you can go home, find it, and then call it in. Or bring the bottle with you next time and we can help you more.”

(The patient stomped off. Seriously, if you come to the pharmacy, please know something about what you want to pick up. The vast majority of all the pills on the shelf are white. Bring the bottle, take a picture of the bottle, write down the name. Something!)

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This Doctor’s Stubbornness Runs Deep

, , , , , | Healthy | March 11, 2020

(Whenever I start coming down with any sort of respiratory infection, my voice gets deeper. The deeper the voice, the worse the illness is. I am stationed overseas in the nineties when a couple of coworkers notice that my voice is getting deeper. I go to Sick Call the next morning, and the corpsman, familiar with my history of pneumonia, sends me to the nearest US military hospital about 100 kilometers south to get seen by actual doctors.)

Doctor: “What brings you in today?”

Me: “I’m coming down with some sort of chest bug. Every time my voice gets deep, I get sick a few days later.”

Doctor: “What sort of symptoms are you having?”

Me: “At the moment, just the deep voice.”

Doctor: “That could mean anything. It’s probably acid reflux.”

(So far, the doctor has not examined me in any way.)

Me: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Sir?”

Doctor: “I’ll prescribe you an antacid for a week or so. You should also prop up the head of your bed just a bit, to help control the reflux.”

Me: “First, I’m not here for acid reflux. I’m coming down with some sort of twitching awfuls, because my voice is getting deep. When I start sounding like James Earl Jones, I always get pneumonia or bronchitis or some other chest ailment within a couple of days. Every time. Since the deep voice just started being noticeable, I’m trying to get ahead of the disease. Second, I have a waterbed. Propping up the head of the bed will have no effect.”

Doctor: *frowning* “Sure, it will work. Just put a boot under the corners of your headboard. This will raise your upper body slightly and help prevent acid reflux from irritating your larynx.”

Me: *sighing internally* “With all due respect, sir, you cannot tilt water. It always stays level.”

Doctor: “Just raise your headboard a couple of inches. You’ll see.”

Me: *sighing out loud this time* “Sir, it’s a waterbed. Here’s a demonstration: run a little bit of water into that portable basin next to the sink.” *pointing at the small metal basin*

Doctor: “Okay.” *runs water into the basin*

Me: “Now, tilt the basin up on one end.”

Doctor: *lifts one end of the basin slightly*

Me: “Notice that the water stays level, no matter how high you raise either end of the basin? That’s why raising the head of my waterbed will be less than useless.”

Doctor: “Oh. I guess you’re right. I suppose we’ll have to get you an appointment with the gastroenterology clinic to cure your reflux.”

Me: *facepalm* “Sir, I don’t have reflux. Could you please listen to my chest?”

(I was given a prescription for antacid and told to go back to work, all without the doctor conducting an examination. Three days later, I was back in the hospital as an inpatient… with pneumonia.)

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Green With Envy Over Your Ability To See Color

, , , , | Healthy | March 10, 2020

(I know my coworker and his wife pretty well — I went to their wedding — and they’re often in the store either helping with or participating in events when they aren’t working. They’ve finished both of their events this day and are going past the counter to leave, and they walk by me. I overhear their discussion, and they rope me in.)

Coworker: “It’s brown!”

Coworker’s Wife: “It is not! [My Name], what’s the color of my shirt?”

(Because she is wearing a BRIGHT RED JACKET, it’s pretty obvious what color the shirt is; however, if you just glanced at it, it might be misconstrued as brown.)

Me: “Uh, it’s green?”

Coworker: “Is it? But it’s brown!”

Me: *peering at it* “No, it’s green; it’s a dark green.” 

Coworker’s Wife: “It’s emerald green.”

Coworker: “Well, it had better not be olive green, because that’s a color that doesn’t exist.”

Me: “But… What?” 

Coworker’s Wife: “What color are [My Name]’s bracelets?” 

(On my wrists are a paracord bracelet and a FitBit band, respectively.) 

Coworker: “Well, I know that one is bright green and purple, and that one is… well, I dunno.”

Me: “[Coworker], it’s green. You’re colorblind.” 

(I guess you learn something new every day — and this came as a bit of a shock to him, too!)

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Paging Doctor Cymbeline

, , , | Healthy | March 9, 2020

(I work on the switchboard for a major hospital. We take a lot of calls, have a lot of options to put callers to, and are, unfortunately, very used to callers giving us very little information so we have to guess the rest.)

Me: “Good afternoon, switchboard.”

Internal Caller: “Yeah, can I speak to Imogen?”

Me: “Imogen who?”

Internal Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Uh, okay. Do you know what Imogen does or what department she works in?”

Internal Caller: “I don’t know; the doctor just wants a copy of an X-ray.”

Me: *light-bulb moment* “OH! You want to speak to imaging!

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The Most Relatable Toddler

, , , | Healthy | March 8, 2020

(On the morning of my son’s two-year-old “well-child” checkup, he wakes up unusually grumpy. Shockingly, the news that he has to go to see the pediatrician does not improve his mood, so in an effort to get him to stop whining in the back of the car, I make an absolute rookie mistake. I promise him that after his appointment, I will take him on a trip to his favorite place. I then discover that I have the kind of two-year-old who neither understands nor accepts the concept of “after,” and as such, the following interaction happens at least six times in the next 45 minutes:)

Son: *wordlessly bawling at the top of his lungs*

Nurse: “Oh, no, what’s the matter?”


Nurse: “Me, too, honey. Me, too.”

(At least he did not scream at the doctor. Instead, he gently wept and whispered, “Please. Target.”)

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