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Theft? What?

, , , , , , | Healthy | May 15, 2022

I am working late at a veterinary hospital and a note was left for the doctor. The phone rings, and I answer.

Me: “[Veterinary Hospital], my name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Owner: *Politely* “Hi there. I left a note for the doctor this afternoon and I haven’t heard back yet. My pet’s name is [Pet] and my last name is [Owner’s Last Name]. I was wondering if we could fill antibiotics for my pet?”

Me: “Okay, let me look that up for you!” *Typing* “Oh, I see the doctor won’t be in until tomorrow. Sorry about that. My coworker should have let you know! She’ll get back to you tomorrow, but I’ll let you know that standardly the doctor does require a recheck exam prior to filling antibiotics, especially since it’s been a couple months since we’ve seen the pet!”

Owner: *Silence*

Me: *Pauses* “Ma’am, did I lose you?”

Owner: *Suddenly angry* “No, I heard you, but that’s theft.”

Me: *Shocked* “What?”

Owner: “That’s theft to demand a recheck!”

Me: “Ma’am, I was letting you know so you have a realistic expectation of tomorrow’s call with the doctor and to see if you wanted to make the appointment.”

Owner: “That’s theft!”

Me: *Sternly, getting back my senses* “No, it is not.”

Owner: “Yes, it is!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you continue yelling at me, I will have to hang up.”

Owner: *Yelling* “I’m not yelling!”

Me: “Yes. You are.”

Owner: “I’ll talk to the doctor tomorrow!” *Hangs up*

Not App-y About This Reception

, , , | Healthy | May 13, 2022

I have a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia and have been taking the same high-strength painkillers for three years now. I recently moved across the city and had to register with a new general practitioner’s surgery. They have an option where patients can request medication through the national health care app, which I do on a Wednesday a week before my prescription runs out. This painkiller has serious withdrawal effects that start eight hours after the last dose and get progressively worse in a short amount of time.

On Monday evening of the following week — five days after I requested my prescription — I check the app to see that my prescription has been rejected and a note saying to call the GP. I call on my lunch break the next day, Tuesday, thinking forty-five minutes will be plenty of time to get through to reception and sort it out. More fool me; my lunch break ends and I’m still on hold.

Thankfully, my workplace (a nursery/daycare) is lax on us using our phones while on shift so long as we’re not taking photos of children or ignoring our duties, so I opt to do the washing up after lunch with an earbud in listening to the hold music.

An hour and fifteen minutes into the call, I’ve finished washing up and there’s no cleaning to do inside, so I head to the garden with my earbud still in. It’s tricky to hold a conversation with the children and my coworkers through the repetitive music still in my ear, but I manage. If it were anything else, I’d give up and call back the next day, but I only have a day’s worth of painkillers left and really don’t want to go into withdrawal. After an hour and forty-five minutes of being told I’m “number one in the queue,” I finally get through to the receptionist.

Me: “Hi. I ordered a prescription of [painkiller] through [App] last week but it’s been rejected it and says to call the GP?”

We go through the verification process to bring up my account.

Receptionist: “It looks like we released a prescription for you on Thursday of last week. Is that what you’re calling about?”

Me: “Yes, but the app says it’s been rejected, and I only have a day’s worth of my old script left.”

Receptionist: “Oh, no. It was released on Thursday; it’s waiting for you at [Preferred Pharmacy]!”

Me: “So, I’ve been on hold for nearly two hours for nothing?”

Receptionist: “Two hours?! I’m so sorry you had to wait that long. We’ve been having problems with our system, and it only notified us you were waiting a minute before I took your call!”

Me: “All right, I understand, but I don’t get why the app said it had been rejected when the two other medications I requested at the same time were approved.”

Receptionist: “I’m so sorry. That’s a really long time to wait and I do apologise. Unfortunately, we don’t have any control over the app so I couldn’t tell you why it was marked as rejected. But your prescription is ready to be collected at the pharmacy.”

Me: “All right, thank you for confirming that.”

The receptionist gave me a code to give to the pharmacy in case they didn’t have my script on their system and we hung up. I understand it wasn’t their fault that the app was wrong or that their system has a bug, but I still spent over twelve hours worrying that I wouldn’t have my painkillers before my current packet ran out and spent over an hour only half-focused on my job for nothing.

I tried to report the issue on the app, but our government-run national healthcare service apparently doesn’t have that feature, so there’s nothing I can do. I’m grateful to have tax-funded healthcare which means I pay a little under £10 a month for medications that would cost hundreds, if not thousands, in other countries, but it’s frustrating to have this or similar issues pop up every few months on what should be a simple interaction. Yet another side effect of the budget cuts destroying what was once a well-oiled machine, I guess.

The Drama Of Dads And Drugs

, , , , , , | Related | May 5, 2022

I’m in college, home for the weekend, and I have a bad headache. I tend to take as little over-the-counter medication as possible to avoid building up an immunity, but my head is really bothering me, so I take ibuprofen. My dad sees me shake out a single pill.

Dad: “You okay?”

Me: “Yeah, just a bad headache.”

Dad: “Come on, at least take an adult dose!”

Me: “It’s fine. I’m good with just one.”

Mom: “You heard your dad. The answer is always more drugs.”

He yelled, “NO!” while we laughed.

You’ve Got To Be Kidneying Me

, , , , , | Healthy | March 3, 2022

I donated a kidney a while back. For the most part, this isn’t much of a problem; the only side effect of the donation, other than not being allowed to do some obscure medical test with radioactive dyes that I’ll likely never need, is that I should avoid NSAIDs like aspirin.

A few years back, I went to a new dentist due to dental pain and they told me I would need a tooth removed. They didn’t have me fill out anything about my medical history before I went in for the dental surgery, so I made sure to briefly mention that I’d donated a kidney to my dentist just so he was aware of it.

After the surgery was over, I was sent to talk to a nurse about post-care and given a prescription for pain relief. I didn’t recognize the medication name, but to be safe:

Me: *To the nurse* “I’ve donated a kidney, so I cannot take NSAIDs. Is this prescription safe for me?”

Nurse: “Yes, it is.”

However, while I was going to pick up my medication, I read through the paperwork they handed me. There was a note saying that it wasn’t safe to take a certain medication if you had kidney problems. The medication mentioned on the paperwork was different than the one I was prescribed, but just the fact that the paperwork called out potential risk concerned me. I figured I should be safe since I’d made sure everyone knew the risk and had been assured it was fine, but I was uncertain enough that I decided to double-check.

Lo and behold, even a quick Google search was enough to learn that the medication I was prescribed was listed as a generic version of the medication the paperwork said I shouldn’t take, and a quick check on [Health Website] explicitly said that this medication was not safe if you had kidney problems.

I called the dentist back explaining the problem, but they never returned my call, leaving me to suffer through the pain with nothing more than Tylenol. I opted not to go back to that dentist for the follow-up surgery to get a replacement tooth installed; I have a general rule of never allowing medical organizations more than one attempt at destroying any of my organs.

About a year and a half later, I got a letter from the dentist saying they were going out of business and I should contact them now if I needed to get any of my medical records. I can’t say I considered their being out of business much of a loss.

Thanks For The Double Dose Of Guilt

, , , , | Healthy | February 13, 2022

I take a very expensive medicine. Luckily, since I live in Sweden, I don’t even pay for one month’s full use myself until I start getting it for free. The trick with this medicine is that it needs to be refrigerated, so I cannot order it home and I always need to plan my shopping when getting it since I cannot have it in my bag for too long.

I have just gotten new instructions from my doctor saying I can take out for two months instead of one, since she doesn’t think I should need to go to the pharmacy too often in the health crisis. Unluckily, the power goes that night, and I don’t know for how long, so I call medical services to find out what I should do with the medicine. Since there is a risk that it will be ruined, they tell me to take it back to the pharmacy to get new ones. Since I need a dose for that day, I go to do so, and I have to put other plans aside for the day in order to fix this.

Me: “Hi. I’m so sorry, but the power went and they said to exchange this in case it has gone bad.”

The pharmacist takes the medication and looks at it, then me, then to her computer, and then me again.

Pharmacist: “Do you know how expensive this is?”

Me: “Yes. As I said, the power went off, so the medicine might have been compromised.”

Pharmacist: “This is for two months!”

Me: “Yes, I know. I took it out yesterday — worst luck!”

She frowns and looks at her computer for a while.

Pharmacist: “Well, we don’t have any here, but you can find it at [Other Pharmacy].”

Me: “All right, should I just leave this here and go there, then?”

Pharmacist: “No, you need to bring this with you, or you can’t take out new medication again. Also, next time, perhaps you should only take out for one month; that way you won’t ruin as much of it.”

I did as she said and went a few blocks over to another pharmacy, only to have almost exactly the same conversation. I did get to make the exchange this time. I was so embarrassed and felt guilty about the whole thing, yet it was not even my fault, so thinking back, I wonder why they needed to keep rubbing it in?