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I Understand But Not Really

, , , , , , , | Right | November 14, 2022

A woman comes into the pharmacy to pick up her medication. She is getting two of the same meds that are different doses; she alternates taking them daily, so for a month’s supply, she gets fifteen of each instead of thirty.

Thirty minutes after purchasing, she returns to the pharmacy.

Customer: “Why did you only give me fifteen of each instead of thirty?”

Me: “You have to alternate both doses, and they will make up a full month’s supply.”

Customer: “I’m not happy with this! I want thirty of each!”

Me: “Your insurance won’t cover sixty pills for thirty days.”

Customer: “Okay. I understand. No problem.”

Me: “Have a good day!”

Customer: “But where is the rest of my medication? I want thirty!”

I am so confused at this point, so I explain again.

Customer: “Okay. I understand.”

I walk away, and she calls me back.

Customer: “But where are the rest of my medications?”

I explain a third time.

Customer: “Okay, sure, but why are you withholding my medication?”

This happened enough times that I got frustrated and had to get the pharmacist. It was just so crazy because she said she understood what I said but then asked why I wasn’t giving her the medication!

Pregnancy Is A Hard Journey, But It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This!

, , , , , , , , , , | Healthy | November 14, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: Suicide Mention. May also be triggering to those who’ve lost pregnancies.

This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

 

I am living in another state to study while my husband is living in our home state to continue working. He comes to my college to visit me, and we are grateful and happy to find out a few weeks later that we are expecting a baby.

At first, we plan that I will finish my course as I only have two months to go before moving back to our home state, but when I’m around six weeks pregnant, I end up with such severe morning sickness that I am vomiting up everything in my stomach every thirty minutes to an hour, even water.

After around ten days of this, I call the national health service line, and they recommend that I go to the hospital for fluids. The closest hospital is in the rural town I’m studying in and only consists of an emergency department and basic care. My college principal’s wife accompanies me to the hospital as I am in no condition to drive and am very nervous about getting needles.

From the start, we have problems. The nurses think I’m just a young mum who didn’t realise women get sick when pregnant. They avoid me and roll their eyes when in the room. They don’t call in the doctor (who is on call in a small hospital on the weekend) until one of the nurses realises I haven’t kept down the 500ml of water I’ve tried to drink over the last three days.

When the doctor arrives, he ignores me and only addresses the principal’s wife, believing she is my mother, even though I’m twenty-four. He begins asking me about my medical history.

Doctor: “Do you have any preexisting medical conditions?”

Me: “Yes, I have depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. I’m on [medication] for it, but I’ve been throwing it up after I take it.”

Doctor: “You know that everyone has depression at some point in their lives, right? You don’t have to declare it.”

Me: “My first suicide attempt was when I was twelve years old.”

Doctor: “Oh, I guess that is a more severe case.”

Eventually, he decides I should have IV fluids and they put me on a three-hour drip. During this time, a new nurse comes in who is very kind. She realises something could actually be more severe than “a bit of morning sickness” and urges me to come back if I continue to be as sick as I am.

A week later, I am still very sick and find myself in the same situation requiring fluids, so I return. This time, I am helped by yet another nurse, who is worse than all the others combined. She does not call the doctor at all and speaks down to me, barely listening to my answers and concerns.

Nurse #2: “Make sure you only eat very plain food; anything spicy or fatty can make you feel more nauseous.”

Me: “I’ve only been eating plain water crackers and milk arrowroot biscuits. Even when I don’t eat, I find my body trying to vomit even though I have nothing in my stomach.”

Nurse #2: “Well, if you eat anything heavy, you will feel worse. And only drink water. You can try ginger tea, too; that helps some women.”

Me: “I’ve tried ginger. It made me even worse. I can’t stomach anything, not even water.”

Nurse #2: “Well, if you stop eating fatty food, you won’t vomit, so we won’t be calling the doctor or giving you any IV fluids. We will give you an injection to reduce the vomiting from what you’ve already eaten, and you can go home.”

I’m so tired and exhausted from vomiting that I don’t argue. I’m just thankful for some medication to stop my vomiting. She says she will inject it into my buttocks, but she misses and injects it into my side in a very painful spot. I end up feeling terrible pain for a week and can’t even touch the area without gasping in pain.

A few days later, my husband and I decide it’s best I move back home as I cannot study in my condition. I book the next flight home.

The day after arriving in my home state, my husband takes me to the chemist to buy more vomit bags. While we’re in line, a staff member notices me pale and shaking in the line and pulls me to the side to ring me up away from the other customers.

Cashier: “You must have a terrible bug; you are so pale.”

Me: “No, just pregnant. Morning sickness sucks.”

The cashier stops and studies me for a moment before pulling me over to a desk with a blood pressure monitor and taking my pulse. She then walks away and makes a phone call and returns with a very serious tone in her voice.

Cashier: “I’m not usually a cashier here. I’m a midwife, and I’m here for a specific program for new mothers to come in and have checkups and ask questions, but it’s quiet so I thought I would help the staff. Now, you are severely dehydrated. You need to go to the hospital now for fluids. I have called [Nearest Large Hospital] and they are expecting you.”

At first, I objected, because of the way I had been treated at the last hospital. I had begun to assume that I was just unable to cope with the standard sickness that comes with pregnancy, but my husband urged me to take her advice, and we go to the hospital.

Nearly as soon as we arrived, we were taken through to a room where IV fluids were waiting and a nurse brought in [Medication #2]. They advised me that the medication [Nurse #2] had injected into my hip is actually considered dangerous for pregnant women and that studies have shown that it causes deformities in animal foetuses.

A doctor diagnosed me with a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which causes severe vomiting for the full duration of pregnancy. [Medication #2] worked excellently, and I ended up having to take it three times a day right up until my healthy — and hydrated — baby boy was born.

“These Meds Make Me Feel Funny. Better Give Them To Someone Else!”

, , , | Healthy | October 25, 2022

We had a customer come in with two vials of ibuprofen tablets, and she asked to speak to the pharmacist. She refused to say anything to me (a tech) about what was going on besides “these pills are wrong,” but luckily for her, it was a slow night and the pharmacist was available. Since our space is very small, I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.

Customer: “I’ve been taking this 800-mg dosage for over ten years. This last batch you gave me made me feel funny. I gave some to my husband and my cousin, and they agreed it made them feel funny, too!”

At this point, my jaw had dropped and I hid behind my computer screen. The pharmacist was staring at her.

Customer: “My cousin takes the same strength ibuprofen but uses [Other Chain], so she’d know. [Other Chain]’s pharmacist told her that the manufacturer of her pills had experimented with adding hydrocodone to ibuprofen. She immediately informed me about it. So, you guys gave me hydrocodone ibuprofen!”

This was one of our pharmacist’s last days on the job, as he was retiring, so I think he was a little more willing to just openly stare at this woman, and I can’t say I blame him. To appease the customers worry — as she was not aggressive or upset, just very convinced that she’d just been given hydrocodone — the pharmacist and I looked up this information, as well as her NDC (National Drug Code). Not only was this not the NDC that had said experiment, but said experiment was also definitely not released to consumers without their knowledge or consent. 

The customer went back and forth with the pharmacist, insisting that we give her an exchange for the “IP377 ones!” Those had been discontinued. We knew she wasn’t searching for free pills as she had the drug disposal bin drawer open, about to throw the old ones in so she could get her “normal ibuprofens”. 

Forty-five minutes later, the customer realized that the pills looked (and apparently felt?) different because she had picked them up from [Other Chain] while on vacation. With a quick thanks, she went off, presumably to demand that [Other Chain] exchange her hydrocodone pills.

I don’t think any of my coworkers believe me when I tell this story, and I can’t blame them. Imagine! Free hydrocodone!

Props to the lady, though; she stepped out of the way for any customers that came by and was never rude or insistent to me or the pharmacist. I’d rather have this very strange complaint from this type of person rather than an easy case with a rude customer!

You Can Only Have So Much Patience For Patients With No Patience

, , , | Healthy | October 21, 2022

I work as a doctor in a psychiatric hospital. Sometimes patients get administered to our hospital against their will because, due to their illness, they’ve become a danger to themselves or others. It’s important to know that despite this, we are a normal hospital and have no security. Since we all have extensive training and experience in de-escalation, everything usually goes peacefully, but there are a few exceptions.

This is one of my most memorable ones.

I’m on the night shift and am responsible for all inbound calls.

Caller: “Hello, this is [Prison]. I’m calling to inform you that we’re going to send you a patient in approximately thirty minutes.”

Me: “…what?”

This is not something we do. At all. While we do sometimes treat patients that have become violent, that is legally only possible if they don’t have a prison sentence. If they do, they will either be treated at a prison hospital or at a forensic psychiatric hospital. 

Caller: “Yeah, he just arrived here, and our prison doctor said he can’t examine him because he’s too violent.”

Me: What?!

Caller: “I know. I’m sorry.”

Me: “You’re aware that we have no security, right? “

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “And you still want to send him here? From a prison, where you have guards and everything?”

Caller: “I’m sorry, I really am. It’s ridiculous. But that’s what our doctor says. He won’t examine him because he’s afraid the patient will harm him.”

Me: “And it’s okay if he harms me or the nurses?”

Caller: “I’d rather not answer that. Anyway, we’ll be there soon.”

While they’re on the way to our hospital, I call the senior physician on duty. There’s a bit of back and forth that ends with the conclusion that, apparently, the prison doctor can pull a few strings that make this whole thing legal.

Then, the patient arrives. Strangely enough, at first, he seems entirely peaceful. The police lead him into the examination room.

Me: “Hello, you must be [Patient]. My name is [My Name]. How are you?”

Patient: “Gimme my stuff.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t have your stuff. The policemen might have brought some of your things, though.”

Patient: “No, my stuff! My drugs!”

Policeman: *Cheerily* “Yeah, we told him that since you’re also a withdrawal clinic, you would give him methadone and everything!”

Patient: “Yeah, I want [long list of addictive medications in very high doses].”

Policeman: “Well, he’s all yours now! Have a good night, everyone!”

And before I could say another word, the police were gone.

While, technically, we had everything the guy wanted, this was NOT how it worked. There was no way I could give a potentially lethal dose of drugs to an unknown patient. Instead, he’d be monitored closely and get medication according to his symptoms. This way, the withdrawal wouldn’t be pleasant but as safe as possible.

Luckily, I had the foresight not to tell him this immediately. Instead, I asked two huge male nurses to accompany me and a third one to stand by the door, just in case. From a safe distance, I informed the patient of our planned treatment. Before I could even finish, he threw a table at us. We hightailed out of there as fast as possible and the third nurse locked the door behind us.

While we called the police — seriously, I have no idea why they even left in the first place; it’s not like this wasn’t totally predictable — we could watch through a window as the patient wrecked the entire examination room. We didn’t watch for long, though, because he tried to break the window to get to us.

When the police finally arrived, they acted as if it was my fault for not just giving the guy what he wanted.

I got the last laugh, though, because they ended up having to watch the patient for the rest of the night while he received treatment as planned, and I was able to go to sleep.

Trouble With ADHD At The PCP

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 11, 2022

I have extremely low-grade ADHD; it’s to the point that normally just some caffeine and willpower get me straightened out. That’s probably why my soda-addicted teenage years never noticed. But the more tired I get, the more pronounced it gets, to where I literally have to set alarms to snap me out of whatever static-filled zone my meandering brain gets to and actually make sure I get household chores (or worse, actual professional work) done.

My old doctor knew this, it was on file, and we agreed that I didn’t require constant prescription medication as it was neither severe nor frequent enough to have me on a daily dose of medical-grade [illegal drug].

Unfortunately, her practice merges with another and no longer takes my insurance, so I have to find a new primary. Overall, the first meet-and-greet checkup goes fine. I need to lose weight, which I am already actively doing, joint issues are a known problem, etc.

Then comes the big question.

Doctor: “So, what are you taking for your ADHD?”

Me: “A good night’s sleep once a day and coffee with an extra espresso shot as required.”

Doctor: “No, what medicine are you taking?”

Me: “Uh, none. It’s not intense or interfering enough to require it.”

Doctor: “I’m going to prescribe you [Obvious Name Brand Medication].”

Me: “No, you’re not!”

Doctor: “You really can’t leave this untreated. It will affect your livelihood and—”

Me: “I’m gonna stop you right there, Doc. I’ve lived with this for forty years now. I know how it affects me and what I need to deal with. I worked a lot with [Former Doctor] and did a bunch of tests, and I know how severe my symptoms are. Putting me on [Medication] is like prescribing morphine to manage the pain of a stubbed toe; it’s extreme overkill.”

Doctor: “That information is outdated. If we do not treat this condition, you can experience lack of focus, hyper-focus on inappropriate subjects, energetic—”

Me:Stop. Are you actually just reading symptoms off the screen?! I know what symptoms I have, and I know what treatments do and don’t work. You said I should lose another fifteen to twenty pounds. Are you going to prescribe me liposuction next instead of keeping up with diet and exercise?!”

Doctor: “Well, that would be too extreme a treatment for the amount you need to lose, and—”

Me: “Exactly, and it’s the same with my brain. Are you going to drop this now?”

He is grumpy, but he adds some notes to my file. We finish the appointment, and I schedule a six-month follow-up for the weight issues and general checkup.

End of story? I WISH.

A week later, I get a call from the pharmacy I have on file.

Pharmacy: “We have a prescription to pick up for [My Name].”

Me: “I’m… not expecting anything. What prescription was it?”

Pharmacy: “It’s [ADHD Medication].”

Me: *Pauses* “Was it entered by [Doctor]?”

Pharmacy: “Yes, it was!”

Me: “Right. I apologize for this, but please cancel and undo the prescription. I will not be picking that up.”

After confirming some stuff, the next call I made was back to the doctor’s office and canceling my follow-up, leaving some EXTREMELY specific complaints as to why. The next stop is the insurance website to find a new and less pill-happy PCP.