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Do They Prescribe Caffeine Pills Here?

, , , | Working | December 31, 2021

I need to regularly obtain a specific over-the-counter medication to treat a mild chronic condition. I have been using this now for getting on for a decade.

This is how it goes whenever I go to the only local pharmacy that stocks it, which is about once every two months. The encounter is with exactly the same member of staff every time.

Me: “Hi, I’d like two packages of [medication], please.”

Employee: *Looking at me blankly* “What’s that?”

Having anticipated this, I show her an empty package of the last consignment.

Me: “It’s this.”

She looks at it with a puzzled expression on her face.

Employee: “I don’t know whether we stock this.”

Me: “You had it last time I came in, a couple of months ago.”

Employee: “I wouldn’t know. I don’t think we have it.”

Me: “Can you ask one of the dispensing pharmacists?”

Employee: “Well, okay, but …”

And she drifts off out back, where I see her through a window showing the package to the pharmacist on duty, who instantly goes to where it’s stocked and shows her where it is, and hence, she picks up a fresh package of [medication].

Employee: “Is this what you wanted?”

Me: “Yes, please. Can I have two, please? It saves me a journey if I can have two of them.”

Employee: “I don’t know whether we have two.”

Me: “Can you just check? It saves me a journey.”

She wanders out back again, where she talks to the pharmacist on duty again, who goes to exactly the same place as last time, showing her where it is again.

Me: “Can I have the old one back?”

Employee: “What old one?”

Me: “The one I gave you to show you what it was.”

She floats once more out the back, where she talks once more to the pharmacist, who picks up the old package from the counter where the subject of our anecdote put it down, and puts it into her hand.

Me: *Eventually* “Thank you.”

I paid and left.

This Lady Is Soul-Destroying

, , , | Right | December 16, 2021

A woman asks to cut me in the prescription pickup line because she is very sick. I am also very sick and can barely stand, but she is much older, and the line is at least twelve people deep. I am going to agree. But then…

Customer: *Screaming* “Oh, just forget it! I can already tell you’re not gonna let me. You’re heartless!”

Me: “Well, you didn’t give me a chance to respond.”

Customer: *Yelling* “That’s because you have no soul!”

Me: “You’re right. Enjoy the back of the line.”

She asks a few people behind me and they all say, “No.” I hear one man say:

Other Customer: “I don’t have a soul, either. Sorry.”

Throwing A Fit Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do That!

, , , | Right | CREDIT: Miss_Drew | December 11, 2021

My first job as a teenager was at a large chain pharmacy that also sold food and home goods. The store was near several assisted living homes, so we had mostly elderly customers.

One day, I was asked to work the register in the pharmacy with the pharmacy tech to assist with long lines. I had caught up with customers and was just standing around while the tech rang up an older lady. She had picked up a few groceries from the store area and wanted to check out at the pharmacy register with her prescription pickup. No problem. The tech pulled up her file on the computer.

Tech: “I’m afraid this prescription isn’t covered by your insurance, ma’am.”

She became absolutely livid!

Customer: “How dare you withhold my medicine?! Give me the price with insurance coverage!”

Tech: “Ma’am, we simply can’t do that. We have no control over what the insurance decides to cover.”

This elderly woman then proceeded to pick up her carton of eggs and throw them at the pharmacy tech! He dodged the eggs and they exploded all over the floor behind the desk. She then pulled her purse up over her shoulder, turned around, and stomped out of the store.

The whole time, I just stood there in shock, watching it all go down. I had never seen someone act that way! The tech calmly brushed it off as if it was a normal occurrence. I grabbed the mop bucket and we cleaned up the mess together.

Customers That Will Give You Blisters

, , , | Right | November 30, 2021

I’m a doctor, working at a public night shift service. It’s kind of like an emergency room but for non-emergencies, to keep the hospitals clear of white codes. We treat anything from a fever to a sore throat to prescriptions for urgent treatments.

A woman walks in at 3:00 am asking for a prescription for hypertension drugs, which isn’t unusual, as people sometimes don’t notice they’re running low.

The law (not a rule, not my decision — the law) states that our service can only write prescriptions for potentially life-threatening conditions’ drugs for a maximum of seventy-two hours’ coverage, so if you take one pill a day, I can only prescribe you a single blister.

While I’m writing the prescription, she casually mentions:

Customer: “I’m an insomniac. I was cleaning the medicine cabinet and I realized I’m down to my last full blister.”

My pen stops and I ask her to repeat.

Me: “Full blister?”

Customer: “Yeah.”

I void the prescription and explain to her the law. She gets mad, starts yelling, and threatens to call the cops.

Me: “Go ahead.”

The cops come, and she triumphantly announces:

Customer: “He is refusing to treat me!”

I explained the situation, and they asked her if it was true that she had a full blister. She, of course, confirmed it. The cops looked at her — still with her look of triumph, waiting for them to arrest me — then at me, and then ask her politely to leave, as I was in the right. She was livid.

The day after, my boss called me and cracked up because she went back during the day to talk to “the manager”, and my boss told her the exact same thing. Never saw her again.

We Suppose This Might Be Problematic

, , , , | Healthy | November 19, 2021

A particular medication that I’ve needed for a while comes in several forms: injections, suppositories, and oral pills. I’ve been on all three varieties over the past few years. This scene happens as my doctor has just switched me from injections to pills and I go to fill the new prescription at the pharmacy for the first time.

The pharmacist hands me a bottle of what looks like large pills, but I review the instructions on the label before I leave and notice that something seems off, so I go back up to the counter to ask the pharmacist a question.

Me: “Excuse me, but the instructions on this medication say to ‘insert vaginally,’ and I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be on the oral form of this medication right now. The bottle you gave me looks like pills, not suppositories, so I’m guessing it’s just mislabeled, but I want to double-check that I got the right thing before I leave.”

The pharmacist answers in a condescending voice.

Pharmacist: “No, this medication is always a suppository. Don’t swallow it; insert it vaginally.”

Me: “But I was just at my doctor’s office yesterday and he told me I’d be getting an oral version of the med now. Right now I’m taking a version of this medication that’s an intramuscular injection, so I know it comes in multiple forms. Also, I’ve been on the suppositories in the past and they didn’t look anything like this. But this is my first time taking the oral version, so I’m not positive what it’s supposed to look like. Are you sure these aren’t pills that I’m supposed to swallow orally?”

Pharmacist: “No, just follow the instructions on the label and call your doctor if you have any questions.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t make sense to me, and these really look like pills, not suppositories. Can you please just double-check the prescription before I leave?”

The pharmacist rolls his eyes and snatches the meds out of my hand. He comes back a few minutes later.

Pharmacist: “Your doctor wrote the wrong thing down, but I called and checked and you’re supposed to be on pills, not the suppositories. Here’s the correct medication for you.”

Then, he handed me back the exact same bottle of pills with a different label with instructions to “swallow by mouth”. He never apologized or acknowledged his error in any way.

I simply thanked him and left, but I’m sure glad I pay attention and aren’t afraid to advocate for myself. Even if my doctor did write the wrong instructions on some form, isn’t it supposed to be the pharmacist’s job to catch errors like that? And how could he not tell the difference between pills and suppositories? They look nothing alike!

I still see that pharmacist every time I go to that store. I just hope he hasn’t hurt anyone else by messing up their meds too badly!