We Know A Few People Who Could Use That Procedure

, , , | Healthy | May 27, 2020

I’m a pharmacy technician at a national pharmacy chain. On this particular morning, it’s just me and the pharmacist working. About two minutes after opening, an old woman comes up to the register.

Me: “Good morning. Could I get your name and date of birth, please?”

She gives me her name and birthday. I punch her information into the register and see that we have a prescription ready for her. I grab her prescription from the bin.

Me: “Okay, so, I’ve got your [commonly used blood pressure medication] ready for you.”

Customer: “No, no, no! I don’t need that; I need my Valium!”

From having entered her information into the register, I know we do not have any Valium ready for her, nor are we currently working on any for her. However, if a patient’s medication is on hold, or if we’ve just received it from the doctor and haven’t entered it yet, it won’t show up on the register. I inform the woman there’s no Valium in process for her but that I will check my computer to see if we have any for her.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t have any Valium in my system for you anywhere. It’s possible that the doctor’s office hasn’t sent it to us yet; I would recommend that you give the office a call.”

Customer: *Now furious with me* “No! You’re lying! I know they sent it to you! They sent it to you yesterday and I need it now because I’m having brain surgery in forty-five minutes at [Hospital in a town thirty minutes away]!”

I’m just dumbstruck that someone would plan this poorly, but I maintain my professional composure.

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am, but I have not received any Valium prescription for you.”

Customer: “Well, this is just f****** ridiculous. This kind of s*** is why I changed pharmacies months ago.”

Me: *Slight pause* “Well, then… perhaps your prescription was sent to your current pharmacy?”

Customer: “No! I know for a fact that it was sent to you because I was standing right there when the doctor called you!”

I know this is a lie because of two things. First, doctors never call prescriptions in themselves; they have a nurse or receptionist do it. And second, Valium is a class IV controlled substance and therefore, in our state, it can only be sent to the pharmacy electronically, not over the phone.

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but again, I don’t have any prescription here for you. My best recommendation would be that you call the doctor and ask them to send it again as soon as possible.”

Customer: “No, there’s no time for that. When I get there, I’m gonna tell them it’s your fault that I have to postpone this operation!”

The woman storms off and I walk back to my workstation, almost in a daze.

Pharmacist: “Well, if she’s having brain surgery, I hope that means they’re going to install one.”

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