Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rx Woes

I’m just doing some catching up and putting down some stuff that’s been on my mind. There’s no particular order to any of this, so just bear with me.

Pharmaceutical Madness
Who would have thought that getting a prescription filled could be so wrought with pitfalls, especially a prescription that is simply being renewed? Yes, you read that right—not a new prescription, just a continued one for a long-term medication because all the refills had run out on the old prescription. This is Phoebe’s fluoxetine (Prozac) prescription. She was getting one capsule a day and my vet told me to double her dose sometime after I refilled the prescription the first time. Doubling the dose meant I went through it twice as fast (duh!), so soon I needed a new prescription. My vet dutifully wrote one out, but horror of horrors, apparently he wrote it using common veterinary pharmaceutical abbreviations, which caused no end of problems at the human pharmacy. Last Wednesday, I tried to fill the Rx at the WalMart in Greensboro where I had filled the original prescription. I was meeting friends for dinner so just planned to drop it off and pick up the meds on my way home. But since I was at WalMart anyway, I decided to grab a few things, so I was still there when I heard my name called over the intercom to please come to the pharmacy. So off I went, only to be told by the girl behind the counter that they couldn’t fill the prescription because they couldn’t read the directions and they couldn’t call the vet’s office because it was after hours. Innocently, I asked “What can’t you read?” The girl held up the paper and pointed the abbreviation SID. I said, “That’s SID. It means ‘once a day.’” “Oh no,” said the girl behind the counter, “QD means once a day.” I tried to politely explain that in veterinary parlance, SID does indeed mean once a day, despite what people pharmacists might think. But the conversation was going nowhere. So I tried a different tack. “This is a renewed prescription,” I said. “Phoebe should be in your computer already with the original prescription information available there. This is the same prescription as before as far as dosing directions are concerned. The only thing that has changed is that we’ve increased the actual dosage amount.” She just looked at me blankly and said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t fill this without talking to the vet’s office.” Whatever. I just asked for the script back so I could try somewhere else. You see, part of the problem is that no WalMart is actually near where I live, so I go there only when I can combine the trip with something else so I can conserve gas. I wasn’t planning to come back up to Greensboro before Phoebe’s current meds ran out. And it’s not as if I have money dripping out of my pockets right now, and gas prices continue to rise.

On Thursday, I tried taking the prescription to my local CVS pharmacy. They told me that yes, fluoxetine is on the list of drugs for which you could get a 90-day supply for $9.99. Not as good as WalMart’s price, but I’d be saving time and miles, so I thought to go ahead. Only then, the girl behind the counter said to me, “Well, I don’t think we can use the prescription program for a dog.” Sigh. WalMart doesn’t care.

Act III: I was planning to go with Laura to Kelly’s in China Grove and work dogs on Saturday and figured I could go by the WalMart in Siler City (whose pharmacy has also filled this prescription before) on my way home. It’s not really on the way, but as I would already be out and driving a good distance, I figured I’d just suck it up and take the detour on the way home. At this point, I knew Phoebe doesn’t actually have enough meds to see her through the weekend, so I called my vet’s office and asked them if they could please call in my prescription to the WalMart in Siler City so I could pick it up Saturday evening. I explained the trouble I was having getting the script filled, and one of the techs said they’d be happy to call it in for me that day. She even said she’d call me back if there were any problems. I never got a call, so assumed everything was good to go (yeah, I know, that’s what I get for assuming).

Well, I’m sure you see where this is going. After dragging the intrepid Laura to a chicken show in Rowan county in the morning (more on that later) and then working wild sheep (I’ll tell the story about the sheep now called Michael Phelps in another post) in a corn field in China Grove all afternoon, we both just wanted to get home—and she had a dinner date with her dad to make. So we exited 85 at Lexington and headed east on 64, a nice leisurely little drive. It seemed to take forever to get from 85 to Asheboro, and then another forever to get from Asheboro to Siler City. All the time, the sun was setting and hopes were fading of getting home and still being able to do chores in some sort of daylight.

At the WalMart pharmacy in Siler City: When I finally get through the line to ask about my prescription—you guessed it—they had no record of any such thing. They even shunted me off to the side (you know, the black hole where you never speak to anyone again) while another pharmacy worker looked for any evidence that a prescription had been called in for me. Finally, in exasperation I pulled out the original prescription, which I still had in my purse (and which I was going to return to my vet at my next appointment, since the script should have been called in at that point). I said to the young man, as kindly as I could, “Here is the actual prescription. Can you fill it?” He goes off to talk to the pharmacist and doesn’t come back in, like, forever, so I meander over to the “drop off” area to see if he, too, has disappeared into a black hole. It turns out he’s in consultation with the pharmacist because they don’t know what SID means! Can I be forgiven if my head started to spin at about this point? Okay, I tried to control any external evidence of a spinning head, and instead I smiled politely and said, “SID is veterinary parlance for once a day. This is an existing prescription that should be on file on your computer. If you’d check it, you’d see the directions there, and you can just copy them.” Instead the pharmacist says to me, “I’ll just put ‘Take as directed.’” Gah! And double Gah!

I guess I should have been counting my lucky stars that they were at least going to fill the damn thing! But I had newly purchased chickens, who had been in the van all day without water or food, and Laura, who needed to meet her dad. So I thanked them for filling it and told them I wouldn’t be waiting (because you just know I wanted to wait another 45 minutes for an Rx that had already taken me to three pharmacies over four days to try to fill). So now I have a dilemma. Phoebe can take a half dose of her meds on Sunday, but I won’t have anything for her on Monday. I have an appointment to take Willow to the vet on Tuesday for bloodwork. I really don’t want to make the drive to Siler City three times in four days, so I plan to call my vet Monday morning and see if they won’t make up their fail on the prescription call-in by letting me bring Willow first thing Monday for the blood draw so I can make just one trip and get everything done. Wish me luck!

I’ll get to the chicken show and dog working later…. Here's a teaser on the chicken show: She screamed like a girl. Just writing those words makes me laugh all over again!

1 comment:

DeltaBluez Tess said...

I certainly hope all ends up well for you after all of those misses!!