Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feeling Better Yet?

As reported earlier, I emerged from my doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning with prescriptions for two of the needed six medications I had on my list. Thus began the circus. I was totally out of one of these meds, and, of course, it is the only one I take that I absolutely cannot skip a dose.

The pharmacy FAXed my list to the doctor's office, and advised I follow up with a phone call. I called. My doctor was gone for the day and would not return until Friday, so sorry, but no filling of prescriptions by FAX until Friday. I explained to the voice on the other end of the line that there is one medication I must have, and asked her if one of the other doctors can't simply write a script for that one?

Lost your marbles yet? Need help?
She said she'll call me back. An hour later she called back and said, "Dr. X will FAX a script for two pills, one for Thursday am and one for Friday am." (Oh goodie! A co-pay for the dispensing charge of $15.00 + cost of two pills!)

She instructed me to check with my pharmacist in a couple of hours, and to call the pharmacy on Thursday afternoon and ask them to FAX a request for the prescriptions again since my own doctor will be in on Friday. I thanked her and went about my business, weary and a little aggravated around the edges.

A couple of hours later I called the pharmacist and learned that Dr X had written scripts for a two-day supply of every medication I take plus one I don't take and never have taken! I think my hair is a bit whiter than it was when I crawled out of bed this morning, but never mind. I had already arranged for delivery of a couple of meds for Tony earlier and I asked that the one I needed be added to that. I told them I only needed the one medication. I got two bottles with two pills each but at least not nine bottles with two pills each, so that was some kind of victory.

This afternoon I called the pharmacy. (I really wouldn't blame them for blocking my number.) I apologized but said I had to ask them to FAX this blooming list to the doctor again, and read the list to them. Second on the list was my pain med. Now this is just plain old Tylenol 2, but as soon as I said I needed a new prescription the pharmacist asked, "You've got a prescription here from March 1st for 480 of them. You need more?"

I had the bottle in hand, filled March 19, 240 pills, which still has 20 or so pills in it. But it says clearly at the top, NO REFILLS. The pharmacist explained the bottle I had in hand was from a prescription written in November. Suddenly I was filled with a sinking feeling that my doctor may well think I am taking twice as much pain medication as prescribed, when I only rarely take the amount she allows.

The pharmacy's policy is that when you bring in a new prescription it clears the old one off, but in this case they did not do that, and their inconsistency led me to believe I had no prescription for pain pills left. I called back and had a heart-to-heart with the pharmacy manager and asked if they were not going to be consistent then they should at least let me know, so I don't appear to be a drug-seeker with my doctor.  He said, "Dear dear but we can't be responsible for getting things wrong. We're too busy to follow our own rules, or to be consistent. But if your doctor calls asking if you're an addict and I happen to answer the phone and remember this conversation I'll tell her you aren't."  (Somehow I am not feeling the warm glow of reassurance, but it could just be stress-induced senility setting in.) 

Now I hitched up my big girl drawers and called the clinic again, to tell them they should have received a FAX from my pharmacy. The receptionist chirps, "Yes, you need scripts for med #1 and med #2. We have it. Bye."

"WAIT! Read that back to me again. Med #3 and #4 are NOT on the  FAX?"

"No, just these two."

The pharmacy has FAXed a request for two of the four remaining meds I need. I had to hog-tie the receptionist to the telephone while I told her exactly which meds I need. She got a bit starchy and suggested I should make an appointment with the doctor when I want so many prescriptions. 

I told her I HAD made an appointment with the doctor, and had seen her on Tuesday, and although we had talked about the medications, and I had brought her a printed sheet of the meds I needed scripts written she only wrote two of the six prescriptions I needed before getting distracted and as a result I have spent two and a half days trying to get the mess straightened out.

She said she would FAX the pharmacy, and ask them to FAX the clinic back the correct list of the medications.  She then said, "Then I'll have to see if one of the doctors who is in today will sign them." I told her no, I want my own doctor to sign off on them tomorrow. The clerk is supposed to call me back once she has the FAX from the pharmacy. So far this has taken 10 phone calls, seven FAXes and two and a half days of wasted time.

This is one of the joys of "elderhood". If you aren't demented when you go into the doctor's office you damn well are by the time you finish with them.

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