The Lunatic at the Counter, or why you saw me crying at Target

Refilling my non-pain related medication:

  • My pharmacy registers it in their handy refill program, I get a $5 gift card.
  • My prescription is ready 2 weeks before I actually need it.
  • NOTE: in this example I never look like a drug addicted lunatic.

Refilling my pain medication:

  • Submit a monthly email request to my Doctor on Monday, a process she insists on.
  • Call the office 3 days later, after receiving no response to my email.
  • Go to the office on Thursday, the day my prescription runs out, and refuse to leave until I get my paper.
  • Take order to the pharmacy, wait 30 minutes to discover that the insurance requires something else of my Doctor. It’s after 5pm (the only time a working mom has to hang around Target, bribing her daughters with trips to the toy isles).
  • I am now completely out of the medication that I need to control my pain (because they track it that closely), medication I have taken for years without incident (I’ve never lost even a pill).
  • I beg the pharmacist for mercy, to which she nods apologetically, promises to call my Doc immediately in the AM and wishes me luck with that withdrawal.
  • I cry like a crazed lunatic as I push my kids out of the store in that damn squeaky cart.
  • The migraine I wake-up with in the morning drives me immediately to the coffee shop and then the pharmacy to remind them to call my Doc. They promise to call my cell the second the refill comes in.
  • I drag my ass to work in some pretty serious pain. Call my Doctors office and beg them to fix the prescription before the end of the day.
  • It is Friday afternoon and I am still waiting – the weekend threatening.
  • In two hours I will have to leave work early and visit my Doctors office in order to stand at the counter until they find someone to fix the damn prescription. Mustering the crazy will not be hard because this headache would make anyone a little edgy.
  • If I cannot get the medication fixed, I will end up in the emergency room this weekend and they will stamp a big red drug seeker on my chart.

This is not an unusual week for me, this mess happens all of the time for one reason or another. However, it is endlessly frustrating, degrading and unhealthy. I understand that there are systems in place to protect the drug abuser, but why does it have to create such hardship for those of us just trying to have a decent quality of life? The entire system lacks any sense of empathy for the patient, the person it is supposed to be serving. And, I pay $1,700/month for this amazing service.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lisa on June 6, 2012 at 12:45 am

    I have been in your same situation twice now…and understand completely how you feel. The dr once forgot to put a date on my prescription and the pharmacy refused to fill it wanting me to drive 2 hours to my dr;s office,,,or wait for it to be mailed to me…hahhaha like I could go without meds for several days. I have been on the phone with my nurse bawling and begging them to take care of the issue and they just do it all at their own pace with no understanding of the pain I am in. It makes you feel like some drug crazed doper. I actually get a little excited each month when I actually get my months supply because I know I am going to have the medication I need to make life bearable for at least the next thirty days. Good luck…I will keep you in my prayers.


    • I’m always torn when I hear about people in the same situation, it is nice to not be alone but I wish that nobody would have to deal with such craziness all of the time. I love that the same clinic that messes-up my meds regularly will also hand me a brochure about stress reduction. Thinking of you Lisa, many well wishes.


  2. Posted by Llc on August 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I know this is an older post but man….I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there. I’m a 43 yr old female & dying of severe premature genetic heart disease ( never a drug user, never overweight… had sudden massive heart attack at 38) and are treated like a damn junkie at the pharmacy. I am going to die a miserable death because of these judgements & BS laws. Actual junkies have an easier time getting meds than I ever will…


    • I am so sorry to hear about your heart condition. I picked up my meds without incident last month and it was shocking. Pathetic. Hope you experience the same bit of luck soon!


  3. Posted by Michael on December 12, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I know what your going through and sad part is there nothing you can do about it going to your Board of pharmacy in your state and file a complaint against the pharmacy in your state good luck because a pharmacist has more power than a License Doctor have a nice day Michael


  4. Posted by Necia on November 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Again an old post, but hugely important. I have progressive MS, severe Fibro, and narcolepsy to name a few. I have experienced everything, that you have talked about. It is systemic, and it stinks to high heaven. I recently wrote a letter to the editor on this subject, and amazingly I was contacted by a reporter, anxious to do this story. I had two interviews with him, and the story will run soon. We have to keep doing this, until this atrocity has ended. It takes tremendous effort, to be fighting our diseases, fighting our constant pain, fighting the insurance companies, fighting the pain clinics, and now , it would seem, fighting the government. All this at a tremendous toll on our bodies and minds.


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