This is Saturday, the 23rd. The last day that Mainland Pharmacy is open before Christmas. I pulled the duty and that is perfectly okay. I have always loved working on Christmas Eve. The people are happy and joyful. I catch them singing carols to themselves. The women are liable to give out holiday hugs. I shake a lot of hands.
The children get Spangler’s candy canes and they actually are appreciative. There is also special food in the lunch room. Too much and too fattening.
This year was no different. There were Happy Holidays and Bah Humbugs.
A patient presented a prescription from a neurology resident at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I had a hell of a time reading the atrocious scrawl, but eventually got it. Gabapentin 300 mg, #90, itid. Then came his signature. Atrocious
is not good enough. If the only way I could get out of the dungeon and marry the princess was to figure out who this guy was…. I’d be in the dungeon forever.
However, never fear. Right beside his signature was his name and UTMB number,
stamped in capital letters, in black ink. Now, UTMB does not provide the stamp.
He had to go out and buy it himself. This shows courtesy among a group that is known among pharmacists for their lack of courtesy. This is an example of consideration
beyond what is expected from a bunch of professionals who have uncaring and selfish
stamped on their foreheads. They wear coats made out of arrogance and little silly hats that proclaim better-than-you. Not Stephen Busby, MD. I’d love to shake his hand.
He needs to be acknowledged. I will write his boss. About those stamps. Maybe UTMB will get with Doctor Busby’s program and the laws of the state of Texas. He gave me a:
I called the Costco store at Bunker Hill in Houston for a couple transfers. I was a jolly old elf and could not help but notice the surly response.
“Yeah.. sure. Merry Hoopty to you too.”
We got all of the legal stuff done and then I asked him for his prices. I had promised the patient that he would pay no more than he paid at Costco.
“We don’t match prices.”
Huh? … “I’m not asking you to match anything. I’m going to match your prices.”
“I told you. We don’t match prices.”
Double huh? I said it very slowly and in a different way. “I promised the patient that we would charge the same thing that you charge.”
“Listen. You aren’t listening.”
“You listen! This guy lives 80 miles from your store. He has this idea that your cash prices are worth a 4 hour trip and you and I both know that is bull shit.”
Silence… Long silence .. followed by a longer silence.
I filled it. “C’mon, man. This is the 21st Century. This is not the 1970s when pharmacists all over were killing each other off. We cooperate in the Age of Aquarius.
Let the chains fight it out. Individual pharmacists are above that crap.”
Still a silence. I had more to say, but I was worried that he had hung up on me, the
truth behind my words having burned his ridiculous ass. “Hello? Are you there?”
“I’m here and we still aren’t matching prices.”
If you are in modern retail pharmacy, you probably deal with at least a few incidences a week of patients trying to get their hydrocodone/APAP refilled before they it is due. Sometimes, it is the Vicodin, the Soma and the Xanax, all three. Down here in southeast Texas, it seems to be normal. In Vermont, the patients were depressed. Down here, they are in big time pain. At least that is what it looks like from the prescription mix. I think some of these people would get it every five days if they could. A disclaimer. I work in an industrial/ refinery town. Some of these older men are bent over. They sigh when they move. Getting up from the chair is a struggle. They shuffle along with pronounced limps. I would never suggest that they did not need the medicines they take. Interesting. These guys rarely need their pain medicines early. I’m talking about a younger class of drug users. For these people, at my most lenient, I have a 75% rule. 23 days better be gone of a 30 days supply or there is no hope. They know it, by now. I have worked there for 9 months. The last time a women told me that her dog ate her bottle of Lortab, I answered with, “Bring in your dead dog and I’ll refill your prescription.”
She stared at me, stunned. “Are you serious.”
“My dog is not dead.”
“Did you pump its stomach?”
“Fuck you, you asshole.”
Well, I love you too.
Today, on this early Christmas Eve, I looked up and there was Tony XXXX. The clerk handed me his vial for 180 generic Norco 10/325. It was a 30 days supply and only 19 days were gone.
“I can’t do this man, you know me well enough by now.”
“Man, I’m leaving this afternoon for my mother’s in Missouri. I need to take extra medicine. I won’t be back for 2 weeks.”
“What town does your Mom live in?”
“Are you driving?”
He grinned. “I know you, Jim.” He pulled an envelope from his pocket. “Check this shit out, man.” He handed me his plane ticket.