Monday, 7 July 2008

Drug store woman

I think I committed a crime today. And struck a small blow against 'The Man'. The system that stops me being able to be fully in control of my illness. I was driven to it though, m'lud. By a particularly unpleasant pharmacist and the kafkaesque nature of the NHS. And 'roid rage.

I took my prednisolone script to the chemist after school. I went to the Boots on my local high street, because I like the pharmacist in there. She once helped me out in the grips of agonising stomach cramps. I reckoned on her help because I had a problem. The old professor of rheumotology had written me a prescription for 150 preds, but he'd only gone and prescribed preds with enteric coating. Now call me deluded if you want, but 'enteric coating' sits in my file marked: NO! I can't remember why, and I realise this just adds to the irrationality, but at some point in the past I had to take preds with enteric coating and they didn't work as well. So, like admiting I'm feeling well and not saluting magpies, they have become anathema to me. Therefore I needed to explain this to my kindly pharmacist and with her help get the right pills that help me mentally too (never ignore the placebo factor). Unfortunately it was a new/different woman. So, I carefully, quietly and patiently explained the situation to her...

"Huh. You're the second one of these we've had today."
"Oh, sorry"
"Well, I can't change it. I can only dispense whats on the script."
"Yeah, but I NEED the non-enteric coated ones... they work better for me"
"Your doctor obviously doesn't think so"
"Yes, he doesn't normally prescribe them for me, I usually get them from my GP"
"You'll have to phone the hospital and get them to fax you a new one"
"But I've run out - I need them today. Can't you just give me the non-enteric coated ones please... please?"
"No. I can't give you a different drug to the one your doctor prescribed for you"
"But its not different - its prednisolone"
"No its not"
"It is! Its just got a coating on it"
"That makes it different - do you expect me to let everyone decide to take home different drugs to the ones their doctor prescribes?
"You'll have to go to your GP"
"But getting an appointment there takes days, sometimes weeks - I don't have it on a repeat prescription"
"Well. You can have enteric coated prednisolone. But I'm not giving you a different drug"

At this point I felt I could no longer hold back the 'roid rage. Fortunately for the pharmacist I had my youngest son with me. So I gripped the counter, counted to 10, took my script and left swallowing profanities. Now, at this point the red mist had descended and my moral compass was askew. I went back into Tesco, to the lottery stand. I used the pen on the stand to change my prescription. Not a high-class, sophisticated piece of fraud, just the simple scribbling out of the words 'enteric coating'. And then the boy and I walked up the road to the other chemist (the one where they dish out the methadone doses: I thought they'd be less perturbed by a shifty looking character...) where they cashed it in without so much as a by-your-leave. So, mwahahahahaha one-nil to me!

Just a final thought: possibly the best UC blog I have read - Number Two's - has come to an end. Reading Number two's gave me the confidence and impetus to start this blog, which in turn has helped me cope with the UC. I am glad that Martin is feeling well and hope that he stays that way. I look forward to seeing the return of such a witty and perceptive writer in a new form soon. Good luck Martin!


Martin said...

Hey Rich, thanks for the mention there. And I'm enjoying reading your blog. Really very good it is too.

Rich said...

Thanks Martin - that means a great deal to me. Really pleased you are feeling so well. I am also looking forward to your new direction - don't stay away too long!

aliwalidoodah said...

Rich - Oh my goodness this entry made me laugh out loud and everyone in my office looked round, now I have to look extra busy.
So many times have I been in similar situations. Do these people have no sympathy at all?! Loving your blog!

Rich said...

Hi Ali - I can only imagine that these people get some sort of power trip, like some traffic wardens, GP receptionists and all those other stereotypes. This kind of determined officiousness is gonna turn me into a criminal! Still the steroids are helping me cut through alot of nonsense - I've just got no patience for these people anymore... I'm like a milder incredible hulk.

I'm really enjoying the blogging, and so glad a great bloger like yourself is reading. Take care.