Today is not a good day. Yes the sun is shining, the kids are well, and there’s food in fridge but it’s still not a ‘good day’.
I’m feeling very low, and I know that’s a ‘reaction’ to a uncomfortable experience, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel ‘low’.
Something happened this weekend. No-one close to me died, the ceiling didn’t fall in, nor did I find myself feeling ill, but it was enough to impact on something inside of me, and I feel pretty ‘winded’.
It was only a repeat prescription order, made as ever, over the telephone, on their answering machine:
Message: Please state your name, date of birth, prescription requirement and a telephone number.
Me: Hi, my name is Dawn, born March 23rd and I need all the meds on my repeat. Could you also ask GP to add an additional two weeks as I will be unavailable to collect next month’s order. Could you please telephone me if you need any more information on my mobile number…..
On Saturday I got a lift to Sainsburys to shop and popped my script in at the pharmacy. I went back 20 minutes later. The pharmacist said
Pharmacist: ”I’m sorry, I can’t dispense your prescription because the GP has written on it by hand, and when they do this, we have to telephone the surgery to confirm. I am sorry but as it is a weekend I can’t get hold of them, so I can’t do this.”
Me: “Oh, I see that’s a little odd and embarrassing but I understand, I’ll just pop it into my usual pharmacy on Monday.”
On Monday I took it to Boots.
I said: “Hi.” (smile) “Took these to Sainsburys on Saturday but pharacist explained he was unable to dispense because as you can see the GP has written on the scripts, so can I leave them with you so you can call surgery and sort it out?”
The Pharmacist said: “Yes.”
I went back a few hours later, and she said: “There’s a problem, I can’t dispense these because the Surgery are saying they don’t know who wrote on them because the GP who signed them is not in today, so another GP has said you can’t have them.”
Boots locally is quite small, and it was a little busy, so this was becoming a little embarassing.
“So.” I said. “what does that mean exactly, because they are as they were when I picked them up, save for your pharmacy stamp?”
“Well”; she said, “they can’t be sure the GP wrote on them, it’s not normal practice because they are a controlled drug.”
I was geting a little uptight by then, ‘controlled drug’ made me wonder what the other customers waiting behind me may be thinking at that point. So I rang the surgery.
The Receptionist said “We wouldn’t have written on the prescription and that is why the Doctor has refused it, I’ll get him to call you.
I replied: “Well someone there DID write on them, and this has meant that twice I have been refused my medication, and it’s hugely embarassing, and humiliating.
She said: The Doctor will call you.
Indignant at that point I asked the very helpful Boots pharmacist, if they happened to have a photocopier and if they did could they please supply me with a copy of these scripts because “I’m not enjoying the implication that they ‘may have’ been tampered with by me” A very obliging and sympathetic staff in this small Boots store obliged.
Armed with my photocopy and red face indignant anger I went directly to the surgery. I showed reception my photocopy. Again, in waiting room with other patients, I was subjected to words such as “people tamper”; “controlled drugs”; “safety”; “protection” and “GP refusal”. By then I was very angry, I felt very embarrassed and exposed in front of other patients, and quite franky I wanted vindiction. I said I wanted to see the GP doing the ‘refusing’ and ‘suggesting’.
He did see me, he did acknowledge that it was indeed his colleagues signature and handwriting on the amended prescription. He apologised but wasn’t particularly ‘sorry’. He was quite indifferent, even when I said that I felt I’d been unnecessarily humiliated in two pharmacies, and that the refusal on the Saturday had meant I was without medication for two days – which could have been detrimental. Indeed at that point, sat in his room, my heard was hammering, and that didn’t stop until long into yesterday evening.
So, I didn’t sleep well. I awoke early. I’m left with an odd feeling I can’t describe, it’s a bit like sadness. I suppose I feel they attacked my integrity. There were indications, should the GP have takentime to check, on my records which would indicate I do not abuse medication, have a long history of a good relationship with my own GP’s and have always been an open and honest client.
Interestingly the pharmacists merely did their job, they were apologetic and in the case of Boots, actually very supportive. The Surgery however, I think they ‘reacted’ they made a decision that because my medication is for a mental illness the prescription had been altered by the me, the patient. I find this generalisation abhorrent and stigmatising. They had no justification for assuming I would do that, nothing in my history would indicate I would suddenly, randomly attempt to alter a prescription. It feels as if they’ve almost said: “You are the type of person who would forge a prescription” and that’s feels horrible.
Am I wrong to feel the way I feel today?