I had a mini crisis this morning. When I called the pharmacy to get my daughter’s medicine for ADHD refilled as usual, the pharmacy tech told me that the Dr. had written a do not fill before date on it that was a week away. Admittedly, panic is probably not the best response upon hearing this news, but that’s what I felt. My daughter cannot function without her medicine, it completely changes her personality when she does not take it. I was filled with panic at the thought of having to get her through a full week without it. The pharmacy tech instructed me to call the Dr.’s office to sort it out.
When I called the Dr.’s office, which we have been going to since my now 11 year old daughter was a newborn, I explained the situation to the person who answered the medication refill line. She seemed kind and got the information so she could retrieve my daughter’s chart then put me on hold. The situation was this: we had gone in for my daughter’s med check early, at the end of February rather than a week before her meds needed to be refilled in March, because we had a day off school and because I wanted to discuss with the doctor changing the dose of one of her other meds. Even though I had told the Dr. the day that the ADHD med needed to be refilled, she wrote the February date as the do not fill before date. And as I told the woman who answered the phone, I would happily drive to the pharmacy, retrieve the erroneous prescription, get the medication bottle with the fill date on it, and drive across town to the Dr.’s office in order to get the situation resolved so we could fill her meds on time and move on.
After about five minutes on hold, another woman came on the phone. Neither of the people at the Dr.’s office identified themselves when they started talking to me, but this was a different voice than the one I had explained the situation to initially. This woman proceeded to, in an overly stern and harsh voice, tell me that if the pharmacy had filled the prescription on the wrong day it was not the Dr.’s office’s fault. She loudly told me that it was right there in the chart to fill it a week from today and that my daughter should have enough medication. I told her that I understood, that somehow the prescription had gotten filled last month even though it had the wrong do not fill before date on it, and I explained again about the mix up in dates leaving us in a bind. I offered again to drive over there, to do whatever it took to rectify the situation.
Inside, my panic was rising even higher. Feeling that level of panic propels me back into days when I lived on high alert and panic. I wanted to cry at the helplessness I felt. And the woman from the Dr.’s office continued to speak to me without any level of understanding or compassion, without any concern for my daughter and her situation or me as her mother and my situation. I explained the situation to her twice more until finally she nearly yelled at me, “Well, I’ll have to call the pharmacy and sort this out, give me their number.” While I was retrieving the pharmacy number from my phone, I even offered to call the pharmacy and have them call her. No, she would have to call them. I gave her the number. She nearly hung up before I could even ask what would happen next. “Will you call me back?” She grumbled a yes and hung up.
Helplessness leaves me feeling like a deer in the headlights, my mind racing around in circles trying to figure out what I can do to resolve the problem while my body sits unmoving. My mind, however, does not function well when struck with the paralyzing fear that panic levels on me. It loops around, “What will I do? What will I do? What will I do?” In this state I muddled through a situation I had to deal with at the Y and found that I would have wait to speak to the person who could answer my question. I waited, but after about 15 minutes, I could not stand it. I called the pharmacy. I told the pharmacy tech what had transpired on the phone with the Dr.’s office and that I hoped they would be receiving a call. Imagine how surprised I was when she told me that they’d already gotten the call, the Dr.’s office had given them authorization to fill not only this one but next month’s prescription on time, and that it would be ready and waiting for me when I arrived.
To say I was relieved might be a bit of an understatement. Still, it was all I could do to hold back tears. The Dr.’s office had not called me back. The fact that the woman had been harsh and basically did not believe me made me mad. But more than that, it left me wondering what on earth the woman from the Dr.’s office could have been thinking to have reacted to me in such an uncaring, accusatory way. I am a reliable, responsible parent and I’ve been dealing with my daughter’s medications for over five years. Is it so hard to believe that the prescription could have been written and contained a mistake?
As I was driving home from the pharmacy, I thought a lot about the woman from the Dr.’s office, her tone, her accusatory manner. I thought about how I’d felt being the recipient of it. I was filled with compassion for people who, like me, are on the receiving end of harsh treatment, whatever the reason. And I decided to make a conscious effort not to treat people that way. I know I can be impatient – with traffic, with my children – and sometimes in my feeling overwhelmed, I can snap or bark. My tone is less than kind. But I am determined to change that. If I am able to be successful, then today’s experience will have had some worth.