Friday, April 1, 2011

31 Is Greater Than 30

A day in the life a pain patient:

I filled my prescription for Vicodin March 1. It is a 30 day prescription. (That's important, so keep it in mind.) I call March 28 to request a refill. Mind you, my doctor's office requests that call 48 hours in advance of needing a refill.

This is what happened next:

I call the pharmacy that night and the pharmacist (or tech, I have no way of knowing) tells me they did not receive anything from my doctor. Okay, that happens every few months. Somewhere between the doctor prescribing it and the prescription actually arriving on the fax machine at the pharmacy a disconnect happens. The next day, I spend 20 minutes on hold with my doctor's office to find out that, yes, they sent it yesterday. I need to have the pharmacy call them. Okay.

I call the pharmacy back. This new person on the phone says, "Oh yeah, we got that yesterday. At 4:00."

Three hours before I called.

Why did they lie to me? Because it was set to be refilled on April 1, and CVS* policy is to lie to customers receiving narcotic refills to avoid "difficulty". No, she didn't use the word "lie", yes she did use the word "difficulty".

You mean like the the difficult of spending 20 minutes on hold with my doctor's office while at work to find out what happened to a refill for no reason at all? That difficulty?

Anyway, she assured me that my prescription was filled and I could pick it up first thing April 1.

Back to basic math, my prescription is for 30 days. March has 31 days in it. Holding the refill until April 1 has me picking up my prescription on the 32nd day- of a 30 day prescription. Needless to say, I was at CVS when they opened at 8am. (My doctor's office said something about federal prescribing guidelines- because small government is good unless it concerns people's bodies, and then the bigger, the better.)

My prescription was not ready. It was not in bottle all marked up with warnings, waiting for me. In fact, it could not be filled until 8am April 1. I then had to wait 25 minutes for a person with the equivalent of a Master's Degree to count to 90**.

And then she discovered that I wished to pay with cash and she didn't have a drawer in her register. "If you have a credit card, this would be so much easier."

Oh, the inconvenience. I bleed for you.

*A woman once worked as a pharmacist for 2 months at a CVS with absolutely no training. She was not caught because she failed to do the job properly.

**I have that beat. I once waited 1.5 hours for a person with the equivalent of a Master's Degree to slap a label on a prepackaged tube of steroid cream. It would have been quicker to train my dog to do it.


  1. Y'know, I myself have no chronic pain issues. But I know people who do. One of my friends recently had to spend two weeks trying to compensate for a doctor that took a vacation at a really bad time. I don't really understand why it's made so fucking hard on everyone.

    Well, I do. I know that there are people who con and swindle their way to pain medication. I know there are doctors that are little more than drug dealers with fancy degrees. But I'm reasonably certain there has to be a better system for helping people with chronic pain than, "Treat every fucking person who needs pain pills as an addict who doesn't have the good sense to get arrested for trying to buy heroin on a street corner."

    But, y'know, I'm one of those horrible librul types who likes to believe that there is some redeeming value in humanity. And I'm someone who doesn't know what it's like but does know how to empathize with other people. So my opinion probably doesn't count for much...

  2. Do we have the right to burn sam harris?

  3. so...

    "Federal Guidlines" state that an Rx for a narcotic cannot be written for more than 30 days.

    your doctor's office CAN and SHOULD write it on the 31st. every 30 days. PERIOD. Febuary makes it "messy", too - but it's not like they only write you 28 days of meds in feb - you get 30, like every other month.

    i'd talk to the doc about it - because that's some BS.

    i get MINE every 30 days, and i do it thru MEDICAID - which is even "stricter" than those same federal guidelines, and when a month happened where my refill day would have been a SUNDAY, there was NO problem filling on the day before.

    :( i wish i could HELP. sigh.

  4. Wow. That comment from DM sounded almost like a coherent snark. Or it would, if I didn't suspect he was probably serious.

    To DM. I know you've heard this before, but please: you're sick. You need to get help. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and there's ways of treating it, so please: call a psychiatrist.

    - back on topic (It's scary how often I have to clarify that)

    I never know how to respond to these posts. I feel like I should be contributing something constructive, but the only thing I can offer is sympathy. And it's fairly useless: you can't even use it kill anybody. But you're welcome to as much of it as you need, anyway.


Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

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