Friday, September 2, 2011
Rite Back to the Past
After my run in with the berserk testing machine at a pharmacy, which held me prisoner within its cuff well beyond the minute it had promised for the reading, I entered my Doctor's back lair with some apprehension. That machine had said my pressure was 220 over 140, which I believed was somewhere outside the normal scale. I had come home and did my due diligence by Googling "extreme hypertension". I got an article that said a pressure like mine (actual a shade lower than mine) was called malignant hypertension and suggested if I wasn't already dead that I should be in a hospital. So-o-o-o what was the Doc going to say?
My weight was down 12 pounds since my last visit, so that was good. I wasn't having any plumbing issues, not really, except when I had to go, I HAD to GO! The technician and the Doctor both slapped the sphygmomanometer cuff about my arm in turn and my reading was 147/80. A little up, but not too bad. Doc had me take a cardiogram. It was the same as a year ago and quite normal. After all was said and done, I was ruled reasonably healthy and destined for longevity. She then pulled out her iPad and zapped my new refill prescriptions directly to my pharmacy.
It is important to note this was at midday of Wednesday last. Now a couple hours past midday on this Friday I went to that pharmacy to retrieve my freshly minted pill packets. Will I experience the same long lines as the last three times I have visited there in the past week?
Well play me a German Folk Dance and slap me silly, there were a mere two people in line ahead of me. I should be through in a whistle. The first customer seemed to be getting quiet a few bags. He must have received a separate pill for each organ of his body and then one to counteract the interaction between this melange. Finally they loaded his purchase on a forklift and hauled him to his car.
The gentlemen directly ahead of me stepped to the counter. The clerk went to the wall then to the computer empty-handed. Ut oh, been there, done that. "Sir," says the clerk, your insurance company won't allow us to do another refill of that prescription until the 23rd."
"I don't understand," says the man.
"Your insurance company won't pay any portion of this prescription until the 23rd."
"Ah," says the man. "What do I do on the 23rd?"
"We will just fill it on the 23rd, sir."
"Oh, will you call me like before then?"
With this the man walked away and I was up to bat.
I gave it. The clerk walked to the wall of plastic bags. He shuffled about. He came and looked in the computer. He walked back and began speaking to a pharmacists. Haven't I played in this scene before? If they come and tell me it wasn't sent it I think I will become a bit unkind. I sat there when the Doctor wrote it out and emailed it over.
The clerk comes back. "The doctor hasn't finished counting the pills for verification of a controlled substance. She will be finished shortly (there is that shortly again). In the meantime, just have a seat over there.
Oh, I suppose I will have the old, "Larry, you may get in line now" moment coming. Okay, I wonder, does it take two days...and as I sit my eyes wander to a large poster on a far wall: "The 15 Minute Prescription Guarantee* 15 Minutes, or you get a $5 Gift card." That is not the only such placard, there is another by the counter and another on the side wall and there is a tiny one by the register. The same thing is printed on the face of the pamphlets that come with each vial of pills you receive. You know, those foldout papers telling you of all the varied and sundry side-effects that just may kill you before your medication cures you. "If when taking this medication your leg falls off or your eyes pop out or you experience sudden death, immediately call your primary physician."
I waited much longer than 15 minutes the last three times (in the last week, need I repeat that as well) I stood here for prescriptions. Nobody dropped any $5 Gift Card in my bag. Maybe I should ask about this. At that moment the pharmacist called me up to the counter and rang me up on another register. I didn't have to get back in line this time. I didn't demand any gift card. I don't think it was 15 minutes this time and the pharmacist was so nice and pleasant I couldn't keep my anger.
It took me back a moment when she said, "$42." Whoa, Nelly, shouldn't it be $14. I stuttered out, "F-f-forty-t-t-two d-d-dollars?"
"Ninety day supply," she said. "Is that all right?"
Yes, it was. I had forgotten the Doctor told me she was doing that if my insurance company allowed. Fine with me, I hate running back every month.
Still, I wondered about that 15 minute business. But you see, it read: "The 15 Minute Prescription Guarantee.*" You see there is an asterisk. That means, what you think you just read is not at all what you read. That asterisk means in the end they are going to bite you in the asterisk.
I read the fine print: * (see asterisk at the beginning means this is what you should have read and then you'd know why you'll never ever received a gift card in your bag, sucker) "Guarantee applies to prescriptions dropped off in-store and at drive through only." (I was right, the Johnny-come-latelies got preferential treatment over we nice, considerate people who allowed the pharmacy time to prepare our goods.) "Certain exclusions apply..." (That generally means you're the exclusion.) "Certain exclusions apply including prescriptions requiring ordering, prescriber contact, third party assistance, professional services, or prescriptions presented immediately before or during Pharmacist lunch break." Good luck getting that gift card, Charlie!
Oh, I better pop a pill, I think my blood pressure is rising.