Yes, she's coughing a lot as she dumps down a pack of DayQuil/NyQuil on the counter with three bottles of Gatorade and a box of Kleenex. "I'm just so sick..." <COUGH> "I'm here to get my momma's Ad-u-Vair. She's sick too. Oh, I just feel so horrible." <COUGH>
I go to our new fancy will-call system. It's not there. Like most pharmacists, I assume it's a trouble scrip and go to where we keep our troubled items. Yes, here it is, the printout says "Coverage Terminated. Ask Patient for New Card."
"I think your mom must have a new insurance card. Do you have that with you?"
"Nope, it's the same insurance. The same as always." <BIG HUGE COUGH>
I've become so used to people arguing with me about their new insurance I don't even blink anymore. I show her the computer printout. Immediately she dials up mom on her cell phone.
"Momma, they say your insurance is no good. <COUGH> MOMMA, YOUR INSURANCE AIN'T NO GOOD." <COUGH> <COUGH> <COUGH>
A guy loading his cart with several six-packs of beer 100 feet away turns around, curious as to why she's so loud.
"No momma, that's what the man told me."
"That's not what I said. I said the insurance is expired. Your mom must have received a new insurance card in the mail." I am remaining calm. The guy with the beer rolls off.
"Momma! Do you have a new card? A NEW CARD? Ok, what's the new number? THE NEW ID NUMBER? Here, talk to the man." <COUGH>
She reaches out to hand me her cell phone.
"Just have your mom call the pharmacy directly and I'll get the info from her."
"But she's on the phone right now!" Her hand is still trying to give the phone to me.
"Miss, you've not only told me you're really sick, you're coughing horribly. I'm NOT going to talk on your cell phone. I'm sorry."
She gives me a TOTALLY BEWILDERED LOOK. She puts the phone back to her face, "Momma! The pharmacist here, what's your name?"
"Crazy." I reply.
"The pharmacist here, Flazey, won't talk on my cell phone because I'm sick. No MOMMA, I can't get your medicine for you. No MOMMA." She snaps her flip-phone shut. I wonder if it is a free one from the government.
I attempt to start ringing up her items but she quickly gathers them up, turns 180 degrees, and trots off. She's genuinely upset that I wouldn't talk on her virus-laden, bacteria impregnated phone. I see a gift card in her future when she complains to management.
I sigh. The guy with the beer cart rolls by again.
A new lady appears at the counter. They do this like genies. The tech is munching on something in the back. She has low blood sugar issues so she has to keep munching all day long. For the moment I'm trapped at the register. Oh, there's things to count and things to sign off, but I'm register-boy right now.
"I'm here for my Sim-bye-court. McGrady's the name." I look, but nothing is there. I also check Mrs. McGrady's first name. Sometimes the munching tech files scripts under the first name. I don't know why. It's probably behavior induced by low blood sugar.
Since it's not in the fancy will-call, I go to the trouble printouts. It's not there. I sigh. I go to the computer. There's an Rx for Symbicort placed on hold and never filled, but that was six months ago. SIX MONTHS.
"Miss, I don't have a prescription waiting for you..." She cuts me off, "Yes you do. Mickey said he'd keep it for me."
"I see a prescription from last July that we have ON HOLD. We've never filled it."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN ON HOLD?! That's not what Mickey said! He said he'd have it ready for me! I need my medicine!" I've just been accused of keeping an old lady from her medicine, but I stay calm.
Mickey is our pharmacy manager of several years. He's bent the rules for people so much I think the rules are in the shape of coils by now. He's the guru, the man in charge, the go-to guy, the honored one, the amazing man, the Jedi, and also the one who gets most of the holiday gifts from patrons nice enough to think of their pharmacist, WHICH AREN'T MANY, by the way, you ungrateful cheap skates out there.
"What I'm telling you is that we have a prescription here for Symbicort that's on our computer from last July. It hasn't been processed. I can do that now."
"I don't understand. Mickey said it would be waiting for me." This lady REALLY thought we would process an Rx for Symbicort and have it hanging in will-call for six months waiting for her. She really thought that.
I give up. I'll try a new tactic. "There must be a mistake. I'll get it ready for you right now."
"There's a good boy," she replies.
Yes, she really said that.
The guy rolls by again. This time the cart now has several bags of chips on top of the beer.
A guy walks up to the counter. He's here to pick up the Rx he dropped off earlier in the day. He had the courtesy to actually give us time to fill the prescription without staring at us the whole time. I start to ring up the prescription. He runs his card and a receipt prints out.
I briefly think that maybe there's hope in this dark, dismal world of pharmacy. There's people out there who get it, people who care, people who understand the process, people who listen... I'm taken away in this dreamland of pharmacy where patients are patient, they take pride in having their insurance info correct, they are polite and respectful and listen to my counsel.... I'm blissful on my hammock in this perfect pharmacy land. All is right with the world. I have my red-rider BB gun....
<BURST> "Oh, here's my coupon card. My prescription wasn't supposed to be more than $25."
He hands me the card. It has a sticker on it which says "Attention Patient: Call this number to activate." I have no doubt this card has not been activated.
I can't be certain, but I think just then a pharmacist died somewhere in the world.
Off in the distance I see the beer and chip guy. He's loading his cart with more beer.