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What CFers Do: Go to the Pharmacy

This entry is part [part not set] of 19 in the series What CFers Do
A Few of My Pills, Lots More Elsewhere

A Few of My Pills, Lots More Elsewhere

I’ve been going to the pharmacy for as long as I can remember. As a little kid in Findlay, Ohio, I still remember the pharmacy was The Medicine Shoppe and my parents joked with the pharmacist asking which of his kids we were putting through college by now.

I could probably take you to the pharmacy even though we moved before I started driving.

I remember there was a motion-detector in the corner by the door and I’d try to move around slowly while Mom paid to see if I could get from one side of the store to the other without tripping the light on it.

I remember my pharmacist at our local Publix after we moved here knew me by name. His name was Bruce and he called me “Mr. Petersen” when I was only 17 or 18.

Our Publix pharmacy next to our apartments when we got married had a quick-learning and personable college-age girl with cute glasses frames (that was her nickname between Beautiful and me, “glasses frames girl”) who never needed to ask my name. She saw me walk to the general area of the pharmacy and would pull anything that was mine that was ready. She even started to recognize Beautiful if she was the one doing the picking up for me.

This all changed when we bought our house and can’t seem to get perfect service anywhere, but we are giving one of the Publix pharmacies another shot now that they fired their pharmacy manager about a year ago. One girl recognizes me, but still confirms my name and address. We’ll get her trained, too.

CFers always train their pharmacies and pharmacists. We probably visit a pharmacy every week – sometimes 4 times per week, plus deliveries from mail-order specialty pharmacies. a couple of times per month. It’s a lot of Rx co-pays and a lot of “hey, you should recognize me by now.”

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  1. My favorite is when I go to pick up J’s Tobi and I have to tell them every single time that it is in the fridge. They look at me like I don’t know what I’m talking about, walk over and check the bins, walk back to the computer look it up, go back to the bins, and then ask the Pharmacist who tells them, “Its in the fridge.” I smile. I have yet to get one trained. My life would be easier if J would just get his scripts filled at the store he works at. Nope. Never gonna happen. 9 years running.

  2. Yeah, I’ve given up on Walgreens unless it’s an absolute matter of convenience (by location only, of course, not competance) since we are at the grocery store at least once per week anyway. I let them run around for 5 minutes every time unless I have to go to the bathroom or be home for a call.

    I’m not sure why the level of (would it be called) paranoia about filling them at his store… any insights? It’s not like no one knows he’s got CF there, right? You can’t work 10-12 hour days without having spazzes that make you tell someone eventually. I’m not all for being outward about it, but I’m not understanding the reason for going to such extents in hiding it when you work at a pharmacy.

  3. I don’t think it is so much paranoia as it is privacy. Since the people who would be handling the prescriptions are technically his employees, I think it is weird for him. By going to another store, there is still that sense of patient/pharmacy privacy relationship. They have no reason to be curious. He is just (or I) another customer to them. Having someone he works with day in and out, the likely chance of questions being asked increases. He is able to “hide” it fairly well. He can go in the stockroom or office if he feels a coughing spell come on. The other employees aren’t in those places throughout the day. If it is a really bad day and he’s coughing a lot, most people just give him the “You’ve got something I don’t want look” and keep their distance. Not to take up so much space on your comments, but I think it also goes back to the perception of being normal (whatever that is!). Growing up, his CF brother was constantly in and out of the hospital, had collapsed lungs all the time, and then had a transplant and passed. I think the constant questions of how his brother was and then eventually how J was doing in relation to his death bothered him. He didn’t feel like people were genuinely interested in him so much as feeling sorry for him. He hates that. He’s a complex creature and keeps me on my toes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Breckgamel says

    This is so true! It’s so annoying to have to confirm your address/name when you’re like, “look, it’s ME!” I guess it’s the perk of having to visit the pharmacy/doctor, you can get a sense of entitlement. Heck, you’re likely their highest paying customer, I should be entitled! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Totally! I bought your Benz!! You WILL remember my name, address, and e-mail address.

  6. Thanks for taking up all of that comment space with that explanation so I understand J better now.

  7. I didn’t know you were from Ohio! Mandi was born in Toldeo.

    I had the same experience with our new Walgreen’s pharmacy when we got this new place. My first order was 6 meds and they were LITERALLY 0/6 in getting them correct! I coached them up a little bit and now there is actually a woman that seems to go “above and beyond” for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I was practically raised in The Toledo Hospital as my CF center. We’d drive up there for clinic, Sam’s Club, and Best Buy, but those things are about it. Taco Bell was always my special treat after clinics unless Dad was with us. When we moved to FL, we drove 1 mile to I-75, drove 1050 some odd miles south and 1 more mile off the interstate to our new home. Very strange move.

    We have one person who is good at my Walgreens a mile away. We call her Topanga from “Boy Meets World.” We make nicknames for everyone we don’t know. She finally didn’t ask for my name or address last time, but did confirm my last name with me to be sure she was right about who she was looking at in the drive through.

  9. The girls get a monthly repeat prescription from their GP Doctor, his practice has a pharmacy attached to it, the bonus is it is about a 5 minute walk from our house. We put in the repeats and collect them 2 days later and put them into the pharmacy who we then give a few days to get everything together. The pharmacy provide everything they need apart from the Neb medicine, Robyn’s supply of Promixin & Pulmozyme comes from Grimsby’s hospital pharmacy. We ring her community nurse, Karen, and she organises a prescription from Dr Samy who is the CF doctor and we just pick up a couple of days later. We usually get 2/3 months supply at once. Lauren’s Pulmozyme, TIP & Urso comes from Sheffield’s hospital pharmacy, she will order what she needs when we go for a clinic and they Fax it to the pharmacy, when we finish in clinic we just go and collect it.

  10. We tried doing the 90-day supplies, but our insurance wasn’t keen on taking that sort of hit with the expense of the meds I was wanting to do it with. I’m not really on anything normal, other than Albuterol, as far as cost/drug tiers go. Almost every CF med is still name brand at this point.

  11. Jesse, when you mentioned the Medicine Shoppe in Findlay that sure brought back some memories. Your mom & I drove past it last spring and there was another business in that building. They sure gave great customer service there. So did the bank we used in those days. They always greeted us by name when we came in and asked what we could do for them. That’s incredibly rare these days.