Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chasing our tails

After work on Friday, I walked out to my car and called Fran to check in and see if there was anything I could do for her before I drove home. She reminded me that she had two prescriptions to pick-up at Costco and one written prescription ready to pick-up at Salem Clinic (pain meds have to be rewritten every month and physically retrieved. lord knows how families in worse situations than ours cope with this hassle.). Which helped me remember that I had an appointment to have my hearing aides checked - also at Costco.

I took the convenient 12th St. route across town to Salem Clinic. The employee at the counter couldn't find Fran's envelope in their expanding file and jogged into the back to talk to Dr. Week's medical assistant. After several minutes she returned and said that we had picked up this same prescription just 9 days ago. I know that Fran keeps better track of her pills and rarely makes a mistake, but without the bottle for proof there was nothing I could do. I went out to the car, called her and suggested she give them a call to sort it out. She immediately called back, said she had left a message and would keep me informed. So I called N at work to let him know he might need to retrieve this one as I was on my way to an appointment.

After my appointment (where I found out my right ear was slightly worse) I did my shopping and picked up the two prescriptions that were waiting. As I wheeled the cart out to the car, I ran into N with the prescription in hand. Yay! (but wait there's more) I took the groceries out to the car and joined him inside for the wait. Turned out (due to the efforts of the Feds to protect us all) Costco was out of oxy, but called Safeway on Center for us and found out they did have some.

We hopped into N's truck and motored over. N submitted the prescription and we left to sit in the truck and people watch for the wait. Fifteen minutes later, N's phone rang. It was Fran. Safeway had called to tell her the prescription needed to be signed. We looked at our watches and decided we could still make it to Salem Clinic before 7 and hoped they could help us. We retrieved the prescription and made it with 2 minutes to spare. I handed it over to the young woman behind the counter and told her (pitifully) that this had been such a hassle and boy I sure hoped they could help us out. She apologized and said it's something she tries to check (signatures) every time. She disappeared into the back and returned beaming, "Dr. Weeks was still in her office typing away!". Yay!

We returned to Safeway with the magic paper in our hands. The assistant handed it over to the pharmacist. He called us over and inquired (oh so careful not to suggest any wrong doing) how in the world we had gotten it signed so fast. We told him how fortunate we had been in arriving at Salem Clinic just in time and how Dr. Weeks was still in her office. (Who knew when something good finally happens, it could be bad.) He scanned our faces, asked a few more questions and probably wished he hadn't when I began to tear up.
Finally!! Mission accomplished! Nothing like an after work work-out, but I have to say - I'd rather be walking the dogs at the park under that beautiful moon. And after dinner, we did. :>)


Anonymous said...

This is too typical a story. The same thing is happening with the Doctors' Clinic. Picking up the written prescription is a ridiculous hassle, and it is not even for Oxy. And we wonder why the medical system is so expensive!?! Why punish those who take care of themselves? What can we do to find an advocate to keep from being hassled by doctors over legit medicines?

KandN said...

Unfortunately, it's federal law. All for the sake of trying to keep drugs out of the hands of users, but it's patients in pain who suffer. The drug users simply find other methods for achieving their 'goals'.
I decided 3 years ago that in our country it's easier to buy a gun and shoot yourself than to get your pain meds. A simplication for sure, but so frustrating.
I wish I had the answers.