I was as much curious as anything else to see what the doctor had actually prescribed. Just to look at the script, it looks to be written in some ancient code, scratched on paper either by a lunatic or a drunken chicken. Unreadable, it becomes suddenly clear ‘learning to write that way’ must be the reason medical school takes so long.
The pharmacy is located in a far corner of one of those perpetually expanding ‘bigger’ box, national grocery chain stores. The enterprise might be more accurately named ‘ONE BIG ASS’ STORE as in the phrase, “…that’s ONE BIG ASS store, Mona.” Binoculars would have come in handy to even see the large ”Rx DEPT” sign hanging in the far corner that itself HAS to be in another zip code. As I walk through a jungle maze of aisles in the direction of the Rx, I wonder if I should have left a trail of bread crumbs to find my way back? (That the store displays croutons at 70% OFF is perhaps a hint to the wise?)
Our ‘ONE BIG ASS STORE appears to sell EVERYTHING–from groceries to prescription meds to lawn mowers to wolf urine. Walking past the shelf where they sold the latter, you had to give the store credit for the lengths to which they apparently went in order to sell EVERYTHING. For example, somewhere on the premises there must have been a wolf’man, an employee apparently talented enough to chase down a wolf, wrestle him to submission and then make him pee–32 fluid ounces–into a small brown bottle! Such an employee, even if experienced only with average, garden variety, neighborhood wolves –as opposed to the deluxe model wolf—certainly was not one to be trifled with (unless it’s the employee responsible for maintaining their polar bear milk inventory, since they sell that product too.)
It’s toward the end of the work day, and by the time I finally arrive in the Rx, the place is crowded. I’m also at the end of a long line of folks waiting to be served. None of them appears to be in a particularly festive mood. I immediately consider turning around but think better of the idea. Even if I went to another pharmacy–even if I could find my way out (since I didn’t leave the trail of crumbs) there might be a worse waiting line for me somewhere else. I traditionally have bad luck at switching queues for anything.
One way or another, getting the refill is going to be a long slog. So, I do what I always do when I have an unexpected wait: I eavesdrop on other folks. Hell, one of them might even know the way out. I might even sight their wolfman from the Rx.
Just listening to folks while they wait gives me a clue as to why the pharmacy staff has added a hastily hand written note that is taped to the big ‘Rx PICK -UP’ sign that pleads for ‘NO CUSSIN’. But I learn other things too.
On Rx Sticker Shock
“Good grief,” an older woman says upon being told by the pharmacist, the amount of her newly prescribed medicine. “There must be some mistake. You’ve priced this new medicine like it was m-m-m -meat. Or batteries. Or maybe razor blades.”
“It’s a good thing young folks, who want children don’t generally have to take this Viagra I just paid for,” says a man appearing to be in his early eighties. “Judging from the cost of the stuff, the people who make Viagra, don’t want folks to have any fun at all. Or even want the human race to continue. The high price is better than birth control.”
On Rx Timing
Overheard from someone who has obviously been waiting awhile: “The only reason the pharmacist-tech asks for your date of birth is so they can hope to have your prescription ready by the time your birthday rolls around.”
On Special Effects
“Good heavens,” says a middle-age man, reading the list of side effects of his doctor’s new Rx, “Diarrhea, anal leakage, dizziness, blurred vision, heart palpitations and dry mouth. If the disease don’t kill me, the side-effects damn sure will.”
“These possible side-effects of the prescription are worse th-th-th-than the original symptoms that sent me to the hospital in the first place. Probably just a way for the charlatans at the drug company to make money on the antidote for the side-effects too.”
“Hmmn. Seems like these side-effects are the same as those for rattlesnake bite.”
On Rx as Secret Weapon?
“When I think about it, mankind needs a better way of waging war. You know, wage war without really killing folks. Prescription side-effects might be the answer. You know, just dump some of that stuff with side-effects in the enemy’s water supply. It’s hard to fight a war when all the soldiers are sittin’ on the crapper with cramps… and a bad case of the shits”
On Rx Names
“Dulera….Xarelto….Xanax….Zoloft…Levemir. I think the guy who comes up with the names for these new prescription drugs is the same guy who comes up with names of new rock bands”
Ninety-minutes later I am finally served. The pharmacist has cracked the code of the doctor’s scribble although, I swear, the name of prescribed med is about six syllables—and hopelessly unpronounceable. Thus is still mystery about what the cure is. I resolve to just call it “some stuff the doctor prescribed.”
I pledge to myself to call ahead on the refill. Or to just consider witchcraft for whatever ails me in the future. And as I slowly and aimlessly feel my way back towards the lost horizon of the store’s entrance, keeping my eyes peeled all the while for the BIG ASS wolfman.
I also vow to drop the bread crumbs next time.