The Pharmacy, and then… The Pharmacy

As you probably know, my insurance has kicked in, and with insurance you are bound to stumble upon one thing or another that pisses you off -even after having read all of the information available to you.

Last Saturday (as in a week ago Saturday) I had taken the prescriptions I was hanging on to until my insurance kicked in to the pharmacy. When I was told that my Risperidone prescription needed to be ordered and wouldn’t be available until Monday, I felt fine -knowing that I had a doctor’s appointment Monday morning and could swing by afterward, before work.

So I swung by on Monday, and it still wasn’t ready. Cut to the work week (which was full of the most intense stress I’ve experienced so far at my new job, and a nasty cold/flu thing that popped up at the end of the week) where I was completely unable to pick up the prescription. It wasn’t until Friday (where I was home sick and miserable) that I finally concluded I need to go down there to pick up the dang thing.

Already feeling disgusting, the guy behind the counter told me it was going to cost $30.

And that is when all of the barriers keeping nasty, rude Sarah at bay came down.

According to my insurance, my medication co-pays are supposed to be either $10 or $20. I went to the website ahead of time and checked. I found the price of my exact prescription and it wasn’t thirty dollars. On top of that, I had now had to wait almost an entire week for this medication, only to be surprised with the notion that it would cost me three times what my insurance said it would.

I exploded. As the employees tried to calm me, I slammed the surge protector on the counter that I had been planning on buying. I yelled. I pointed my finger and growled. And in the end, I threw the surge protector into a display of over the counter drugs.

Completely enraged, I tried calling my insurance company. There was nothing on the other end except a recorded voice asking me to speak into the phone clearly (which is quite difficult while enraged). An employee waited, standing 10 feet from me while I tried to calmly say, “risperidone” into the microphone over and over again before storming out of the store.

As I stood in line at the bank I immediately knew I had over-reacted. My internal dialog calmly whispering,

“You know, if it is $30, you should probably just give them $30. If anything has been a testiment to you needing this medication lately, I dare say this is it.”

And then, the flood of overwhelming shame and guilt that comes after an overreaction hit me. Those people definitely had not deserved the brunt of what they got, and now you are that rude customer nobody likes.

The conclusion I came to was to go back and get the prescription, but I was quite horrified by the thought of having to re-approach the people I just screamed publicly at. Part of me felt like I should apologize, whether I got the prescription or not, as something of a reminder that no matter how sick I feel, or how crappy my mood, it isn’t ok to take it out on others or use bipolar disorder as an excuse to attack others.

Ugh.

So I started the long (and by long I mean one city block), hard walk of shame back into the store and up to the counter. The employees eyed me suspiciously from behind their computers and, with the total opposite demeanor as the first time around I said,

“Hi, I’m sorry I was a total bitch just now, that was really quite rude and I apologize.

(I quickly considered and then rejected the idea of  making a, “I sure do obviously need that medication, don’t I?” joke).

“The thing is,” I continued, “I think if my boyfriend was here he’d say I was overreacting… so that is probably the case. May I please still fill that prescription now?”

The girl had un-filled the prescription but she re-filled it for me in about five minutes. She was actually quite understanding, which of course made me feel a bit more like an ass than I already did.

In the end, I made 5 trips to the pharmacy for that prescription, and though I know I am certainly not the most threatening customer that frequents the downtown Seattle area (by far) it was still a little sobering to become that person, even if only for about 15 minutes.

I realize this story does not make me look like a saint, but I know (and I know that many others would agree) that it is ok because I’m not one. There are times I still crack under the weight of illness and stress and become something of a monster, but I feel a little better knowing I can recognize it after 15 minutes, as opposed to spending days dragging my knuckles on the ground.

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3 responses to “The Pharmacy, and then… The Pharmacy

  1. I live in a small town where I have aunts who are Bipolar & a bit of local legend because of it combined with substance abuse. When I go in for my mood stabilizer if I get even the least bit irritated the pharmacist comes over to deal with me & keep things from escalating. I think they’re afraid of me.

  2. That took fortitude and character to go right back and apologize. Good job!

  3. Hi Sarah: I just (happily) discovered your blog. I had a very similar experience at the pharmacy (save for the throwing of a surge protector), and walked away crying and enraged and also deeply ashamed of myself. It took me three days to go back to apologize and have my Rx refilled.

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