I take a lot of medication. A real lot. When I put in my repeat prescription request at the end of the month, it takes me over five minutes to finish reeling off the list to the doctors’ answerphone. I’m sure that the answerphone sits there, tapping its metaphorical fingers on the desk and says, “For hell’s teeth woman would you hurry up?”
The pharmacy in my village kindly pick up my prescription for me, as they know that I am virtually housebound. My carer then goes down to the pharmacy to collect the prescription 4-5 days later.
What’s my problem, you may ask? Shouldn’t I be grateful that my pharmacy does this for me? I am, I truly am. But what I’m not grateful for are the constant judgements from the staff. If I’m started on a new medication, which is sometimes unavoidable due to my multiple pathologies, my carer tells me that much clandestine eye rolling and muttering goes on between the staff. “More medication?” “This woman keeps us in business!” and other hurtful comments. Do they think I don’t know?
The most humiliating comments however, did not come from my local pharmacy. One time, I had to see my GP as my pain had been out of control and I’d also developed one of my regular ear infections. I’d been prescribed antibiotics and steroid ear drops, as well as my big list of normal medication. I had to get some food for dinner, so stopped off at my local Tesco on the way home and thought I may as well just make use of the pharmacy there and collect my prescription when I had finished my shopping. Most times my carer will go shop without me, as it’s much quicker. But this time I came too.
I dropped off the prescriptions at the pharmacy desk and watched the assistant’s eyebrows shoot up into her fringe. No attempt at professionalism whatsoever. I flushed bright red and off we went to get my groceries.
When I returned, the same assistant announced that I had to wait for the pharmacist as she wanted to speak to me. I am not good in crowds and the longer we had to wait, the busier the place was getting. After thirty minutes, the pharmacist stomped along and was holding a big bag. I held out my hand but she barked, “Not yet missy!” and began quizzing me at the top of her voice about why I took these medications and how long had I been on them and did I need them? I felt utterly humiliated. She was talking to me as if I was a drug addict! People were staring at me. I had to justify myself to some thoroughly unprofessional woman who withheld my medication with absolutely no justification just to humiliate me. Maybe my own pharmacy is not so bad after all.