Gosh I hate having to get prescriptions refilled. It's all such a giant pain in the butt, which is made even more difficult by the fact that we need everything to be in liquid form, which is something that only certain pharmacies are capable of doing. There are 2 compounding pharmacies within a reasonable distance from us. Yes, two. pharmacies on every corner and in every grocery store but there are TWO within a reasonable distance from us that compound the meds we need. Don't be fooled by the signs that most pharmacies have that say "compounding pharmacy" because they're most likely only able to make mouthwash and diaper rash ointment.
A long while back, when Raya was still on the NG tube, I decided that I couldn't keep using the pharmacy we were going to because Donny was never home during their business hours, which are a lousy 8-5, Monday-Friday, so I always had at least 3 kids with me. They don't have a drive-thru, so I had to take the kids inside with me. They have bookshelves full of boxes of candy bars for sale. 'Nuff said. I HATED going there just because it was always such an ordeal dragging the kids in and keeping them out of the stupid candy bars that were for sale. I did love their syringes though. I've missed the 3ml syringes greatly. I didn't know that it was possible to have such strong preferences for syringes until Raya came along.
The other option is a large chain pharmacy that has much better hours (9-9 M-F, 10-6 S&S) AND a drive-thru, and is very, very close to 3 of the medical offices that we frequent. The main pharmacist there has always been rather power-trippy and can sometimes be downright condescending and rude (even to elderly people), but the business hours and the drive-thru won me over. And the little caps they give me that make getting the meds out of the bottle into a syringe without spilling MUCH easier. Even with the little "perks" (if you want to call them that), this pharmacy has been a giant pain in the butt more often than not. This week, they've pushed me over the edge and I'm not going back. At least not until the other pharmacy irritates me to the point of switching again.
So what was the straw that broke the camel's back? I called in a refill of one of Raya's 2 compounded meds on Monday morning. When you call to refill a prescription, you dial the store's number but you're rerouted to a call center where a pharmacy tech takes your order. However, when you call about compounded meds, they transfer you to the store pharmacy. You can't use the automated refill system or your order gets thrown in with all the other orders that come in on the automated system. (we learned that one the hard way) Usually the person I talk to asks me when I'd like to pick it up. They've always said to allow 24-48 hours for a compounded med so I usually call 2 days before Raya's therapy appt and tell them I want to pick it up right after therapy. This time they didn't bother asking me when I wanted to pick it up so I just assumed 24-48 hours like usual. They used to send text messages when the prescription was ready but I haven't been getting them, so I just assumed it would be ready on Wednesday night when I sent Donny to get it. It wasn't. The lady asked him, "Did anyone actually tell you that it was ready? Because it's not ready. We require 72 hours to fill compounded prescriptions." Freaking load of crap. Nobody had EVER told me they required 72 hours, nor has it EVER taken that long. He told them that they needed to have it done by Thursday and that they also needed to have her other one done by then as well so I could pick them both up at the same time. I was busy yesterday and didn't have time to go, but today we were there for therapy so we stopped again.
I knew they weren't going to have them ready, and I was right. Apparently 96 hours isn't enough either. Their excuse was that Raya's secondary insurance wasn't letting it go through so she had to call today and get an override. Today?! Really, I called it in on Monday and it took you 96 hours to even find out that it wasn't going through and you needed to call for an override?? I kept my cool but I did tell her that there was no excuse for letting it go for 5 days and that thanks to their negligence, she's been getting expired medication for 2 days now. She gave me a hollow apology for the inconvenience and I told her not to worry about it because we're not coming back. The tech that was "helping" me said he'd check with the guy that was making it and see how long it would take. While I waited for him, I looked up the phone number for the other pharmacy just in case his answer was unreasonable. Then he came back and told me that I could come back in an hour. I told him that coming back in an hour would require me to waste more time and more gas money, so as sucky as it was, we were just going to sit and wait for an hour. And we did. And it was sucky.
Do you know how hard it is to keep an overactive 3 year old from wreaking havoc in a place like that? First, she rearranged their button battery display about 20 times and switched all the price tags around several times.
They should have fun fixing that. Putting a button battery display within reach of toddlers is a dumb idea anyway. Those things are dangerous.
Then she started rearranging the rosacea creams but I chased her back to the chairs. After that, she was sliding around on the floor, which I don't believe has been swept recently.
And before you judge me for letting her be on the floor, this was after we'd been there for a good 20-30 minutes and I was tired of trying to keep her off of the floor but I'd invite anyone who feels like judging me for it to accompany us the next time we have to wait for an hour at a place like this.
Her dancing fingers played on the dividers for a few minutes.
By the time we finally got out of there (1 hour and 5 minutes later) we were making a pretend castle out of garbage from under the chair.
To further cement my decision to find a new pharmacy, in the hour that we sat there, only 1 person walked up to the counter, got their medicine, and left. Every single other person had SOME kind of problem with theirs. One elderly gentleman explained to the pharmacist that he did not have the strength in his hands to push the pills through the foil & plastic backing on the blister packs, and asked if they could please put the pills in a bottle for him. The tech initially said yes but then the pharmacist overheard him and corrected him, telling the man that they couldn't take the pills out of the packet unless his doctor wrote the prescription that way. She explained it until she was blue in the face, not that the man was arguing with her, she just likes to do that. She's done it to me many times about different things. Anyway, I felt so bad for this man. How is he supposed to take his pills if he can't get them out of the blister packs? He said he'd had to use a knife to get them out. Yeah, that's safe. She couldn't even be polite enough to have an apologetic tone and at least give him suggestions on how to open them (like, maybe scissors??). She just had to keep explaining it to him over and over again that she had to do it like it was written and that she couldn't change the directions on the label. Okay, then CALL THE GUY'S DOCTOR. Explain the problem and ask them for PERMISSION to take the pills out of the package and change the instructions. How hard is that?! Do what you can to actually HELP people instead of just showing them what a control freak you are about everything. Then there was an elderly lady that came in to pick up a prescription and I overheard the pharmacist say, "Yeah, I remember seeing that come in yesterday but it's not in the computer now. Let me check and see if I can find anything." ?!? Do me a favor. If you have a smart, responsible, nice, nearly college-age student, encourage them to become a pharmacist. The world needs a few more good pharmacists.
PS, I was going to contact the pharmacy's manager and express my disappointment and frustration from the last 2+ years of dealing with them, but it turns out she IS the manager... So yeah, we'll be going elsewhere.
When we walked in the door at home, I put her clothes in the laundry and took her straight to the sink to scrub the pharmacy floor yuck off of her hands. And the germs Speaking of scrubbing hands, guess what she and a green marker did this morning. (we've had an all-around crummy day, by the way)
It's unfortunate that the pictures don't capture the full effect. Even after scrubbing, her palms are still greenish-yellow. Marker ink was literall dripping off of her once we started to get it wet (thank you, washable Crayolas) and the sink water was totally green. Oh, and that was right after she and Kaida had gotten into some peanut M&Ms, which she is allergic to, which I had to suck out of her G tube with a syringe, which meant clogging & unclogging several times since she doesn't chew things very thoroughly and then giving her Benadryl and watching for a reaction. Thankfully there was no anaphylactic reaction or vomiting but the skin around her eyes got red and her voice sounded funny for a while. Just from one peanut M&M that I suctioned back out of her stomach. Then we hurried to go to the kids' awards assembly at school and there was some guy blocking our driveway, so we were late and got there just in time to miss Cole getting his award, then they had forgotten to print Ashtyn's certificate so she didn't get hers, and then Raya was being too loud & crying so we had to leave before she got her other award that I didn't know she was getting. See what I mean? Lousy day.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand...
Dear Compounding Pharmacies:
I have a few suggestions.
1. If you are so overloaded with prescriptions for compounded meds that it really does take you the 72 hours' notice you're now requesting as opposed to the 24 hours it used to take, then you either need to hire more compounding techs or get more of your locations to do compounding so that not everybody has to go to your location. 72 hours is much, much too long to make someone wait for a refill, especially when they're not able to put it on auto-refill or call it in on an automated system when they happen to remember at midnight that they need a refill.
2. If you realize that you will not have a prescription ready by the day & time you have promised it to the patient, CALL THEM. It's a lot less irritating to get a phone call saying that the medication isn't ready yet than it is to drive 20 minutes to the pharmacy and THEN find out it's not ready.
3. Don't blame your mistakes on the insurance company. If you drop the ball, accept responsibility and bust your butt to fix the problem, especially when it involves compounded medications.
4. Don't speak condescendingly to people and treat them like they're lesser than you just because you have a degree hanging on the wall. Just be a nice person, especially to elderly people.
A mother who WISHES her child didn't need your services.
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