I've been lucky, I think. I have gotten my prescriptions from the same pharmacy for over a decade. In that time, I have been on multiple medications. Had a few ohmygod I broke a bottle can I have a new one moments. Spent a LOT of time, especially as an adult, having in-depth conversations with my pharmacist about the effects of any specific medication. These conversations have increased in frequency since I entered the grand world of antidepressants.
A few years ago my pharmacy hired a new guy. I LIKED this guy. He looked up my file, knew what I was on, and would coach me, explain to me, reassure me everything I thought to ask about.
Today I had a very different experience.
We are switching from med A to med B. I entered this conversation expecting to be told what to expect as I stop taking med A (I imagine there will be withdrawal effects), as I start taking med B (hello, side effects), and as I increase the dosage of med B (impacts on my blood sugars, if the past is anything to go by).
What I got was drastically different.
I got a kind, soft-spoken old man who explained to me that I am to take one a day for 7 days, then 2 a day.
That's it folks.
Does it matter when in the day I take med B?
*shrug* "No, it shouldn't. "
Will I notice any symptoms as I change from one medication to the other?
*kind smile* *vague gesture towards the product leaflet I hold in my hand* "Ohhh, maybe... it's mild. Anything is so mild. Maybe nausea...but mild. Not for very long. Mild."
Will this affect my blood sugars?
*eyes widen* "Oh, you have diabetes? It shouldn't affect..."
*he flips through the product leaflet, sees the little blurb where it mentions the drug may affect blood sugars*
"Oh it might, yes. But *shrug* a little bit. Not too much. If it's too much, you go back to the doctor."
Should I worry about changes in my insulin or carb sensitivity?
"Oh. You take insulin?"
"Yes, since I was 4."
"Oh ok. You ask the doctor for the tester [this is a statement, not a question]. You check every 2, 3 days, maybe check every day and see what happens. Can you check every day?"
"I check my blood sugars 7-10 times per day."
I feel like screaming. I should not have to explain this to you. You have my file, you've just neglected to even skim the surface before handing over these drugs and trying to send me on my way.
He nods his head. "OK then. You check...good." He looks at me, gives me a half-smile, and gently pushes the bag of pills across the counter.
I sigh and turn to the other pharmacy staffer. I tell him I also want to pick up a bottle of glucose tablets and a box of alcohol swabs.
Once the useless tit of a pharmacist leaves the counter, I ask, "When could I come back and talk to [the other guy]?"
I'm told with a sad look that he's no longer working there. My face must have given me away-- I'm pretty sure the dismay was pretty evident.
He thinks for a sec "We have another girl...at our other location. She's good. She's a lot like the other guy. She's over there during the week, and here on Saturdays. You could come back Saturday, or... "
He grabs me a business card for their other location. "Call her. No-- call me first; I'll make sure she has a copy of your file available. Then call her. She'll be able to help."
Today I'm thankful for that utter gem of a human being who saw my panic and stepped in to offer a solution.
Today. There's time later for being furious at the new guys complete failure to do his frigging job. For today, I'm just relieved that the new guy, that quiet, irresponsible man, isn't my only source of information about my medications.