My Pain & The Pharmacist

I was prescribed Oxycodone for my pain after the surgery. I was under the impression that I was not going to need the entire bottle of pain meds, but boy, was I wrong because I did not realize that having a double mastectomy and reconstruction was as big as I now know it to be! With the level of pain that I was in, they should have given me a few IV bags of morphine to go home with. Unfortunately, I had an allergic reaction to it in the hospital and went on any itching spree. I digress.

I took the pain medication as prescribed; two pills every 6 hours to keep my aching (an understatement) chest under control. Days went by and the number of pills lessened. I started to worry because I did not want to ask for more. I did not want anyone to be under the impression that I was becoming addicted to narcotics too soon. So I did my best to stretch the pain medication.  A Friday night came around and I realized I only had three pills. I told myself that I probably would be okay without them when they finished. So I took two that night and went to sleep. The next evening, I was in pain and in a panic. I called the on call number to get the doctor to call something in for me. The best that he could were Tylenol 3’s. That did nothing for me!

As soon as Monday came around, my husband drove me to the office to pick up a script for more narcotics. I found myself apologizing and explaining myself; about how I ran out, how many I was taking and when I was taking them. Without hesitation, the gave me the script and said  “let us know when you need more.” An explanation was not needed.

If I can remember correctly, I received about four scripts in total for narcotics. Every time I went back to my pharmacy to get a fill, including the times that I went in for antibiotics and other medications, the techs and the pharmacists started to get cold with me; letting me stand in line when there were no customers, whispering and staring at me from behind the counter while processing my information. I grew really uncomfortable thinking “they probably think I’m addicted or am distributing.” This particular time, I was picking up anti-anxiety medication. At that point, I said I would not let this situation dictate my pride, health, & integrity. After giving me a hard time about the script, I snapped and said, “I am not sure if you are treating me this way because you have seen me about ten times in the past two weeks and are probably getting tired of me, but it’s starting to show! I don’t want to be here but I did not choose to have excruciating pain or anxiety because of a double mastectomy. Hand me my medication!” I did not realize that the line grew behind me and I am not one to make a scene, so I was a bit embarrassed. The pharmacist walked over to apologize and give me some bullshit explanation. I just looked at her and said “Yeah. I’m sorry too.” Grabbed my medication and left.

My best friend suggested that I go to a different pharmacy and I said no. As a cancer patient, who is experiencing pain and other medical issues, I will be sure to pick up my medication there every damn time. It is my reality and I do not need to adjust it for a single person. A pharmacists gets paid six figures to distribute prescribed medication. That’s her job and she will do it each and every time I step in that line. And regardless of whether I had cancer or not, if she ever got suspicious of anything, one of her duties entail verifying the script by reading the prescribing doctor’s name and calling the number instead of treating me like shit.

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