I just got home from my third visit to the pharmacy to get our apparently rare and unheard-of prescription filled. In case you missed it, we spent Christmas vacation throwing up, thrashing around with fevers, and feeling like we had each swallowed a bundle of toothpick shards wrapped in Velcro and dipped in Tobasco sauce. Strep throat, all ten of us — and guess what the doctor gave us? It’s something brand new, called “pen-i-cil-lin.”
Utterly taken aback by this newfangled innovation, the pharmacists requested that I wait five minutes while they get the drugs together. You know and I know that “five minutes” in pharmacy time is at least half an hour; so I browsed around in the produce aisle for a while, because there is nothing more entertaining than a lot of bags of citrus. After half an hour, I was told to come back in an hour.
I came back in two hours, and was told that they had most of it — – they just needed to mix it up . . .if I could come back in twenty minutes —
The kids were all waiting in the car all this time, enjoying their Christmas vacation and trying to attract the attention of whatever wandering Child Protective Services agents might be passing by. So I went home with nine-and-a-half prescriptions. The next day I went back. Same routine. Five minutes, then twenty, then “please come back after noon.”
So the next day — okay, it was actually the next next day, because I forgot — I finally got the second half of my last prescription. But all this time, I can’t help wondering —
What what what is the deal with pharmacists? Why are they all so crazy? Is it the combination of working with the public, plus the emotional stress of dealing with death and disease, plus having to wear those dopey white coats that even doctors don’t have to wear anymore? Is it the combination of supermarket music and the hissing of the free blood pressure machine? Or are they all just natural born jerks?
My most recent encounter was with the Head Pharmacy Weirdo, a tall, sleek, squeaky clean man with shiny shoes and an laser-guided part in his chestnut hair. He has this “Voice-Over Man Barely Suppressing Maniacal Rage” routine. I guess he thinks it sounds polite? I know it’s not his normal voice, because I once heard him having a personal conversation on the phone, and he was just plain screaming, then. And swearing a lot. And then he swiveled back around to the counter and said, in polished tones of urbane repressed fury, “And what can I get for YOU?”
Oh-hhh, just some medicine for my kids, sir, if, if it’s not too much trouble. I can leave if you want. Just please don’t hit my bad ear again!
The second pharmacist is a woman who – – I don’t know what it is. She’s nice enough, and will give me my prescription if I come back three times and prove I really want it. But there is something about her which suggests that there might just be some reptilian life form coiled up inside her skull, hissing directly into the auditory center of her brain, “Yessss . . . tell her it will only be twenty minutesssssss . . . tell her you just have to mixxxxxxxxxxxxxx it . . . yes, yesss, make her read The Pill Book ssssssome more . . . ” And those big, friendly eyes just stare and stare at you as you struggle to sign your name with a fake pen on the electronic screen.
Nice lady otherwise, though.
The third pharmacist is actually a rotating position. It is generally filled by a wholesome-looking man in his early twenties, usually the tender, baby-faced type. He works hard, shows concern, and appears to know his alphabet. Kind of jittery, though. Has a tendency to jump nervously when one of the other pharmacists calls his name; and he doesn’t appear comfortable turning his back to his co-workers. Just too polite, I guess. Tender Young Pharmacist #3 generally lasts a month or two, and then he disappears.
And then I notice there is a sale on that body building protein powder. Special formula! Private label.
Maybe it’s time to switch pharmacies.