October 5 – The Wonders of Technology

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“It’s time to get my prescription filled,” I said.

The refill would run out in a month and I would be near the pharmacy today so I dutifully followed the protocol of entering the script number, pushing number one to indicate that was my only refill, and being told electronically that I could pick this up at 1:00 p.m. Isn’t technology wonderful, I thought.

The other errand was accomplished by noon: I needed some grocery items in light of the predicted hurricane Joaquin heading for Maryland. Rain was already pelting down at a steady pace. I approached the pharmacy to inquire if, just possibly, my script had been filled.

“What’s your name?” the pharmacist inquired.

“Hollinger,” I said.

“Your birthday is 1/18?”

“No, my birthday is 2/28/39,” I replied.

“We have no record that you called Mrs. Hollinger.”

By now I am becoming a tad annoyed. “I did because I recall distinctly pushing number one and being told the script would be ready by 1:00 p.m.” I pause while they look.

“Oh yes, we found it, however your insurance is rejecting coverage.”

“I don’t understand, it always has paid in the past.”

I was shown a printout from my insurance company which indicated that the prescribing M.D. did not have the proper credentials to prescribe this drug.

“That’s bullshit,” I said. “The doctor is the medical director of a psychiatric hospital. He writes scripts for these drugs daily.”

“Well, you know, some doctors forget to renew their license to dispense these drugs,” she replied very authoritatively.

“This doctor would not maintain his status as medical director if he did not renew,” I stated in my own authoritarian voice.

The drug in question was Valium, which I take infrequently, but by now I was ready to swallow the whole script as my anxiety mounted.

“Do you want me to call your insurance company?” she asked.

“Would you please?” I responded firmly.

Minutes later her co-worker came to tell me that the error was one made by their computer. I paid $3.80 instead of the $11.00 quoted when told my insurance company would not pay.

I paddled home in my Honda FIT feeling triumphant and no, I didn’t even need to take the anti-anxiety medication from the prescription that had just been filled.

Patricia Roop Hollinger

Patricia Roop Hollinger is exploring her writing skills after retiring as a Pastoral Counselor, Chaplain and LCPC from same hospital where the prescribing doctor is medical director. She is an avid reader, musician, and lover of her cat Spunky.

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2 responses to “October 5 – The Wonders of Technology

  1. Bravo!!!! I would not have had the energy to hang in there. You’re helping the rest of us as you have proven the techical methods need improving. Thanks for sharing. You explained your experience wonderfully.

  2. Patricia, as I was reading your blog I kept recalling an experience that I have written about in my memoir and was hoping you had better results than I. My husband had just been discharged from the hospital one more time, was in great pain, needed his prescription for morphine filled, but the physician had not written out the date with words. He had used numerals so no matter how much I begged (and eventually argued), the script could not be filled. I’m glad you finally got yours filled.

    However, reading this and connecting the way I did also made me think about the power that pharmacies have over us, how their decisions to fill or not to fill a script can actually have life-threatening affects on us. It also made me grateful for the young man named Brian who sometimes works the desk at my local pharmacy. He’s the kindest, most gentle person I have had the pleasure to deal with at any pharmacy across the United States. We all need Brians in our world and I hope your pharmacy hires his clone.

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