Living Retired — ‘Pharmacy Foibles’
Living Retired – ‘Pharmacy Foibles’
By Gary Chalk
Jan can be brutally honest with me. She became so frustrated last week she complained, “Gary when it comes to decorating our house, updating your wardrobe, and picking out which movie we should see you don’t know if you are punched or bored!”
“Well dear, at least I am three out of three. There is something to be said about consistency.”
Later in the week not knowing whether I was punched or bored worsened. Suddenly, I did not know whether my name is Gary, Harry, Barry, or Terry! l was running errands and pulled into the pharmacy to pickup a prescription for my baby boomer wonky knees. What should have been a simple transaction turned into a shouting match that rivalled soccer moms screaming at their kids games. When all was said and done I walked away with extra-strength lozenges and an antiseptic spray for a sore throat that I didn’t have when I entered the store! Here is what happened…
I joined the line at the ‘Pick Up Prescriptions’ sign. The staff stand behind huge sheets of plexiglass. Everyone wears a facemask.
Finally, I was next. “Yes I am here to pickup a prescription for Chalk, Gary Chalk.”
The pharmacist searched through a couple of drawers of prescriptions waiting to be picked up. “Sorry I have nothing here for Harry Shock.”
I lowered my facemask and raised my voice, “No it is not Harry Shock? My name is Gary Chalk, C-H-A-L-K.”
No luck. This time the pharmacist spoke louder from behind her facemask, “I don’t have anything here for Barry Flack.”
I am thinking this isn’t working. I lowered my mask and looked directly through the plexiglass, “No my name isn’t Barry Flack either. It is Gary with a G, and Chalk spelled with a C.”
The attendant rummaged through the drawer some more. “I still cannot find any prescription for Terry Black. When did you call it in?”
By now the lineup of customers is growing and becoming impatient. Surely two years into the pandemic someone has written ‘The Idiots Guide To Speaking Wearing a Facemask While Standing Behind Plexiglass.’ It would be a New York Times bestseller.
Back home Jan wondered, “Gary, what took you so long?”
“Dear, the pharmacist got me mixed up with Harry Shock, Barry Flack, and Terry Black”
“My goodness I didn’t realize they would be that busy?”
“Jan, you don’t understand. My name isn’t Harry, Barry, or Terry.”
“Well of course I know that Gary. Who do you think I am?” I shrugged and walked away.
Whenever I pickup a new medication I update the medication list in my wallet. Then, I write on the label of the pill container what the medication is for. Afterall, ‘Corticosteroid’ means nothing to me. Scribbling ‘FOR KNEES’ on the pill container label should be easy-peezy. Well not so fast Mr. Merck & Company.
The paper wrapped around medication bottles is the most high-tech material ever manufactured. It resists ink, pencil, hell even crayon! This paper could bring the graffiti industry to its knees. Just saying.
When I finished trying to write ‘FOR KNEES’ on the label the letters were smudged and all I could decipher was ‘FO’ – and that’s certainly not what I intended.
It does not help that I am trying to write on a label that wraps around a circular tube. Why not put pills in a package with a flat surface – like a package of cigarettes. Okay, that is a bad analogy for someone carrying medication for their lungs in a box that looks like a pack of Marlboro Menthols, but you get what I mean.
This is when I realized the container is one of those ‘easy to open with a twist’ child-proof pill containers.
“Jan I can’t twist the cap open. Can you help me?”
“Gary, with my carpal tunnel the best I can do is Google ‘opening child proof containers.’
“Jan, sitting at your keyboard only exacerbates your problem.”
Things aren’t getting any better. The label directions state: ‘take one and a half tablets at lunch.’ Standing at the kitchen counter trying to cut the pills in half was a disaster. I ended up with a collection of whole tablets on one side of the cutting board, beside a pile of, well, white dust.
Jan says she doesn’t know whether I am punched or bored. I am not sure if I am Gary, Harry, Barry, or Terry. But looking at the mess I made splitting the pills I am definitely crushed.