First Impressions: Are you “worthy” to have your medication filled ?

The Moments

The moments do not define you. They define the perception of you.

The moments silence you and give your voice to someone else.

When you visit the pharmacy, in that moment, you are judged by your appearance, your mannerisms, and the prescriptions you fill. The pharmacist does not know your struggle, your chronic pain, and the ever growing stress of justifying the legitimacy of your pain.

The pharmacist only sees the moment.

And she judges whether to fill the prescription. Whether she should take on the legal liability of filling a prescription — not knowing whether you will abuse the medication, but knowing she is liable for any potential abuse.

So she makes a decision in the moment.

She decides not to fill the prescription, a low dose opioid prescription for your chronic pain that has already been lowered to levels intolerable. But you tolerated the forced tapering. Now you must tolerate the immediate discontinuation. How much more can you tolerate?

In that moment, you react.

You tell the pharmacist to call your physician, to ask for your medical records, your urine drug screens, and anything else that can pass for proof. In your excitement, you raise your voice.

But in that moment, your voice is defined by the pharmacist.

She sees your excitement as proof of drug abuse, focusing less on what you are saying and more on how you are saying it. Your reaction reinforces what the pharmacist initially suspected. She uses your reaction to justify her initial decision.

In that moment, you are denied medically necessary medications.

You know that going to another pharmacy will be difficult. They will ask why you are switching pharmacies. If you tell the truth, then you are likely to be denied again. But you have no choice. The physician’s office cannot help. They can only call and vouch for you. They cannot tell the pharmacist how to proceed.

But going forward, for every proceeding visit to a pharmacy, a pharmacist will see that you were denied. And they will question you.

This moment does not define you, but it defines the perception of you as you fill your medications, and how you will be perceived by pharmacists going forward.

The moments are powerfully silencing. They take your voice and give it to someone else.

The moments are cruel.

2 Responses

  1. Pharmacy PTSD

  2. These first impressions also apply to a doctors appointment. When I was told, at my last one, that my extremely low dose of pain meds were going to be reduced, I flipped out and started crying. I was then REQUIRED to see a psychiatry practice to keep my current inadequate dosage. The psychiatrist was cruel and dismissive, claiming that most of my pain was psychological! He also claimed that he could CURE my type 2 diabetes!!!! WTF???? Once one is diagnosed with diabetes, it can’t be cured, only controlled… what a quack!
    I told my PCP about this, and she laughed!

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