Friday, January 24, 2014

An Annoying Trip to the Pharmacy

After meeting my doctor, and getting prescribed prenatal vitamins, I set off to the pharmacy (there is only one in my town) to pick up my prescription.  One of the few things my doctor had explained to me was the way the vitamins work.  There is an AM one and a PM one.  The AM one has iron, folic acid and a bunch of vitamins, the PM one has calcium and a bunch of different vitamins.

When I got up to the counter, I handed over my prescription to a lady who looked at it, and after a minute said, "Oh, you can just get these over the counter."

I thought it was a bit weird that I'd been prescribed over the counter meds, but with all the other weirdness with my doctor, I thought it was pretty much par for the course.  I picked up the only prenatal vitamins in the area the pharmacist had directed me to, and headed for the checkout, reading the label as I went.

Thinking it was a bit odd that the package made no mention of there being two separate pills, I looked a bit closer and realized that the name of the product I had been given was different than the one I'd been prescribed.  I figured they were the same, and that it just came down to branding, but I wanted to double check.

After being ignored for a while at the pharmacy counter, the same pharmacist came over, and I explained to her about the two different pills and asked if what she'd recommended to me was actually the same.  She called over another pharmacist, and told her that I wanted to know how often I needed to take the pills.  The other pharmacist came over, and I explained it all to her, since clearly the first one had told her the wrong thing.  She took my prescription paper, looked at it for a minute and said, "Oh, this means she wants you to take it twice a day.  She'll probably reduce it later."

Rather than trying to explain a third time that there should be two different kinds of pills for me to take, I pointed out that it's a different product and that I thought the over the counter one was the wrong thing.  She checked again, and then said that they would have to order it in, but she did admit that it was probably better if I actually got what had been prescribed to me.

I don't know what happens to mothers who ingest twice as many prenatal vitamins as they're supposed to, but I would hazard a guess that it can't be good.  I assume that by and large, prenatal vitamins are similar enough that I probably would have been OK with the over the counter ones... but the fact that the pharmacists were so dismissive, so inconvenienced by me and so unabashedly lazy, that they would have happily sent me away to take two of the wrong things a day rather than take the time to listen to me (or, you know, read the prescription), scares the hell out of me.  It kind of makes you wonder how many other people they've done that to, and with what kind of more serious medication.

I didn't go back the next day to fill my prescription as planned because my first serious morning sickness hit, and I spent that day sleeping on my bathroom floor and vomiting intermittently.

When I did go back to the pharmacy, there was a different pharmacist there, who explained more specifically when the best time to take each pill was, why these were the best times, and possible side effects (none of which the doctor had mentioned), including constipation and dark stool.  He didn't congratulate me on my pregnancy (which I didn't expect), but did give me a fond, knowing smile, which suggested that he'd like to congratulate me, but didn't want to overstep - which I thought was very nice.  So far, he's the only professional that I've been impressed with.  I hope that changes, and I find some more people to have confidence in.

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