Overheard at the Pharmacy

2 03 2012

I came down with a sudden and aggressive cold this week. It has really sucked – rarely do I get so ill from a common cold virus, thank God.

After staying home for two days, in bed almost all of the time, I decided to go see a doctor. He prescribed me an antibiotic, plus a bunch of other expensive shit that I don’t need – an asthma inhaler (???), cough syrup, and a nasal spray.

While the clerk at the pharmacy was helping me, a woman who had just received her prescription and walked off came back to the counter, waving the largest clear prescription bottle I’ve ever laid eyes on. She was probably in her late 50s, a white lady with darkly tanned skin and stringy blonde hair.

“Excuse me, this isn’t right,” she said, “I’m supposed to get tablets.”

“Those are tablets,” the other pharmacist said.

“No I’m supposed to get PILLS, not these things,” she answered, giving the enormous vial a shake for emphasis.  “Look at the prescription!”

Now totally distracted, the pharmacist sets aside my order and goes over to a small basket and selects a small Rx paper from a stack of several. He walks over to her and says quite loudly:

“See, it says right here – ’40mg METHADONE TABLETS’ – those are the dissolving 40mg tabs.”

“I thought it was supposed to be pills,” she says, with a sinking tone.  “These are too big to swallow.”

“If you quarter them, you can swallow them in pieces,” the pharmacist offered. “Besides, those are the only 40mg methadone tablets we sell.”

That seemed to satisfy her, as she immediately agreed, thanked him, turned and left without any further discussion.

Methadone, for those who don’t know, is a synthetic opioid prescribed sometimes as a painkiller, but more often as an anti-addictive for patients with an opioid drug dependency.

What a scene, especially since I was sick and really just trying to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

As soon as she left, one of the pharmacy staff uttered a few syllables (which I couldn’t quite hear) and the entire crew fell apart laughing. Apparently this was not the first time they’d had such an encounter.

“You guys are really busy today,” I said.

“We’re always this busy,” said the clerk who was helping me.

I’m sure they see this crazy crap all the time.



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