it's not personal

To fully appreciate this little story...I have to take you back a couple months ago...

Way back to Trevy's last in-patient stay. Which was a dual purpose visit.

VEEG. The results of which still make me sad every time I have to go remembering.

And introduce Banzel (Rufinamide). Dr. Neuro had concerns because Trevy is SO young. I also think she has a soft spot for him...and wanted him monitored during the initiation phase.

*** This is where I insert a little insider seizure parenting tip. Always always keep the phone numbers of the pharmacies you frequent most in your cell. Or day timer if you're old school like me. Or where ever you find most handy.

I say this...because if you have a child with med-resistant (refractory) seizures...chances are you'll be using funky drugs. In funky-er dosages. That your pharmacy on the corner may not have in stock. And should you have already introduced said drug compliments of the hospital pharmacy. Because they had a heads-up your lil' funky dosage seizure boy was coming. Well...it could just complicate things if you are then discharged only to waltz over to your local RiteAid on the corner and discover that not only do they not have it in stock. They also cannot acquire the dosage you need. Because you have a lil' squirt. Who needs lil' pills. And their lil' distributor doesn't dish out funky dose hope pills.

It's much easier to have that convo over the phone. Where they can't see your vein throbbing. And eyes bulging. And face blood pressure flushing. Cause your lil' squirt has gobs of seizures all day...and the lil'est thing can totally stress you out!

Which you probably figured out is exactly what happened twixt me & my RiteAid on the corner.****

Oh but it didn't end there. Nooooooo sir-ee.

They proceeded to stress me out again when I went to refill Trevy's Topiramate a couple weeks later. Firstly...the pharmacist just could not wrap her mind around a Titration (gradual increase) Schedule. Which Dr. Neuro had faxed to her. Felt like I stood there for hours trying to explain to her that I have a 2 year old. With gobs of daily seizures. Who needs gradual introduction. And reduction. And that although Dr. Neuro faxed her a schedule...it is fluid. Based on my mommy instincts. She's an obvious by the book type. Wow...did I have a headache! And the real kicker was even though I had phoned in my refill three days prior...they had neglected to refill it because of all the questions. And had also neglected to call and question me. And had neglected to contact their supplier. So there we stood. Me empty pill bottle in hand. Seizure Boy on hip. Them all questions and no pills. And it was the weekend! Which meant no supplies til' Monday. Except Monday was a holiday. So it would be Tuesday!

In a panic I called the CVS that used to be around the corner. Before we had to go and move!

And CVS was excellent! No questions regarding schedules. And even though they did not have the generic Topomax stocked. They gave me enough (plus some) of the brand pills to get me through until their non-Holiday honoring supplier could bring the remaining portion along. They also had no issues getting the low dose Banzel either.

It was SO smooth I almost decided to just keep using them. But they're on a corner now located a solid 10 minutes (by car) away. RiteAid is at most 2 minutes (on foot) away.

Convenience, baby!

So I decided to give them one more shot. After all...Trevy takes some hard core meds. Which come at a hard core prices.

Profit margins, baby!

So the other day...I call in my last-chance-refill. Chip on shoulder albeit. I was not disappointed. There were issues.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Foltz but we need a prior authorization from your doctor for your insurance"

"Fine...I'll call them...but I NEED these meds today!"

"I understand Mrs. Foltz. Sorry for the delay. We have the medicine in stock for you. We just need the paperwork for billing purposes"


And then phone Dr. Neuro's office. Who are always wonderful with this kinda thing. Except that day as I found out when I called back late afternoon to check on the refill status.

"We still don't have the prior authorization. But you could purchase out of pocket enough for the weekend"

By this time I was fuming! I told the girl on the other end of the phone how sorry I was that she happened to pick up that line. And then proceeded (patience to the wind) to rip into her. About past issues. And present. And about how I had NO DOUBT if I called CVS...if they didn't have it in stock I would be given at NO COST enough pills to carry me through until the paperwork was all in order! And a bunch of other highly emotional and probably unnecessary stuff. Because having a seizure boy in the house tends to shorten the stress fuse.

"I understand Mrs. Foltz please hold"

Two minutes later...

"Mrs. Foltz we can give you the first 40 pills if you come on up. So sorry for the hassel"

"Thanks I'll be right up. And by the way...sorry for the ambush...it's really not personal"

Emotional maybe. Stressful definately. Necessary...obviously.

Not to make a long story longer...buuuuut wouldn't you know it...

I pull into the drive up after having just received word from Dr. Neuro's office that all the paperwork had been processed & faxed to the pharmacy. And tell the young man at the window the great news. Happy that I can now just get the whole script all at once. Which he references on his computer to be true.

Except that somewhere between my morning convo when I was assured they had enough in stock to fill the prescription...

...and my pull up to the window.

You guessed it. They were not (fully) stocked. And I was given a bottle containing the pre-said 40 sprinkle caps. And would have to return the next day for the rest.

The guy was apologetic. And in attempt at smoothing ruffled feathers said,

"Trevor will be happy Mrs. Foltz! We gave him a little gift!"

And sure enough. In the bag holding the under-filled prescription was a little 50 cent bear. Sporting the RiteAid logo.

Which fittingly Trevy is having a grand time launching...and stomping...and bashing...all around the house!

Seriously, RiteAid! You think we can be bought by a 50 cent bear!

Is it just me? Am I just huge-ly unlucky...or do you guys have pharmacy issues too? Feel free to share your pharmacuetical horror stories...and insider tips...


Anonymous said...

Unbelievably, we also USED to go to Rite Aid... Also, because of convenience. I got sick and tired of the rigamaroll every single time we went to the stinkin pharmacy. My husband would joke (and sigh) everytime I said (leaving the family in the van) "I will only be a minute, just have to pick up Hannah's meds" HA!! He would stretch out and take a nap.... They would never have her meds ready and if they were ready, they weren't right or insurance was billed incorrectly...the list goes on and on.
Finally, one day, I had enough. I switched and rarely even go back into the store. I am with you. How can a pharmacy make so many errors? EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! Isn't it interesting it is the same chain??? hmmmm.
We now go to Target. I love them there. They know us by name, offer discounts whenever they can, do whatever they can to make my life easier!!! Amazing concept, eh??
Marcia K

blogzilly said...

We go to Meijer, and thus far have had Topamax shortages but we've dodged bullets and always gotten the follow-up qty in time. But we haven't been on the med schedule that you guys have been on.

Our biggest issue now is ordering from Canada. Takes a week or two to get it and you have to make sure you order at the right time.

Liz said...

I love my CVS. It is 3 min by car, they all know us, and they give me things all the time while waiting for our Neuro or Oncologist to get the script right. With the cancer and IS, we are their best customer, I think, and both of the pharmacists have kids Maddie's age.

Our problem is the Neuro. While he is super accessible to me via email, it is like pulling teeth to get a script faxed. I have no idea why.....but if it weren't for the kindness of our pharmacists we would have been without meds a few times.

Adesta said...

I go to walmart, and while I don't need any pressing medicine's like Trevy, at least once every two months, the pharmacist will hassle me about my husband's medication for his acid reflux. They have the record and can see that he's been taking this medication for over 3 years but they still hassle me about the damn thing. Then there are the times that I call the refill in and they say yes, they have enough for the entire month, only for me to get there and oh wait, no, you have to come back next week to get the rest of the script. Meanwhile what they've given me, isn't enough to last until the rest comes in next week as he has to take them daily. grrrrr....I thought it was just walmart.......

Anonymous said...

I'm a conspiracy theorist on this kind of issue. Every problem can be traced to increasing profit and reducing return (problem) customers.

Don't stock every med.
Hire staff for the lowest wages and do not train them, esp the at-the-counter staff.

Physicians who are good but have lousy staff - I think they are passive/aggressive.

You might be better off with a longer drive for Trevy's meds.

Our best med story is too long for this comment - maybe I can tell you when I see you on Saturday.(!)
But, I do believe that both Studly Hubby and I played a role in saving our second child's life (in utero) that day.

Leaving ya hanging, Barbara

JSmith5780 said...

Grrrr... what a nightmare. I thank my stars EVERY DAY that my cousin is a pharmacy tech at CVS. It is way out of the way for me, but all my scripts go to her. She makes sure everything supply, billing, etc is all done right. No other pharmacy could figure out that the primary insurance pays and then the kids' Medicaid pays the co-pay. But my cousin gets it right every time. And now the pharmacists there all know me too. I can say it takes a huge weight off my shoulders to KNOW I will never have a pharmacy problem!

Andi said...

We go to CVS, which is right on the corner for us. And the pharmacy is open 24hrs, so big bonus for us if we need it. Thankfully, we haven't yet.

Now I have to go thru mail-order, but previously, I only had one complaint about them. They'd never have enough Topamax. I'd get enough for a 2 days or so, and then have to go back the next day to get the rest. And then since the insurance was already charged once for it that month, there'd be a copay, which I'd have to get straightened out.

I just found it very funny that if I go there every month, that their computers can't flag that I should be there in a week and order the stuff. Thankfully, they get a shipment every day, so there isn't a lot of wait time. It's still a little frustrating.

Other than that, I have no complaints about them. I think they've actually gotten better over the years.

JSmith5780 said...

From my cousin's perspective (a pharm tech) this is where it is important to cultivate a relationship with your pharmacist. If they get to know you, they will pre-order and have your supply knowing you'll be in for it soon.

Holli said...

I've only had a problem (on the pharmacy end) getting our meds once (besides the occasional "not enough zonisamide, here's enough until Wed, etc")...
But BANZEL!! UGH! That was a day I won't forget! I usually use Walgreens (which is 20 minutes away). We had been using samples since the intro and I realized (a little late) that we needed to fill the script. Not only did they not have it in stock, they didn't know if they could get it. I called 2 more chains in the area...same thing. So, I called CVS in a neighboring town (30 minutes away). "Yes, we can have it first thing tomorrow morning." I was short for that morning dose, so I packed Austin up in the car with all my med dosing equipment (applesauce, pill pulverizer, spoon, etc), got there, paid 80 bucks (yes, for the co-pay), gave it to him in the car...came home. There was a message from our epi. STOP THE BANZEL!! Talk about miffed!! We'd used 1/2 a pill. And the epi didn't even want us to wean. I weaned him anyway myself.

My issues typically come from the clinic though. Faxing the script is always an issue. It happens every time there's an increase because we run out too quickly for the original to be covered by insurance. Total pain in the butt! I don't see why our epi doesn't write a script with the intention of a possible increase. There hasn't been a single med that we haven't needed to increase!

Colby said...

I use Rite Aid and have for years...I know one pharmacist socially and one pharamcy tech's grandson used to come to the Easter Seals Clinics I directed...So they are great with me...Especially since Colby alone takes nine scripts per month...There have been a few times that they haven't had but just a few pills and I would have to go back the next day, but not a big issue since it is only 5 minutes away...The pharm. and Dr. Neuro have been able to communicate well on these titrating schedules so far....

One trick I did learn...(don't tell anyone!)...I call the scripts in 2 days early each month (we can't get but one month supply at a time), and eventually, you have a few extra pills on hand...(I get nervous about not having enough meds in case of terrorist attacks or something crazy like that!) And I ALWAYS put in my Daytimer (yeah, me, too, Danielle) the day I need to call them in so I won't forget!