Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Pharmacy, Our Friend

I have really come to believe that your pharmacy is the most underrated member of your diabetes team. We often take them for granted but live to complain when things don't work out as smoothly. They hold all of the power. They can give you the devices you require or they can make you squirm until you get them.

We were exceptionally fortunate for the first 10 years that my son lived with diabetes.  We had the best pharmacy around. They are a small pharmacy that gets to know their clients and always work to do the best by them. 

They showed us new meters to try in the early years when I was having trouble finding the perfect fit for us.  They helped with insurance forms and government paperwork to ensure that my son always had everything he needed.  They became our friends.  We spoke of our children.  We offered help to each other when it was needed.  They truly cared. 

We now live in a larger area and go to a pharmacy that is not nearly as personal.  One of the pharmacists from our old pharmacy offered to "hook me up"  with a pharmacy in the general area but it is a bit out of the way so I have continued along with the place ten minutes down the road.

It has been a bit annoying having to go back to submitting my own slips each time to have the money reimbursed for my son's supplies but that is what happens when you are no longer in a small community that knows your son's insurance provider.

Yesterday brought me hurdling back in time to when we first moved here.  Changes and a pharmacy that did not know us equated to a lot of trauma. Its been a year but I still won't say that they know us yet.  I still go to the pharmacy on a regular basis and spend an obscene amount of money on insulin and test strips.  They are quite nice but its the bureaucracy that they seem to be swimming in that we did not have to experience before.

For example, last night, it was a Sunday and I figured a perfect night to get my son's supplies reordered.  Everyone else thought the same thing it would appear and the counter was very busy.  I asked for AccuChek Mobile test strips.  They didn't have any.  They didn't know we, or anyone else, were using them and the woman who orders them hadn't restocked. She questioned if my insurance would cover them. I said that they have always covered any strip we chose to use so I was not worried about these ones. She then state that I could get them the next day which was fine by me.

She went on to tell me that my son's prescriptions had expired.  They had been telling me this for the last three or four times I had gone in.  Once again I explained that no, the prescriptions were all refilled by his doctor in April.  They said that some of the prescriptions were refilled but the doctor had not specified that he needed insulin so it was not renewed. 

Okay, they said that he needed pumps supplies, syringes and such but not insulin? According to the technician, they had missed the insulin and his prescription had expired. They would give me more but I had to contact his doctor and get this prescribed.

I left shaking my head.  This was just weird. I could not imagine them missing insulin.  Bright and early the next morning, I was in contact with the hospital and asking about the prescription.  The secretary pulled my son's file and said that they had requested insulin.  She resent the complete prescription to the pharmacy and asked me to call them. If they didn't have things straight then she would call.

I waited until I was sure that the pharmacy was open and I placed my call.  After five minutes of confusion, checking files, checking the fax and finally checking with the pharmacist, she assured me that yes, they finally did have the insulin prescription.  All was well and he was good to go for another year.

My nerves! I know I was terribly spoiled before. I know our old team was just too good to us. I understand that this is a larger center. I understand that I have made this choice because of convenience.  I guess it could be worse but boy do I ever still miss the old pharmacy team. We will see how things go. I may have to take that longer drive to a different pharmacy yet.


  1. I always have problems with the pharmacy. I have blogged about it before too. SO annoying! I guess I do take them for granted, but I wish they were a little bit better...

  2. We used to buy our strips at Walmart. I swear that the clerk there threw any strip into a bag. It was so bad that I told my husband to check before he left the pharmacy area to see that the right strips had been put into the bag. Fortunately, we have a great Shopper's and a great Costco as our pharmacies now. Even though they are busy, the people are competent and do the job right 98% of the time.