A Trip To The Pharmacy To Grab Some Narcotics

Today I had a new experience. Not a good one but one that validated so many stories that I have heard from my clients. As many of you know my husband had surgery last week. When we left the hospital, they gave him a prescription for oxycodone that they called into CVS. They told us to stop by on the way home because he would need a dose, and not to worry because they had called it in that morning. So, I waited patiently on the line to have the cashier tell me that the pharmacist hadn’t gotten to it and that I should return in 45 minutes. I said but my husband just got released from the hospital and is in pain. She shrugged her shoulders and said it’s not ready. An hour later I returned, waited on the long line again, and I was again told that it wasn’t ready. At that point I was frustrated and said this is just not right. The cashier smirked at me which is when I said, “Bring me to the pharmacist please.” The pharmacist informed me that the last pharmacist forgot to fill the prescription and she would now have to do it herself, and couldn’t tell me when she would be able to, because it was in a time released safe. I reminded her that my husband was just released from the hospital and that he was in pain. She looked over at the cashier, I kid you not, and said these people. She then turned back to me and told me to sit down and wait my turn and she’d get to it when she could.


This is the first time I have ever faced what it’s like to need prescription drugs to stabilize your physical or mental health, and to be treated as if you are damaged, tainted, not the same. The cashier and pharmacist loudly proclaimed that I was picking up narcotics repeatedly. As I walked away for the second time I started worrying. What if I trip? What if I fumble with my credit card? Will everyone on the line think I’m addicted to pain killers? What if someone recognizes me?

Dr Phil in his new book tells about a study done where people were told that an artist was drawing a scar on their face to see if people treated them differently. Right before they left for the study the make-up artist mentioned they needed to do one more touch up and washed the scar off. And yet the people all confirmed the scar made people treat them differently. They felt judged, unheard, and demeaned.


We need as a society to stop being so judgmental. We need to stop marginalizing, and minimizing people who we don’t understand or think we know all about. Yes, I know some people abuse prescription drugs. But I don’t. I try not to even take a Tylenol when I have a headache. Yes, I know these pharmacists were unprofessional, but I respect the field tremendously and because of all of the medical people in my life, I know many personally.  Yes, I know CVS cashiers can be rude like this one was, but I will also never forget the cashier at CVS holding my hand and praying with me when I burst into tears at the cash register the week my dad passed away.


When I came back for the third time I was on the phone with an old friend that had been in that situation countless time and was coaching me. She told me to speak to the pharmacy manager and tell them how disappointed I thought Naples Community Hospital would be when Dr. Ashkin(not me the real doctor) told them how he was treated. How unfortunate it might be when corporate heard about the treatment of a physician who has served the community for so many years and was now himself in need. So I did and sadly I guess my status elevated. I was smiled at, treated properly, and thanked for my business. Shame on them. 

I pray for all of us that we start to work on seeing the human in front of us without the many filters that we see them through. My dad always reminded me as a child that the homeless man on the corner was born just like we were and that God loved us both.  I pray that you will think of his words whenever you feel tempted to feel elevated and even more so when someone is trying to minimize you. We were all born to a God that loves us and he loves us all the same.

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