I just faxed my doctor’s office, because it’s the 80s

I’m mentally packing for my next trip (and my next trip 9 days after that, and my next trip 4 days after that. Life is hard, y’all ;)). In my mental packing, I realized that my traveling bottle of prednisone is from January 26, 2016—at least a few months expired if we go off the “year from the date” rule, though i have no idea how long it may have been sitting on the shelf at the pharmacy.

Traveling with a bottle of emergency prednisone for asthma

My traveling bottle of prednisone was born early in my asthma journey. I get a bottle of prednisone for travel, just in case, and hope that it expires. This means about once a year I get a bottle of prednisone, fill it, and then—in the case of the last 3+ years—it expires, or “expires” a year later, without being used. I am perfectly happy with this arrangement.

My current dilemma: it is 8:30 PM. I leave the city for four days in 39 hours. And of course, my doctor’s office is closed. And I really don’t want to go there anyways. I considered just going to a walk in clinic tomorrow, but that could potentially get complicated if they don’t trust this plan my doctor and I have worked out. Even if I, you know, take two unused bottles of prednisone with me. Plus, who wants to wait in a walk in clinic?!

I call the pharmacy. Go around the dialling prompts and hold music twice somehow. Get a nice pharmacy woman on the phone. Explain my deal to her. She tells me she’ll fax in the prescription. Perfect. I tell her that I’ll hopefully be by tomorrow afternoon to get it, and will call my doctor’s office to let them know that it’s coming.

There are rules about this arrangement my doctor and I have. If I’m home, I’m to come in when I need prednisone even if I have it on hand. So essentially, I don’t want them to freak out when they get a prednisone prescription for me and call me and tell me to come in. I just want the prednisone (and for it to expire thank you very much!).

I decide to call the office to leave a message explaining this.

I phone. I am immediately transferred to the after hours answering service and told to stay on the line if this is an emergency.

This is not an emergency. I hang up. I mull over my fate that I will have to wake up at 8:30 tomorrow morning to call the doctor’s office to explain this. I am unimpressed but resign to this fact, while ranting to my mom about my doctor’s lack of answering machine for messages such as this, or appointment cancellations.

And then, it hits me! I can fax too

I, too, will send my doctor a fax! This is what HelloFax.com was made for, people! (Note: Not sponsored by HelloFax, but it has been useful the two times in my life I’ve had to send a fax).

What does a fax even look like?! I pull up the Microsoft Word templates for faxes. Why do they all say fax on them, it’s not like anything coming out of your fax machine is not a fax—I presume this was a thing before the combo fax/copy/print/scan things were even things!

I fill out the details with the following “comment”:

Dear Cathy / Dr. [Redacted]:

I had my pharmacy fax a refill request for prednisone 40 mg x 5 days. I need this prior to traveling, leaving early Thursday. I do not currently need to be taking prednisone for my asthma; my current “traveling bottle” is over a year old and I would like a new, unexpired supply to have on hand for travel, just in case.

I am hoping to pick this up at the pharmacy tomorrow afternoon. Please call me if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Fax is the new answering machine!

And I just faxed my doctor’s office.

Because it’s the 80s.

I had to make a couple more phone calls, but I picked up my prednisone at the pharmacy less than 20 hours later. Now, if only I could have just sent an efficient e-mail…

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