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Practicing Patience as a Patient: At the Pharmacy

Right now I'm standing in line at the post office. It's conveniently in my pharmacy, right beside the pharmacy counter. A couple of hours ago I used my pharmacy's app to refill some medications, which usually take about 24 hours to be ready when you refill online (or via the app) or by phone. I stopped by the pharmacy anyways--miracles happen, right?

My favorite pharmacy assistant popped up. "I'll be right with you!" She called from the back counter.

She grabbed my printouts and came to the front. "Kerri MacKay, right?"

"Yup." I sort of have a love/hate relationship with them knowing my name at the pharmacy!

"I had you marked down to pick up tomorrow?" She questioned.

"Yeah, I know, but I was just coming by anyways so thought I'd check--can I pick them up sooner? No problem though."

I mean technically I've got an empty inhaler of Zenhale (Dulera) at home but that's my fault, even though I know they'd rush it if I told them. I should really learn to look at the darn counter, but it's hard to remember when only one inhaler I have actually has one!

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"I'll have them ready in 45 minutes or so for you, is that okay?"

Yes, perfect. I told her I had errands to run  anyways. I then went to the post office, did a return at a store across the street, and perused notebooks at the card stores in the mall. Then I bought a Halloween card at the pharmacy and mailed it off to a friend in California. I returned to the counter 45 minutes later.

"Hi. Pickup for Kerri MacKay," I said to a different assistant, scanning the side counter. Nothing was there. "It's probably not ready yet."

She checked the side shelf and then the back. "No it's not ready."

This is why impulsive early pickups don't work out. And I know better! Pharmacies are busy places, I get it.

"Okay that's fine. About how much longer?"

"Ten minutes?"

I told her I'd be back. Hey, at least I'd been productive so far. The chairs at the pharmacy were occupied by a family, so I headed out into the mall to squeeze some writing in.

Sure, I have to wait. But I planned on that. And yeah, it would be nice if their initial estimate was more accurate but hey, it’s an estimate. I know my pharmacy team is making sure things get done for me--and their other customers--and done correctly. Plus I'm already here: I'd rather wait (somewhat) patiently than come back tomorrow--or come back tonight when it's busier! And yes, it sucks that I'm now waiting for a third time but... I get it! At least I didn’t spend any more money when I went out than I’d planned—that’s a bonus!

I appreciate the work my pharmacy team does--I know many of them enjoy their jobs and helping people, but customer service is tough sometimes--I know I've been frustrated with them in the past, and it isn't an easy job to be between the patient and the medicine that keeps them healthy when things aren't working out as planned! So, next time you're in that position, remember: they are doing their best to help us stay healthy--sometimes we need to cut them some slack, and I can tell that at least my team are sincere when they thank me for waiting! And really? Getting mad at them won't make my prescriptions appear any quicker!

Although maybe I'll just get one of those ridiculous giant pharmacy pager next time so that I don't stress them out popping by more often than necessary! Do those even exist anymore?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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