Thursday, August 8, 2013

A trip to the pharmacy in drawings.

I knew I didn’t have enough insulin to cover us for the rest of the month, so I called my endo to order a replenishment of our supplies a week earlier than planned.  I told her I had four vials left, but it turns out, more boxes were empty than I thought.

I found out a few days after I called the endo that we only had ONE vial left.  Some boxes looked like there was insulin in there, but it was a ruse.  There was only one lone vial sitting in the fridge and my son grabbed it to fill his reservoir.

Only having ½ a vial of insulin in the house gave me the heebie jeebies.

But when I called the pharmacy the automated system told me that the boys' insulin prescriptions were filled and waiting for them at the pharmacy.

I slept great that night.

The next morning I told the boys I’d be right back.  I needed to pick up insulin quick.  I got in the car ecstatic that I was going to have a butter compartment full of insulin again.

I walked into the pharmacy and handed over the boys’ medical cards.

The lady walked over to the prescription bins and started digging around.

 I hung my chest over the counter and realized I looked crazy, so I relaxed my body and decided to be patient and not expect the worst.  She grabbed some empty bags with notes on them from the bin and then headed to the refrigerator.

But when she came back she had a million vials of the wrong insulin with her.  So I bite my lip and try not to sound like a complete loon when I spout:

 I got the deep sigh, and the “Let me talk to the pharmacist” line and she left.  I saw her grab one vile of the correct kind of insulin out of the fridge as she went to meet with him.  I heard her explaining the situation and when she got to the part of, "she has three children with diabetes," the pharmacist and two other people looked over at me.  You would think I'd be used to that look of surprise by now.  Nope.  It still shakes me.  The pharmacist returned with her and began his lengthy version of why I had gotten the wrong insulin.

“Hold the phone.  My doctor DID actually give permission, and our last shipment WAS of the off formulary insulin.  So check another screen and I’ll wait.”  I was twitching violently at this point.  My voice was shaky.  They knew I was going to blow.  The pharmacist put his hands in front of him to shield himself from the blast.

 As I tried to continue to explain, my voice was getting so high only dolphins could hear me.  The pharmacist understood that I was about to implode into myself.  “Have a seat and I’ll figure it out for you.” He said.

I looked over at the one bottle of Novolog sitting on the counter.  “Umm, what are you going to do with that vial?  You’re not going to give it to someone else when I go sit down, are you?”

"No, I’ll keep it right here next to the register by me."

I kept eye contact with her until I felt as though she sealed her solemn promise in nervous sweat to keep it safe.  She nodded reassuringly.  I backed up slowly to my seat, unwilling to let the vial out of my sight.

15 minutes later the pharmacist came out and kneeled next to me.  The look on his face was identical to the face that my father had when he told me my hamster had broken its leg and needed to be put down.  His voice was quiet and tentative.  He was scared.

“I’m sorry but I don’t have enough insulin to fill all the boys needs.  Well, I do, but I can’t give away all my supply.  I can fill two boys, but one I’ll have to mail to you.”

I had to give him mad props for telling me the truth.  Usually they tell me “That’s all I have.”  When I KNOW there is more in the fridge.  They’re hoarders.  I get it.  I gave him the wounded mom look.  “Ok.  I suppose that will do.”  But inside I was doing the happy robot victory dance.

I called the boys to tell them I would be late.  It was almost 12:30, and they all needed to check their blood sugars.  As I hung up I don’t think I ever in my life felt more like a mother to 3 boys with diabetes than I did in that moment.  Usually life has a rhythm.  It’s these pregnant pauses that get to me.

15 minutes later my name was called.

Not only had he filled the prescription for two boys’ insulin, but he also filled an outstanding needle prescription and the test strip prescriptions for all three boys.

When I left the pharmacy the sky was bluer.   The flowers were brighter, and the birds were blissfully singing.

You know, things are pretty good when you have almost $5000 worth of “Life” in your arms.


  1. always good when the trip to the pharmacy doesn't end with someone being carted off in handcuffs! ;)

  2. You are ridiculously brilliant, my dear.

  3. i love that song. i love it when you draw.

    my favorite drawing is the side-by-side of your dad and the pharmacist.

  4. I love it too! My favorite drawing is the Crack head alert! Don't come between a mom and her babies insulin. Meri you always make me cry and smile:)

  5. Ahhhhhhh. Glad you didn't have to jump the counter and help yourself to what your boys needed. ;)

  6. I wish my pharmacist was that nice.

  7. How I could only dream of talking to such competent people at our pharmacy!

  8. My 7 year old has diabetes.
    And I'm a pharmacist!
    I've been on both sides.
    When I was first out of school, our pharmacy missed reordering resevoirs for one of our patients. It was an eye opener for sure. Luckily we managed to get some in before the child was out.
    I've also been the one trying to explain to a fellow pharmacist why I needed another refill on strips......because the MD only wrote x 1 box and we were testing 13-15 times a day!
    Glad everything worked out for you. Some of us go out of our way to help the patient, that's why we became pharmacists!!

  9. Not sure where all you guys are but as a T1 diabetic (also on a few other meds) I expect excellent service from my pharmacist. In Australia the pharmacists make money from dispensing medicines so I'm pretty lucrative, therefore, I expect them to fall all over me-if they don't I go elsewhere. My pharmacist is great, when I had an issue with being unable to get my sugards down (presumed problem with insulin going off as I'd tried everything else) the assistant pharmacist rang another pharmacy, drove to pick up the insulin for me and delivered it (I offered to go myself, but methinks they didn't want me having any contact with the competition). They know me and my meds and my local GP also uses that chemist so they have rung her for me to get a script rung through too. I love my pharmacist.

  10. Meri, bless your heart! I think I would have just had to help myself to their refrigerator. Thankfully you had a wonderful caring pharmacist that prevented you from self imploding all over the place. A mamma bear with 3 diabetic children needing insulin would have been a very messy one!lol

  11. I love your creativity and can so relate as I switch to a new insurance company and yesterday received a 6 box shipment of the wrong syringes! Thanks for knowing how to make light of a crazy situation.

  12. This is off topic, I know but....are any of your boys on a CGM? I've been type 1 my entire life almost. Close to 40 years now. I'm 49. Just recently, about 8 months ago I finally went on the pump and a constant glucose monitor. Love love love them both. I'm sure as a mom of 3 diabetic children you know all there is to know but....this Decom G4 is pretty amazing....for my anyway. It takes a reading every 5 minutes. Has arrows showing whether you're rising for falling and alarms that go off if you hit your preset low or high. I have mine to alert at 70 and 200. That way I can correct before it gets crazy. Talk to you Dr. Really it does take a load off of my mind knowing what my bs is doing. And seeing the trends so I can adjust accordingly. After all these years of first urine testing (yes I was diagnosed before home blood testing) and billions of finger sticks it's so great to sit back and let this little device do it for me. I can only imagine the wieght it would take of off a mother's mind. Good luck and God bless you all

  13. I enjoyed reading your blog post. The pictures are cool fun. anyway, always great to know when the sugar of your loved ones are fine and stable. Kudos to the pharmacist!


Moderation now enabled, so comments will not immediately be seen.