Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I’ve never told anyone this before, but deep inside the recesses of my psyche I have an alternate personality. I affectionately call her “The Bitch.” As you may be able to tell from her name, she isn’t the “nice” one. She’s the one who takes over when the nice one is being taken advantage of. The nice one is me. Really.

As I get older, I’m getting better and better at controlling her. I try to only let her out to play when it seems safe and she won’t be able to cause any havoc in my life. Sometimes I even let her write posts for my blog to amuse herself. But last night she nearly overwhelmed me. It was very scarey. I think she could have done serious bodily and property damage, in a public place no less.

First a little background. Without going into a detailed medical history (I love you, Internet, but you don’t have to know everything), I’ll just say that I’ve been taking a particular prescription medication for the last 14 years. It works well for me and has caused no problems.

About 4 months ago a generic version of said medication became available. Since my insurance company only wants the best for me, they immediately switched me to the generic version, because they were sure that the generic version would provide me with quality, cost-effective medication. The cynic might think they were only trying to save themselves some money, but no, my well-being is their top priority. It says so right there in their brochure. And they wouldn’t say that if it weren’t true. Really.

Unfortunately, after 4 months of taking this quality, cost-effective generic medication, it became clear that the generic version was not working for me. My symptoms were back. At that was a bad thing.

My doctor told me that many others were having the same problem with this quality, cost-effective generic medication and immediately wrote me a new prescription, specifying that only the name brand version should be dispensed. I suspected that the insurance company, that only wants the best for me, might balk at shelling out for a new prescription when I still had two months of the generic stuff left from my last three-month refill, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I was totally willing to eat the cost of a couple of months of the stuff to get something that works. That willingness seemed to cause lots of confusion down at the local Walgreens. Lots of confusion.

Last night I arrived at the pharmacy counter to pick up my prescription, the prescription that had been sent in the previous day. One would think that 30 hours would be enough time to fill one prescription. Certainly.

So I gave the pharmacy tech guy (hereafter to be known as Doofus) my name and asked for my prescription.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but your insurance company is not allowing a refill on your medication this soon.”

“It’s not the same medication. The old prescription is for the generic version, but the generic isn’t working for me.”

Doofus and a couple white coats consulted for a minute or two.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but your insurance company considers those to be the same medication.”

“No problem, I’ll just pay cash.”

“So you want it anyway?”

“Yes, I’ll be paying cash.”

“You realize that this prescription will be $100?”

“That’s no problem. I’d like my prescription please,” as I waved my Visa card in his general direction. The Bitch was now starting to stir. I felt her kick my liver.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but we didn’t fill the prescription because we didn’t know that you’d want to pay cash. It’ll take us about 20 minutes to get it ready. If you’d like to wait, we’ll call you over the store intercom when it’s ready.”

The Bitch took control of my eyelids and glowered at him, but I kept her otherwise restrained. “No problem, I’ll just come back later this evening.”

We only live a couple of minutes from the Walgreens, so Slag and I just headed home. About an hour later I was about to leave and go back to pick up the prescription when Slag talked me into calling to make sure it was ready, to avoid a wasted trip. Plus, he likes to avoid the Bitch as much as possible too, and he knew she’d been awakened and was just waiting for an opportunity to take control of my body and do something bad to somebody. So I called. Was the prescription ready? No it wasn’t, but they’d have it ready to go in about 20 minutes. Good call, Slag.

So we killed another half an hour with an episode of Scrubs and then I headed out. I arrived back at the pharmacy counter almost exactly an hour and a half after Doofus told me my prescription would be ready in 20 minutes. Doofus was still on duty, but he looked at me like he’d never seen my face before. I gave him my name and asked for my prescription.

“What’s the first name again?” as he’s digging through the bin corresponding to the first letter of my last name.


More time passed. And then he frowned a little into the computer monitor, and told me, “Your insurance company isn’t allowing a refill this soon. Were you planning to pay for this yourself?”

He said it to me as if we, he and I, the exact same two people, had not had an extended conversation about this very topic a mere hour and a half ago in this very spot.

And suddenly the Bitch was awake and ready to kick some ass. I gagged a little as she rose to her full height inside my throat.

“Yes, I’ll be paying cash,” I squeaked out while fighting to keep her from taking control of my limbs. Ordinarily I would let her go at this point, but I still needed something from these people and I was determined not to let her ruin it for me.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but that prescription hasn’t been filled yet. If you’d care to wait, it’ll take us about 20 minutes to get it ready.”

And then the Bitch started trying to move and talk. She tried to grab Doofus by the hair and scream “GIVE ME MY GODDAMN PILLS, YOU STUPID FUCK!” but I tackled her at the last minute and choked off her shrieking with my throat muscles. The words that actually emerged from my mouth were something like “YOU told me that it would be ready in TWENTY minutes an HOUR AND A HALF AGO.”

“I apologize for that. We’ll get it ready as soon as we can.” And he said it with an attitude that implied that he wasn’t a bit sorry. Not a bit. He got another glower of dissatisfaction from me, and then I parked myself in the waiting area and gave him mean looks while distracting the Bitch with a game of video poker on my cell phone.

Twenty five minutes later Doofus calls me back up to the counter. “The pharmacist would like to speak with you.”

Pharmacist Dude had my prescription in front of him, the one that clearly said that only the name brand medication should be dispensed. He was confused.

“Did you want the generic version of this?”

And then the Bitch went nuts. She gave up trying to take control of MY arms and instead stuck her own arms out of my mouth, braced her elbows on my nose and chin, and used the leverage to pull her entire self out of my throat. Doofus was her first target. She opened her talons and threw herself at his ample, soft underbelly, but he was quick for his size and scooted out of reach behind a big filing cabinet. Then she went after Pharmacist Dude. By this time, I was screaming for her to calm down because I didn’t have my pills yet, but she didn’t care. I did manage to get her in a headlock, but she was already too big and strong for me to stop. She ended up dragging me along as she lunged at Pharmacist Dude. The weight of me on her back slowed her down though, so she only got a grip on his lab coat, which she ripped off his body while he screamed like a little girl. The coat distracted her for a second. While she demolished the remaining scraps, I retrieved the pepper spray from my purse and gave her a direct hit, right in the face. She screamed in pain and anger, and dropped to the ground. I promptly sat down on the back of her neck. I figured that if the tactic will keep a horse on the ground, it’d work on her too. Thankfully, I was right.

It didn’t keep her quiet though. The Bitch snarled and hissed like a Tasmanian Devil as I answered Pharmacist Dude, panting from the exertion. “NO, the generic (pant) DOES NOT WORK (pant) FOR ME. I WANT (pant) THE (pant) NAME (pant) BRAND!”

I think Pharmacist Dude was still in shock over the loss of his lab coat and embarrassed about his girly screams, because he didn’t say anything else after that. He just turned back his work table and got busy filling my prescription. I never saw Doofus again. I can only assume that he had fled the building.

I continued to sit on the Bitch, right there in the middle of the pharmacy waiting area, for the additional twenty minutes in took for Pharmacy Dude to count out 30 pills and put them in a little bottle. I was not going to let her up until she stopped making noises that would cause Beelzebub to tremble with fright. It was just too dangerous. Everybody else could just walk around us. I didn’t care.

Just before my prescription was ready, a new pharmacy tech, Sharp Guy, came on duty. Sharp Guy had noticed me sitting there on the floor and asked me my name so he could check on my prescription, without me even saying a word. He correctly deduced that I was waiting on a prescription. He was clearly smart. He was also helpful. He was friendly. He was on top of everything. He understood what was going on after I explained it only once.

The Bitch liked him. His excellent customer service and reliable short term memory soothed her. She started to purr while Sharp Guy checked on Pharmacist Dude and made sure he was really giving me the name brand. By the time Sharp Guy was stapling my receipt to my bag and telling me to have a great evening, she had returned to her normal size and had snuggled back into her favorite spot, right below my solar plexus.

Thank god for Sharp Guy. If not for him, I don’t know how I would have gotten the Bitch out of the store without someone being hurt.


Blogger Em said...

This is both funny and sad. Funny cause you are a very funny writer and the story regarding your quality, cost-effective generic medication is just too good. Sad because you had to experience the lameness that is Doofus.

Frankly, if either Doofus or Pharmacist Dude are not speaking an octave or two higher today, then you didn't let Bitch run loose quite long enough!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Excellently told my friend... bad experience shared humorously... ty for the grins!

11:59 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

I can't help but think the story would have been better if you let the Bitch go on the rampage she wanted. Chaos, insanity and mayhem... her work would have been done there.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

I'm sorry your Bitch got loose. They can be hard to keep in check. Sometimes you have to soothe them with candy and new shoes. My predominent personality tends to be The Ball Crusher. It's also my pro-wrestling title.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Schmoopie said...

You are a strong woman! I'm with the Bitch though. Doofus and the pharmacist deserved what they got! I had an eerily similar experience at the Walgreens in CO. Stucco's heart med was switched, by Walgreens, to a generic (no one , by law, should receive a generic without prior authorization from the Dr.) It didn't work for him and he had to go to the ER 3 times to be cardio-verted as a result. Walgreens has been in trouble before for switching patients to generic meds and charging for the premiums for one more month to the insurance companies. That is a way they are making lots of $ off of meds. They also hire sub-standard pharmacists for far less pay. I HATE them! Stucco was also deprived of his 3 bottles of insulin and given only 1 because Walgreens refused to fill it for 3 (even though the doc had written a dosage amount that required 3 bottles.) I found out that Walgreens will try to fill the script for just 1 and charge the same co pay as if there were 3 (another way to make money!) They are crooks! There! I have finished my rant on Walgreens pharmacies. We only use other pharmacies or ones' affiliated with hospitals as they are less likely to try to make HUGE profits. I am on a certain drug to keep anxiety at bay so I know what it is like to lose control when the med isn't working. I sincerely hope you will feel like your "more normal" self soon!

3:58 PM  
Blogger ian said...

I have a little moron who lives in my mouth. Sometimes when I open it to say something witty or pithy, he leans out and shouts something suitably moronic.

I have another one who lives in my texting hand. *sigh*


12:23 AM  
Blogger Neal said...

Sometimes I think people in customer service positions just get bored and start pushing people's buttons.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous big jim said...

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4:56 AM  

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