Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today I began with a pretty good disposition. It was the day I was to finally pick up my new diabetes testing supply prescription from the doctor’s office and drop it off at the Walmart pharmacy. (Background: 10 days ago I was running out of the test strips to check my blood sugar, and because of Medicare’s special ruling, I had to have a new written prescription in order to obtain them at no cost. NOTE: Purchasing them over the counter is about $50, so getting the prescription meant a real savings. At that time, I had already gone to the doctor’s and got a prescription which I delivered to the pharmacy. When I returned to pick it up, they had rejected it because it was typed and had to be hand written, so no test strips. Leaving town that day for a couple of nights, then a weekend, I just tried to watch myself, for I had no time to get a hand written one.)

Yesterday I called the doctor and was told they would have one for me to pick up. Back to today, I did that and took the new paper to the pharmacy, waiting about 15 minutes for them to open, then presented the paper, confident that I finally would get my supplies. He looked at it and gave it back with what I interpreted as a lack of concern, said that I would need to take it back and have them write how many “test-strips” in the bottle ordered. When I stated that this would be my third trip to obtain the corrected prescription, he replied it was not his decision but the strict controls of Medicare. I wearily accepted the prescription and made my way back to the doctor, where I explained my dilemma once more. The nurse replied that she, too, had never had such a problem providing the correct information, and after calling the pharmacist, made the correction. Back I went to Walmart and left the prescription with a pharmacist who perhaps had had a few less difficult customers than the first, for she was, at least, apologetic. I said I would pick it up later in the day.

When I arrived back at the office it was 10 a.m. A task I had planned to do on my way to work had taken two hours out of my busy schedule, not to speak of the time spent previously, in addition to the gas used driving back and forth to the doctor’s office. As I studied on the whole procedure I had gone through, I began to add up the miles and the time spent in total. Let’s see, a round trip of about 9 miles, multiplied by three trips is a total of about 27. My van gets about 20 mpg, so at the average rate of $2.70 current cost per gallon = about $3.60. Being conservative on the worth of an hour of my time at $15, times roughly 4 total hours in travel, line waiting, and obtaining my prescription, that comes to about $60. Altogether, perhaps about $63.60 for a $50 savings to get a Medicare “free” prescription.

Of course, my work is not by the hour, so I did not lose the bulk of that, other than the gas expense which I probably cannot recoup. My thought was for the many who might suffer the same kind of difficulty, whose time is “money-loss”.

Again, I am not against Medicare, for I have supported it through my contributions from my salary through the years. But, it does make me feel that the push some make for a more government controlled health care would simply amplify my last week of trauma with a greater impersonal system.

Now, my real point. I can truly empathize with the role of pharmacies and doctors, attempting to communicate and meet the handed-down rules of an impersonal organization. I was tired and began to see myself on the proverbial “Medi-care-less” merry-go-round. This impersonal program did not understand or even see my struggle. My thoughts and needs and time were not considered as valuable.

You see, the pity party was beginning to send out invitations, and the party would reconvene at Walmart when I went back to pick up my prescriptions this afternoon. Little did I realize, however, that someone else “came to the party” and made changes in the games that I had planned to “enjoy” pitying.

I walked up and stood in line. Just two in front of me. I will be patient. I will be big about the matter. One finished, then the other approached, asked a question, and started walking away, satisfied with the answer. The clerk said, “next” and as I started, readying myself to give name and birthdate, she quickly disarmed my whole play with, “now, Mr. Bryant, you had 3 perscriptions, didn’t you?”

Disconcerted, I uttered a halting, “huh, yes, thank you.” My mind was racing. She had waited on me before but with little interchange in the midst of a continuing busy line of customers. She seemed to guess my surprise at her knowing response. I said something like, “I guess I get a lot of prescriptions?” She replied, “Some I remember, many not too well.” I quickly countered to get a rise, “You didn’t remember my birthday?” “No” she said with a glint, “I guess that excuses me from getting you a birthday present. Right?” I smiled, purchased the medicine, told her to have a great day, and walked away with an awareness that I had been duly “paid” for my $63.60 worth of bother.

All but invisible to what I perceived was a “care-less” organization promoted to “care” for me and others, another “caring” member of yet another health dispensing agency not only saw me but “knew” me by name.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that when the world doesn’t seem to care or know that I exist, You do know me, love me and care deeply and strongly about my life’s progress.


Jo said...

Isn't it amazing, how one little remark can completely change how you feel about your whole day?

Mich said...

I enjoyed your story, Dad. I could totally see you and your expressions... I'm glad there was someone at the end of the day, who seemed to have a heart for people like you! Hope today is a great one! Love ya!

Amber said...

I used to get embarrassed when you would talk to the Wal-Mart check- out ladies, reading their nametags and calling them by name....I would want to crawl under the little sack turn-style thingy. But, you have always known that one thing people love is being acknowledged....glad you received it back today.

Amber said...

By the way...I'm not embarrassed of you anymore....just wanted to clear that up!! :)

Ray Edwards said...

Thanks for reminding me that I am not the only one at the party, and certianly not the only one who feels at times forgotten. But Praise God! He knows who we are, where we are, and why we are where we are. I am trying to always gaze at my ever present Lord and glance at the unpleasant circumstance, rather than gaze at the circumstance and glance at the Lord.
Time and eternity is like oil and water. They really do not mix. We must always remember that we are living for eternity, and time is something we walk through on our way to eternity.
Love ya Broco