Well, maybe comedy is the wrong word. "An Annoyance of Errors" might be a better way to put it. This is the story of my afternoon taking my mom to the doctor's.
First of all, in order to get my mother to the doctor by 3:00 p.m. I was supposed to leave work at 2:00 p.m. I had a meeting right before that which I couldn't miss, but I figured I'd cut out afterward and skip the next meeting, which started at 2:00.
It was a long day, with a lot going on. My 1:00 p.m. meeting ended and, on automatic pilot, I went on to the next meeting. Suddenly, halfway through the meeting it dawned on me that I was attending the meeting I had planned to skip in order to go get my mother! I immediately rushed out of the meeting, spouting apologies, and called my mother on the way out the door and told her to tell the doctor we'd be late.
We arrived at the doctor's office and sat in the crowded, tiny waiting room. I had my mom sit over in a corner with some space between her and the rest of the other elderly people. (At 3:30 in the afternoon I guess only elderly people are hanging out at the doctor's office).
My mother started coughing and all the other people looked at us apprehensively. You could practically see them trying not to breathe. At that point the receptionist invited us in to see the doctor and they all looked relieved.
The doctor examined my mom and said she has bronchitis, and started writing out prescriptions. One for an antibiotic, one for a cough medication and one for an inhaler to help clear her airways. As he was filling them out, I mentioned that my mother is sensitive to Dextromethorphan, the drug that puts the "DM" in Robitussin DM. My mother then mentioned she can't take most decongestants as they make her heart race.
We left the doctor's office armed with our three prescriptions and went on to CVS to drop them off while we went grocery shopping. After the grocery shopping, we went back to the drug store and I left Mom in the car while I went in to pick up the prescriptions.
Of course there was a line of people waiting for their prescriptions. CVS was running behind and no one's prescriptions were ready. The line was not moving. I was behind a young guy with a toddler (a small, germ-laden toddler). Another woman was coughing and sniffling while waiting for her prescription. I had been in a doctor's office full of sick people. I felt a need for Purell.
Finally it was my turn to get the prescriptions...which of course weren't ready. So I waited a little and then the woman behind the counter, who was foreign and didn't speak English well, brought me the three prescriptions. She pointed at the paperwork for one of them and said "Did you expect this?" I had no idea what she meant so I said yes, thinking she meant the drug itself. But then after she rang up the bill it was $192! I said "Is that right? What cost so much?" She pointed to $155 on the receipt and said "This is why I asked you if you expected it," and it turned out to be the cost of the inhaler the doctor had prescribed! I questioned it, but it was correct, so what could I do but pay it?
When we got back to my mother's, I got her to take her antibiotics right away and then we tried to do the inhaler, which is some kind of inhalable corticosteroid. It is very complicated. It comes in the form of a disk, which has to be twisted to reveal the part that the patient is supposed to inhale out of, and there is a lever that has to be moved to provide the exact dosage.
So I did all that ahead of time so my mom would only have to inhale. I had her exhale once and then try to inhale this stuff. She didn't manage to get a good grip on it with her lips and when she inhaled she didn't feel anything. I don't think she got a bit of the stuff, but the instructions said not to do it twice because it's dangerous to inhale extra.
So, for $155 we got a useless, complicated thing that my mother will probably never get any use out of. (Pardon the dangling participle, but I'm not about to say "out of which she will never get any use.")
OK, on to the next debacle. My mother went to take the cough medication, which was in pill form. She discovered there was exactly one pill in the container! And yet she was supposed to take it every twelve hours. So I called up CVS and they said "Oh, we were out of stock on it, that's why you only have one. The girl should have told you." Great. So I asked if they could call it in to another CVS and they agreed to do that.
But in the meantime, I took a better look at the drug container and realized the cough medication was called Tusso-DM. DM always means Dextromethorphan. So I looked it up on the Internet (I knew I gave my mother my old computer for a reason!) and found out that not only did the stuff have Dextromethorphan in it but it also had a decongestant!
So the doctor totally ignored what we were saying and prescribed something that includes both of the ingredients that don't agree with my mother. Luckily I had gotten her a cough medication over the counter on Saturday so I told her to just keep taking that.
So that is the story of my afternoon. It made me really wish we still lived in a world where doctors made house calls and brought the medicine with them.
(Photo credit: http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/7aa/7aa102.htm)
The good news is, my mother is now feeling better. And maybe we can donate the $155 inhaler to charity. Think I can write it off on my income taxes?
And, thanks for everyone's concern and good wishes for my mother.
Doctors and drug stores
Antibiotics and pills
Now Mom is OK.