I work at the community mental health center in Smalltown. Part of my job is to manage the patient assistance program that helps patients get their meds when they can’t afford them . . . and some of those meds are OMG Expensive! We give samples when we have them, we have a couple of programs that provide meds to patients at no cost to them. Because of the economy, the number of clients I deal with seems to increase each month. Most of the time, this is a very interesting and satisfying part of my job. Sometimes it’s a thankless energy drain that keeps me running all day. Yesterday was one of those thankless days. I spent the day wishing I could say this outloud . . . but I can’t . . . so I’m writing it here.
I’m not your sweetie. I’m not your honey. I’m not a dear or a darlin. I don’t care if you want me to have a blessed day. This is my job. I give every patient’s request the utmost care and attention. Flattery isn’t going to speed up the process.
I don’t care why you couldn’t call before you took your last pill. If the meds aren’t here, the meds aren’t here. I can’t snap my fingers and make them magically appear because you’re out and you gotta have them. The reason I ask that you give me a week’s notice before you run out is so that the meds are here when you need them. I can’t just “call in a refill” for you. I have to get an order from a doctor and I can’t help it if the doctor is with a patient/on the phone/gone for the day. I don’t care how your meds got lost. I don’t care why you can’t come and get your meds today and you need to have your sister’s husband’s second cousin pick them up for you. The more dramatic you make the story; the less likely I am to believe it.
If you call me and leave a message for me to call you back, you need to answer the phone when I do call back. If you do answer the phone, don’t pretend it’s not you because “out of area” came up on the caller id and you think I’m a bill collector. If you haven’t heard from me, it’s not because I don’t want to talk to you and I’m ignoring you or your request – it’s probably because the number you left is no longer in service, or your voice mailbox is full, or the doctor hasn’t had a chance to reply to the few dozen earlier messages you’ve left already today. Trust me when I tell you that I will make sure the doctor gets your message. It’s not necessary for you to call every half hour to see if I’ve talked to the doctor yet.
If you show up at the front window expecting to pick up meds when you haven’t called ahead, don’t get snippy with the girls at the front desk if they aren’t there. Don’t get snippy with me when I bring the meds to you. This isn’t Wal-Mart and we don’t have an Automatic Refill Service. You have to tell me you need the meds so I can get them ready for you. I don’t have a bunch of little elves in the med room putting orders together for me. If you call and make a big fuss about needing samples of your meds, please come and pick them up promptly. If they are still there and not picked up after a month, I put them back so someone else can use them. Once that happens, I have to get a new order from the doc for samples and explain to him that you didn’t pick up the last batch he ordered for you.
They’re your meds. This is your illness/disease/problem. It’s your responsibility to manage your meds. I do understand what you are going through but I’m not Superman. I have rules/limits/laws that I have to follow. Sometimes you have to accept the word “NO” and I’m not being mean when I tell you “no”.
Whew! I feel better now!