Friday, June 24, 2011

OCD Pays Off, Eventually, Sort of... Part 1

As I have mention many time I have neck and back issues.  I had injections last year, but still use muscle relaxants, arthritis medication daily and pain meds occasionally.  We were filling our prescriptions across the street at the large national chain we will call WalBlue. 

So Bud went and picked up my refills that I had called in, when he got home I opened the muscle relaxant immediately, and noticed that the pills were not the same as usual. They looked similar, so I dumped out the bottle and realized there were two types of pills in the bottle, one that was what I was familiar with, and one that was a bit larger and had different markings.  So like any reasonable person, I consulted google.  And google told me it was a diabetes medication, not a muscle relaxant.  Bud immediately went back to the pharmacist and showed her the problem.  She poked around on the computer, looked in a few bottles, and on a few shelves then told Bud it was a new generic that they were changing to.   I kept feeling skeptical, but if it is new, maybe it just isn't online yet?  I mean who do you trust, the pharmacist who went to school forever or a website possibly updated by crazy Uncle Joe?

At first I avoided the new pills, but my insurance won't pay for more until a month has gone by, and more than half are the new pills.  So I finally took a few, I can take up to 4 a day, but usually just take 2.  Then I came down with a bug, of the intestinal sort.  I don't have the kind of job where I can just run to the bathroom whenever I want.  I was also woozy, light-headed and nauseous and shaky.  I eventually set up lessons for a sub, figuring I caught a bug from my students.

Anyway, this went on for a few days, I was ready to take a sick day when WalBlue calls and asks us to bring in the bottle of medication.   They wanted to replace it with all the same pill.  Bud kept asking if they gave me the wrong meds and they just said it was the wrong dosage.  We took it back (first I took pictures and kept a few of the wrong pill) and got the prescription fixed.  Bud spoke to a different pharmacist, explained the situation and she responded with "these things happen all the time, we are doing our best".  (and there is only one dosage for my prescription and one generic, there is no new generic)

So to me, yes mistakes happen HOWEVER

1) we noticed and brought it back ASAP, and the pharmacy manager didn't know it was wrong.
2) giving the wrong meds could cause a reaction with the other crap I am taking.
3)  the diabetes stuff was extended release 1 every 24 hours I was taking 2 each day and by doctors directions could have been quadrupling the dosage.
4)  My dad has bad eyesight and would never have noticed the difference.  My mom may have noticed but would have assumed everything was fine.  How many people don't match the description on the bottle with the pill in the bottle.  I am super obsessive about that, drug interactions scare the bejesus out of me.

Oh, and the side effects of the wrong medicine they gave me?  Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, light-headedness I wasn't sick, I was having side effects of a medicine I shouldn't have been taking.  As soon as I stopped taking it I felt better. 

So how do you proceed from here?  Do we let it go?

To be continued...


Mimi said...

O.M.G. Seriously. Don't let it go. I'm not sure what you should do, but you should do something. That is totally shockingly bad. I'm so glad you didn't have anything permanently bad happen to you.

Swistle said...

Absolutely I would be writing extremely polite and extremely STRONG letters, and I would be cc-ing them to the national headquarters of the chain, to the store manager, etc., and I would find out which state organization is in charge of such things and cc them too.

I worked as a pharmacy technician for a couple of years, and I can confirm your feelings: inevitably, human beings will make an occasional error---but when you TOOK IT BACK AND ASKED!!!! OMG!!! I'm not sure what to compare this to, but it's like one of the most appalling things that could happen at a pharmacy. I'm trying to think of a teaching equivalent. Something like "finding out a child had been abducted on her way to school, and not reporting it." I mean, VERY SERIOUS.

The couple of times a medication was wrong while I worked there (once a dosage problem, once a different medication), the pharmacists pretty much had coronaries for WEEKS over it. One of them actually went into a several-week-long depression, because it is SO SERIOUS SO VERY SERIOUS.

So yes. I would bring out big guns for this. I wouldn't SUE, but I would make a huge stink. My theme would be "OMG YOU GUYS, I NOTICED IT AND BROUGHT IT BACK TO BE CHECKED!!"

Swistle said...

Oh, and name names if you can. Like, go back to the pharmacy and see if you can get the name of the manager who checked it: usually the names of staff will be posted on the wall, because pharmacy registrations (or whatever they're called, I forget now) have to be posted clearly. But if not, they should be wearing nametags. And save the bottle if you still have it, and any paperwork you still have: some pharmacies record who filled the prescription and which pharmacist checked/approved it, and also there might be the time/date on it, which would help the pharmacy figure out who did it.

And any time anyone says "These mistakes inevitably happen," stick to "I totally understand that. BUT I BROUGHT IT BACK TO BE CHECKED."