Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MY LIFE AS A PATIENT -- Vonnie Davis

My husband and I have an ongoing problem with doctors' new way of dispensing prescriptions. At our primary care providers' office, the nurse sends prescriptions over the computer to the drugstore of your choice. No sloppy handwriting to decifer. No chance of stolen or altered prescription pads. No problem. Right?

But what if the drugstore never recieves the computer generated fax? This happens to us more often than hot days in August. I kid you not.

At my pre-op physical for the removal of a cyst embedded in one of my saliva glands, the surgeon went over every step of the proceedure. We discussed the type of anesthesia they'd use. He went over possible complications. You know the drill. He also said his nurse would fax prescriptions to Walmart, our pharmacy of choice, for pain pills and antibiotics.

Two days later I went to Walmart to pickup the prescriptions. Walmart never recieved the fax. "Maybe the nurse called the other store." (We have two Walmarts in Lynchburg.) Nothing. "Let me check Wal-Greens," the girl at the pharmacy counter said. "Sometimes the patient says 'Walmart' and the nurse hears 'Wal-Greens' and faxes it to the wrong place." No luck.

Since this is now the day before my surgery, I'm more than a little antsy. If I'm going to be cut from behind my ear and over the top of the ear down the side of my cheek and down into the neck, I know without a doubt, I'm going to have some pain. I want my prescriptions. When I called the doctor's office, I was put on hold. After 20 minutes, Calvin said he was driving to the doctor's office to speak to a person, face to face.

Evidently the nurse wore her grumpy face that day. She told Calvin she'd give him a prescription for the antibiotic, but not the pain pill. That the doctor had already taken me off pain medicine. Really? Before the surgery? When Calvin told her he wanted the prescription written and in his hand rather than sent via the computer, her grumpy face deepened.

The day of the surgery, Calvin told the doctor about our problems with the prescriptions and the nurse's attidude. The doctor's eyes narrowed. "Why would I take your wife off pain medicine before I cut her open? Why would my nurse say that? I'll write you new prescriptions, and you'll have them before your wife leaves the hospital." He has a very commanding voice, one that inspires confidence. I think they train pre-med students in that very technique. No doubt the title of the course is "Buffaloing Your Patients 101."

When they wheeled me into the OR, the doctor introduced me to the anesthesiologist. "Vonnie is a romance writer and she's going to put me in her next book. I've asked her to make me tall. For once I want to know what it feels like to be over five-foot-eight." He looked at me and winked. The anesthesiologist laughed.

I took it from there. "Oh, I'm thinking six-foot-four, ripped abs, broad shoulders. When the ladies read about you, they'll think one word: Big." The whole operating room erupted into laughter. Ah, but I digress. I was telling you about our prescription woes.

After surgery, when I was somewhat in my right mind, the nurse taking care of me said she'd phoned in the prescriptions the doctor ordered. "Are you sure?" Calvin asked. He then told her our long ordeal. She assured him she had. She even gave him one of her business cards and told him to call her if there was a problem with the prescriptions. Calvin brought me home and put me to bed before going to Walmart to pick up the medicine.

Two hours later he came into the bedroom and collapsed beside me on the bed, slinging his arm over his eyes. "Angel, you won't believe what happened."

"They never got the prescriptions."

"Exactly. And that nurse assured me she'd sent it in. I called her number on her card. She said she spoke to Della. Problem was Walmart doesn't have a Della working in their pharmacy, so Lord knows which store she called. But I've got them for you now. Why is this process so hard? Why is getting a prescription like looking for the Hope Diamond in a pile of crap?" His frustration levels were evident.

Two days after surgery, my face swelled so bad I had no ear hole and my cheek hung down to my collar bone. We went back to the surgeon so he could lance it in two places and drain off most of the fluid.

As he was doing this fun chore, he said, "I know you'll get a kick out of hearing this. The anesthesiologist was so charmed by you, that after she had you under, she Googled your name. While we operated on you, she read your reviews from Amazon to the OR staff. She ordered your book while I had your facial nerves lying exposed on your cheek. Hell, I enjoyed the reviews so much, even I ordered it."

I told him I was having problems handling the pain medicine he prescribed (I'd never make a druggie). Could he prescribe something less potent? (What was I thinking?) "Sure," he replied.

Once again, Calvin told him our tale of prescription woe. "Unreal," the doctor said. "I'll write one out the old way." He scribbled something on a pad and tore off the prescription. "Here you are, Vonnie."
We checked out and went to the car. I looked down at the prescription the doctor had handed me. The name he'd written on it was Nancy Edwards...


Tommy/Melinda said...


What a nightmare....I tell you I am scared to death of the doctors...Now that my husband passed away and I know its their fault I will have a hard time going to the doctor...

Take care and May God bless you


Jerri Hines said...

Sorry to hear about the mix up. But just a tid bit of information. If it doesn't sound right, insist on talking to the doctor, but then again he would have to know your right name. Second, tid bit, if he can't get your name right, maybe you should think of getting another doctor. Of course, you did a wonderful blog on the situation. Love the picture of the nurse. Hope you

Jannine Gallant said...

Sounds to me like you should collect all of Nancy Edwards' perscriptions. You'll be set for life! Hope you're feeling much better after all this.

Mary Ricksen said...

Oh my God we must have the same doctor's office. I have to call a week in advance and every day thereafter to get a new Rx. They never answer the phone and often I wonder just what the blood test results are. No one calls me. But, changing is a waste, all the docs that take medicare are the same!!
What a system.
Feel better and take your medicine! LOL!

Calisa Rhose said...

ROFLOL I'm so sorry you had/are having all this trouble Vonnie. Time to reconsider the 6'5", ripped abs features.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Oh, Vonnie, we've had something similar. We use the pharmacy at Brookshire's Grocery Story, and the staff there are very careful. But there's another Brookshire's ten miles away and a few times the Rx went there instead of to the correct one. Not from our primary doctor, whose nurse is so efficient she could run the world, but from specialists. I hope you are healing well and feeling no pain.

Rachel Brimble said...

What a nightmare, Vonnie! I must be really lucky, I have never experienced any problems like this *touch wood* - hope you are feeling better now.

R x

Kathy Grace said...

I may be jaded in the area of "superior" people lording it over their "Kingdom" just because they can....GRRRRRRRRR! Referring of course and at least, to the nurse that Calvin had to confront regarding your prescription. I think most of us are too old and too wise now to let them "grump" us into compliance.
YAYYYYYY for holding our well earned ground....
Kathy Brady

Mona Risk said...

Vonnie, I can't believe all the problems you've faced with your prescriptions. I always go to the same pharmacy CVS and they know us well. We changed from Wallgreen precisely because they gave us too many problems. You better include a funny scene with the nasty nurse in your next book. I hope you feel better soon.

Susan Macatee said...

Oh, no, Vonnie! What an ordeal! I recently had surgery on my knee. A 90 pound boxer dog ran into me in the park and broke my tibia plateau right below the knee. Fortunately, my time as a patient was a positive one, except for my initial visit to the ER. They sent me home in a leg brace with a pair of crutches with instructions to phone the surgeon's office once I got home. I've never been on crutches in my life and was hoping for a wheelchair ride to the car, but they told me I had to hobble out on the crutches. Then I had to stand outside alone, while my husband went to get the car.

I also had experiences with grumpy and an inept office staff at my primary doctor after a long-term hospital stay. I didn't stay with that doctor long, even though I liked him, because of the hard time his staff gave me. They also lost all my medical records.

Hope your recovery goes well. I hate pain medicine too and only took a small amount of the medications given to me before and post surgery.