The last time I went to the pharmacy, I had to wait 25 minutes to get my prescription filled. Why in the world does it take so long to put a few pills in a bottle?--B.S., Apopka, Florida
Answer: If all you waited was 25 minutes, you’re lucky. Pharmacists’ work like crazy, always on their feet and often without bathroom breaks. Forget food! The law doesn’t allow pharmacists a lunch break in many states. That said, your pharmacist is more devoted to you than you can imagine. Here’s a look inside your pharmacy.
Pharmacists need time to decipher that cat scratch on your prescription. Is it Prilosec or Prinivil? Does it matter? You bet your life! Calling your doctor to clarify drug names, takes time. The second line is an insurance company saying you have to pay full price because the doctor prescribed a drug that is not part of your insurance plan! The third line has a frantic mother calling to ask if her teen will be okay if he swallowed two doses of Concerta. The pharmacist can’t hear her well, because a customer is tapping his finger and groaning at the counter. Doesn’t he understand that the pharmacist has to double-check all the pills for accuracy? Doesn’t he understand that corporate just cut his tech hours again?
Then there’s Jimmy crying inconsolably with an earache, while his mom waits for the pharmacist to measure and mix the Amoxil. But Mrs. Jones needs to be helped right away because she’s in terrible pain. She’s patient because she realizes that the pharmacist might be on the phone with a doctor discussing an interaction that will save someone’s life. This is what he did for her last year. But Mrs. Jones is keenly aware of every minute… her oncologist gave her 6 months at best. The pharmacist is hurrying, though.
Oh God! The computer went down, the printer is jammed and the pharmacy ran out of Cialis! How will they break the news to Mr. Shmeckler whose planning a romantic weekend in Boca? The pharmacist tries to take care of everyone, including the woman ahead of you who used up her asthma inhaler, and is gasping in the waiting area. The pharmacist is scared she’s gonna die right there so he’s dispatched 911 for assistance. Hang on though! Your prescription will be ready very soon… just as soon as the pharmacist rings out a customer for Imodium and Xanax... .a combination he could use himself! Where’s the cashier? Out sick with a migraine!
It’s the recent fast food mentality, that contributes, and now some chains create the expectation in consumers by advertising 15 minute wait times. Paypal offers instant money, iTunes offers instant music, Kindles with their instant books, and Pay-Per-View offers movies on demand. But pharmacists need more time than “instant.” The pharmacist is the LAST person you want to hurry up because your life is at stake.