Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Job Satisfaction

It’s Debby because it’s Wednesday. I love following Rick. His posts are always thought-provoking, and this one had me laughing out loud. I can relate!

Though I should have been sitting in front of my computer, I play in a tennis league and was happily cavorting (okay, shuffling) around a court on Saturday when I got a phone call from my older son, a college senior. He had a detached retina and needed surgery. As in get on the soonest flight you can, Mom. Since we live in Honolulu and he’s in college in Boston, this meant jumping through some hoops.

Continental Airlines was very helpful by giving me a special rate, whew, and I got on a flight that night. He had his surgery, which is done on an outpatient basis, on Monday and is doing fine, except that he has to remain face down for at least 10 days. But I feel like I’ve been in a time warp. If it hadn’t been Veteran’s Day, with roads blocked off by police horses and bands (nice, actually), I wouldn’t have known it was Wednesday.

Some of you may already be familiar with retina surgery. Certain retinal detachments are repaired by injecting a gas bubble to press the delicate retinal membrane back where it should be so that it can reattach. I think that’s a reasonable explanation without making you either gag or go cross-eyed with boredom. This air bubble has to stay on the BACK of his eye, hence face-down. This is pretty tough on the patient’s neck and back. In fact, he says his back hurts more than the eye—and he’s twenty-one. I don’t know what people my age do. Morphine drip?

The part about Rick’s blog that had me laughing out loud in particular was the part about walking down the street and making a spontaneous 180 degree turn. People here in Boston probably think I’m certifiable, as in Looney Tunes. I gave up checking my watch or acting like I had a phone call. I nearly took out a couple of dodderers more than once, and it was mostly due to one pharmacist.

The first pharmacy I went to didn’t have the eye-dilating painkiller (scopolamine, in case some of you are wondering; he was already taking Percocet) we needed, as in right now. Neither did the next one. The third one did. I walked to the counter, still on the phone with the aid at the doctor’s office, who was trying to steer (and calm) me.

“May I help you?” the pharmacist asks loudly, interrupting me mid-question.
“I’m talking to the doctor’s office.” I feel the need to explain. “Did you get the fax she sent over for the prescription?”
“No.” Pharmacist presses her lips into a thin line, then asks, “Patient’s name?”
I tell her.
“Birth date?”
I tell her, while the doctor’s aid waits patiently on the line.
“Don’t have it.” Pharmacist turns her back on me and walks away.
“Wait, will you talk to the doctor?” I hold out my phone.
“No.” Continues behind the counter, then has second thoughts. “They have to call us. It’s against HIPAA regulations.”
“What’s your phone number?”
She throws a business card down in front of me and simultaneously recites a number that is different from the one on the card. Fortunately, the aid at the doctor’s office hears the number and two seconds later, I hear the pharmacy phone ring. Twenty minutes later. (for prepackaged eye drops), I have my son’s prescription.

I wanted to leap over the counter. What is it with some pharmacists? Not all, grant you, but I’ve seen this attitude before. Most of them have good educations—to count pills, I guess. Job satisfaction must be low.

Meanwhile, my son has his eye drops and I thank my lucky stars—again—that I write crime fiction. That pharmacist probably earns more than I do, but I have so much more fun. I’m going to work on this scene, just wait. In my story, someone’s going to choke her.


Donis Casey said...

Good luck and my best to your son and you, and the whole family, Debby.

Rick Blechta said...

What a bad few days. Glad I could make you laugh.

One thing: I didn't realize my email would be so bloody long. Sorry to be such a space hog this week.

I have an idea: tell me which of those you REALLY liked and I'll remove the others. We can call this game "One-Liner Knockout". You heard it first here at Type M!

Vicki Delany said...

Poor boy. My mom had a the same condition last year. A minor operation but then two weeks of not looking up. She rented some devices to help such as a mirror to watch TV in and a special chair so she could read face down.

NL Gassert said...

I hope you're doing well, Debby. You're in my thoughts.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. My son is recovering
nicely now, but the incident scared the, uh, starch outta me. I feel blessed with the wishes of good will and the excellent care he is receiving.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. My son is recovering
nicely now, but the incident scared the, uh, starch outta me. I feel blessed with the wishes of good will and the excellent care he is receiving.