It’s late October of this year. They told me to call on a Wednesday, two days before my wife’s prescription ran out. They weren’t sure they were going to have the medication in stock and wanted to have ample time to order it. “Hmm…it looks like we’ll need to get a re-authorization from the doctor first.” I’m annoyed, but okay, no big deal…this has happened before. I call back a day later. “So, is the script ready for pick-up?” “Actually…no. We’ve tried multiple times to reach the doctor, but haven’t received a response yet.” I start to feel queasy. The pharmacy tech sounds so polite and courteous. This situation is not her fault. Stay calm, don’t yell. I take a deep breath, thank her for her assistance, and tell her I’ll look into it.
I call my wife’s doctor and explain the situation. They confirm that they’ve received the re-authorization forms from the pharmacy, however, my wife’s doctor is out of the office until Monday. This shouldn’t be a problem. The pharmacy has filled scripts for a few days before. We just need enough to get through the weekend until the doctor gets back.
“Great! My wife or I will call back on Monday and we’ll get this squared away.”
“Oh…she won’t be back this Monday. She’s on vacation until the following Monday.”
I listen to her words, but don’t hear them. Everything is blurry, as if I was stuck without goggles underneath the surface of an over-chlorinated pool.
“Sir…are you still there?”
Her voice roused me from my nightmare-fueled stupor. Reality snaps swiftly back into focus. My voice started rising, not in an angry way, but more pleading:
“Listen, you need to get her on the phone and get this refill auth’ed. My wife can’t go without this script getting refilled, so you need to do whatever it takes to get this taken care of, okay? I know that it’s not your problem and I’m not mad or trying to push the blameonyoubutweneedtogetthistakencareoftodayokay?”
She says she understands and will try and reach the doctor, but I can’t tell if she truly intends to do what she says or is offering faux sincerity and empty promises just to get me off the phone.
Roughly a hour and a half later, I call up to the pharmacy to see if the script has been refilled. I talk to a new pharmacy tech. Her bright and chipper voice contrasts sharply against my bundle of nervous energy dissipating through the floor as I pace around the kitchen.
“Hi…uh…I wanted to check on the status of a refill…”
“Sure, I can help you with that! Let me take a look….yes, it looks like it’s been re-auth’ed and ready for pick-up. We’ll see you soon and have a great day!!”
I mumble a half-hearted “thank you,” hang up the phone, and collapse into the floral patterned chair in our living room. I let out a deep guttural sigh and begin to weep.
Almost a month ago, I find myself in my therapist Nate’s office recounting this story. I can’t finish it without sobbing uncontrollably. The kind of cry where you have trouble catching your breath and it leaves your face with a sticky sheen of warm saline and snot. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to have such a strong emotional reaction in sharing this story with Nate. However, in between gasps, I tell Nate how helpless I felt during those conversations with the pharmacy and the doctor’s office. How they both had something my wife desperately needed, and I was utterly powerless to get it. Nate gently reminded me that in this situation, no one was at fault, it just happened: I called on the day the pharmacy told me to call, they weren’t going to refill the prescription without the re-authorization, and it just happened to all coincide with the doctor being out on vacation for two weeks. Essentially, it was a perfect storm that no one could have forecasted.
I left Nate’s office feeling better than when I came in. We talked about needing to accept a degree of uncertainty in our lives. As someone who was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in my 20’s and is naturally high-strung, this is a concept that I’m still learning to grasp at times. I struggle emotionally and mentally when I can’t control the outcome of a given situation. I focus on negative outcomes and discount positive ones. There’s nothing more I’d like to do than assume the best-case scenarios, but always feel like I need to plan for and expect the worst. I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.
Here’s hoping Nate and I can ferret out the root cause of those feelings and can help change my outlook into one with more hope rather than “doom and gloom.”