Last night I lived quite a coincidence (maybe, I should say it was a COINCIDENCE!)
As I was in line in Walgreens, to purchase a prespcription for Santiago, a lady in front of me struck me a someone who was going through a very rough time. Little did I know her situation was virtually identical to the one we experience with my dad two weeks ago, precisely.
Her husband, a 45-year old man (one of the differences) had just been discharged from the Hospital, with an advanced liver cancer, that was doing away with his life aggresively. His renal functions were no longer there and his blood pressure was 60/40 or something like that. His situation reminded me a lot to my dad’s, except for his younger age and the fact that -according to her- he was an alcoholic. “He had everything! EVERYTHING”, she said.
He was taken home, to be assisted in his passing by the Hospice. The exact same people who helped my dad in the little time he spent at home, and who have continued to help us and comfort us after his passing.
Her reason for being in front of the drop-off window was unfortunate. Instead of being able to be at the side of her dying husband, the “SYSTEM” forced someone from the patient’s family (not many options here, since her children were too young and her mother-in-law didn’t know the area well) to go to the nearest pharmacy to take care of the prescriptions (those for pain control and comfort, none for attempting any heroic measures, according to what’s stipulated in the DNR agreement), after which the Hospice would take over and be on top of any later refills.
The woman was freaking out, with reason, because she had the prescriptions refilled at another location, which was already closed by the time her husband was discharged (not a 24-hour location) and therefore, she had to come to this one (now you know more about the actual pharmacy) since it was open 24 hours. However the issue was that the pharmacist wouldn’t provide her with the prescriptions, given that they were narcotics to kill pain in terminal patients, unless they should in the piece of paper some number that the prescribing physician forgot to include.
Without these medicines, the man would be in A LOT OF PAIN. The technician pushed for them to be dispensed, but in front of the situation, an upset pharmacist could only think of one thing: “Do you want me to loose my license? Is that what you want?” I told him: “You probably should! You don’t seem human! Don’t you realize this woman is here, dealing with this stupid thing, while she needs to be by the side of her dying husband, while all you think of is your stupid license, instead of dispensing her the medicine she needs to give to him to ease his pain until he dies?”
I wish I could have done more for her. I am sadly sure that her husband may have not awaken to see the light of today or perhaps he may have, but he may not live for too long. I pray for her and her two children. I am sure they will be OK, but she felt so sad, so lonely… At least, I could give her some comfort. I was happy to offer my shoulder for her to cry on. It felt good to do that and to yell at the stupid pharmacist.
Somehow, I feel bad for him, because I am sure he’s slave of an even more stupid system who makes -as usual- all of us pay for some bastard who once abused it. But deep within, it just feels that the health system, just like in the case of the walk-in clinic we experienced on January 2nd with my dad, is messed up big time.