- Monday 19 April, 9pm
Order prescription via the online EMIS system. Quetiapine (300mg) is due to run out by Wednesday, and even though I am seeing the psychiatrist on Wednesday, I don’t want to take chance that she will not modify the dose and that I will therefore be without the medication. Lose plot by even missing one dose. Also order Venlafaxine (anti-depressant), Cerazette (contraceptive) and Cetirizine (anti-histamine). These prescriptions are due to be delivered to my usual pharmacy by Wednesday afternoon at the latest.
- Wednesday 21 April, 11.10am
See psychiatrist. Agrees to temporarily increase dose of Quetiapine from 300mg to 400mg, and gives me a letter for GP asking him to issue a prescription for same. She also includes request for Zopiclone.
- Wednesday 21 April, Midday
Take medication letter to GP’s surgery. Ask receptionist to issue it to my normal pharmacy, the one discussed at (1) above. Receptionist says it would be better to issue it to pharmacy next door to surgery, as they have better communicative practices with them or something. Agree to collect it from there the following afternoon.
- Thursday 22 April, 4pm
Realise with horror how late I have left it to collect prescriptions from both pharmacies. Drive like a maniac the six-ish miles from my mother’s house to pharmacy beside doctor’s surgery. Bring mother with me.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.15pm
Arrive. Ask for script.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.20pm
Called to desk by 10 year old boy, who is apparently a qualified pharmacist. He must in reality be the same age as me, but I cannot accept how this can be the case. 10 Year Old Boy tells me he has no script for me, and asks what it was for. Tell 10 Year Old Boy in hushed tones that it’s anti-psychotic and sedative medication. 10 Year Old Boy, in similarly hushed tones, agrees to check again.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.22pm
10 Year Old Boy returns empty-handed. Begin to panic. Mother, who accompanied me, points out other script is at other pharmacy and this can cover me. Point out that dosage was increased for a reason. 10 Year Old Boy says he will ring GP…then remembers that GP’s surgery is ‘closed’ – at least to the outside. Thursday afternoon is their admin time.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.23pm
Panic. Have to sit down on pharmacy chairs ordinarily devoted to accommodating the old and infirm. 10 Year Old Boy looks confused and bemused. Agrees to ring GP’s surgery on emergency line.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.26pm
10 Year Old boy returns, having spoken to surgery. Surgery claim prescription was sent to pharmacy detailed in (1). Ask 10 Year Old Boy how this can be. 10 Year Old Boy says that surgery claim prescription was ordered through EMIS on Monday 19 April.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.27pm
Resist overwhelming urge to bang head off counter. Tell 10 Year Old Boy the prescription mentioned in (9) is a different fucking script. 10 Year Old Boy looks more bemused than ever and clearly has no idea what he can do. Eventually suggests I contact surgery on emergency line.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.27pm and 30 seconds
Have a shit attack at the mere thought of speaking to surgery on the phone. Mother agrees to call them on my behalf.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.32pm
Mother phones surgery after wasting several minutes trying to work out the idiosyncrasies of iPhone. Surgery agree to write up script detailed at (2) and (3) then and there, and advise mother just to walk in to collect it in about 10 minutes.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.45pm
Head to surgery to collect script after dithering briefly in shop. Cannot face entering surgery and speaking to people, so use mother yet again. Advise mother to make sure Quetipaine 400mg is now on a repeat prescription, as the surgery have failed to note consultant’s repeats in the past.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.48pm
Mother emerges triumphant. Claims that receptionist has told her that both scripts – ie. Quetiapine and Zopiclone – are now on repeat. RESULT! Quite clearly the psychiatrist did not intend for the Zopiclone script to be a repeat, but I am certainly not going to protest.
- Thursday 22 April, 4.51pm
Return to pharmacy next door to surgery and hand them newly written prescription. Mother looks around shop, buys a few things, then signals to me for us to leave, our quest completed. Onward we head to pharmacy detailed at (1) for the other prescription.
- Thursday 22 April, 5.00pm
As mother drives home, I check bag from beside-surgery-pharmacy. Quetiapine and Zopiclone are not in it. Protest angrily to mother. Mother says to wait until we get to (1) pharmacy so as we can check under car seats, as tablet boxes must have fallen out of bag.
- Thursday 22 April, 5.05pm
Arrive at (1) pharmacy. Check mother’s handbag, under car seats and boot. Quetiapine and Zopiclone are not there. Resist urge to bang head off dashboard. Mother agrees to collect script (1), then return home and ring beside-surgery-pharmacy to see if prescription was left there.
- Thursday 22 April, 5.15pm
As I am beginning to panic at the inordinately long amount of time mother is in pharmacy, she finally emerges and returns to the car. Reports that, after an altercation with the presiding Fat Pharmacist, she has Venlafaxine, Cetirizine and Cerazette – but not original (ie. 300mg) Quetiapine prescription. Pharmacy will not have it until Friday 23 April at 1pm, despite having received the request on Tuesday 20 April. Resist urge to walk in front of a lorry and/or bang my head off concrete bollards.
- Thursday 22 April, 5.20pm
Arrive home. Mother immediately phones beside-surgery-pharmacy to see if script of (2) and (3) remains there. 10 Year Old Boy answers, but is not immediately aware of whether or not prescription is in his shop. Asks my mother to hold the line whist he checks.
- Thursday 22 April, 5.22pm
10 Year Old Boy returns to telephone and reports that Quetiapine/Zopiclone prescription for Pandora is indeed still in his shop’s possession. Mother breathes audible sigh of relief and asks 10 Year Old Boy if she has time to come and get it. 10 Year Old Boy confirms that pharmacy closes at 6pm, so time does indeed remain. Mother thanks him, rings off, and heads back to beside-surgery-pharmacy to collect script.
- Thursday 22 April, 5.25pm
In mother’s absence, I once again log on to EMIS to check list of repeat prescriptions. Zopiclone is indeed included (as is 400mg dose of Quetiapine). Score
- Thursday 22 April, 5.59pm
Mother returns (again), this time victorious. Zopiclone and Quetiapine 400mg are now in my possession! Apparently when she purchased other goods, she just left, thinking she had all she needed. Sales Assistant was calling out my name for ages, subsequently finding herself especially confused given our earlier determination to obtain script. Anyway, I am pleased to note that two months’ supply of Quetiapine has been issued.
- Friday 23 April, 3pm
I am back at A’s house, but in my absence, mother returns to collect remaining prescription from (1) (ie. the missing 300mg of Quetiapine, that I now intend to use as a back-up, or for when the dose is again reduced). Fat Pharmacist informs mother that he still does not have it. Mother phones me to advise of this. We both resist urge to bang head off of steel fences, hard plastic doors, benches and cooker.
Lessons to Be Learned
- If you want something done, do it yourself. Do not ask mother because you are anxious/mental/stupid/an idiot/whatever.
- Do not trust doctors, their administrators, nor pharmacists. You are better off killing yourself than relying on them to issue treatments to keep you alive.
- When seeking prescriptions on the NHS, make sure you have a stress ball to hand.
That is all.