the new way

Recently, i requested a “shingles” vaccination while in an appt. with my PCP. My mom suffered with shingles and it was ugly. My PCP asked me if i had had chickenpox as a child, i said yes, and she said OK. Then she printed out a prescription for it, signed it, and sent me on my way.

I assume i am to present this to a pharmacist of my choice. A relative stranger who i’ve really only seen working hard in the depths of the cramped pharmacy trying to avoid eye contact with an actual client.

I knew pharmacists had started offering flu shots in recent years, but aren’t they OTC or do you need an Rx as well? Do little kids still get their childhood vaccinations at the dreaded doctor’s office or do parents just drag them along to Walgreens when they’re picking out birthday cards?

I thought about sticking my arm through the pickup window’s sliding tray when i picked up my last Rx, but i think i would have had trouble getting it back out. Medicine is going to hell in a hand basket. [one of my mother’s sayings]



6 responses to “the new way

  1. My son got his PhD in a department that’s associated with UNC School of Pharmacy, this year. I went to the commencement, where the keynote speaker, a professor of Pharmacy, was all about pharmacists diagnosing and treating disease! “Who knows drugs better than us?” It was only to save my son from embarrassment that I didn’t stand up and yell, “When you go to an accredited school of medicine, then do an accredited residency, you can diagnose and prescribe all you want!”

  2. LOL! The image of a drive through vaccination just about made me choke on my coffee! It’s going that way, isn’t it? Working in healthcare, although the emphasis is still firmly on the patient here in Canada (and mostly because of the actual clinicians and the fact that they are in medicine to help people, not just make the bucks or keep the hospital out of the papers) there is a great organizational interest in moving people through and out of those beds. We have so many to treat and limited funding and space so “discharge” has become a huge portion of the health care journey here. If we can operate on you and send you home same day, we will. Thankfully, medical science and technology has advanced enough so that this is possible (i.e. a total knee repair/replacement used to be a huge deal that left an ugly scar inches long and patients would take a long time convalescing) where now, it’s done by scope. Two little holes and an entire new knee. We’ve got em up and walking hours after they wake and, the second they’re stable they are out the door. Thankfully, again, we have community care so there’s someone going to their home to help them through the first bit until they can travel to physiotherapy but still….

    When I gave birth to Colt they would have had me packed up and in the car the moment the Ob snapped off the last of the stitches, had he been born healthy and I hadn’t had heart failure during labour. What a world.

    PS – glad you took that vaccine for shingles. I had it when I was in my 20’s (everything seems to happen to me as if I was born 80) and it was the most painful, trying time of my life. It lasted almost six months and doctors would back away from me when I tried to show them all the scabs and spots on my body. It was painful if anything touched me, including water…clothing…air. Not a fun one. Good on you for protecting yourself.

    • I understand that early discharge is preferable in many cases [less cost, reduced risk of infection] but i think they convince themselves and eventually us that it is better to be home, but sometimes we forget that people need some R and R and not push themselves to be brave and self-sufficient right off the bat. It would be so much better if in-home aftercare was always just part of the experience. My mom’s shingles got into her left eye and threatened to blind her, just adding to the misery. Great incentive for vaccination.

      • Indeed! I got away pretty clean with shingles in the end but I was so young I imagine immunity and general overall health helped.

        I hope you weren’t thinking I was on the side of early discharge. I think the idea that it’s “better for patients to heal at home” is the tag line they use to justify the action. It’s a hard call but with all the long term care centres crammed full along with the hospitals being over capacity things start to become limited. That said, early discharge isn’t the best answer in my opinion….but I don’t have any other idea on what could help. People take advantage of our “free” healthcare to the extreme and it wastes so much time and money….I was working in emerg for a while at one point and had people coming in to triage because they chipped a tooth or “think they might have sprained a toe”. (And then complain about the 10 hour wait to see someone as people are being run through without vital signs after car wrecks and heart attacks). If we could just find a way to make every use the system fairly, it might work better but if you can get brain surgery for free as easily and quickly as you can have someone take a look at your throat and declare you have the flu, things tend to go a bit haywire. Can’t refuse treatment but the dollars just go by and no one noticed until the floors are overloaded. It’s a system that will, eventually, fail, but chucking people out the door to make more room isn’t the answer. We do have a great community care program here where patients are seen in the home daily by registered nurses and other clinicians so there is some good there. No one is left to fend entirely for themselves and thankfully there are the background trades like occupational therapy and physio that have the primary goal of making sure the patient will be safe if sent home. It just feels like throwing more money we don’t have at the problem …. but at least the people who pay for this care in their taxes are (usually) not left to manage alone.

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