Our county pharmacy needed some heavenly help to serve the underprivileged…
Posted in , Feb 16, 2017
There were so many boxes of medication to sort through! Tablets and capsules of all shapes, sizes and colors, covered in plastic and foil, plus creams and ointments. One by one I pulled the “fast movers,” prescriptions we filled daily. A medication card with six bright blue capsules baffled me. Doxycycline? I hadn’t seen that antibiotic around here. At the time, there was a worldwide shortage and it had multiplied in price by nearly 100. Not the type of medication that gets donated to a county pharmacy like ours that serves the underprivileged.
Most of our clients were welfare recipients and others in the Tulsa area who had fallen on hard times. We relied on donated medication from over 50 nursing homes around Oklahoma, which we dispersed at no cost. The only thing we actually bought to sell were older medications, available in generic form, because that was all our customers could afford. A donation like Doxycycline? Rare indeed. Of course, it was just as rare that someone came here who needed it. I kept it in the back, but made a note of where I’d left it.
The day got busy. It seemed that as fast as I entered a medication into our new inventory, I had to bring it to the counter to fill a prescription.
At 4:30, near closing time, Johnny came into the pharmacy. Johnny was a regular who came to fill his prescription several times a month. He had recently become homeless. He wore an expression of fatigue and worry on his face.
“The doctor said I have pneumonia,” he said, handing me his scripts. I looked them over. His usual meds—and a request for 14 Doxycycline.
“These first two we have. This antibiotic—” I hesitated. Six capsules weren’t enough. Like any antibiotic, the full course of Doxycycline had to be taken as prescribed. Even if we had just one less than 14, it wouldn’t be safe to give it to him. “I’ll check in the back,” I said.
I went to the storeroom and shuffled through the case where I’d left the antibiotics. I pulled out the card. Sure enough—only six. Except there was something else in the box. Something I could have sworn wasn’t there earlier.
Another card of Doxycycline… with eight more capsules.