Good evening all! I know it's been a while, so here I am back at it again. I promise to be a little more faithful about blogging. I've been very busy with the move, new job, soccer, etc.
As you may remember, our family recently relocated to New Braunfels, Texas, a small city of about 40,000 people nestled between Austin and San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. Part of the reason we moved here was because we thought being in a metropolian area would mean we would be closer to better health care for Emma. In a sense that is true, but it's still quite a trip into San Antonio, and Emma's doctors are still in Dallas; although I suspect we'll end up moving her care either to SA or Houston. Houston is closer than Dallas, and we have family there that Amy and Emma can stay with when she has appointments.
Today's topic however, has more to do with a critical, but often underappreciated part of a diabetics healthcare team: his or her pharmacist. Diabetics spend a lot of time in doctors' offices, and the last thing we want is a chaotic pharmacy. We were VERY lucky and VERY spoiled when we lived in Lubbock. When we moved to our new house in Lubbock, I decided to pop into the CVS down the street because I just didn't like the feel of the Walgreens close to our house. Amy was hesitant because it didn't have a drive through; I thought that would be an advantage. What I noticed was that the pharmacists knew, and addressed, their customers by name. Soon we were hooked, and Tyson Cromeens, Mason West, and their crew (too many to remember) became like an extended family to us. They always...ALWAYS took care of us, and every other customer they had. As Emma was snaking her way through from one diagnosis to another, it was Tyson and Mason we turned to for advice. When Emma needed a new compounded medication, Tyson and Mason (well, Tyson anyway) readily agreed to compound the medication for her (even though, as I learned later, that isn't really what chain pharmacies "do.")
When I moved to New Braunfels, one of the first things I did was to scout out the pharmacies in town to see which pharmacy would be right for us. I didn't care about location, appearance, if it had a drive-through, etc. I cared about the people that worked there. Would they take a personal interest in us? Allow me a moment to recap what I have experienced in New Braunfels so far. In order.
1. First stop was, of course, CVS. I called in a refill at 8 am, and told them I would come by at about 6pm to pick it up. I dutifully arrived at 6pm, and the clerk looked at me with a look that said "Oh shit. I didn't think you'd actually WANT this!" She said it would be just a few more minutes because they were "busy, and a little behind." So being busy just happened to delay my prescription that I called in 10 hours earlier by 15 or 20 minutes? They must be slow-minded here and therefore think that because I live here that I must be as well. So I went across the street. A very busy street, had some dinner and browsed the movie selection at Hollywood video, and returned at about 7:30 for my insulin. It's ready, she says, and hands me insulin. One. Vial. Of. Insulin. When the script clearly calls for 8. I was not happy, which evidently showed because the pharmacist literally ran and hid. Clearly a pharmacy that cannot count vials of insulin cannot be trusted to fill our prescriptions. I told them to transfer the script to the Walgreens by my office. NOW.
2. Walgreens was then the next stop, and they were nice enough, but they were delayed by the fact that CVS hadn't cancelled the order and therefore my insurance denied the prescription. Yeah, I'm pretty much boiling by now. Sometime thereafter, we asked them to compound Emma's medication just like Tyson and Mason had routinely done (to call it compunding would be like calling pushing a Hot Wheel driving. It's really just mixing. I think I could do it with Emma's toy mixer.) They emphatically stated that they would not do it.
3. Next was Target. We actually like Target. It's not very busy, but it's across town, and I wonder if they would agree to do the compounding operation.
4. Back to CVS. Amy talked them into compounding, but with a lot of arm-twisting. Still the same indifferent service.
5. Today I dared to try HEB. Oh my sweet Lord. Typical grocery store pharmacy, I think. The pharmacists were safely hidden behind plexiglass safe from the huddled masses yearning to breathe free (or get an antibiotic for that sudden, unexplained rash many of them seemed to be suffering from). I waited in line for about 20 minutes to get Brenden's antibiotic (strep throat), and wondered why exactly I was there and promising myself I would NEVER, EVER return.
So I pondered writing a letter to each of the pharmacies' managers practically BEGGING one of them to stand out and actually want our business. I'm actually really hoping that Target will agree to do the compounding, but if they don't, that's probably where we'll end up anyway.
Long story short, we miss Tyson, Mason, and everyone at the CVS at 82nd and Indiana in Lubbock. If you have a good pharmacy, be grateful, and be sure that their company knows how much you appreciate them. Pharmacies aggressively market to diabetic customers, but few actually back it up.