Set Me Up, Pharm Girl

'Like to sample an antidepressant, sir?...'

‘Like to sample an antidepressant, sir?…’

Like many others of a “certain age” it takes a certain combination of pharmaceuticals to keep me both alive and kvetching. But over the past year or so visits to the pharmacy have morphed into something not unlike popping into the neighborhood watering hole.

I swing through the door and before I can claim a spot in line the friendly pharmacist offers a big wave and a smile with the hearty and familiar greeting, “Hi Mr. Garsten! Have your prescriptions coming right up!”

It’s as if I sidled up to the bar like a regular and having my favorite cocktail served up without the need to order. What’s next? Tipping the pharmacist so she’ll set me up every once in awhile with a free round of painkillers and some fruit flavored Tums to chew on while swapping stories of recent indigestion or infections?

“Oh yeah, Mr. G. I know what cha mean. That stabbing pain in the gut’s a bitch. Another Rolaids? It’s on the house. Here..take the whole roll.”

I’m not complaining, although having her announce my name for all to hear must be at odds with those HIPA privacy laws. That’s all I need is one of the “pharm-flies” hanging around the drug store, following me home, begging for any spare painkillers or a suppository for, you know, later.

Being hard of hearing made Ursula every pharmacy customer's worst nightmare.

Being hard of hearing made Ursula every pharmacy customer’s worst nightmare.

So while I appreciate the instant recognition and not having to announce my name, I’d just as soon my personal drug dispenser either quietly place my stuff in a bag without letting the entire world know exactly what my maladies happen to be, or at least allow me to whisper my name out of earshot of “Hemorrhoid Harry” waiting behind me in line for his weekly tube of relief.

I think on my next trip I’ll bust into the drug store, and before the pharm girl can holler her familiar greeting that includes my name I’m gonna exclaim, “I’m cured!” If she replies, “that’s great, Mr. Garsten,” I’m going mail order…with a stern warning to the postman.

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