I have a minute tolerance for stress. Even the tiniest negative experience can render me dysfunctional for a period of time. Two very minor things happened today, and it wasn’t until they were resolved that I felt like myself again.
I see the doctor every three months. Today was my appointment. Since he comes to the office at 1 pm on Fridays, my appointment was for 1:30 pm. I ended up waiting until about 2 pm, but that wasn’t the problem. Some woman sat down not far from me and struck up a totally unwanted conversation. I don’t know why I felt an instant aversion to her, and even feel a bit guilty that I did, because she was in the office for her bipolar medication injection, which means that she is a fellow major mental patient and I should have been understanding and forbearing. But her chatter was incessant and unutterably banal, and that grated on me. Then she started asking me to give her cigarettes and money. Allegedly, she had no money for food. I gave her what I could spare, which with me is never much, especially at the start of my last week before check day. And then she asked me whether I wanted to go for a coffee after my appointment. I politely declined, so she began to have the identical same conversation with a blind lady sitting nearby. Around that time I was called into my appointment and blessedly free of the whole scene, but it stressed me out.
When I see my doctor, I get prescriptions for three months. I had been using a major chain pharmacy close to where I live, but the pharmacy staff had begun behaving in ways that made me suspicious and uncomfortable, so I had decided to change pharmacies once I got the new prescription. There happens to be a pharmacy in the same building as my doctor’s office, right across the hallway. After my appointment, I took my prescription there and was told it would take about fifteen minutes to fill. I decided to step outside for some air.
What do I find outside if not the same lady from the waiting room, acting like she’d never met me before and having the same conversation, again asking for cigarettes and money and a coffee date after I’d filled my prescription. I barely endured the experience before I dashed back into the pharmacy.
Then the pharmacist told me she hadn’t been able to fill my prescription in my absence because I had never been there before and she needed to see some ID in order to process the prescription. I gave her my Ontario Non-Driver ID, which is an official government card that serves the same identification purposes as a driver’s licence for people who don’t drive, and the pharmacist didn’t know what it was. I explained, so she asked for more ID, and then spent about 25 minutes typing everything into her computer. Now, I also get a drug card from Disabiity every month that allows me to get medication that is in the formulary at no expense to me. This pharmacist told me my card was being rejected by the system. In the end I had no choice but to take back my various ID cards, my drug card and my prescription and head home.
I spent the entire next two hours being a complete wreck. It’s a wonder I didn’t walk into an intersection on a red light. So I got into the apartment and lay down and closed my eyes and tried to stop being paranoid about Disability having pulled some crap that I’d have to straighten out. Eventually, I was able to find the meagre inner strength to go to a local pharmacy different from the one I’d used in the past.
It took literally about 10 minutes for the pharmacy staff at this new pharmacy to enter my information into their computer and dispense my medication and send me on my way. There were no problems whatsoever with my drug card being rejected. They even did something that my old local pharmacy always refused to do, which was to dispense and entire three months’ worth of medication. My old local pharmacy had told me that Disability refuses to pay for more than one month at a time, but the pharmacist at this new pharmacy says they do pay up to three months. So I stopped being paranoid about my benefits being screwed up by the comatose pencil-pushers who work in the Disability office and again felt totally fine.
Oh, and that lady? When I had left the other pharmacy totally beside myself with distress, I hadn’t noticed her outside the doors. I have no idea where she had gone, and I hope I never find out.