I had to call my drugs provider because something got screwed up my shipment. it turns out that everybody had a hand in it, including myself, but that's not the problem. At least it isn't any longer.
The problem is that I ended up talking to a supervisor named Lucy. A black supervisor named Lucy.
Can't be, right? I mean I thought the reason Blacks proliferate in health service areas is that they have names that sound like medicines?
Anyway, when I called, it was because I sent a three month prescription off to be filled because you get a significant discount over the neighborhood pharmacy. In this case, $25. instead of the $45. it would have been at Walgreen's.
Except I only got a month's worth in the mail.
So little naive me thought I could call and get it straightened out, but it turns out that Doc didn't write the prescription right, so instead of getting three months worth in my mailbox, I got one with the joy of refills that take about two weeks to receive.
So after having spoken to black Deborah (as if) and not getting any satisfaction, I was transferred to Super Lucy. I wanted Lucy to tell me how to get my two additional months because Deborah had indicated either an inability or an unwillingness to help..
At least that's the feeling I got when she said, "There's nothing I can do, sir, talk to your doctor to get the prescription reissued.
Lucy wouldn't help either despite my telling her that, had I taken this to the drugstore and been presented with only one month, I would have refused it. I said I didn't have that option by mail. I got the month's worth, I can't return it, and I want two more months.
No can do, Lucy told me, and when I protested further, Lucy said, "I'm trying to educate you so you can avoid this in the future."
If that doesn't raise the hairs on your neck, try picturing it being said with attitude.
There were other things too like: "Didn't you look at your prescription, Sir?"
"I had," I explained, "And it said 'two refills.' That made it three months, and I expected them all at once, because that's the mail away way. Why would anyone send you a request for a month's supply when they could get it in an hour at the pharmacy?"
They do, I was told. These must be the invalids and idiots.
Now I know very well the techniques for getting what you want – and deserve. But when the entity you're dealing with is a monopoly, no techniques matter much since you're completely at their mercy.
"And "monopoly" and "mercy" may have the same beginning and ending, but they share nothing in between.
In Lucy's case, she was very benevolent by monopoly standards, and I learned something at the same time. After restating my case in a number of different ways, all of which ended with, "I want more pills," Lucy finally caved: she offered to refund ten dollars "to make it the same as I'd pay at the pharmacy."
"You mean I was expecting three months, you charged me for three months, but you only sent one?"
"It's because of the way your doctor wrote the prescription, sir."
"So you're telling me that if I hadn't called and spent all this time trying to get you to do what I'd expected to be routine, I would not only have had to live with the one month, but overpay for it as well?"
"Sir, I'm offering you the ten dollars as a courtesy, do you want it or not?"
The implication seemed to be that I would be pressing my luck if I said anything more,
If this were an isolated incident, I wouldn't be so bothered by "Lucy." I would have just noted the similarity to the Leaky find and moved on.
But a few months ago, I made a appointment with a foot doctor. Now to my knowledge, nobody has a regular foot doctor.. At least I sure didn't. So I looked at my provider's recommendations and called Dr. Gustave. I told the receptionist that I was having a problem with my foot, described it, and she set me up for the following afternoon.
That day I drove out of my way to get there only to be told by a lovely Latinolady that Dr. Gustave was no longer at that office.
"Dr.Worman is our podiatrist."
"But I have an appointment with Dr, Gustave that I made only yesterday. Did he leave one step ahead of the law or something?"
"No sir, I think there's a mistake. We have a Dr, Gustave."
Except that Dr, Gustave didn't treat feet.
And Dr. Worman was there on Tuesdays and Thursdays - this was Wednesday.
It was at this point that their version of Lucy got involved… make that "injected herself"…
"It was a simple mistake, sir."
They use "sir" not as a term of respect, but as an attempt to dominate – as an exclamation point."
She continued, "There's no harm done, we can make an appointment for tomorrow."
She apparently overlooked the obvious – that I was there NOW!
"This was not a simple mistake, and there is harm done. I had to rush to get here, detour from my normal route, and now I have to take more time and go out of my way again tomorrow."
"You probably weren't clear…"
"I was VERY clear. I described the problem…"
Does that sound like resignation, understanding, or concern for the patient?
If it does, let me describe the action that accompanied it.
It was the back and forth head movement peculiar to black women who use it to dismiss what you've just said without having to use words. And it was followed by her turning away and muttering something unintelligible as she sauntered away.
That left the lovely, if not as senior, Latino to ask, "Would you like to reschedule for tomorrow, sir?"
Funny how her "sir" sounded more considerate – and it wasn't just the accent.
Still, I couldn't bring myself to reschedule. That might have left "Lucy" smiling.
I called my healthcare provider and got a woman named Liz who expressed her dismay at my treatment at the hands of Lucy and connected me with another prescription supervisor. I told the fellow that I had been treated adversarially, and he apologized for my only getting one month's worth instead of three - then he offered to educate me as to how prescriptions needed to be written and submitted in the future
I also called Dr. Worman's office the next day to complain about their Lucy's unnecessary insinuation in the matter… and I got Lucy.
On the bright side, I did get a preview of what Government operated healthcare would be like.
And I so longed to be a member of SoJo's again – that there Social Justice group conglom. No justice, no prescription… er… peace, I always say.