What To Do When You Are On Vacation And Have Forgotten An Important Medication

This is not the first time that this has happened, but I sure do hope it will be the last.  I left for a weekend in Maine without Edward’s medicine.  My wife gave me a list, and I checked it twice.  I packed everything on that list, triple checking the medications for the children.  And then Edward decided to throw a fit about something involving his suitcase, and he didn’t want to pack his toothbrush, and he was taking things out of his bag, so I took the medicine out, to protect it, and set it down next to his bag on the table.  This would prevent him from throwing it somewhere, and ensure that I would remember to put it back in.  I did not remember to put it back in.  In my mind it was already packed and checked off of my mental list.  I did not remember to put it back in.  Stupid.  Idiot.  The worst father ever.

But wait!  There is hope!  This is not the first time this has happened!  I know now that if you ever forget medication while travelling, you can go to any pharmacy and get an emergency supply.  They will often just give you the medicine and subtract it from your next refill!  Now, there are some restrictions.  They need your prescription info.  So the easiest thing to do would be to find the local branch of your pharmacy, since they will already have your information on file.  No muss, no fuss, no hoops, no jumps, just medicine.  Otherwise you need to call your local pharmacy back home and have them call it in to the nearest place to where you are.

I called the nearest branch, 20 minutes away, and the woman on the phone confirmed that yes, they had our information, and yes, they had the medication, and yes, I could drive over right then and pick it up.  Since we had discovered my failure only at bedtime the night before, it was now morning and one dose had already been missed.  We were pushing two doses missed.  So, despite his protests, we bundled up the boy and stuffed him into my Dad’s car, while Ruby stayed behind to play with Grammy.  I felt terrible,  but at least we were going to get the pills we needed.

When I got to the pharmacy, the sole employee of the day was on a phone call, so I waited patiently behind the counter.  And then I waited some more.  A man came and stood behind me.  Then a family came and stood behind him.  Ten minutes passed.  A long line was forming.  The phone call continued.  I started to freak out.  He needed his medicine!  Get off the phone!  Seriously!  She smiled apologetically at me and continued to speak on the phone while typing things into her computer.  At the fifteen minute mark I was more than annoyed.

Finally!  Off the phone and apologizing for the wait, she walked over and asked how she could help me.  I no longer cared about being upset about the wait; I just wanted the medicine, and quickly.  That was when she informed me that she had been mistaken over the phone earlier.  They did not, in fact, have the medication in stock.  I mean, they had it, but not in the right exact dose.  But could we just take twice as many, or half as many?  Wasn’t there some close approximation that could get my son the dose he needed?  Nope.  That’s not how it works.  They need to give out only exactly what the prescription says.  No substitutions.  At all.  But do not despair!  She had called around and found another pharmacy, only 10-15 minutes further away in the wrong direction, that did have it.  So we could just go there.

Back into the car, my self-loathing only increasing, we sped off to what my father called “the bad part of town,” to find the Walgreens that had the medicine.  As we parked the car, I saw an older man slowly walking in the front door.  There was no doubt in my mind that he was headed for the pharmacy, and that he was going to be in front of me in line, and that he was going to take forever.  I dashed forward, sprinting through the automatic doors, scanning the store for him.  There he was, puttering down an adjacent aisle, headed straight for the pharmacist.  I took a parallel course down the aisle next to his and bolted for that counter, reaching it just ahead of him.  Ha HA!  Take that, older gentleman that probably needs something and was technically almost here first!  Yeah, there is nothing about this whole story that I am proud of.

So finally, the man behind the counter has the medication.  Oh, but our insurance is no good here.  Because it is not our normal pharmacy, they can’t just take it out of the next refill.  They are going to charge me, $31 for one day’s worth of medicine.  A costly mistake.  I know that in the grand scheme of things $31 is not the universe, but the week after Christmas, with a bank account threatening to implode, this was enough to make me want to burst into tears at the counter.  But I did not cry.  I paid the man and took the medicine to my son, who happily swallowed it down with some special beverage that he was rewarded with.  Edward was fine.  There were no complications.  We finished the rest of the visit in peace.

I wish I could say, thanks to the turmoil of these events, that this will be the last time I ever forget an important medication on a trip.  I wish my brain worked in such a way as to actually learn and improve from such things.  But I fear it is not true.  And I know I can chalk it up to the mysteries of ADHD, but somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better, or any less guilty.  The only consolation that I have, comes from knowing that, if I screw up, there is help available.  And no matter how much red tape I have to cut through, there are pharmacies on practically every corner, and there is medicine to be had.

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Posted in ADHD, Bad Parenting, Edward, Medicine, Parenting, Ruby, Travel.

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