fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Medication Automation

I should have said no years ago when the person at the register kindly asked, “Would you like to sign up for auto-refill?” Smiling, I replied, “Sure!” and volunteered my information to be uploaded into their computer.

Back then, this seemed revolutionary. No more remembering to call every month before I was out of pills, no searching my medicine cabinet for the most recent prescription bottle to get the seven-digit number I needed to punch into the phone for a refill. Now I’d never run out of medication!

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Finding Words

I moved through my work with steady precision. One hundred and eighty-three scripts accomplished, one technician and I, alone on a Saturday. This, plus the order needed to be put away. And the phone kept ringing. And there was a steady stream of questions and counseling on how to use medications correctly.

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The Times They Are A-Changin’

In the tiny town where I grew up, we had two pharmacies. Both pharmacists knew you, your family, and what your general medical needs were. If your car wasn’t available—common in those one-car-per-family days—they would run your medicine out to your house at their first opportunity. In an emergency, they would open the pharmacy at night.

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A Life-Sustaining Oasis

The interns and even the pharmacists come and go, but all of them quickly learn to recognize me, since I spend a lot of time at the pharmacy. That is because my prescriptions are never ready to be refilled at the same time. However, I don’t mind what others may see as an inconvenience. It does not bother me to stand in a long line, waiting for my turn.

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May More Voices: At the Pharmacy

Dear Readers,

When I was a first-year medical student, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes–and soon found myself a frequent visitor at a mom-and-pop Bronx pharmacy just a block from the medical school.

Kind and efficient Mr. Tepper, the pharmacist, dispensed my insulin, my syringes and my glucose test strips. As I made the rude transition from excellent health to chronic illness, it softened the blow that the man handing me my lifesaving supplies knew my name, was aware of my sad tale and made sure that I didn’t run out of anything.

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