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Pharmacy Freak Out

Recently I found myself frustrated and discouraged, leaving the pharmacy without my refill. A health insurance change required I use a new pharmacy, so things got a bit mixed up.

I have been spoiled by pleasant experiences with pharmacies. When I was first diagnosed with migraine, I didn’t have medication coverage with my limited insurance. The pharmacist was always helpful with trying different discount cards or letting me do a partial refill. When I was feeling my worst she was calm and patient with me. I am forever grateful to her. Eventually I moved and had to find a new pharmacy. The new place was a chain but had a mom and pop feel. I always felt taken care of and never had any issues.

So when I found out I had to change to a new place I was a little nervous. I liked being able to hand pick where I go. I had to wait to fill my preventive until new insurance paperwork went through. When it did, they said they could have my preventive filled the following day. I got a voice mail saying my medication was ready, which is good because I took my last pill the night before.

But when I got to the pharmacy I found out they had filled my abortive (which I hadn’t asked for) and not my preventive. Their reasoning? They had called the doctor and she hadn’t gotten back to them. This is when I started to freak out. It was after hours so of course the doctor wouldn’t be there. As I expressed my concern for needing the medication that night, I was met with blank stares and no empathy.

Back home I burst into tears as I recounted the story to my husband. I blurted out a deluge of unspoken feelings: “I hate having to take medication. I hate that I ever needed it. I don’t want to be dependent on it!I was surprised to hear myself. I have always expressed gratitude that I found a preventive that actually helps me, as I know many who are still searching.

But there is a part of me that wants nothing to do with medication. It was only out of desperation to feel better that I finally started taking anything for my migraines. It’s a way I felt about having to wear glasses when I was a girl. I would have these silly daydreams of some calamity occurring leaving me without my glasses, blurry-eyed and lost. Even sillier, I felt this way about having to wear a bra once I needed one (and believe me, I need one!).

I’d love to not need assistance from anything to function. But when I think about it, that’s kind of ridiculous, especially for small things like glasses or medication. What’s next—that I’ll be unhappy I depend on eating, or breathing? But I can’t help the feeling, as irrational as it may be.

Suffice it to say I got my medication the next day. But separate from that issue I realized how uncomfortable I am with the feeling that I depend on things like medications, doctors, and pharmacies to be well. And deeper than that is the fear of going back to being chronic, and not being able to function even with medications to help me.

Does anyone else feel this way?


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Erin
    4 years ago

    I live in a town of about 900 or so. Amazingly, we have a pharmacy owned by a husband and wife I’ve known for at least the last 13 years or so. They are wonderful. The can both also do compounding. They never treat me like some drug addict even though I have a prescription for a narcotic pain killer. I lived in a much bigger city for a time and dreaded any trips to a pharmacy. No one cared if you had to go without preventatives or pain medication. I’m so lucky. I wish everyone here had a pharmacy like mine. Good luck.

  • Sophie Tramel
    4 years ago

    I understand this so well. You already feel powerless over your health problems, and the Pharmacy makes it so much worse.and it’s ten times worse when you take a controlled med, you are afraid to lodge any legitimate complaint or you will be perceived as a “drug seeker”. None of us want to need these meds!

  • kaka
    4 years ago

    I have dealt with pharmacists who have decided to tell me they don’t carry my meds (on top of migraines I have breast cancer, a weird kind of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and more) as a way of deciding that my doctor is wrong and that I want to get high or something. (Have you ever gotten high while suffering through a serious migraine? Not me!! I don’t care what you give me.) I don’t even drink! I have made a life decision- quality of life is more important than clothes, entertainment, a new car, and other things I thought were important. I get my “questionable” prescriptions filled at the famous big box store and pay their discounted rate. Sometimes it is cheaper than the copay and sometimes it seems expensive, but I don’t have to count on the whims of insurance and I never get judgement. I see other folks like me, worse off with terminal cancer or something chronic, doing the same thing for the same reasons. Judgement can make everything worse. We all beat ourselves up enough when we have invisible illnesses like migraines, why deal with the debilitating emotional and physical effects of nasty or ignorant pharmacists?

  • mmjardel
    4 years ago

    Pharmacy melt down?! Boy can I relate to that. I live 2 hours from the nearest pharmacy. I can’t recall how many times I’ve gone to pick up Meds and they ” aren’t ready yet. You’ll have to come back tomorrow” or ” so sorry we ran out. We’re getting some tonight just come back in the morning” WHATTTTT!!! This is a four hour round trip just to get these Meds. I FINALLY found a wonderful family owned pharmacy that was wonderful. They knew all of my family members by name. They would even mail my scripts at no charge if I asked them. The. Obama care came in and guess what? My wonderful pharmacy wasn’t covered under my new policy. Back to fighting to get my scripts. I hate that I have to take this stuff just to get through a day let alone having to fight to get it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it all.

  • Charlotte Best
    4 years ago

    I hate being dependent on medication, but the alternative is so much worse. I didn’t realize how dependent I was until one day when we had a tornado scare and had to spend some time in the basement. I reached for my medication before I grabbed my grandkids’ pictures.

  • ktron
    4 years ago

    Ah yes, being treated as a drug seeker, when all you want is the prescription you have been legitimately given by a real doctor, for a very real ailment. I am very lucky to have a local pharmacy now with real people behind the counter who understand the dangers of going cold turkey on some of these meds we take. Save us all from clerks who seem to have received some corporate “don’t care” memo.

  • Maureen
    4 years ago

    Absolutely yes. even the bra part.
    Not having my preventative would strike fear into my heart and tears into my eyes (porobably at the pharmacy) and tears are a prodrome symptom for me, so cue more fear and get on the migraine merry-go-round where there is the golden ring is a hologram that looks so real but has substance only in some other reality.
    Lisa, you have my condolences on your sad pharmacy situation and my congratulations on holding it together in front of the zombie clerks.

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