Saturday, August 05, 2006

Losing My Prescriptions

If REM were to sing about my Saturday afternoon, it would go like this:

That’s me at the corner,
that’s me at the stoplight,
I’m leaving my prescriptions,
trying to keep up with bags
and I don’t know if I can do it,
oh, no, I’ve paid too much,
I haven’t bags enough,
I thought they were in my backseat,
I thought they were in my trunk,
I think I’m not too old to cry...

Here’s what happened: The last stop on my list of errands today was the Kmart pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. While I was in Kmart, I decided to shop for some other things and ended up walking toward my car with a cart containing a number of plastic shopping bags and other large items.

When I’d parked, I'd pulled through one parking space and into another so I wouldn't have to back out. Another car had immediately pulled into the space behind me. That would have been fine if I'd stopped after buying the prescriptions, but now I needed my trunk, which was no longer accessible. Not only that, but the cars that had parked next to me while I was in the store were so close I couldn’t squeeze the shopping cart through to reach my trunk from either side. I briefly considered putting everything in the backseat, but I'd have had to make a dozen trips, closing the car door after each one because of the narrow passage.

There was nothing to do but get in my car and pull it forward, even though that meant blocking one lane of traffic for a couple of minutes. I tossed stuff into the trunk as fast as I could, gave the (seemingly) empty cart a little push toward a group of others nearby, jumped back in the driver’s seat, and headed for home.

Fifteen minutes later, as I pulled into my driveway, it crossed my mind that I didn’t remember putting the bag of prescriptions into the car. I don’t normally put them in the trunk because of the heat, but I didn’t remember putting them anywhere in the car. The last time I’d seen that little bag, it was nestled in the kiddy-seat part of the shopping cart, right behind the big, solid-plastic flap that covers up the leg holes –- the only piece on the whole cart you can’t see through.

I took all the bags into the house, checked inside each one, then went back out to check the car again. I was mentally kicking myself all over the place. If I’d left the bag of prescriptions in the cart, I thought, they’d be long gone. No doubt some young punks trolling the parking lot would have found them and would be on their way to peddle them, pill by pill, to kids who wanted to get high. Kids who wouldn’t know the pills were for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I'm one of the 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, and those five prescriptions cost me $414. Trying to find a bright side to the situation, I reminded myself that there are a lot of people in worse shape than I am. I do have some savings. I could come up with the extra money if I had to. I’d call Kmart, and if nobody had turned the prescriptions in, I’d just ask the pharmacy to refill them and I’d suck up the loss. That’s a high price to pay for stupidity, money I certainly can’t afford to lose, but I'm old enough to know that some of life’s lessons are learned the hard way.

That train of thought was followed by another, more alarming one: it wasn't going to be that easy. All those medications were on the last refill. I’d called in for updated prescriptions a couple of times already. This time I'd have to go back to the doctor before I could get new ones. Well, I thought, maybe the pharmacist could call the doctor and get her to approve just one more refill of each medication. Surely they’d all understand the situation. But at nearly 5:00 p.m. on a Saturday, how much would they care?

I fumbled through the phone book. By the time I found Kmart’s number, I was in a state of high anxiety. In the high-pitched, whiny voice that I detest but can’t seem to control, I told the girl who answered the phone that I’d left there less than 30 minutes ago and had left a bag of prescriptions in the parking lot. She asked for my name. I gave it to her, and she said, “I have your prescriptions at the service desk.” That’s when I burst into tears. Thank God for good Samaritans!

I’d worry that this might have been a “senior moment” if I hadn’t done things like this occasionally throughout my life. I’ve left half a dozen umbrellas in restaurants over the course of the past 20 years. Usually, I’ve been lucky (knocking on wood here) and the more important items I’ve left behind have been found.

My self-confidence took a hit today, but there's no question in my mind that I got off easy. What will I remember most about this incident? No question about that, either; I'll remember the kindness of strangers.


  1. exactly...remember the kindness of strangers because that kindness always comes from the heart and is never forced and out of obligation.

    One time I found some serious cash and returned it and was rewarded for it. Another time I found a very expensive jacket and returned it to the owner. I then lost my dogs service jacket a few days later. I got it back. The cab driver turned around and drove all the way back to my house to drop off the jacket. Kindness is always returned. Remember to pass the kindness forward.

    sighing in relief with you,

  2. You might live on the happiness high that these found and returned prescriptions gave you. Thanks be to kind people - we usually only hear about the people who do harmful things. I'm happy to have your story to put in the mix.

  3. i am so GLAD you got your med. med are so high so like you said you would have to go to the doctor. ever time i go to wal-mart i have a senior moment. i get my stuff in the car then i get home and unload everthing on the poarch , then i mover everything in side the door closing the door to save heat or air condition depending on wheather it's winter or summer. then move everything on to the kitchen table unpack all persables, buy that time i am excausted. I go set down and when i finally get everthing unpacked i think where is so and so i bought. not in the kitchen, look in front room, look in car getting more disgusted with my self all the time. usally i find it in the bag containing the pershibales that i just threw into the frig first!oh well life is a trip.

  4. Oh Velvet what an anxious time, I'm so glad someone had a kind heart. As already said it is stories like this that restores our faith in people. I just hope the anxiety did not increase your blood pressure problems. We all have moments like this, I'm so pleased yours had a happy ending.
    oh btw "Myassa's dragon"??? You have to tell. :)

  5. Thanks for the empathy, Austin. It was a scary moment that ended in the best possible way.

    Annie, in my heart of hearts, I believe there are more good people than bad ones. Sure am glad the good ones were around when i needed them.

    Patsy, I'm glad you could identify. Grocery shopping is a much bigger deal than it used to be, isn't it?

    Sandy, I like happy endings, too. I'll bet this experience did raise my blood pressure, but I didn't have time to even think about that until much later. And thanks for allowing me the privilege of answering your dragon question; I'm sure you could have done it yourself.

  6. You were really lucky there! Nice to know there are still honest people out there!

  7. I've left my wallet twice, in different stores, and both times I've gotten it back untouched. The first time was MJ Designs and I didn't discover the loss until the next day. About five minutes after nearly collapsing with anxiety I got a phone call from MJ Designs telling me they had my wallet and apologizing for looking into it to find my name and phone number. The second time was at the Bath and Body Shop, the cashier came running out to my car with my wallet. I keep everything important in there, my credit cards, drivers license and house key and of course money. I've been so lucky that it's been returned. I'm happy that you got your prescription back. Even if you had insurance they wouldn't refill those prescriptions for 30 days because the computer would have already had them in the received records. You are lucky, lucky, lucky!

  8. Janet, don't I know how lucky I was! Kind of restores your faith in human nature, doesn't it?

    ThoughtsRS: Sounds like there's a lot of that good luck and kindness going around. I've left my purse behind once at a food court (it was turned in), and one time years ago, about 150 miles after we left a service station, I thought I must have left my wallet in the restroom. We drove all the way back and it wasn't there. The next day I found it in my box of hair rollers (???), so it never was in my purse in the first place.

  9. Thank goodness! Gosh what a horrible feeling you must have had! I did something similar recently, I left my purse in a dressing room. My phone, etc etc life! I was in a panic! I have never done that before and I won't ever do it again.....and I too....will always remember the kindness of strangers!

  10. Better than Bad Day on repeat...


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