I am finally back home – bet this week is going to go by even faster than usual….
I have always praised the discharge process at OHSU…until now…
My gut had bad feelings about discharging on a Saturday…even more about it being a holiday weekend…
Saturday started out with my lab (that we had to get results on before I could leave-which is sent out of OHSU) being draw around 5:00am. The nurse was efficient and had wanted to draw it a little early. We did not get the results of the lab until around 10:20am – AFTER – me having the nurse call the lab X 2 to inquire as to why taking so long. In fact, on my second request, I asked for the lab’s phone number so I could just call them myself. When we did get results, I was below the required level and could discharge.
I have an important medication that I take home from the hospital and usually take it for 2-5 days at home. OHSU has always filled this medication as they have told me that our outpatient pharmacies do not typically carry this medication. I have been told by the doctor and pharmacist how important the medication is. This medication helps to clear the chemotherapy drug from my body, so it does not “kill” other cells and thus hurt other organs in my body. I have been told that not taking the medication could kill me. The usual procedure is that, on my day of discharge, the pharmacist brings the medication to my room and gives me a little pep talk on how important it is to take the medication. The hospital procedure, for bringing the medication to my room, does not take place with Saturday or Sunday discharges. Knowing this and having concerns as I have not went to the OHSU pharmacy to pick up medications, I called the pharmacy, on Friday, to confirm the procedure and to confirm time the pharmacy would be open on Saturday. The pharmacy told me that the pharmacist for the oncology unit would be told my concerns and the pharmacist would follow up with me. I did not hear from the pharmacist. Because I had been so ill during this hospital stay, the additional plan was that the pharmacy would send home 2 anti-nausea pills in case I needed to take them on the way home (as I have a prescription at home and don’t need them once home).
Saturday discharge I went to the pharmacy and got my bag of medications. It became around noon, time to take the important medication, so I took it. I had noticed that there was only one bottle of pills in the bag and that the bottle had quite a few pills in it. Figured the order had gotten forgotten/messed up regarding the two anti-nausea pills. Was not going back to get this corrected – as vomiting can correct the “nausea” feeling….
I was due to take this special medication around 6:00pm. Around 5:00pm I decided to get the medication bottle out of the bag and sort the pills into my medication box. At that moment, I noticed the name on the medication…. The medication was NOT the post-chemo medication. It was 30 tabs of the anti-nausea medication. So panic sets in. First the noon dos I thought I had taken was not the correct medication – it was anti-nausea instead.
So, I called OHSU oncology unit who said I needed to contact the pharmacy. I called the pharmacy who acknowledged they sent me home with the anti-nausea medication not the antidote medication. Suggestion was that I call around and find a local pharmacy that could fill the medication and they would transfer the order to that pharmacy. I must admit, I became very unpleasant with the lady on the phone. I noted that the error was not mine, that OHSU had filled the order for the past 5 visits as
pharmacies here probably did not carry the medication, and what would happen if I did not get the medication, etc. I confirmed that her expectation/suggestion was that I was to call all the local pharmacies and then call them back when I had the answer. Again, not very pleasantly I said that my expectation, since it was their error, is that they would call pharmacies, find someone who had the medication and transfer the order to that pharmacy – and then call and tell me the resolution. The lady did agree and said she would call me back.
In the meantime, I contacted our local hospital and spoke with a pharmacy tech who had me speak directly with the pharmacist on duty. What an AWESOME pharmacist. He knew they have the medication I needed in IV form but was not sure about pill form. Said he would check and call me back. Guess what, he did so, and the hospital did have the medication in pill form. Now the hospital is not an outpatient pharmacy – so if I were to get the medication from them – I would have to pay full cost out of pocket. At this point, I did not really care…
So, it is about 5:25pm and I finally heard back from OHSU pharmacy. Said they found the medication, in a 5mg dose instead of 25mg dose, at Walgreens – who closes at 6:00pm. She told me I should call down to Walgreens and let them know I was on my way and that she would transfer the order to Walgreens. I called Walgreens pharmacy and briefly explained and acknowledged they were closing in a ½ hour, but I was on my way. We were driving in the car. Walgreens stated they had not received the transfer prescription.
Again, unhappy Liz… this time called OHSU and asked to speak with the oncologist on-call. I was actually speaking to this doctor has we walked into Walgreens. Walgreens acknowledged they had not received the transfer prescription yet. Since I had the on-call doctor on the phone (who was genuinely nice and supportive) he accepted Walgreens pharmacy direct line phone number and called the order in.
Walgreen’s pharmacist and tech were AWESOME and got the order filled very quickly. I think we walked out of the pharmacy around 6:05pm with the correct medication. I do have to take 5 pills to make up the correct dosage amount…but that is minor.
I made a follow up call to the pharmacy at BAH to thank them for going out of their way to be helpful.
I’ll follow up with my regular doctors on Tuesday…..
Glad to be home!!!!!!!!!