The Queue

Sorry, I had to repeat the header picture again. I was going to take more photos today, but didn’t do any in the end.

We went to the pharmacy this afternoon. Julia needed more medication and we had ordered mine at the same time to cut down on the number of times we risked contact, both for us and the pharmacy staff.

They open at 2am. We went down at 2.15 and found a queue of approximately 18 people. We decided to have a drive round and come back later when the rush was over. At 2.50 we returned and found the queue had reduced to 17, though most of them were different people. Several of the people who had been at the back of the original queue had still not reached the shop.

Reluctantly, we joined the queue. As I said to Julia, it was a good thing she had arranged to pick her prescription up in advance, or we’d have ended up in a massive slow queue.

She told me to shut up. Apparently sarcasm does not make queues go faster. An hour later, I found myself agreeing with her. I nearly said: “At least it isn’t raining.”

If I’d said that, I’m sure it would have done. So I restrained myself.

The woman in front of us had her son with her. He was about 12 or 14 and about the same size as her. He had learning difficulties, which originally took the form of engaging in a game of pointing at me and laughing whilst saying “man” and “giant”. He also said “hello” a lot, asked our names and named our hair colours – in my case this was “blonde” so I can forgive him a lot. As they queued, and he became bored, he started wrestling with his mother. She was impressively strong, and very patient. I’m guessing that the lockdown is harder for her than it is for many of us.

As we got to the door of the shop, the woman in front let them take her place, which was pretty good considering it had taken us an hour by that time.

Julia went in before me. I went in a couple of minutes later. She got hers in five minutes, as it was already organised. It was to take me another half hour. I gave them the barcode the surgery had texted me. It didn’t work.

So much for technology.

I had to go across to the surgery. Biosecurity was not as tight as last week, and I was able to walk straight in. Strange, I thought. What was even stranger was the way they had piled up furniture and tape as a barrier. And the fact there was nobody there.

I double checked the notices – there were many prohibitions (this situation is heaven-sent for people who like giving orders) including telling me not to enter if I had an appointment, but there was nothing telling me not to just drift in from the street. Strange…

Eventually someone found me, issued a paper prescription and, after checking my identity on my driving license, gave me a password for the website, which should mean I can just order online in future. In theory. I’ll believe it when I see it.

And that was…

No, that wasn’t quite it.

They were short of Warfarin and had no pain-killing gel. The gel will be in on Monday and the Warfarin on Tuesday. I am, it seems, welcome to queue for an hour any time next week to pick the extras up. I can even queue twice, once on Monday and once on Tuesday, if I want.

This, as I pointed out, rather works against the whole point of self-isolation.



24 thoughts on “The Queue

  1. Clare Pooley

    At our medical centre we have a system called ‘managed repeats’ which sounds like medication for indigestion. We pick up our medicine once a month and order next months at the same time. It does make things easy for all concerned though sometimes trying to work out how much medication one needs to get through eight weeks can be difficult. During this difficult time they are handing out two months worth of medicine. We have packs of tablets, eyedrops, sprays, gels and injections all over the house!

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  3. Laurie Graves

    Lord, what a story! Can you order online, as Derrick suggested? That’s how my husband gets his meds. That mother certainly has her hands full. Your description made my heart go out to her. And, yay, to the person who let her go ahead.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I now have details to allow me to order online. I have resisted it because it means using the pharmacy next to the surgery. They once let me down badly and I bear grudges for a long time.

      1. quercuscommunity

        Julia is signed up with them and she still had to wait an hour. And they still wouldn’t have had all my stuff. However, I suppose a small truce might be in order. 🙂

  4. Lavinia Ross

    I have noted some shortages at the pharmacy here, too. It is a little unnerving.

    I feel for the mother with her son, and heartened that the woman up front let them in first. That was kind of her to do that.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, it was. Always good to see an act of kindness.

      The inability of pharmacies to complete prescriptions is an annoying consequence of modern life and “just in time” ordering – it happens several times a year.

      It’s definitely more annoying when it means more contact with people. 🙂


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