"Suffering the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune"

Ok, I have tried to keep the ranting to a minimum – there are better things to offer the world than me being mad about this, that or the other thing. However, I need to vent about this somewhat inconsequential thing because it really rubbed me the wrong way. Still mad a couple weeks later…

Y’all know that Em is on Diamox via the Driscoll Theory. September will mark 3 years on it and it literally changed her life. Y’all also [probably, hopefully] know that Diamox affects the CO2 levels: to combat the level dropping and to ensure that the Diamox will continue working as it is intended, one needs to take baking soda. (Not gonna get into the science of it, but you can look it up.) The easiest way to take baking soda is to just purchase some tablets – you can make your own capsules but it is kind of a pain in the butt.

Sodium Bicarbonate Tablets, AKA Baking Soda Tablets, the non-controlled substance. 

We got Em on baking soda, unfortunately after her CO2 levels dropped instead of being preemptive about it, several months after starting on the Diamox. After struggling with making capsules for a while, I eventually caved and went to Walgreens to procure some. Walked up to the pharmacy counter and said, ‘Do you have baking soda tablets?’ The nice young man hemmed and hawed for a bit, trying to figure out exactly what I needed, then said they did and asked how many I wanted. No prescription needed, obviously.

You can buy the darn things online. Seriously. Sodium Bicarbonate is not exactly a restricted substance.

So, every month or so for the last 2 years, I have popped into Walgreens and bought 200 baking soda tablets without any problem whatsoever.

Until a couple weeks ago, when I came up against the New Sheriff in Walgreens Town (aka the new pharmacist). Who adamantly refused to fill my request because I did not have a prescription. For BAKING SODA TABLETS. My informing her that I had purchased said tablets for over two years at that very pharmacy, not only without a prescription but without EVER being asked for a prescription, made no impact on her stance. She said she could not open the bottle of baking soda tablets without a prescription – it was against regulations. So, either she is full of it or the handful of pharmacists who have filled my order for the last two years were breaking the law. (I will give you three guesses as to my opinion about that!)

She magnanimously offered to call the doctor and get a prescription for it – at 7:45 on a Thursday evening. I more-or-less (possibly less)  politely informed her that I really doubted they would be in to take her call. I told her I was leaving on vacation and my daughter had to have them before I left. She offered to give me enough to get through the night. I refrained from pointing out that she certainly wouldn’t do that if a customer said, ‘golly, I don’t have enough Oxycontin to get me through tonight – can you give me just a few to get me through?” So, if she was going to open the 1,000 count bottle and break the “rules” to give me enough baking soda tablets to “hold me” until I could get a prescription, why on EARTH could she not just give me the 200 I was asking for?


We had priced the tablets at the hospital pharmacy when we first started getting them and found out it was much cheaper to get them at Walgreens, but when the New Sheriff in Walgreens Town refused to provide them, we had to go through the Reid pharmacy. Over $5 for the equivalent of 50 tablets (they only had 325 mg tabs in 100 count bottle), not even enough to get Em through a whole week. And, being half the size meant she got to take 6 pills instead of 3, which she was thrilled about.

All because some crazy lady decided she couldn’t sell me baking soda tablets. Seriously. Makes me want to pull my hair out. Or, purchase a capsule filling kit, take it with me to Walgreens, purchase a box of baking soda at the pharmacy, then open it right on her pharmacy counter and proceed to make a few dozen baking soda capsule in front of her. Pointing out of course, that this is the controlled substance she wouldn’t sell me.

Sometimes, on the journey of living with chronic illness, it is the little things that really get to you. Little things like baking soda tablets become really big things. We juggle so much worry and fear and pain and uncertainty, frankly, with a lot of acceptance and, most of the time, dignity. But, to have to fight and claw over something as small, yet vital, as baking soda tablets is just too much.

We have it worked out now and I know I really should get over it. My mom ordered (without a prescription, mind you) a couple 1,000 count bottles so we won’t have to worry about it for months and that is a nice thing. Walgreens has lost my rather substantial baking soda tablet business, so if they go bankrupt and have to close their doors, you will know why.

But, although I know it is all good and I should let it go, I still have this urge to prove my point to the lady at Walgreens…

I wonder if a baking soda volcano on her pharmacy counter would make an impact?

I picture this, on the pharmacy counter, minus the pan, plus me laughing hysterically.


Comments on: "Been awhile since my last rant…" (5)

  1. Reblogged this on Melissa's GP Fight – Gastroparesis and commented:
    I’m happy you found an alternative. I’d go back in a month and try to procure more from them, just to see what their new stance is and to tell them to shove it 😉 Thank you for your great post (err rant as you called it). For the record, it was educational to me, as I never knew that people had to take baking soda tabs with that other drug (since I’m not on it).

    • Well, it is not surprising that you didn’t know about baking soda tablets – I certainly had no idea about them until Dr. D shared. What is shocking is that even the doctors who prescribe Diamox apparently don’t know about baking soda to ensure the chemistry is right – and if they do, they don’t mention it as an issue to be aware of. 🙄 Unbelievable considering how basic the science is behind it and how awful it is when the medicine stops working.

      I really am tempted to go back in every time I go by Walgreens. Like you said, I have this urge to push and prove my point. But, I guess it is unnecessary at this point, since I won’t be buying the tablets from them ever again. Urg, it still makes me mad though!

      Thanks for the kind words and the reblog!

      • The science behind it makes perfect scenes and I am just sorry that you didn’t know of it sooner to get the upper hand in the initial situation. Yeah, at this point it is probably best to ‘let it go’ as being mad never makes us any better or the people around us. This was such an awesome posts, I had to share it with my GP Community; as I know they could all relate to being burned over something in the pharmacy (setting us finally over the edge) as well as lack of communication with medical ‘professionals’. We wish you all the best!

  2. Ahhh Yes! Power-trippers, so rigid, ridiculous and knit-picking can readily ruin the delicate balance. We work exceptionally hard to help our children achieve a level of homeostasis; it is horribly frustrating/aggravating when fools disrupt, potentially cause serious issues, and create more problems for us to solve. We have to be masters of perseverance and finding more alternatives. Forever a quest. I appreciate the reliable strength of creativity and sense of humor. In the baking soda circumstance, our never-ending challenge still stands out – How do we change the minds/understanding of those with power who make harmful decisions? Makes me wonder how far up the ladder to reach. I love those volcanoes! Good metaphor too. Might not quite work on the pharmacist yet I think you are onto something positive in not just giving it up, letting it drop. I’m with you – enlighten and affect change when I can. Thank you.

    • It is SO aggravating! And ridiculous! But, I do try to find the humor in these things – better to laugh than cry. 🙂

      Like you, I have considered making a real issue of it – complaining, throwing a fit -because I just can’t stand the stupidity. But, I don’t really want to give them business now anyway and I have a reliable way of getting the tablets, so it kind of seems like a moot point now. And, I think she is now in charge of the pharmacy at that store, so I would need to go above her I suppose and that seems like too much trouble. Probably should just on principle, but I don’t feel like wasting my energy on that ignorant individual!

      Thanks for commenting!

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