Thursday, June 17, 2010

One Saturday night

She walked up to the pharmacy window and handed me three prescriptions. She was crying and in obvious pain. It was 8:45 on a Saturday night and I was cleaning up the day’s messes.

She baby-stepped over to our waiting area with the assistance of her friend and sat down gingerly on one of the chairs.

I had worked with her before. When I started with the company the previous summer, I trained at the pharmacy she worked at. She was one of the two lead technicians. If you had a question about the dispensing system, Lucia knew the answer. At that time, the pharmacy was filling 600 scripts a day with only one pharmacist. When she was gone, you knew it. She held the pharmacy together.

She was a student at the university two blocks away from my pharmacy. She carried just enough hours to be considered a full-time student. She was an attractive girl. Hadn’t decided what she wanted to do when she grew up, but she just knew that she needed an education to do it.

She was known for her antics when she wasn’t at work. She could party hard. You could even say that she abused her body with all of the booze, drugs, and men. You wondered how she could function on Monday after Lucia told the stories of what she experienced over the previous weekend.

Sometimes I have trouble reading people, but I think the pharmacy manager had a little crush on her. I think that he imagined that he was the object of her affections as she shared about her weekends. She never came to work under the influence, so I think that he let things slide.

I walked over to the computer to input the three prescriptions. They were written by the doctor over at the women’s health clinic that was located just off campus.




A couple months prior, Lucia had another one of her wild evenings where she enjoyed the company of more than one man. Not all of her partners that evening had used a condom. Not knowing that she was pregnant, Lucia continued to party hard.

Until two weeks ago when she took the pregnancy test. That’s when reality struck.

Lucia was a pregnant 22 year-old who had no idea who had impregnated her. Her family was over 200 miles away in her hometown. She was up to her eyeballs in student loan debt. At the time, she was making 10 bucks an hour as a pharmacy technician. And she was getting loaded every weekend, as well as an occasional weeknight.

What was she doing to her body?

To her baby?

Lucia made a decision.

She decided to terminate the pregnancy.


She was able to get a friend to drive her home from the clinic. She stopped by her pharmacy to get the prescriptions filled, but the staff pharmacist who was working didn’t approve of her decision and refused to fill the scripts.

So Lucia came to my pharmacy to get them. Although I personally don’t agree with abortion, it’s not my place to refuse to fill prescriptions after the abortion has taken place based on my moral beliefs. Lucia was a patient who needed care, not a lecture.

She sat in the chair as I filled the prescriptions, holding both of her hands over her lower abdomen. I don’t know if was from the physical pain or if she was grieving the loss of her baby, but you could clearly see that she was hurting.

Her friend came up to the counter to sign for the prescriptions and walked with her out to the car. They were still in the parking lot as I exited the building after my shift was over. I helped her into her seat and gave her hand a little squeeze to let her know that things would be alright.

Over the years I’ve filled too many of those prescriptions. Each time I do, my heart is saddened. Both for the baby who will never be and for the girl who has had to make the decision to end the pregnancy.


Anonymous said...

My ears always mist when I hear this story. It exemplifies the role of the pharmacist.

The RPh said...

Every time I fill that combo, I feel so incredibly sad. I always try to treat that patient with the utmost respect and patience. We just don't know the circumstances behind the reason for that script. It could be a miscarriage, an abortion, or a D&C. I just know that my heart hurts for the women who have to go through that pain. Bless you, Eric, for your kindnesss.