One can perhaps assume that with a child with special needs, can often come with many medications. Many. Emma is now taking 6 medications by mouth, and one shot at night. With her dosages, that amounts to 7 pills in the morning, one at lunchtime, and 7 at night. That being said, it’s not hard to see why I’m so close with my pharmacists. I’m in there at least once a week, and sometimes twice a week. They know me by name, of course.
To give you a little history, one of the owners is neighbors with my parents. Meaning I also grew up with him across the street. In fact, his son is one of my closest friends. I call him “the brother I never had” (with the joke being that I have a brother). So it was perfect that his pharmacy was so close to our house. And it was natural for us to go there when Emma first got diagnosed. I have his home phone number (one of those phone numbers I’ll never not know), his cell phone, and wife’s email. And he always told me, with his Sicilian accent, “Jessie, you call me anytime you need me.” As it turns out, there was one time I did need him when they weren’t open. I call it the Great Medication Misplacement of 2012. I somehow misplaced two of Emma’s medications, and I still can’t find them. If you know me, this is not something that is in my nature. I’m extremely organized, and Type A. Anyway, I had to call him on Sunday morning to see if he could meet me at the pharmacy as Emma and I were headed to California that day. And these medications were kind of important. Of course I ended up waking both of them up, but he was more than happy to meet me there and give me the medications I needed to last through my trip. Every visit we had ended with “how are the kids and Brett doing?” It’s the kind of thing that your pharmacist would do in the “days of yore”.
There’s another owner I’ve become close with. N is more like a brother, as opposed to V who is more like a father figure. Anyway, we’ve become buddies to the point where we can both dole out and receive jabs in good spirit. We have a natural and easy rapport, not something most people typically have with their pharmacist. Going into the pharmacy as much as I did was never a chore. It was something I looked forward to, like seeing friends and catching up. Joking about hanging out there and having Happy Hour in the waiting area. That sort of thing.
That being said, I was really saddened by the news that they were closing their doors. They have another business that caters to the nursing homes around the valley. It was booming and the pharmacy had taken more of a back seat. My friend, who used to work there (see? I’m friends with all of them!) texted me to let me know that last Thursday was there last day. I was in shock! I had just seen V last week, and emailed with N over the weekend. No one mentioned anything! I immediately typed an email to N as I was standing in the lobby of the Arizona Science Center. “You guys are closing?!?!” Being the good guy that he is, he immediately responded with a “yes, I was going to call you today.” I told N, “you can’t make me go to CVS with all the commoners. I’m not common.” They don’t even know my name over there. They don’t know Emma.
So on their last day right before closing, I went in and picked up my last two prescriptions. It was eerily quiet. I chatted with N for about 20 minutes. It was interesting what he told me. He mentioned he remembered the first customer that ever walked through their door. And he had wondered who the last customer was going to be. It was weird. It totally felt like a break up. The last time I felt like this was when my bootcamp instructor of 2 years told us that he wasn’t going to be training us anymore. We had become good friends and we did stay friends, even traveling to Florida for his wedding later on.
But for someone like me who depends on a pharmacy to take care of my daughter’s growing needs (and my beloved zoloft prescription), to have them close their doors feels like a loss. I know we’ll stay connected. Like I said, V lives across the street from my parents. And when we move into their house, he’ll be stuck with us as neighbors (something I’m so excited for!). But a trip to the pharmacy is not something I’ll look forward to anymore. I don’t want to get automated calls from CVS. I don’t want to go through their drive- through. I don’t want to be just another customer.
I have a feeling that this grey cloud will be with me for awhile. The best way I can explain it is that it feels like a break up. And my heart is sad.