Rite Aid Service Recovery WIN

A manager with Rite Aid, I think the regional manager for the area, called me to apologize extensively and talk about how he could get me to go back. While I'm not willing to return to the one that Lek manages, given the effort they made to contact me immediately to resolve the issue, I am happy to try another one in the area. This is great service recovery. Good job, Rite Aid.

The Nasty Truth

I am a friggin genius when it comes to remembering names. I have been known to walk into a party where 20 people are hanging out and impress everyone with my ability to remember everyone's name. And job. And where they live. And I'll do it again in like an hour. And then another. I'm awesome at it. It's my best party trick. But still. I realize that I will probably not see at least half those people again, and that even though I'll remember the names through the night, if I run into one of them in a month, I'll have no idea.

Over the past three years, I've met so many people. I've made great friends, met people I will follow through their careers with great respect, and made tons of career connections. But I've also met a lot of people I will never see again. It's not that I don't care, but that girl I met at that party who is the friend of the wife of the student I just met because we happened to be at the same party - I probably won't see her again. And the truth is, if I do, I'm gonna have to tell her I'm sorry but I don't remember her name.

So I honestly laughed out loud when watching a recent episode of Parks and Recreation:

"Hello, I'm Ben."
"Hi, Dan."
"Uh, Ben."
"It's not important. It won't come up again."

honesty! :)


My Letter to Rite Aid

I decided to try out Rite Aid today, given that it's closer to where I'm staying right now than my former pharmacy, but I was extremely upset by my experience there.

I had surgery to put a severely broken foot back together and am on full bedrest, except that to pick up percocet, you have to show up yourself to the pharmacy. On my very painful and exhausting trip to get my medicine, I was excited to see that Rite Aid offered a 15 minute guarantee so that I could get back to bed quickly. I dropped off my prescriptions at the RIte Aid in Pleasant Hill, CA (2140 Contra Costa Boulevard, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523) and waited for them to be finished.

Within five minutes the pharmacy manager, Lek Sananikone, called me back over. He said the insurance was rejecting my prescription because it was too soon. I informed Lek that I was aware there had been a problem, but that my doctor had just spoken with my insurance company and gave approval to cover it and they had said it was good to go. My doctor had asked that I have the pharmacist call if there was a problem, so I suggested that Lek do this. Lek refused to talk to my doctor and told me to go back to the CVS pharmacy where I had gotten the prior prescription. At this point I was still calm. I explained to Lek again the situation, that my doctor had just talked to the insurance company and that she had asked that the pharmacist call her if there was a problem. He told me to go to back to CVS, that the computer told him no and there was nothing he could do about it. I again stated that my doctor had just gotten off the phone with my insurance company, and perhaps he could call them. He told me the insurance company is already rejecting it, there's nothing he could do, I should go to CVS. At this point I started to get upset because it seemed like he wasn't even trying to help me, he was just trying to get rid of me. I told him this and suggested again that he call my insurance company. He finally did and was on the phone for quite some time. While I waited, I called my doctor and told her what was going on. She asked to speak to the pharmacist, but he was still on with the insurance. She got the insurance company on the other line and they told her everything is fine and it should go through. Lek snapped at me a couple of times telling me I need to be quiet while he is on the phone. He got off the phone and told me there is nothing he can do, the insurance company says it is too soon. I asked him to talk to my doctor. He refused.

At this point I am crying. I am in pain, I am exhausted, I'm on crutches, and I'm not even supposed to be out of bed. My doctor was on the phone with me and asked to speak to Lek, who said no, but I handed him my phone anyway. I do not know the contents of their conversation, but in the meantime my boyfriend suggested that I might be able to pay cash. I asked Lek if this would be possible and he snapped at me to be quiet because he's trying to talk to my doctor. He handed the phone back to me and she was very upset with him. Unfortunately, she can't just write me a new prescription because she is in SF and I'm on bedrest in pleasant hill and I actually have to pick up the handwritten script.  I asked him again if I can just pay cash. He said yes. I asked him why he didn't suggest this in the first place. He didn't answer me. I asked him if it will be a few minutes, and he says yes so I hobble over to the make up section and browse while I wait. That was at 3:05pm. I had arrived at 2:40pm

At 3:30 I still hadn't been called so I went over to the register to wait. My boyfriend made a comment about the 15 minute wait guarantee, and a technician who hadn't been there before asked my name. My prescription was waiting by the register and I had not been called. I made my purchase and asked about the 15 minute guarantee. Lek told her no because there had been an issue. I asked, "You don't honor it because he had to deal with my insurance company?" Lek replied, "there was an issue."

I am visibly upset at this point. I had been crying, frustrated with the system, but most of all frustrated with Lek's lack of interest in helping come to a resolution. From the very beginning he acted as if he just wanted me to go away, and in fact told me several times to just take it to CVS. I was very calm in the beginning, but at this point I am extremely upset. I said to my boyfriend and the technician, "well, lesson learned, I won't be a Rite Aid customer." Lek stopped what he was doing and came over to me to say, "If you hadn't been so rude we would have taken care of you. I would have taken care of everything for you." I remind him that I wasn't upset until he wouldn't help me come to a solution. I told him I've never been treated so badly by a pharmacist before - that I thought pharmacists were supposed to help you make things work. Then we left.

For the record - I am not upset that Lek couldn't make the prescription work. I understand that insurance companies are difficult. I am skeptical that he couldn't have done something more given that my insurance company was on the other line saying it was fine and it should go through. 
I am extremely upset with Lek because:
a) he immediately said "computer says no" and didn't even try to offer a solution, he made it clear he didn't want to help, told me to go to CVS
b) he never even suggested that I could pay cash as an option
c) he was extremely rude to me and my doctor after this
d) once my prescription was ready, he didn't call me and made me wait extra time 

FYI - it wasn't busy. I was the only customer there at this time.

I've worked in customer service and know what it takes. He's the pharmacy manager, he should be more helpful, and more professional. He should also be understanding of the fact that someone picking up a prescription for percocet with her doctor on the phone and standing on crutches in tears might be in a place where she needs a little more help. 

I'm sad because Rite Aid is the closest option for me in Pleasant Hill, but I'll gladly drive much farther to avoid ever having to deal with Lek again. I'm an avid pharmacy customer with several prescriptions per month and a $300 personal budget for supplements and toiletries and such that is almost exclusively spent at Walgreens. I'm young and loyal, and will make the decisions for my family in this arena - so I'm a pharmacy's dream customer. Unfortunately, Lek just made sure that pharmacy won't be Rite Aid. I'll be going back to Walgreens, where in 12 years as a customer I have never encountered one problem that wasn't easily and happily fixed.

The Rite Aid website states: 

Rite Aid is a place where customers are treated with respect and they feel appreciated and welcome.
Rite Aid is committed to providing our customers with superior service and complete satisfaction. Our associates are trained to offer our customers friendly, helpful service in every area of the store.

If you are committed to that statement, you should care about this feedback. As a corporate professional myself, I thought you would like to know.


About Lisfranc Fractures

Thought I'd offer a little info about the type of injury I have. When I initially went in to the doctor, they said it seemed like I had a broken metatarsal, but they couldn't tell for sure and nothing was displaced. They casted me and sent me on my way. The next week I went to a podiatrist, who said it was definitely broken, but that it didn't make sense to do another set of x-rays until the swelling had gone down. She sent me to a podiatric surgeon thinking it might be a lisfranc fracture, but that it wouldn't require surgery because of no displacement. So the next week I went to the surgeon and she did more xrays. When the swelling went down, all the bones went with it. Apparently that's all that was holding my foot together. She made it very clear that I would need pretty immediate surgery and I cancelled my trip to Panama. :(

So about the injury. It's called a lisfranc fracture, named after an 18th century surgeon. It happens when the ligament between a metatarsal (long skinny bone) and a tarsal (short bones in front of the ankle bones) ruptures. Sometimes you can heal it with just a cast if the bones don't move, but when they move out of place you have to have surgery to reset them.

Click here for a great diagram of the injury pre and post surgery.

Frequently, the ligament between the first tarsal and the second metatarsal ruptures, which leads to the metatarsals all moving toward the outside of the foot. Wikipedia has pretty good info on this stuff, but also has a decent xray pic (right).

Now MY injury was slightly different. The 2nd-4th metatarsals were all moved to the left as in the example xray, but there was also a big space between the first two tarsals (the bigger bones at the bottom). My 1st metatarsal had moved in so much that the 1st tarsal protruded and made a big bump on the right (into my arch). It also went up so when you looked at it from the side it was a like a big step where it's supposed to be flat. Mine looked a little more like this:


I'll post mine when I get them on disc.

The injury happens when the toe and metatarsal part of your fit go one direction and the ankle and tarsal part go another. For example, Wikipedia has a great little description of common injuries:
This type of injury classically occurred when a horseman fell while riding, having trapped his foot in the stirrup or fallen into a drain. At present, such an injury happens typically in activities such as windsurfing (where participants' feet are in foot straps that pass over the metatarsals), or when one steps into a hole and the foot twists heavily.
At least I've learned a bit during this process. Will share more when I get more.

Foot Surgery Update

My first night after surgery was much better than I expected. Not too much pain at first, then throbbing into the night and my big toe is completely numb.

I talked to the doctor this morning. The surgery went really well and she feels that she was able to reconstruct it beautifully. We had expected to use 4-6 screws, and she only needed two. That's great because it means more of the healing can rely on my own ligaments and such. She also said it's fairly common for my toe to be completely numb, and that it usually goes away. There's a chance it won't, but we'll monitor that over the next week or two and decide what to do about it. 

The anesthetic fully wore off this morning and the severe pain has just set in. I'm on percocet, but they don't really work anymore, so I'm trying to just stay put and sleep and do my yoga breathing to get through it. My toes aren't bound by the cast, so they can move - which is good in some ways, but also means that I inadvertently move them and cause jolts to go up my body. Yeehaw. I'm also starting to feel the soreness from the breathing tube that was down my throat, so not a lot of talking for me. 

So now I go back next week to get it checked, again in another week to put on a full cast, then 4 more weeks of no weight and crutches before switching to my robo-boot and starting rehab. In 3 months I'll have to have another minor surgery to remove the screws, and then rehab. She promised me I'd be on a snowboard by next season and playing basketball by the end of the year. Salsa dancing may take a little longer because of the lack of support in the shoes, but I have a new pair of shoes waiting to be tried, so we'll have to make it work eventually. If anyone has any great ideas for activities I can do with a broken foot, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm focusing on upper body yoga, lifting arm weights, and in a few weeks kayaking. Definitely need some more cardiac options, though (I can't ride a bike for at least 6 weeks). 

I'm staying with a friend now, but greatly appreciate all the offers of help and will take you up on that once I'm home. 

Lots of love,


Medical Record Craziness

Currently hating how the medical system works out here in the big city.

To get my surgery Thursday at the ortho place, I have to get my physical and the records from that physical from my doctor at St. Marys, and my labs from the hospital at John Muir. St. Marys and John Muir have not been super timely, so my surgery is at risk.

I'm the patient needing surgery and sitting here trying to coordinate 3 different places to get this all in order so they don't postpone it. Days like today make me almost wish I had Kaiser.

Can we please get everyone on board with digital data management?