It is when the pharmacist knows you by name, that you realize you are really old. And if she happens to be just twennie (that’s how young Canadians say ’20’) and she looks like an angel and she smiles like one even though you inhabit a piece of machinery that is gradually falling apart, heck it is the greatest feeling on earth.
I had just come out of my doc’s this morning. She had summoned me since there were certain points of ‘concern’ in my last test results. Yes, it is a she, my famuhlee doc. She is a lovely Greek in her late thirties, happily married with three kids and a boyfriend who looks like a cross between Aristotle and Onassis.
I have asked Dr Ephrosyne out a million times and every time she has laughed and demurred. Ephrosyne was a Greek goddess of good cheer and mirth so I could take a chance, I guess. She has never refused outright, just demurred. “Ask me next time,” she says every time with a laugh and it has now become a routine. I ask her out just before we are done and she starts saying, ‘Ask me next time’ and I finish her sentence for her and we both laugh ourselves silly.
And now the pharmacist. She is a veritable angel. Ebony black, permed curls cascading down her shoulders, her teeth as white as her cheeks are black. I found out her name the first time I went in for my cholesterol medication. Almaz – diamond, she said it meant, in her mother tongue, Amharic. Ethiopians are generally better looking than other Africans, with sharper features.
“You make me want to be ill all the time,” I had said to her the first time and she had looked up, first in bewildered and beautiful puzzlement and then laughed and blushed purple.
“No, please,” she had said amid peals of laughter.
This morning I went in with my prescription. (The usual stuff wasn’t working and Ephrosyne decided I should try something else as a change). Almas took my prescription, smiled briefly and moved immediately away since there were others, old crones like me, waiting to have their prescriptions filled.
When my turn came, Almas looked at the computer screen and said,” You haven’t taken a refill of your BP pills for two months and you don’t seem to have filled it anywhere else….” and she looked up at me, her lovely face wreathed in concern, probably thinking I had missed my doses. Over here, every pharmacy is connected online and a prescription can be filled anywhere and the pharmacist can see the details of the last refill in real time.
I had been meaning to get a refill and had clean forgotten. Almas filled it and I was relieved. It was the look of genuine concern on her angelic face that really got me. I was touched. She had not only saved me another trip to the pharmacy but shown that it mattered.
“If there is a Nobel Prize for pharmacists, I’ll nominate you for one”, I said and her hands flew up to her lips in embarrassed delight as every face turned to look and smile.
Jeeze, Lord, make me twennie again, pleeeease.