There are many advantages to living in a small town. But having your pharmacist know you by name and prescription history is not one of them.

Our pharmacist is the nicest guy on earth. He is so friendly, so upbeat, so unfazed no matter what the script says that I slide (usually abashedly) across the counter. It might as well be amoxicillin, pulmicort, a Z-pack. Regular medicine. Anything but psychotropic.

Usually, he’ll have it right out. Unless it has to be special ordered because it’s not a common medication/for young kids/in liquid form. Then he’ll call me the next day to pick it up.

Our pharmacist is very courteous. He always asks how I’m doing. Sometimes it’s all I can do not to laugh hysterically in his smiling face. Consider the list of medications I’ve come in here for during the past few years, I imagine saying/yelling/shrieking. How does it seem like I’m doing? I’m in here all the freaking time! None of this stuff works! Would you like to be giving any of this to your little kid? I would never, of course, say /yell/shriek any of this. We’re on a first-name basis, but we don’t have that kind of relationship.

And I’m in there so much that I know some things about our pharmacist, too. I know he has daughters. I know they attend a private Christian school. I know his family recently got a puppy that his girls named Princess Poof.

It’s not an even trade.

The pharmacist has, essentially, a chronicle of my family’s psychological and emotional history, our most profound and private struggles, for the past two-and-a-half years—which has also been the most challenging, desperate period of my life. He knows something’s “wrong” with my five-year-old. He knows we’re trying a revolving door of medications. He knows it’s taking a toll on Husband Number One and me. (Many psychotropic drugs in pediatric liquid form need to be special ordered, but grown-up Klonopin is usually in stock.) We’re such regulars and we have such special needs that I think we have our own shelf, which makes me feel terrible. I find myself missing inhuman, anonymous, computerized customer service when our pharmacist obligingly says, “I’ll go ahead and make sure we keep this in stock from now on for you guys!” I manage a weak smile.

I’m such a regular at the pharmacy that I asked for Tenex at the vet today instead of Trifexis. The vet tech—a young woman who has not yet had sons—looked stumped. I finally figured it out. We don’t even use Tenex, but we have tried it and it does begin with “T.” Tenex, Trifexis. Heartworm, hyperactivity. So many conditions, so many medicines. It’s a lot to keep straight.


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