Emergency Contraception Fiasco
Personal Experience with Getting a Prescription for the Morning After Pill
Monday, March 21, 2005, Charlotte, NC
Recently I've started seeing someone. Last Friday night, March 18th, 2005, we had unprotected sex. I resolved to get the Morning After Pill, despite the expense. I know from experience that withdrawal doesn't’t always work. It was $25 for the doctor's visit, and $20 for the pill, even with health insurance, plus the cost of my time. I knew it would be a few hours of waiting at the clinic, and then the process of having to then get to the pharmacy. I only had 72 hours to get this done, but I wanted to be responsible, not worry and sweat over getting my period, or have to deal with the more difficult decision of having an abortion.
Because I had intercourse late Friday night, Saturday morning, I wound up having to wait till Monday before anything was open, to talk to anyone about getting the pill. So I called Planned Parenthood on the third day from work, which was difficult enough. I whispered my situation over the phone to the nurse and she was wonderful. She did the consultation with me over the phone. She took a payment over the phone, and she was going to call in my prescription. Despite my fear of discussing this at work, especially since my co-workers were loudly lamenting over the horrors of abortion, and the cost of the consultation, which broke me, it was quite a relief!
That night after work I went down to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription. The pharmacy didn't have it. Planned Parenthood had already closed by now. I checked every CVS in the surrounding area to see if it went to another location by mistake. No luck.
I was bound and determined, though. I decided that despite the fact that I spent the $25 over the phone, I would have to go to the Urgent Care Center to get another prescription. I was grateful that they were still open, and I wasn’t too concerned about going there for the pill since I had, had an annual exam there before. So, I went to the Urgent Care. Tick, Tick, Tick. The clock is ticking away, and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to be able to pay for another doctor’s visit and the pill. I wait for two hours. Tick, Tick, Tick. I had to beg them to bill me the cost of the visit, because if I were to pay it I would not have enough money to fill my prescription. Two hours later, they take me into a room to see the nurse and she takes my blood pressure. She asks me why I'm there. Which reminds, how odd I felt at the front desk when they had me sign 5 HIPAA privacy packets, and then ask me over the counter why I’m there. No form that I can write down my symptoms, but I have to announce to not only the front office staff, but all the other patients there waiting, why I’m there. I sure am glad I signed all those privacy forms. So anyways, I tell the nurse while she’s taking my blood pressure that I’m there to get the Morning After Pill. I'm super concerned about time at this point. I've been waiting for a few hours after work and I'm not sure what time the pharmacy closes. Anyways, she looks down and shakes her head. So, I ask her “Is that gonna be a problem?” She says, oh, I don't know? So I don't sweat it. I'm getting this taken care of! And I am relieved!
The nurse shakes her head again and says, “You really need to go out and buy some condoms.” I wonder why she just doesn’t give me some? Don’t they have any there? I love how I get to have all the fun, while my boyfriend is at home watching Law and Order. I wait in another room for what feels like another hour. The clock is ticking. I hear the nurse and the doctor talking outside my door. They are talking about what patients are left. Then I hear the nurse say that “well you have …left. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, I wouldn’t do it.” It sounds to me like the doctor has some sort of moral issue with giving out the Morning After Pill, and she is convincing him not to do it.
The nurse finally comes in, and tells me that, he won't prescribe it. The doctor won’t come into the room himself. I'm livid at this point. He won’t even see me?! I ask to see the doctor, so I can at least hear him out. He comes in shaking and quite nervous, as I am too.
I knew this had nothing to do with medical reasons. He told me that he is one of the only doctors there that would prescribe the Morning After Pill, and that he will only do it after a 24 hr period for rape victims at the hospital. I felt like I knew more about the MAP then he did? All very strange. I'm pissed. He doesn't know who he's messing with. I'm not a young 17 yr old rape victim, but WHAT IF I WERE! I tell him that I want his card and that he better check for his name in the paper tomorrow. He's shaking even more. They return the $20 office cost to my account, and I leave and go drink a beer with my friends. I'm beyond pissed. He calls me on my cell phone, while I'm out, and tells me to come back to the clinic. He has called a doctor, and that if I take a pregnancy test he will get me the prescription. The clinic is closed. I have to go around back. I get there, I take the pee test, I'm not pregnant, and he prescribes me the pill.
He keeps talking about how he knows that there are other versions of MAP out there, but this is the only one he knows and has prescribed. He repeated this more than a few times, which begins to make me nervous. What has he prescribed to me? Then I start remembering that the older versions sometimes were a bunch of pills, and they made you nauseous, not like the current pill. I’m worried that he might be trying to punish me.
He tells me that a doctor should NOT have to prescribe something if they have a moral issue with it. That, I live in a community with enough doctors that, I can find someone else to prescribe it. At this point I need to make it to the Pharmacy, and I don’t want to take the time to argue with him about how stupid that is. ugh. Finally I get the prescription, go back to the pharmacy, which thank god was still open!
Can you believe, they had the original call in prescription from Planned Parenthood!!!! Well thank God, because I wasn’t sure what he had prescribed me. The whole thing cost me my dignity, $65, and 6 hrs of time. The doctor then called me at work the next morning, put me on hold for 20 minutes, while I'm at work, to tell me that he forgot to tell me that I should get tested for STDs.
He prescribed me Ovral.
My doctor at the Urgent Care Center was Robert Grose, MD, Presbyterian Urgent Care affiliated with Presbyterian Healthcare, Randolph Location, 704-342-8225.