In case you haven’t noticed, doctor’s offices rely heavily on faxes to get prescriptions to the pharmacy. Although that has always left me a bit twitchy — personally, fax machines and I get along about as well as my printer and I get along, which is to say, not well — I have come to assume they know what they are doing.

I know, for example, that my doctor’s office is very good about getting prescriptions done quickly. If I call in the morning, the pharmacy usually has the script ready to pick up in an hour or two. Considering I pretty much left my last two doctors because they couldn’t seem to get a prescription ready inside of a week, I consider this amazing.

Windy day in a parking lot

Since two important prescriptions were canceled last week due to unavailability and we are planning to be away on vacation next week, I’ve been trying really hard to get all this stuff worked out. There really isn’t anything crazier than realizing your script ran out and you’re miles from your pharmacy.

I got the prescription worked out for the pain medication over the weekend. Not only did I get a prescription, but it works a lot better than the previous one. I actually wake up in the morning feeling like I can move. Not very fast at the moment because my left knee is pretty dodgy, but the rest of me feels almost like … well … normal. I didn’t think it was possible!

As for the Adderall gone missing, it’s all CVS’s fault. Through some accident — I’m serious about this, so laugh all you want — they ordered ALL the Adderall. All of it. So if you don’t shop at CVS — I don’t because I can go to Hannaford and get a prescription immediately — while it’s always a half an hour wait on a long line at CVS. For just about anything.

But honest to god, that’s what the doctor’s office told me. So all the smaller pharmacies are completely out until the next order. You think maybe CVS did it on purpose?

Eventually, we got this worked out. I’m getting double strength pills and I just have to split them. I already split some of my BP meds, so it’s no big deal … but I had a lot of weird mental issues about CVS ordering ALL the Adderall from the manufacturer. They must have tons of it. Literally tons.

The problem with my regular doctor was far more peculiar. I called, said the medication had worked gangbusters and I was really happy with the replacement and they said they would ship the fax over immediately.

But the pharmacy didn’t have the fax. I called again — both doctor and pharmacy — and the doctor’s office sent another fax and Hannaford didn’t get it.

Because, as it turns out, the fax machine was broken.

Some of the ladies who work in the front office are not tech savvy. They manage to deal with computers, but they always look emotionally and mentally strained. They are sure — always — that something is going to blow up.

I’m very patient with them. They are nice women and work hard. Not everyone does well with electronics, even very smart people. I can do almost anything with a computer but put me in front of a printer or fax machine and my brain dies.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Their fax machine was broken. That’s why Hannaford didn’t get the fax.

Apparently, they didn’t know anything was wrong until they started getting calls from all the pharmacies in the area that prescription faxes hadn’t arrived. Putting two and two together, they got at least 22. Most of the pharmacies agreed to take the orders by phone — just this once. I guess now they are going to have to (gasp) buy a new machine. Hook it up. Convince it to connect. It’s probably wireless and will only work when it feels like it.

Just like my printer.

So I spent almost all day on the phone because the fax machine in the doctor’s office is broken and they didn’t know it. Apparently, the people at the pharmacy worked through the problem with them.

And meanwhile, my glasses are ready to be picked up tomorrow! Yay! Are things finally beginning to run a little more smoothly? Will we make it to vacation alive? Tune in!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

17 thoughts on “BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FAX IS BROKEN? – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Man, this is exhausting! I’m about ready to stay home just because it’s so much less work! This stuff used to be a lot easier! I am still laughing about CVS ordering ALL the Adderall (that’s a LOT of Adderall!) … and finally, after hours of calling the pharmacy, calling the doctor, calling back the pharmacy, calling back the doctor, the pharmacy confided that after a while, they worked out that the fax machine was broken because no one’s prescriptions were coming through. And they had to explain it to the office people who just assumed that having sent the faxes, that they were actually going somewhere.

      I’m glad I don’t have to hook up a new wireless fax machine. They are a real pain to get working!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can see it now. We tune in CNN — Wolf Blitzer is hyperventilating with the “Breaking News” chyron flashing on and off in red. Wolf shouting “..Breaking News — in “The Situation Room” — The Fax is broken. We’ll have continuing coverage on this event of biblical proportion..and the ripple effects around the globe”.


  1. I had almost forgotten about fax machines. Everything here seems now to be done by email: the doctor and my chemist. I have a lady that looks after my MS injections. I order a 3 month supply which works with special delivery by the post in a cool box

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Prescriptions are done almost entirely by fax. It means you don’t have to go to the doctor to get a prescription. You can order stuff by mail, but I’ve gotten some really bad service, wrong dosages, things showing up late … so I don’t do mail order anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t touched a fax machine in years. I never had a great deal to do with them and only learned how to send one when I was in my final year or so in the railways and had to do it. Luckily it was not my problem if it went wrong.


    1. I never liked fax machines. They suffer from a lot of errors and often they don’t work, but don’t let you know that they haven’t worked. But everyone in the medical profession uses them. No one ELSE uses them, though. Just doctors and pharmacies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We used to have one at the radio station where I volunteered but it was just duplicating the same messages we got via email so it was disposed of to save the cost of the third phone line.


  3. Not knowing anything about either Adderall or CVS, I only give voice to my wonderment that Fax machines still exist at all. Not long ago we had a discussion about the now long-time obsolent faxes….. and now you say they’re still needed an in ‘work’. Well, one never stops learning new things! 😉

    I was going to ask about your holiday and your pet-friendly dispositions…. So the hols ARE finally going to happen and what are the plans for your dogs? Did you find THE solution for everyone of them?

    Finally, I very much hope that you can and will enjoy those few days of being off and that your health allows you to take advantage of this all too rare event!


    1. I don’t think ANYONE uses fax machines except doctors offices. Pharmacies also take paper scripts, but faxes are supposedly faster. But no one else uses fax machines — except sometimes banks.


  4. Fascinating reading. I really enjoy hearing how the day to day things work in other countries. The things that you don’t usually know about until you actually live somewhere. I reckon faxes died a welcome death here (in Oz) at least 15 years ago, they truly were an interim technology. Our doctors give the printed prescription to the patient who then takes it to the pharmacist, if there is more than one repeat required a copy of the script is returned to the patient for later use. Strict control is adhered to as to how many scripts a doctor can issue. Thus prior to one of our longer trips we must get a supply of scripts from our doctor but then can have them filled anywhere around the country. The obvious failing in this system is that those addicted to a medicine ‘doctor shop’ using multiple doctors and pharmacists. Thus we’re now phasing in an online health record where all of our medical details are in one place and a system to control pharmaceuticals at a national level. This, one would imagine will save lives. Good luck with the new drugs it sounds like great news.


    1. We used to be all paper scripts and the faxes are “an improvement.” It does mean you don’t have to race to the pharmacist and they call you when the script is ready. The only problem is that faxes have frequent problems — errors, failure to connect, etc. They have gotten better in recent years, but they are far from perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

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