Lies and decayed teeth. Can’t have the latter without the former

One of the most interesting and maybe frustrating part of being a pharmacist is to work as a locum pharmacist. It comes with plenty of drama. I mean, you have to be ready for the funny, cool and downright annoying ones every single day. Also, the location of a pharmacy usually determines the kind of people who will visit your pharmacy to get drugs. Another thing is, if you have a nice boss…good for you. But if you don’t? Oh Lord! Well, that’s a story for another day.

So, allow me to share one of my encounters.

This woman in her late 40s or thereabout walked into the pharmacy, looking tired and she took her seat without questions. As a good pharmacist now, I asked how I may be of help. She presented something that looked like a “prescription sheet” with the following items written on it:

  • Dabur toothpaste (white)
  • “Touch and Go”

I knew I was about to attend to a dental condition. I told her we didn’t have the exact type of toothpaste and drug she required but we had other equally effective brands. Meanwhile, she was already muttering “God, let these people have o” and when that brand of prayers seemed unanswered, she stood up and left the premise saying she had tried her best. I do not like it when this happens but I was not so bothered seeing as they were not emergency drugs.

A few minutes later, she was back and requested that I give her the brand of products that we had. I gave her the toothpaste and toothache drop but rejected the drop on the grounds that she had the drug at home. I said, “haha! madam, I thought u wanted the 2 items?” She said no, she wanted just the toothpaste. I told her the price of the toothpaste and a part of me wished she would just take the toothpaste and leave but something told me there was more.

The patient then asked, “aunty, abi what can I use for my toothache? It really hurts” Okay, I suspected there was something else but I had no inkling that she was the one who had the toothache because she didn’t act like it. So, I responded and said “Mama, na you tooth dey pain?” She replied in the affirmative and opened her mouth wide for me to check. Oh my days!

Awww! Come on! I am not paid enough to do this! I don’t even receive hazard allowance. Okay, calm down y’all before you take up them pitchforks in righteous anger. You did not see the dentition, and it wasn’t being shoved in your face. Me, that I was even eating before the patient came in. Hian!

To be honest, her set of teeth looked really bad and I wondered how they still remained in the gum at all, plus it was quite difficult to keep staring at it. So, I took a discreet step back and told her I had seen the teeth. But mama was not satisfied. She said her last tooth (the molar) had been shaking and causing her a lot of pain which made it difficult for her to sleep and this had been going on for a while, so she needed a potent analgesic and sedative.

We had some of those and I could have just given them to her to make more sales and get her bad teeth out of the premise, but as a member of the healthcare team, the patient is the most important. Hence, I proceeded to counsel her that she needed to stop all self-medication and schedule an appointment with a dentist. I would give her the analgesics and sedative for a few days to help make her more comfortable but she needed to see a dentist who would make a proper diagnosis, treat her and prescribe drugs for her which she would come back to get from the premise.

She then responded that she had seen a dentist who she referred to as “some people” who told her that if the problem tooth was extracted, she might have to remove the entire set of teeth. I had to try not to laugh at the irony and I told her “Mama, calm down. Are you sure a dentist told you that?” I could tell she was not telling the truth and after trying to hear what she said to no avail, I said “Madam, I don’t think it was a dentist you saw. Your tooth is shaking and so, it will have to be extracted and then filled so as to stop the pain once and for all.” She then had to own up to the fact that she had actually seen a dentist and she was told to bring 10,000 naira for her treatment. I told her she would have to try and get the money to treat herself and she left.

Some patients though, why did she lie in the first place?



-Story Submitted by Pharm. Adedapo Dolapo from the beautiful city of Osogbo



**Important notice: All locum stories are shared with the full permission of the author with the intent to inform, educate and entertain the reader. They do not in any way suggest what the standards of practice are (head over to FORUM to check out various thoughts on this). Pharmacy Hub reserves the right to all stories and will edit as required to serve the purposes of The Hub.

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