Terrible Ignorance

I have been sitting on this since Monday but have decided to share it with you because I am still so angry and upset. Some of you know that I am back nebulising ceftazidime again for my bronchiectasis. It is almost impossible to find outside the hospital. Tesco at Stratford have managed to get it before and I have a good relationship with the pharmacist so took the script there. A new young female pharmacist took the script, listened to the problems, then came and called me. She then proceeded to say that she also had bronchiectasis, diagnosed six months ago and that she didn't produce. As it was obvious that I did because I need the drug, She was in danger of being infected by me!! !

She was standing back from me as though I had crawled out of a sewer. In that situation and in the hearing of other customers I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. Being so shocked and basically a polite person, I didn't retaliate or make a fuss, which I suppose I should have done. When I got into the car I just burst into tears. Coming from a so called health professional who is there to help people, this was deeply insulting and shockingly hurtful.

I told her that this was nonsense and that I have never infected anyone. I told her that she is far more at risk from those seeking remedies for their colds and viruses. I asked her who told her this and she told me that a doctor at our local hospital, not the consultant , had told her not to go near her cousin who has cystic fibrosis if she was producing. As you probably remember, I refused to go to my local hospital when I had an empyema in feb because experience has told me that they know nothing about bronchiectasis.

This misapprehension seems to be creeping into the psychi of the lower levels of medical staff. When I was in hospital in feb some of the younger nurses did not want to carry the (sealed) pot with a sample in it. The consultant doesn't care. She looks at countless samples every week. Likewise, the lab staff, whom I have known for years, have never caught anything from us. Likewise, when I was struggling to do my last breathing tests I had to cough into a tissue. The tecnician said ' oh I hope that isn't infective!' and I had to carry on trying to do my best when I just wanted to leave the room. We don't sit there and cough copious amounts of gob over people and as you know, the bacteria are dangerous to us because they are inside our bodies. If we were a danger to others it would be obvious because our partners,family, children, friends etc would catch these bugs from us. They do not! But we catch viruses from them which often set off exacerbations.

We have enough to make our lives horrible without such ignorant attitudes and behaviour making us feel dirty.

We need to find out how this attitude is insidiously creeping into the mindset of health professionals before it spreads into the wider society and produces general discrimintaion that will make our lives even more difficult.

Thank you for reading this. I have been very tearful over it and feel a little better for having a rant.

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37 Replies

  • I am so sorry for you - my husband has severe COPD and boy can he cough and produce!!! We have had very similar encounters and people trying to avoid him. Dont get upset - but I would consider ringing the store and complaining. You won't be the only one this woman will upset and she should be stopped. lots of love TAD xxx

  • Thank you TAD I think I will write them one of my famous letters.

  • I would be putting in an official complaint about her behaviour towards you that is outrageous...........

    Our consultants would be off work sick all the time if we were that infectious and all the staff who look after us......the cheeky cow

  • thank you Mandy. You are right. It is outrageous.

  • I havnt heard of this, but it is tterribly upsetting ,some of them nurses are very rude.....I usually have problems with them as I don't want to be controlled in any way,they make their own rules up and then blame me for being rude.....I keep well away from abusive people, their trouble!!!! So I know how you feel, your not alone.x

  • Nurses don't make any rules up - the hospital does and everyone has to obey them. They are just trying to do a very hard job despite some people making it very difficult for them.

  • That's true. I have never had a nurse be rude to me or treat me as though I was dirty. I suspect that some of the younger ones do not like carrying the sample pots because they have done too much of their training in a classroom instead of at the coalface on the wards where they are exposed to the realities of illness, rather than the text book.xx

  • Me neither SS. I did have one who said 'I am your nurse, any problems just ask'. I looked at her cold eyes and thought no way Jose but just smiled politely anyway. I never asked her anything :) x

  • So sorry Ss, there are times when my cough becomes severe and yes i am aware of people's body language and sometimes thoughtless comments. I said to my Dr once andd he said he had never caught anything frrom a patient. So be reassurred. I think you should report your experience to the company, if for no otherr reason than the education of the Pharmacist. I doubt she was intending to be rude but probably anxious about her recently diagnossed condition. Love Margaret x

  • I agree Margaret. My cough is bad as well and I am aware of people backing away from me too. I sometimes wonder if some of them have lung disease as well and that's the reason why. If so they are making it harder for others who unfortunately do cough a lot. x

  • How awful for you SS. I would put a complaint in and I don't blame you for being so upset and angry. It's bad enough to have poxy lung disease without all this as well. x

  • That is unacceptable behaviour from someone who should know better you must report her noone should make you feel like that .I too have a nasty cough and get lots of nasty looks so I know a little bit of how you feel take care and write that letter.

  • I can only repeat all the wise comments made here. I am a retired nurse and well aware how vulnerable patients can be. Believe me there are some kind nurses out there but it is the occasional rude one that will be remembered. I agree with the others, that the nurse should be reported. Learn the hard way. Love Pergola X

  • How upsetting for you. You must put in a formal complaint, she must not get away with such terrible behaviour. Take care xx

  • I agree that she should be reported, and hopefully re-educated. Such a shame that there is such ignorance around.

  • Thank you all so much. I have written a steaming letter to the manager of the store which I am now going to post. I don't want others to be made to feel like this. The joke of it was that I did not cough but she, with her 'non productive bronchiectasis ' was coughing quite a bit. Hey Ho! Bless you all!

  • Don't let it upset you anymore Stillstanding! The person in question was way out of line, in the wrong job, has much to learn!

    Sometimes a cry does you good....it releases stuff you shouldn't hold on to....if you can find compassion for this person who is frightened and ignorant you will feel peace within yourself 🙏

    Sending love and a big hug, huff xxx

  • thank you huff.xx

  • Sending you big hugs. I too notice now how people back away from me when I go into one if my famous coughing fits lol. I always keep tissues and keep my mouth covered so it is highly unlikely they would catch anything. who knows maybe at some point in the past I may have stepped back thinking oh god I don't want to catch that cough. But it would not have been maliciously dine just a knee jerk reaction. I do try to see the best in people but we do come across the odd rude ignorant one who need putting in their place. I certainly do hope this lady gets a strict telling off. Xx

  • I emphasise maccas - I always keep tissues handy and cover my nose and mouth etc. but this not enough for some people who can be very rude. I always sit at the front of the bus now coz of this. x

  • I am sure that we are the ones at risk when mixing with the general public, who are not nearly so aware of stopping the spread of infections as we are. I think she is probably in the wrong job, Put it behind you and remember for every thoughless, ignorant person ther are so many kind, understanding and helpful ones. iris x

  • Very upsetting SS and so totally unprofessional. Unbelievable in fact and hard to understand how someone like that could be let loose in a pharmacy. Not that it's any excuse but she's probably got the whole Non CF Bronchiectasis thing mixed up with CF. I know, from reading a CF woman's blog, that contact is not encouraged amongst people with CF because of the dangers of cross-infection.

    I'm glad you've written the letter because nothing excuses that act of agression and humiliation to a customer. I'm really sorry that you've had this horrible experience and hope you can put it behind you. Take Care !

  • Thank you Billiejean. Yes, I think you are right about the Cf versus non CF bronchiectasis thing. It seems that her doctors at the local hospital also have the same confusion.

  • i can only reiterate what folks have said here, , stillstandin :)

    take care

    jimmy :)

  • I am sorry you were treated that way. I had a problem with a pharmacist while waiting for my course of steroids. He was asking a staff member if I should be taking them all the time(which of course I am not). She said she would get a GP to phone me at home. He didn't look at me as I said that I only take them when told I need them, as was the case then and didn't need a phone call. I would report him if it happened again. It was far worse what happened to you and I hope you can soon get over the upset you were caused or maybe report her.

  • The problem with some pharmacists lies in the fact that they know a lot about drugs but very little about the conditions which they are used for. They can also be full of their own importance. When adrug has been prescribed for us we don't need their unnecessary input, wejust need the drug - now!

  • OMG, where did this stupid girl come from - the moon? She's so lucky that it wasn't me that she was serving, or she would have been the one that was embarrassed in front of everyone! I have no patience with ignorance and she should not be doing that job - you should complain.

    We all know that we're not infectious - that's ridiculous, but I think the fear has carried over from T.B which was so prolific until not so many years ago. These people need educating and stop making assumptions. If someone complained about my coughing - I'd do it all the more to annoy them. It's bad enough having these diseases without some ignoramus spouting off!

    That's my moan for today - I feel better now, I hope you do too SS? Lol XX

  • Yes , sheer ignorance. There is an issue with cystics cross infecting each other because of the way the organisms work in their bodies. Butdefinitely not us. Just proves that I was right about our.ocal hospital knowing jack .... about us or cystic fibrosis.

  • Well said SS. Stay strong. XX

  • Shocking way to treat you but are you sure that she's a pharmacist and not simply an assistant working in the Chemist? Doesn't excuse such insensitive stupidity but could explain it.

    I too have Bronchiectasis and have just been taught how to clear my chest more efficiently to help stop frequent flare-ups. I have an infection at the moment but the physiotherapist was handing me tissues and even taking the used ones back off me to put in the bin, despite my protests.

    Try not to let this silly girl prey on your mind, you have more than enough to cope with, either sort her out yourself or have someone else do it if you can't face her.

    Good luck luv, big hug.

  • sadly she had a badge stating 'pharmacist' The letter has gone to the Manager. As you so rightly point out,those workingclosely withus are simply not bothered. Cysticshave a different set of problems whichcan sometimes lead to cross infection etween them but definitely not us. I'mso glad that you have had help with 'gob removing techniques' I hope it helps.

  • Hope she's effectively re-educated, be good if she also felt the need to apologise but don't hold your breath (if u can, lol)

    Yes thanks SS, so far I'm very pleased with the Breathing Technique I was taught on Wed seem to be breathing easier and feeling more alert already. Mind you was a bit alarmed by the orange and dirty yellow blood streaked gunge that came up yesterday but started a 2 wk course of anti-bi's last night so here's hoping it was just from the underlying infection he suspected was festering away.

    Keep your chin up Hun, you've an army of supporters behind you.


  • That's great - get the rubbish up. Isn't it great that we can talk to people who know exactly what we have to deal with.

  • Too true, anyone not in the club would be reaching for the sick bucket, lol


  • OMG hun what a horrid experience. If she had been a 'layman' and had only been dx 6 monghs ago whe would be overwhelmed and over cautious, but heck a pharmacist behaving in such an unproffessional manner and ignorance is totally unacceptable.

    We are more likely to infect ourselves if we are colonised with something. As you say many of our family and friends would be infected if that was the case. The only time we could infect someone would be if we had the viruses which might be doing the rounds and I expect as a pharmacist she must have tons of them to deal with.

    I think folks with lung problems are very conciencious about covering their mouths when coughing etc. I know a a bronchi I do shy away from anyone in the general public (in fact I told a woman off this weekend who coughed and sneezed in my face, telling her for her it is an inconvenience but for me with lung issues it could lead to hospitalisation), on the other hand I was sat in a waiting room yesterday at a bronchiectasis clinic without a worry.

    Glad you have written and I hope you get a satisfactory solution. Do you remember not long ago flib had a similar experience in Boots when she forgot her blue inhaler. She was struggling so much and the pharmacist wouldn't let her have one and was very unpleasant. Someone on here kindly gave her the CEO's email at Boots and she wrote to the pharmacy body too - not because of her treatment specifically but because if this pharmacy did this again it could mean life or death to someone.

    You must feel a bit better now you have written your letter. This young woman has a lot to learn and hopefully now she will. This shit happens to us and it depends how we feel at the time how we deal with it. How lucky are you hun to know so much more about your condition than a supposed professional. She will have to learn quickly too because she is going to get this sort of thing happen to her, You for instance know your local hospital is not the best place for a bronchi. She is so silly - she could have taken the oppportunity to learn so much from your vast experience.

    Let us know what happens next hun.

    love cx

  • Thank you so much for your response cofdrop. My daughter is so disgusted that she put it on the Spotted Stratford website. I wouldn't have gone to such lengths but she thinks we must fight such ignorance.

  • What an ignoramus! Good for your daughter - name and shame these people.

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