It was about 3 a.m. A young woman in her twenties and her concerned boyfriend presented prescriptions for Keflex and Percocet to be filled. Her right hand was heavily bandaged. She was crying, and the boyfriend was very quiet and looked extremely serious and upset. I filled the prescriptions quickly, and after I rung them out, I made a horrible mistake. She was still crying, and the boyfriend just grunted, "Thank you," when I looked at her with concern and said, "I hope you feel better."
At this point, her face fills with rage, she waves her bandaged hand in my face and screams, "Well, I DON'T HAVE A FUCKING FINGER!!!"
She stormed out and the boyfriend quickly followed, and I just stood there, shocked. I then realized how callous and glib my words must have seemed to someone whose life will never be the same after losing a finger. I felt absolutely terrible for making her difficult day even worse. And I realized that expressing my wish for her to feel better was only to make myself feel better.
I did learn from that encounter, and I try to read people a bit better before offering my wishes, and I have learned that in a serious situation, a simple, "Take care," voiced with concern works much better. And the folks that want to talk about why they went to the ER, or what kind of phlegm they are hacking up are more than happy to share.