You see your doctor; he writes a prescription. You fill it, take all the pills, get a refill, take the pills… Simple.
Then you see another doctor for something else and are given a new prescription. You fill it and start taking these pills, too. Since you didn’t fill your prescriptions at the same time, they don’t need to be refilled at the same time. Now you’re at the pharmacy twice a month.
You have a follow-up with your doctor and he writes an additional prescription as well as increases one of the existing meds to three times a day instead of twice a day. Now you have two prescriptions to refill on one day, and another to refill on a different day. Except that you still have part of a bottle left from when the one med was bid, so really you run out on three different days. Next your tid rx is reduced to bid, so a two month supply lasts you three months (and the pharmacist thinks you’re not taking your pills regularly).
Now you’re at the pharmacy so often that everyone who works there knows you. When they glance up and see that it’s you standing in line, they smile, “Oh, hi,” go grab your bag off the shelf, and ring up your purchase without you having to ever say your name. They show you their latest knitting projects and ask about your kids.
And you’re given another prescription. And another. You need a separate appointment calendar just to keep track of when the various pills need to be refilled.
I never really let it get that bad; I gave up way before it got to that point. My refills usually all get picked up at the same time and I just dump the remains of the old bottle into the new one.
Last night I got curious and dumped everything out to count. In theory (if you go by the dates on the bottles) I should refill everything by next Monday. My mtx bottle is empty. The folic acid will run out on Monday. But there are thirteen days of one med, seven days of another, and 48 days of yet another (guess I don’t need to fill that one this month)!
My cupboard is FULL of prescription bottles! I’ve heard of people whose insurance company won’t pay for medicines more often than every thirty days. I’m so glad that my insurance pays without squawking so that I can fill everything in one trip (even if there’s a bottle that isn’t empty yet) instead of making me visit the pharmacy weekly.