At the Corner of Happy and Healthy

| November 24, 2017

the-actual-corner-of-happy-and-healthyI started writing about my brush with sudden cardiac death this Summer. Since then, modern medicine has kept me reading (pathology slides) and writing (a pathology blog).

See: The Clinic Door ( and the subsequent part for a quick review of the start of things.

One of the major facets of my treatment has been oral medications that require scheduled refills. Walgreens has as its byline “at the corner of happy and healthy”. And I have spent my fair share going to the corner of happy and healthy the past 3 months.

There are several things about Walgreens (and presumably CVS or Rite-Aid or others but I chose the corner of happy and healthy for my retail pharmacy). To get to the rear of the store to pick up your medications one must pass through several aisles lined by cosmetics, pain killers, cold medicines, greeting cards or candy/food and alcohol. Happy comes before healthy as the sign says.

A few observations:

  • In the span of about 10 tiles on the floor you can walk the course of birth to death conveniently presented as neatly wrapped cards. I never appreciated this before. New baby greetings, birthdays 1 through 10 (and then 16, 21, 40 and 50 and by then the birthday cards run out). Baptisms, christenings, confirmations, bar and bat mitzvahs are between birth and the sweet 16 cards. Then high school graduation, college graduation, first job, promotion and “On Your Retirement”. Grandparents Day, Sweetest Day, Boss’s Day and “Get Well Soon” fill out the rack. And apparently “On Your Circumcision” is not a marketable message.  Anniversary cards and death of a spouse or friend and cards marketed towards the LGBT community can be found – down the line from the First Birthday cards. To see the progression of things in the span of about 30 feet, on your way to pick up your beta blocker and blood thinner don’t really help your situation.
  • In the past, I would run into Walgreens to get the “pink stuff” for ear infections. Usually it was ready or could be mixed at home and you would get it and go. Now sometimes there are issues with “insurance approval” or filling the prescription (despite the texts, pop ups and emails that “your prescription is ready”). This means spending 15 minutes looking at the dog food specials, “As Seen on TV” products or going down the “Pain Reliever” aisle. This section is actually longer than all the greeting cards that take you from cradle to grave. There are rows and rows of aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen. Some in pills, tablets, capsules, gels and liquid. Then there are more rows of pills to make you wake up, go to sleep, relax, speed up or manage congestion, cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat so you can sleep medicine. These come in green, blue, red or clear. And I thought NoDoz was only something you bought at gas stations.
  • And there are more rows to make you go to the bathroom, stop you from going to the bathroom or making things come up the other way.  More pills, tablets, capsules, powders, pink liquids and multi-colored pills in the same bottle for a fruity taste.
  • Finally, once you pick up your pills, you have about a 50% chance of walking past the candy, food and alcohol displays to get the heck out of the store. I remember an old joke that asked rhetorically “If you cannot drink and drive why do bars have parking lots and why do gas stations sell beer and wine?” This is almost as absurd. A pharmacy where you can pick up some potato chips, processed meats and vodka to wash down your diuretic and ace inhibitor.

For some reason this has been lost on me all the times I ran into Walgreens for a Red Bull, last minute Mother’s Day card or shaving cream.

I think next time I will use the drive thru and avoid the confrontation with everything else at the corner of happy and healthy.






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Category: Humor, Personal

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