The pharmacist grinned when he saw Alice. He looked good-natured, she thought. A white coat and a broad smile, she though he ought to be treated with respect. She held out her prescription.
‘Will it work’ asked Alice.
‘Well that all depends on what you are wanting it to do?’ replied the Cheshire Pharmacist, ‘of course it will work if you take enough of it’
‘But will it make me feel better’ asked a rather frustrated Alice.
‘Feel better? Now that is a totally different question’. ‘You will probably feel something, but I can’t say whether it will make you feel better’
Alice tried a different question ‘what sort of people live about here?
The pharmacist waved his hand round ‘lives a doctor: and in that direction,’ waving the other hand, ‘lives you. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’
‘Mad’ said Alice, ‘we aren’t mad’. ‘How do you know we are mad?’
‘You must be,’ said the pharmacist, ‘or you wouldn’t be here with a prescription asking me if it will make you feel better’.
In the real world, everybody clearly explains to the prescriber what their condition means to them and the dominant symptom that they want help with to enable them to feel better. And every prescriber co-produces a treatment plan with the patient that tackles the specific symptom, possibly including a medicine within a support programme to support the patient to feel better.
Which one is reality and which one is fiction – sometimes it’s hard to tell.