The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the Coop in Retail

Courtesy that extends to the other side of the counter too.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:36 pm on Sunday, May 4, 2014

As you might figure, being courteous is required in any job that deals with the public, as it should be.  we should be courteous people in every aspect of our lives but sadly we aren’t.  I am amazed at things I see while perusing the internet. Surreptitious videos that people have taken of other’s bad bad behavior go viral after only a few days on the net.  Insults are hurled in comments on blogs and news articles…fights break out on facebook and message boards.  I am not totally immune, as I have been known to snap back a bit at people who have made rude comments on my own blog…but then again, its MY blog. I own it.

That being said, in the pharmacy world, we need and should expect some courtesy from people who choose to do business with us.  I recently came to work one day to see a script in the auto fill queue for a lady’s birth control pill.  Last month she had called and complained that she didn’t like the new manufacturer we had given her.  Fair enough. We purchase on contract and that is our contracted item.  I told her I ‘d be happy to return it, and transfer it to a store of her choosing, as my options are few when it comes to contracted purchasing. We dont get to pick and choose our generics.  So, when I saw this rx in the queue, I did a history check and I noticed she never returned it.  I filled the script, and called her home to ask if she was happy with the rx…does she want this one..yada yada.  I got her husband on the phone.  “Yup, thats a question for her, she is at work, her number is 544-555-1212. “.  I called her cell, and got her message machine so I left as detailed of message I could do under HIPAA.  I asked her to call me back.  tick tick tick…After about 5 pm, I called her home again, and got another message machine.  This time I just reiterated what I had said earlier and said ” your script is ready as is, if you dont want it, please let me know”.

Never heard back from her. I just had to assume the answer was yes.

Is it too much to ask for a simple call?   We get rejections every day for insurance issues, and each of them is handled with a courtesy call to the patient requesting either more information ( new card perhaps), or suggestions to call the doc for substitution ( non covered items).  Most of the time I feel as if I have spoken into a black hole. Sometimes I will even ask ” did you get my call?” and often I hear ” yea, i saw you left a message, but I didn’t listen to my script ready?”  AARGH! if you listened to the message you would know its not ready..and why!

Last week, after sending 4 faxes to a doctors office with no answer and getting ripped a new one by the patient ( because obviously its MY fault even tho I left him a message telling him he may want to call the office). I called and left a message. ” PLEASE, we need this refill, either ok or denied.  The patient is being a bit of a jerk about it and blaming us and we both know we cant fill it without some kind of response from your office.  ”  About a half out later she finally called back and was snippy and rude to me telling me I shouldn’t call my patients “jerks”.  I told her I didn’t call HIM a jerk…he was BEING  a jerk in his behavior towards our staff.. and frankly it shouldn’t take 7 days to do a simple refill.. so is it approved?

We have our own guidelines of courtesy that we follow each day.  We make courtesy calls when we are out of stock on merchandise..we call when we need addtional information prior to filling a script.  We call when its not covered or needs a prior auth.  Any opportunity that makes it less likely to have somebody pissed at us is one I am willing to take!  But more often than not, I leave messages that are never returned.

I need customers to understand that we are not a fast food restaurant.  We dont waste your time because we dont have time to waste ourselves. If we call YOU to ask a question, we need an answer…and that answer will often decide when and if your prescription is ready.  Same goes for the dr’s offices…if we ask for some information, its not because we hate you…its because we NEED it…to take care of YOUR patients.. For instance, a patient with a mouth full of cotton brought me a script written for Norco.  No strength…Just Norco.  I called the office and hoped I’d get an answer immediately for this patient whose mouth was getting bloodier by the minute.  What did I get?  ” He is with a patient, we will call you later…”  LATER??

With the electronic age firmly ensconced in the pharmacy now, it sets us up for an entire new set of needs: E script clarification.  Ive had e scripts sent for massages, IUD’s , “Unknown drug” ( yea, go figure how THAT got sent), duplicate rx’s with differing directions… Multiple rx’s with different strengths of same meds.  Missing sigs, vague sigs, nonsensical sigs…etc.  Makes you wonder if anybody ever reads them before they hit “send”.  Each one has to be printed and sent back for clarification which sadly can take up to a day…when it really shouldnt.

health care isn’t going to get any fact its going to be more and more complicated as we move further and further into the future.  We have so many i’s to dot and t’s to cross that I have to make sure I’ve documented everything before I sign it off. And if that requires a phone call or a need for more information, the very least..entend that courtesy to us.  It will make for a better experience for everyone!

Blind Ambition

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:45 pm on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

If you have read my blog for awhile, I am more than just a writer about pharmacy.  Tho MOST of my content revolves around the practice of retail pharmacy, I am not that narrow of minded that only pharmacy is worthy of writing about.  You’ve read about my family, my dogs, my passion for golf…etc.

I am also in the “business” if you wanna call volunterring ” business” of dog rescue.  I stumbled upon this calling a couple of years ago, and since that time I have done home visits for potential adopters, transports, shelter pulls and fostering…..FOSTERING…the bringing in of a dog recently removed from a home or shelter into my home for a period of time, after which it leaves for its new FURever home.

Ive had several in this short amount of time. I am also a proud member of the Failed Foster Society…one who keeps the dog one was supposed to temporarily shelter.  In this case it was a 13 year old boy who had been dumped at the shelter because he was basically useless to his owner anymore.  Old dogs are hard to adopt because at 13 he is basically past his expected lifespan.  Once he settled in at my house, I told the coordinator that he can just live out his days here.  Its been over a year and he is a joy.  Useless to WHOM ? I might ask his previous owner.

Recently I embarked on an entirely new venture, one that even I have been nervous about.  I took in a new dog.  He is the sweetest dog in the world.  Rescued from a case of animal neglect he was left to his own devices, tied to a pole and left to sleep in a barrel.  At least he was fed.  But that was it.  His crime?  He is completely BLIND.

I have learned so much in the short time I have had my blind boy.  First, I have learned how amazingly adapable a dog can be.  In a very short amount of time, he has found his way around the house, navigated stairs, found the right things to pee on outside, and has made friends with my two other dogs. I am learning my own new things as well.  I have to use my ears differently and find myself hearing white noises I wouldn’t normally think about.  ” What does THIS sound like to BOY?”  He is startled by sounds probably because his ears are his eyes.  I think about the sound I make moving from room to room. I say hello before I reach out to pet him so he can know where I am in reference to himself.   He follows my voice so I walk in patterns that he can learn my home layout without bumping into things.

I have to look at my home differently too.  I look at things he can hurt himself on, like drop offs and stairs..  He loves to walk outside and unlike some cases where a taut leash is a bad thing, in this case he keeps a reference to where I am.

He is absolutely beautiful and perfect, except his eyes dont work.  We have a doc appointment with a specialist to see if it is fixable or if we can find HOW he was blinded.  It would be awesome if he was fixable, but the odds aren’t all that good.

Somebody will adopt this wonderful boy.  And they will be blessed, as I have by taking him for this period of time.

God must have known of my aching heart.  I wrote about my beloved who died in november.  Other than his little dangly thing under him,  This boy is the spitting image of my girl I lost in Nov.  So much so I keep calling him HER.

Amazing Grace, how sweet it is!

Nothing good happens at closing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:11 pm on Monday, March 3, 2014

True story. Setting: the pharmacy, 4 minutes before closing.  I can tell you from nearly 30 years of retail experience that nothing good happens from two things:  the phone ringing at closing time ( I dont answer it…right to voice mail) or when somebody comes up to counter right at closing ( damn, I am stuck dealing with that).

This guy comes up and hands my tech a beat up rx for tramadol 50mg. Pretty ugly since it had been written only hours before at the local ER. Conversation goes like this?

TECH:  Have you been here before?

PT: Yes. I have a cab outside

(tech looks up patient by date of birth and named as spelled and nothing comes up..(((.and WTF does a cab have to do with anything?)))

TECH: are you SURE you have been here before?  I can’t find you in  my computer.

PT:  well not HERE exactly ( rolls eyes at the tech), but in your  New Califlorimexiland…arent you all the same? My cab is outside.

TECH:  no we aren’t all the same but I can search for you in the network. ( searches network..finds patient)  ” found you,  is your insurance still current–state medicaid of NewCaliflorimexiland?” ( ignoring the reference to the CAB again…)

PT: yes. everything is current  ( insert dramatic music..impending disaster coming) my cab is waiting.

I come over , view the rx, am preturbed that after 9 hours of working that my growly stomach is going to have to wait even long as we finish yet another “at the finish line” rx….and unlock the narc cabinet ( tramadol is locked up) and politely say ” I am sorry you have a cab waiting but there is a certain amount of time you have to allott for this process”

tech spends WAY too much time typing rx and I know that there is a problem.  Thankfully the dude is a “hoverer” and didn’t walk away.

TECH:  your insurance says you were terminated Jan 4 2013.

PT:  You told me that last month and I had to pay!  I have “COVERITALL” HMO with New Califlorimexiland.

ME:  WE told you that last month?? are you sure it was US??  you havent been HERE before and our network has no rx’s for you since DECEMBER.

TECH:  yup, that plan is exactly what the network has for you, and it says terminated on Jan 4.  do you have a current card I can compare this to?

PT:NO. I dont have a card and maybe it was Big Box I went to,  ( getting pissy)  I dont remember!

TECH:  when you were told last month that your coverage was terminated did you CALL your HMO?  or your CASEWORKER? to let them know??

PT:  no, cuz they had to be wrong.

Tech hands rx back to patient:  TECH:Unfortunately they weren’t wrong …its terminated and there isn’t anyone I can call for you  on a saturday night. You will really want to contact your caseworker and find out if you are eligible or if they changed your HMO to something else first thing monday morning. Its 25.99 if you want to pay for it out of pocket.

PT: I dont have any money. I have insurance.

ME:  I am not challenging what you are saying, but here is your rejection notification.  Is there anything else I can help you with before we close for the day? We do need to close the pharmacy now.

He takes the rx and wanders off.

Here is what I take from this:  He knew there was a problem last month and did nothing about it on his own volition. He paid for the rx last month and wanted to gripe about it this month..  And since he has had the  rx for many hours, I suspect we werent the first place he went to, but ended up here because he didn’t have his insurance card anyway. He kept ragging about the cab even tho he had a cab voucher from the state ( he had it on the counter) so the cab was free, but I think he wanted us to feel rushed.

And I dont think he was much of a hurry or that broke because when I walked out toward the parkinglot, he was in the self checkout buying a 6pak of beer and some chips..and the cab was still out front.

Just more fun in the pharmacy….



The New Years Hate List.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:55 pm on Tuesday, January 7, 2014

From all of us pharmacists to the rest of the world, I introduce the hate list.  Feel free to add to it (within reason)

1. To everyone who decided they DIDNT need a flu shot in the fall and now falls prey to media panic…we hate you….and your pissy attitude when we tell you we are now out of stock.  Where were you in October when I had literally 1500 doses sitting in the fridge…and lots of staff to help.  We are back to normal labor model and yes it will take an hour to process that shot….if we had any. Youve already told me youve been to 4 pharmacies. Why would I be any different?

2.  To the insurance companies fail to issue cards before the new year…We hate you.  And to CVS CAREMARK who refuses to provide that information to the customers over the phone ( only to me)  We hate you more.  Its THEIR information! GIVE IT TO THEM.  Do you really think I have time to call you 15 times a day to get processing information because your lazy processing department cant get cards out timely?

3. to patients who HAVE received new cards and dont bring them to me…We hate you.  Getting angry at me because I filled your prescription for cash because your plan terminated 12-31-13 isn’t going to change the price.  AND if you had checked your voice mail BEFORE traipsing over here, you’d have a very polite message from moi reminding you of that fact.

4. My employer to had a colossal snafu in the  computer system and wiped out 6 years of doctors information…we hate you.  It looks pretty stupid to have a doctor with a Tennessee address and a local phone number..which we cannot update because of some crazy national data base rule.   So technically we fill a prescription with inaccurate prescriber info.  Thanks.

5. to anybody who waited til monday to refill their prescriptions and wants it RIGHT NOW..we hate you.  We can do amazing things,  but not on YOUR time schedule.  we have to use MINE.  And 30 people cannot wait for their prescription and get it in 10 minutes. The first day of the week, first week of  month AND year is the perfect storm for all retail pharmacies.  Toss in flu mania and its ugly.

6. To ANY insurance company who requires transmitted information that is not on their card…we hate you. Yup, its you again CVS CAREMARK.  If you put a card with an ID  number of 00045321 and then verbally tell me I need 5 leading zeros instead of 3 then shame on you and every member of your overstuffed organization.  A big puss filled boil on all your butts.

7. And while I am having a hate fest with insurers, let me add this one more.  To you who require generic substitution but then charge the same brand name copay because its still expensive.  We hate you.  You aren’t making any friends with your clients or patients when their Cymbalta costs them 50.00 as a single source product but then 50.00 as generic too.  Sure, you  charge them even more for the brand NOW, but why not cut them some slack.. Generic is generic to them. We are happy to comply with your requirements but give us a reason to support it!

YOUR turn!! What do you hate this new year ? (pharmacy topics only )


A new years quiet.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:13 pm on Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I love to take a walk. As much as I would like to have Mr Chick with me, he seldom enjoys a walk like I do unless he is hauling around a golf bag. All summer long I walk the fairways  of the golf course and in the winter I walk the paths hear my house. I haven’t walked as much this winter as I should so this morning I peeked outside and decided  “no rain” means “yes walk”.  Mr Chick wasn’t stirring yet and I wake up at about the same time each day regardless of when  I go to bed so I crawled out of bed, put on my walkers, ankle weights, and fanny pack and left.

It was an unusually quiet morning today.  Perhaps the occupants of the houses were still snoozing off the late night revelry bringing in the new year.  Perhaps it was the dense fog that enveloped me like a cold wet blanket.  Regardless, all I could hear was my feet padding along the asphalt and my breathing as I moved along.  Even the birds werent singing yet.  One lone woodpecker was beating against the trunk of a tree I couldn’t see for all the fog.For the most part I was the lone occupant on this part of the path.

Walking is a great way to think.  Unless you stuff your ears with buds and blare music in them, a walk can be a great way to shake the trash from your head.  At first my head was such a mess it seemed  “noisy” to me.  My internal lists of stuff to do, bills to pay, various thoughts moving around, reliving recent events all were rattling around like a hive full of bees.  It was probably a good 20 minutes before I could shake most of the chaos inside.  Slowly my brain got quieter.

Sometimes I use my walk times to talk to God and see if he has anything to say to me.  I’ll be honest. its hard to talk to God sometimes when I am told he is only a breath away but FEELS like he is completely unreachable because of my life circumstances. My head is busy and I get so wired up in the present and my “stuff” that instead of walking WITH God, I just trudge on like a lone soldier on a mission.  I am not very good at resting…either my body or my mind..and letting God speak–in whatever way he “speaks”.  And no I am not one of those goofballs that thinks that God talks to me in some George Burns sort of way.

But I wish he would…I think. Perhaps I would be better prepared for those curveballs that I get thrown…or not fall for that temptation that I swear I would never do, but do anyway…or have the perfect words in a difficult situation..instead of bungling it. But no, I get to walk into the daily murky fog hoping that I have been given enough preparedness to not bungle too many things…to speak and act when I should and remain still when I must.  I hear people say ” God led me to do this, or say that”…but while I have seen in retrospect how God has orchestrated things , I seldom feel he has used me in any significant way but then again, maybe I am not sensitive enough to know. perhaps someday…maybe this year? Every year is like a new page right??

What kid doesn’t like a brand new coloring book?  Each new year is like getting that new book and brand new crayons.  And, like that quiet walk in the fog that shakes the trash out of my busy brain,  I turn to the first page of my new coloring book.  As I crunch along the asphalt and ponder “what ever”… God  is picking the first crayon from the box.

I wonder what He will color?

The insinuation

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:48 pm on Monday, December 16, 2013

As a human, I dont like to have my personal failures pointed out to me, nor do I take any joy in pointing them out in others.  We all have our things we do that may not be smart, and I accept that.  However, THAT BEING SAID,  I do not appreciate when somebody has a failure  in their life and then tries to create a situation like its my fault or I will be to blame if I dont bail them out.

“bail out”..we do a lot of that.  I dont need to list them all here. If you are a pharmacist, you know how we bail out customers all the time.  Whether it be vacation overrides AS THEY ARE ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT, or finding a way to get a med covered because they allegedly LOST it..again… we seem to be in  the business of “rescue” several times a day.

Not everybody should be rescued however.  Take Thursday…please..Id really not like to have that day over. For some reason Wed was slow and that created a super busy Thursday.  By day’s end we were almost 50 over our normal Thursday volume.  It was close to 6 ish when this guy came in.  He asked for me by name which was odd because the only thing we had ever done for him was one flu shot. I remembered him vaguely as being a pretty nice guy.  He handed me a bottle from a store several states over. Lisinopril 10mg # 30….One daily… Dated Sept 26 2013.  O refills remaining.

” I forgot I was out of refills” ” We moved here a couple of months ago and don’t have a new doctor yet. What can you do for me?”  Wow, I thought that was interesting verbiage to be honest.  What can you do for me?  I looked at the bottle and a couple of thoughts came to mind….1)  by all intents and purposes he should have run out of this med on Oct 26. Today was December 12.  So roughly 45 days have passed since he should have been out, so compliance is an issue.  2) He said he moved here so his relationship with the doc would technically have ended and 3) he has no new relationship established with a new physician tho he has had 2 months to do so.

” My options are pretty limited” I said and proceeded to tell him what ” I can do ” for him.  I would call his previous pharmacy and get the doc information and fax the doctor on Friday and request one more refill  and see if the Doc would do that.  Most likely he would unless he had some kind of acrimonious ending prior to moving or if he was grossly overdue for an appointment…..OR He could make a trip to a Urgent Care or Quickie clinic and get the doc to check his blood pressure and give him a month RX or so til he actually established care locally.   He certainly didn’t want to spend any money by going to urgent care he said…. so that left option No. 1.

I took his bottle and said I would contact the office and ask if they would take care of this matter but HE should call them first thing in the am to make it a priority…after all  ” they have to act before I can fill this…I can ASK, but I cannot REQUIRE.”

I hoped I had made it very clear what I was going to do, and what he should do to end up with the desired result within 24 hours.

He then said ” Arent you going to give me any meds for tonight?”    ” Lets just see what the doctor says tomorrow before I have to make that decision”, I said. ” We dont know what he wants yet. So lets give it one more day”

And then the topped off this conversation with this little zinger… ” Dont you think you are putting me in harms way by denying me this med?”


If I was the store OWNER, I could have responded with a nice little zinger of my own, but I dont sign my own paychecks sadly.  ” I truly dont think you are in any danger.  By the date on this RX, you really should have been out in late October…one more day will not matter.”

And off he went… It wasnt an angry conversation, but he didn’t get what he wanted.  I did what I felt was professionally the correct call.

The tech was dumfounded.  ” Harms way??” she said.   ” was he serious?”

He was essentially attempting to make his failure to refill his drugs promptly,his noncompliance, or get a new doc in a timely manner, MY  PROFESSIONAL GUILT TRIP.

And, I was having none of it.  One flu shot does not make him my responsiblilty.  And certainly he didnt feel in harms way for either going without or skipping days the last 2 and 1/2 months.

Would it have been the end of the world if I gave him 3 tabs and it was refused?  no, probably not. But thats not the point here.

I am not properly packed…Please dont send me on a guilt trip not of my own making.


Introspectives in a 4 week period

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:22 pm on Monday, December 2, 2013

When I think of “introspection” I think of an examination of my own thoughts and feelings.  Most of my day’s work is rarely introspective.  Its all about dealing with everybody else’s feelings and wants and needs.  I am the supreme pharmacy babysitter most days…” I need this, I want that, I lost this, I am out of that”….FIX IT. And so I do.  I sacrifice my appetite, my bladder, my tiredness, body to the department for sometimes up to 13 hours at a time meeting needs that never quit until I shut the gates at closing time, forcing the needs to wait until the next morning onslaught. Its definitely not for the faint hearted, the weak, and certainly not for the impatient.

The roughly 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a joy and a nightmare at the same time. People go nuts. There is no way around that.  They over commit, over indulge, and over pay, resulting in meltdowns over the simplest of things.

I watch this every year with a weird wonderment, because I feel very disconnected in this 4 week period known as the Christmas “season”.   The true joy I had the participation of Christmas left on 5-6-98, when my mother died.  She was a Xmas nut!  We had two trees, one green and one flocked, tons of presents ( all of which I wrapped..she bought…I wrapped..and never peeked …because I had to wrap my own too…long story ). she would bake wonderful confections and cookies which were put on trays she brought to neighbors and friends. It was a labor of love.

When my mother died, so did my connection with the trappings of the holidays.  In those years since, I have probably had 3, maybe four years of a Christmas tree in my house. Because my  friends give me such grief I went to a big box store and bought a 24 inch fold out plastic tree. It sits in my window box.

I’ve just never been able to get out of this funk over Christmas.  I have minimal participation, but I still love some aspects.  I could listen to the music all year long and never tire of it. I love the red and green, the over-the-top sweaters,  the colored lights on houses..all that stuff, but if you walk into my own home, all you might see is that small plastic tree.

Yea, its probably pathetic. I do a lot of thinking during this 4 week period too.  Since Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, its a fitting time to remember what a huge sacrifice that was.  Many people think of the sacrifice of Christ as the death on the cross, but I propose to all that he made TWO huge sacrifices for us. 1) the cross, and 2) when he gave up the glory of Heaven to live as a human.  I cannot imagine what that was like to leave his perfectness and live in this imperfect and broken place. He is my perfect model. My gold standard.  The perfection I wish to hold to.

Since He is my standard, I pale woefully in comparison, another of my difficulties during this season.  MY PERSONAL Introspection reveals what I really am, a complete failure compared to the perfection of Christ.  And while his sacrifices will REDEEM me as innocent before the judge, it doesn’t change the fact that I am GUILTY,  and he is paying my price.  Nothing I can do can ever pay my debt.

Im guilty and keep being guilty.  Being  a Christian has  not made me a better person, forgiven yes, but better? NO. I try, daily in fact, but its hard.  I still do dumb things, still say dumb things, still stumble over the same sins over and over.  Being a Christian has made me more AWARE of my failures.  For example, if your reference model for morality doesn’t include A,B C or D, then you do not have that as a standard.  I profess a certain standard to compare myself by and is pains me that I fall short of it every day.  Yes, HE forgives me, but I never forgive myself.

Mr Chick lives in the Joy and Freedom that Christ’s sacrifice gave him, but for me, sometimes I just cannot get over my humanity. I find it mildly amusing when I have written this blog over the last few years, I will write about certain subjects and I will be accused of “judging” others.  It is what it is, I report what I see, but I dont judge, I never want to be anybody’s judge and jury…as I am busy enough dealing with my own mess to really be worried about anybody elses.

I wish I had the answer…every year during this 4 week time it bubbles to the surface like a poison brew.

Life needs a giant undo button sometimes.

Thanksgiving gratitudes

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:55 am on Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, far and wide…all dozen of you Ha Ha!

We all have things to be thankful for, small and large.  I have myriads of things I can give thanks for, too many to list here, but the one I will focus on today is HEALTH.  If you HAVE it be most thankful for it today, if you dont, my heart goes out to you.

In my business I see people every day with broken bodies, broken minds, chronic pain and illness.  People dont come to me daily because they generally WANT to.  They come because they need some kind of fix for a problem they dont want to have…whatever that is. I don’t hang around an auto repair store because I like to waste time all day. I am there solely because something is broken or needs maintenance. Same with a pharmacy.

I have been gifted with good health for most of my life.  Sure, Ive been sick occasionally, but I can DO what I want most of the time.  I play golf, tennis, walk the dogs, climb stairs, play the piano, run ( if I must), etc.  All my body parts are intact and they work.  the same cannot be said for a lot of people.  Whether it be by lifestyle choice or horrific circumstances, a lot of people live with broken bodies. I see these people every single day.  AND, no matter the technological miracles we have done with modern science, we still cannot fix many of the ills people suffer.  If that was the case, there would be no need for wheelchairs….or headstones.

I recently lost my beloved pet.  All the advances in veterinary medicine couldn’t fix her.  And the same can be said for human medicine.  Yes, there are a lot of things we CAN fix, maintain or prevent, but if I lose a hand, I will never play the piano again.  No fake hand can do that. Some pain cannot be fixed.  My massive dispensing list of narcotics demonstrate that.

We can turn a blind eye to that reality, but it doesn’t make it go away. So…

On this day if you sit before a table of turkey and all the trimmings,  take just a few minutes to be grateful for something. If you have your health send a special thanks Upward. Its truly a blessing.

Love to you all!

Pharmacy Chick


For the love of a dog

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:46 pm on Friday, November 8, 2013

If you don’t have pets, or understand why people love their pets like children, you might as well stop reading and move on today.  This post has nothing to do with pharmacy today.


I want you to meet my dogs.( Click on image to enlarge)  For the sake of privacy, I am calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I love them with all my heart.  Mr chick and I dont have children.  We have Furbabies. They are my pride and joy.  For them I have spared no expense. Thing 1 is in my arms and Thing 2 is peeking at the camera.  Thing 1 hates the camera and when I take out the camera, she always turns away, where as 2 is a camera hog. She seems to love to have her picture taken.  In this picture, its Christmas day a few years ago. ( and yes, that is me) We were having a small discussion about 1 getting on the counter stealing cheese.   She promised she would never do it again. 2 wouldn’t make such a promise and steals food…but then again, 1 stole food again also so it was a wasted exercise, but I got to hug my pup so it was all ok.

Pretty much everything I have in my house has the dogs in mind.  the floor was tiled with a color that hides dirt because they have dirty feet, my furniture is dog friendly and when I buy clothes, I consider how it will handle dogs.  Its just the way it is.  When thing 2 got seriously ill last summer, we spent time at 2 vets and an animal hospital and over $3k getting her fixed.  She was worth every cent to me and she is perfectly fine now.  About a month ago Thing 1 started favoring her paws when she was running around.  We thought she stepped on something and was sore.   closer inspection showed her feet were rather raw and broken, so off we went to the vet to see whats up.  He decided she had some kind of paw skin infection and put her on antibiotics…which 5 days later showed no improvement whatsoever, so back to the vet we went again, but saw the senior partner in the vet firm this time ( as first vet was off).  Thing 1′s feet were crusty and bloody and she had sores developing on her bottom.  Something was wrong.

The vet didn’t say too much at first but he wanted to do a certain blood panel right away.  He looked at her feet, her sores, gave her different antibiotics and a score of other things to give her, apply on her body and soak in. He said he would call us.

The next day he called with the results:  her liver enzymes were way off for no particular reason.  He said he suspected a certain liver disease called hepatocutaneous syndrome: a rare and fatal condition, and the only reason he thought of it was because his own dog died from it several years ago, and Thing 1 had identical symptoms. I looked up this disease at home and fell ill just reading about it.  The photos were atrocious and the prognosis was grim.  He just had to be wrong.

He wanted an ultrasound to either confirm or deny the diagnosis, so we dropped 1 off at the vet in the am and went off to play golf, partly to get our mind off the situation and partly to enjoy the warm fall day. My phone rang on the 5th hole.  ” its Hepatocutaneous, I am so sorry”. I started sobbing on the tee box. My furbaby was dying. We left the course to collect her at the vet. As soon as I saw her I dropped to the floor and held her tight, trying not to touch her sore spots.

We soaked her wounds, we gave her all the meds, we tried high amino acid foods and gelatin to boost her liver. She took all of them dutifly even if reluctantly. She didn’t like taking pills and could find one small pill in a pile of meat and leave it behind, as clean as it was in the bottle. Finally we found sucess in liver sausage, the one food she still ate.   The plethora of antiobiotics stopped the oozing but couldn’t stop the process.  Her paws nearly doubled in size from the hyperkeratosis and the splits.  She walked so gingerly one might think she was walking on shards of glass.  it probably felt that way.  I bought her booties to pad her way.  I put Calmoseptine on her vulva to protect it and she squealed when I touched the sore spots.  She parked on the couch and never moved. When came home from work at night, she would be next to Papa and would wag her little butt but never rose to meet me.  She would lick the tears off my face…and there were many.

When I would play the piano, she would still pad her way over to my feet and lay there, sometimes quivering from the effort. I prayed.  I prayed some more.

Monday she refused all breakfast.  Even the liver wasnt worth the effort but for a few nibbles. She lay in the corner by the piano.  I laid on the floor next to her and just heaved sobs.  She placed her head on my hands. The light in her eyes had left her.  There was no more effort to be made to get up. I called Papa at work and told him my fears and he wanted to see if she might rally over night. Tuesday was more of the same so wednesday we made the awful decision to bring her to the feet of Jesus and give her back the the One who gave her to us.

We held her as she left, and for a long while after. I cried as I did when my mom died.   She was my baby girl. In just over 6 weeks we went from my romping, squirrel chasing, ball playing, waterloving escape artist to this.  Its not fair and I dont know why I had to lose her this way.

We will get her ashes in a week.  Her paw print, broken and split as it was is impressed in a clay tray as a gift.

My heart is broken. She forever has a piece of it with her over that Rainbow Bridge.

Bye bye sweet baby. May we meet again when I cross over my own rainbow bridge.

Surveys and more surveys

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:05 am on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I know you have seen these.  If you haven’t you probably haven’t been spending money in a store.  At the end of your cash register tape is a website, an ID number and an opportunity to tell cyberspace and the company what you thought of your transaction.    Months ago, PC pharmacy did the same.  PC Pharmacy has never been an innovator…PC Pharmacy is the ultimate follower, both in trends and wages ( sadly).   Every few weeks I see a stack of comments in my mail box from the surveys that people have bothered to fill out.

These surveys serve a couple of purposes.  1) they supposedly gain “valuable feedback” and 2) they collect your email address so they can send you emails every day for the rest of your life.( or until you unsubscribe for the thousandth time…been there done that).   PC doesn’t do surveys on register tapes.  I have enough junk email thank you and I am spending way too much time UN subscribing from such junk.  If I love ( or hate) something, I will usually man-up and speak to somebody directly.

I cannot speak for everybody, but I think I can speak for many.  Most people who fill out surveys are NOT the people so love the store.  They are usually people who have 1) an axe to grind about something or someONE that pissed them off or 2) hope to win something and don’t mind putting their email out for yet another daily send.

The people who love your store show their appreciation by continuing to do business there.  Its pretty simple actually.  If I go to dinner at a restaurant and I have a meal I think isnt worth the money I spent on it, I just don’t come back.  I don’t throw a fit, demand a refund, or ruin somebody’s day.  Truth is, if the food is poor enough, over time, the business will usually fail. I went to this place on my own volition, nobody forced me.

My assumption proved to be true. When the program started, the only comments we ( being the store) were mainly negative.  it wasn’t until we specifically asked our favorites to complete a survey ( if they consented) did we start seeing the glowing responses.  This proved my point. Once we quit specifically asking, the surveys dropped back to normal.  I dont feel very good about asking people to complete surveys that I myself dont prefer to do.

What people write, in and of itself makes great reading. Sometimes its insulting the assumptions they make. ” Its none of your pharmacy’s business why I take a medication, they shouldn’t ask me so many questions”.  Nearly every pharmacy school starts counselling lessons with this statement WHAT DID THE DOCTOR TELL YOU THIS MEDICATION WAS FOR?. I personally don’t counsel that way but many many younger pharmacists do.

” Your prices are too expensive”  Interesting since this comment revealed other things about the comment she left that allowed me to ID the writer.  I am not in control of your prices when your insurance dictates the price of your Nexium.

” I ordered a refill on friday and your pharmacy called me to tell me it was out of stock til monday. I shouldn’t have to wait 3 days to get a refill”.  Well, we think you might feel grateful that a staff member bothered to CALL you to pass on that message. Other wise order your refills on Sun thru Thurs and you wont have to wait 3 days, you will only wait 24 hours. We dont have a million dollars in inventory, and with my new inventory targets, I will have out of stocks more often than ever.

” I dont like your pharmacy lay out.  I can’t watch the pharmacy staff”.  Well, do you think I should be  practicing in a fish bowl?  Do you want other customers to see your prescriptions?  Do you want others to hear what I say to you about your VALTREX and VIAGRA? Would you prefer your doctors have windows in their exam room that look out into the waiting rooms? Or would you like your lawyer or accountant to practice in his lobby? In my opinion, we are already too visible. Its an exercise in frustration to maintain privacy in the pharmacy both for us and for our clients, when the phones sit immediately above the blood pressure machine.  Yup, Joe blow can listen to every word I say. Hows that Hipaa? If it were up to me, I’d be working behind a wall, and nobody would see the drugs.

“My flu shot hurt”.  really?  for that comment I really hope your inbox is stuffed with junk mail loaded with trojan viruses.

” you should have coffee available for your customers”  I am assuming you mean FREE?? because we have a Coffee bar by a major player in the market at the front of the store who would be happy to SELL you a very excellent cup of coffee custom made just for you! If you want free coffee, drop your car off at the dealership for an oil change. Mine gives free coffee AND all the old magazines you can read!

” Your lines are too long”.  Yup, sometimes we have lines.  If 10 people walk up to the counter ( and we only have one register) somebody will be #1 and somebody will be #10.  We have peak times, and we have less than peak times.  If you visit us during our peak times, then you will find longer lines.  have you ever driven an urban freeway at say,  5:00pm?  We make every attempt to move those lines as quickly as possible.

“everytime I come in, eveybody is so RUDE”.  Ah yes, lets play the RUDE card.  Since I have worked there for almost 23 years, I can say with no reservations that none of my employees start ANY transaction with the intention of being rude to anybody.  If you are a complete A$$hole, you probably will not get the glowing gushing love fest you might hope for, but you will not be treated rudely. We dont like being treated like servants, but we are very adept at keeping calm. I am a believer of ” you get what you give” in life so I refuse to respond likewise to people who are jerks to me, and if holding my tongue and keeping a pretty neutral demeanor is being rude, then so be it.  the alternative isn’t so great because punching you in the face is against company policy.

” Your pharmacy wouldn’t refund me for an item I purchased”.  Well first off, you cant return prescription items, and second, I am pretty sure I  knew the writer of this comment.  He tried to return an store brand item….from another chain.  I told him, this isn’t a PC pharmacy item its BIG-BOX store brand…” see the logo?”

All in a days work.  All I can say, is at the end of the day, I am glad I get to come home to my dogs. More about my dog later..

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