The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

“Accidental” overdose, my foot

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:11 am on Friday, October 31, 2008

Hopping onto my soap box.

Hot in the news recently is one former professional basketball player who, it was reported, may have (or may not have) taken an “accidental overdose” on the popular prescription sleep medication Lunesta.  It was reported that this player had “accidentally” consumed 10 tablets.

The rest of this may be read on the internet in various places and I will spare you all the details, because if you read this blog, you 1) probably have a home page with newsy items and 2) have already heard about it, and 3) the specifics are rather sketchy and undefined.

What gets my white coat in a knot is the constant use of the word “accidental” immediately before the word “overdose”.   An accident is an incidental event that is not premeditated that results in unintended consequences.  It is an accident when  you step on a rake and it whaps you in the face.  It is an accident when you back out of the driveway at the same time your neighbor across the street does and you meet in the middle of the street. It is also an accident if you leave your purse in a restaurant.  They are not premeditated, they were not intended and usually resulted in some consequence.

It is not however an accident if you  pour 10 tablets of Lunesta into your hand, grab a glass of water and swallow them.  It may be stupid and irrational, but its not accidental.  It IS an accident if a child consumes 10 lunesta because they look like Skittles.

This event was purely intentional.  Whether he changed his mind, or whether his family intervened may never come out to the public, (and it doesn’t matter) but this kind of overdose is a premeditated event, that occurs when somebody feels the need to do something desperate.  I dont know what the directions were on that bottle but I can guess:  “1 at bedtime if needed?”  “1-2 at bedtime if needed?”  Its a safe bet that it didn’t say “take 10 tabs…..”

There are a lot of words to describe this kind of overdose:  Sad,  pathetic,  unfortunate,  are just a few.  But leave the word “accident” out of it.

Off the soapbox for now.

All time weird questions.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 1:42 pm on Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the course of a day, Pharmacy Chick answers questions…lots of them.  We have the pharmacy related questions,  non pharmacy related questions, and the bizarre questions.  Ironically, the bizarre ones tend to come from men…go figure.

Guy comes to the counter and asks to speak to a pharmacist.  I separate myself from the task I was doing to see what he wants.  With a straight face he asks me ” Do you know how to barbecue corn?”

Guy corners me as I am counseling somebody in front of the pharmacy: ” Where is your motor oil?”  We dont have motor oil, this is a drugstore.  Joe’s auto parts next door will carry oil. ” I didn’t want to make a separate trip” Joe’s  is in this mall, you can walk there, its 2 doors down.  “I didn’t want to write 2 checks” (under my breath) Life sucks doesn’t it.  Whats weird is he didn’t buy anything..he didn’t write a first check…

Gal comes to the counter, and I am super busy.  She’s a retired nurse so it amazes me with how many questions she asks me, that I think she should already know. Regardless, I hear her ask the tech “may I ask a question of the pharmacist, I need a recommendation.”  I tell her I will be there right after I give a vaccination.  Once completed I give her my complete professional attention. “What kind of syringe do you reccommend…(here it comes)  for injecting…. (drumroll) …..glue under my wallpaper?

Or another: “How much Sudafed should I give my dog?”  I wouldn’t give my dog sudafed he’s never had a cold. “But if you did, how much would you give him?” Dogs dont get colds, that I am aware of, so I’d ask my vet, honestly.  “Thanks for nothing!” 

“Can I use Jello in my hair?”  I am still trying to figure that one out…dye job maybe?

“will a sharpie stain my teeth?”  This one came around halloween Lets put it this way friend..I dont know and lets not find out the hard way ok?  I’d say yes, but call your dentist.

So lets put it up for ya’ll readers..What are your all time favorite/weird/off the wall questions??

Gimme Gimme

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:55 pm on Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time to hop onto my soapbox.

Pharmacy Chick was grocery shopping the other day, a chore she HATES to do.  In fact, I think for somebody whose drugstore is in the same parking lot as a grocery she has a pathetic amount of food in her house.  I am one of those buy-tonight’s-dinner-this-afternoon kind of person.  Therefore I am in and out of the store on quickie shops…which means I am in the checkstand more often than the once a week or once a month shopper.  ANYWAY,

As I was checking out, the clerk asked me if I would “donate $1, 3 or 5 for our annual food drive?”  How about $0 I am thinking… But being the nice person that I am, I donated a dollar.  As I was walking out to my car, I started to linger on this interaction not because I was now out of a dollar, but because of the commonality of this event.  EVERY time I grocery shop, they ask me for money. Each month its for something different.  Its the malady of the month, or Jerry’s Kids, Katrina Victims, Diabetes, Heart disease, Food Bank,  Easter Seals, you name it.

I have my own charities. I am not a tightwad. I send significant amounts of money to the non-profits and church of MY choosing. Personally, my heart breaks for unwanted or abused animals and pets and my checkbook donations reflect that.

By the sheer number of national fundraising events, prostate and breast cancer research has to be flush with cash compared to “less popular” disease states. Don’t get me wrong, none of these things are bad.  I am sure every charity needs the money, but its the UNENDING requests that are getting to me.  A jar on the counter? fine, I may drop some change in it. But I am getting tired of being asked ” would you like to….give give give?” 

I’d like to offer some suggestions to these fundraising stores:

1. Know who gave.  I’d love it for once if we got some “I gave” pin so somebody might know to quit asking. It gets old to be asked every time I shop.  I am not a scrooge. But I dont think customers should feel they have to donate to a charity everytime they buy food.

2. Give us shoppers a break:  Must you have a charity drive EVERY month of EVERY year? 

3. I’d prefer the tax break thanks:  If you imagine hard enough you can see that every store probably has a big cardboard check that 4-5 people get to stand behind when they hand over the cash to the charity.  Snap Snap goes the cameras and look at us! WE gave all this money!….but in reality, they didn’t really give anything, thousands of anonymous shoppers did.  If anybody knows how this works, please share, I’d really like to know who gets the tax breaks on all these $1 and $5 donations collected over the year by major retailers.

Anybody else like to sound off on this subject?  Am I wrong? Does anybody else get tired of this?  Any better ideas?

Happy Halloween by the way!  Watch out for those kiddies–so every trick or treater gets home safely.

Can you believe a Dr said this?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:22 pm on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One of Pharmacy Chick’s good buddies outside of work is a 58ish year old guy.  We( Mr Chick and myself) usually see him socially a couple of times a month.  He’s a nice guy but he is into more alternative medicine rather than conventional.  I’m ok with that as long as he doesn’t end up hurting himself with questionable treatments.   As is often the case this time of year,  the rush of flu shots came into the conversation.  I asked him if he was going to get his and his reply absolutely floored me…and I quote:

“My doctor (a naturopath) doesn’t recommend flu shots (or vaccinations for that matter). She believes it healthier for the body to get the flu than to have a shot to prevent it”.

OMG are you freaking kidding me?  It took me a moment to digest what he said.  There was no way I was going to let this one just pass, so I made my point simply: “John, tell that to the family members of the 39,000 people each year who die of influenza or the complications thereof.” 

He is healthy, and has no pre-existing conditions that would render him overly succeptible to succumbing to the flu, so this ideology probably wouldn’t have a fatal impact on him.  However this type of nonsense coming from the mouth of a medical provider scares me.  In her opinion,  it is better for people to get polio, typhoid, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, influenza, tetanus and hepatitis?

Ya know what Doc?  I’ll take my chances with the vaccines, thanks.

HmmmmmChocolate…

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:07 am on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Every year Pharmacy  Chick gives flu shots to this one particular family.  They bring in between 5-8 people at one time in a slot I usually reserve for 2.  I don’t care.  They are nice people.  They hardly have a pot to pee in but the matriarch always brings me a box of candy when I give the family flu shots.

Sweet. 

THIS is why I do this job.  Not for the price matchers, Not for the people who heap abuse on us, not because I am loyal to my company, and not for the money…ok thats a lie, I need the money.  I keep coming back because once in a while, somebody says I make a difference. “You give the best shots around and I’ll tell all my friends” she says in a deep southern drawl.

You do that Henrietta. Thanks.

Price match Redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:34 pm on Monday, October 20, 2008

We often get asked if we price match and begrudgingly we answer that we do, because according to our company policy, we will, IF the pharmacy will give us the price.  (Gee, we dont take the customer’s word).

AND, while I am giving flu shots, I am often asked side questions I got the pharmacist here and I am gonna pump her for every bit of information I can before she gets up. I am used to that.

So this guy asks one of us (we have no idea who), if we price match.  We affirm we do and he, like many before him, goes merrily on his way, one more flu shot done.  We do not know who he is, he is just one of many inquirers.

A couple of weeks later, we get some prescriptions…that we fill…like we do every day. The patient is in the computer but only for a flu shot. He has a medicare D plan. Bing Bang Boom, we fill them and put them on the shelf.  They are filled for 90 days each and his insurance charges $5 for each 30 day period, so the copay is $15 each. There are two of them.

A couple of days later a man comes to claim these two prescriptions, and the clerk rings them up.  $30.  He goes ballistic. “YOU SAID YOU PRICE MATCH. BIG BOX HAS THESE FOR $10 EACH”.  She has no idea what this guy is talking about.  The pharmacist has no idea what this guy is talking about since 1) this is the first time he has filled these here and 2) they weren’t transfer’s/copies and 3) he didn’t ask anybody to price match these rx’s.

You haven’t been here before, so, who do you want us to price match?..you do have to ask us to price match a competitor.”  It was completely beyond his comprension that we don’t just call every competitor and match everybody’s lowest price.  He was pissed he had to ask. He was pissed he had to wait for the tech to redo the prescriptions. He was pissed when we had to call the pharmacy he wanted us to price match. 

Moron,  if you want Big Box’s cheapies so bad, why dont you just go back there? All you did is piss off my staff and show everybody what an asshole you really are.  Nobody wants to help you now. None of us like you price-matchers and coupon users anyway. You might have been nice about it.  But you weren’t, and you aren’t doing me any favors by bringing your loss leaders to me.

Maybe I have been a retailer too long, I dunno.  When Pharmacy Chick shops, she does her homework, finds what she wants at the price she is willing to pay then GOES TO THAT PLACE AND BUYS IT. It may be an internet business, it may be in town. Either way, If A sells what I am seeking for $20 and B sells it for $15, I will drive to B unless its gonna waste my time to go there.  A has a right to charge $20 and I have a decision to either pay it or go elswhere.  I just find it presumptuous to ask somebody to sell it for less unless they make a point of claiming to be “the lowest price you will find anywhere”.

I asked for a price match exactly once.  It was for such a retailer above about 5 years ago.  They said “if you find it cheaper ANYWHERE, including the internet, we will refund the difference.”  I found my stove for $200 less on the internet. I got my money back, and then they changed the price of the stove to match the internet place.

I still felt guilty.

A name most appropriate

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:47 pm on Sunday, October 19, 2008

Its a busy day, lots of stuff flying around, I have enough work for 4 people and 12 hours but I have 1 person and 6 hours left, and this gal walks up.  She hands me a birth control packet for refill and a state aid card.  It has her name on it and 5 dependents. Probably should have used that BC earlier?  I load up the welfare and bill the claim.  As I am labeling the unit, I notice her first name. Charity.

How Ironic.

Flu shots cont. What’s that tattoo?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:33 pm on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Over the years Pharmacy Chick has stuck about 8000 people with flu shots (duplicates included).  That means I have looked at ALOT of arms.   AND, I have seen a lot of tattoos.  I have seen artsy fartsy fully colored fancy tattoos. I have seen the homemade ones, done with blue ink and a razor blade.  Dragons, hearts, flowers, names, ships, skulls, snakes, you name it. 

I’ll usually make some chit chat about tattoos that are different just to  relax the wearer.  One time I was getting ready to shoot (immunize) this older guy, and when he pulled up his sleeve there were some chinese symbols tattooed on his arm.  He was obviously not Chinese and neither was his wife.  So I asked “Is your tattoo Chinese?”  and he said affirmed that it was.  ” What does it mean?”.   I was expecting him to tell me something about sacred symbols of peace, home, honor, prosperity ,health or something like that.  “I’ve forgotten” he said, “I got it when I was a teenager and thought it looked cool” ” I suppose I should find out”.

Okaaayyy.  So I let my imagination go wild.  Imagine you got some tattoo parlor and some kid walks in with money to burn.  You have a sense of humor. “Hey Kid–You wan tattoo? We have veddy meeningfoo tattoo fo you!  Ancient Chinese Symbol!   So down goes the money and up goes the sleeve.. What might it say? My best guesses:

1.  “Kung pao Chicken $5.99

2.  “space for rent”

3.  “stupid is as stupid does”

4.  “I went to Hong Kong and all I got was this Tattoo”

5.  “bring me in for $5 off at Peking Duck restaurant”

6.  “left arm”

7.  “Ping’s laundry-San Francisco Ca, cleanest shirts in town”

I mean really, unless you read Chinese or bring a trusted Chinese friend into the parlor  with you, you really have no idea what this man is about to tattoo onto your arm.  

Today I had fun with another guy. Long time customer, so he could take a good kidding.  He had a very old tattoo.  It was very blurred from age, but it had said something spelled below some stars etc.  I asked “Does it say Delia?” (his wife’s name). He said “no, it says Daniel, my name”  . I couldn’t resist. “you had your OWN name tattooed on your arm? What, were you afraid you’d forget?” 

We had a good laugh.  I hope Mr Chinese Tattoo has a good laugh when he finds out what his tattoo is, or he really knows and didn’t want to tell:-)

The well dressed man and his flu shot

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:34 pm on Monday, October 13, 2008

October: the month of Oktoberfests, pumpkins, Halloween and Flu-shots.  It gets to be rather busy at Pharmacy Chick’s drugstore at this time.  We attempt to manage the flow by taking appointments.  This little man had an appointment.  He KNEW he was going to get a flu shot. AND, it was close to 70 degrees outside today, an absolutely beautiful day.( remember this).

He came to the counter to tell us he was here for his shot.  We directed him to a table to complete his consent form, which he did promptly and turned it in. 

I processed the paperwork and brought everything out to give him his shot.  He is wearing an overcoat.  He takes it off without any prompts. 

 He is wearing a heavy ragg wool sweater.  I tell him he will have to take it off.  He obliges.

He is wearing a sweatshirt UNDER the sweater.  I tell him he will have to take THAT off.  He obliges.

He is wearing a white turtle neck shirt under the sweatshirt, under the sweater.  He tries to pull it up but only gets above his elbow.  I tell him he will have to take THAT off also.  He obliges. Surely we must be reaching skin by now….

nope.

He has on a T-shirt, under the Turtleneck, under the sweatshirt, under the sweater, which was under the overcoat.  Good God Almighty,  is there a man under there somewhere? or is this like those nesting dolls where the final doll is the size of a fingernail?

Thankfully the T-shirt was short sleeved.  He finally got his shot, then got about the business of reassembling his ensemble.

Remember the weather?  Its close to 70 degrees. Bright sunshine.  Fabulous day for October.  I casually mentioned ” Thats a lot of layers for a warm day”.  He tells me he gets cold easy. 

Heaven help him when things really cool off.

How NOT to attract attention:

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:44 pm on Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pharmacy Chick’s pharmacy has two windows: Intake and Pick-up.  They are about 20 feet apart.  Unless I am down a bay or in the back room, I can see the whole pharmacy.   99% of the time, customers who walk up to the counter are greeted before their feet have quit moving. 

 Occasionally however, circumstances are such that somebody is going to have to wait a moment before they are addressed.  I may be on the phone.  I may be in the bathroom or out on the sales floor with some ditz who cannot decide between between Benadryl Tablets and Capsules and wants my rapt attention to discuss the difference. Tech Extraordinare may be already helping somebody else. Regardless of the circumstance, we will get to the counter as soon as possible.   Unfortunately there seems to be an abundance of people who think they have to announce their presence.  Without exception, they are obnoxious.

1. The Tapper.  Do not tap your bottles on the counter.  My blood pressure rises at the thought.  My counter is not a drum and you aren’t auditioning for a band.

2. The Cougher- Please keep the contents of your lungs where they belong.  

3. The Jingler. Leave your keys and coins in your pockets, and do not give your keys to your toddler to play with. I swear, if he/she throws them into my pharmacy, I will keep them.

4. The Yeller.  Do not yell “is there anybody here?”  If the lights are off and the gates are closed, THERE IS NOBODY HERE, if those conditions aren’t met, we are here, cool your jets.

Unless you see my eyes closed and drooling over my counting tray,  trust me, I see you and will get to you as quickly as possible.  The phone you see attached to my ear is there for a reason.  Somebody is on the other end. They called me first.  Do not tell me I need a bell.  Pharmacy Chick’s pharmacy had a bell…for one day…it was in the trash by the end of that day…it will never be seen again.

If you want my attention try this.  “Hi PC, I’ll just drop this off and come back tomorrow.” 

That works.

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