The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Flu shot Follies III

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:30 pm on Monday, September 28, 2009

I guess flu shots will earn a lot of write-time this year…its always good for a story.

1. Mr Copafeel.  This guy came in for his flu shot. I sit next to my patients when I give flu shots.  I took all his info and asked him to rest his arm at his side…He flops his arm over the arm rest..and right between my legs.  Um, ok..comfortable??

2. Ms “I’m in a hurry”.  She wasn’t in any mood to wait, but there wasn’t going to be a choice.  We were buried, both in flu shots and prescriptions.  After trying to negotiate her insurance, we finally gave up and told her she had to pay.  “whine whine whine…fine, I’ll pay”. when I finally got to sit next to her to GIVE her shot, her friggin cell phones rings…AND SHE ANSWERS IT…but NO she didn’t say “I’ll call you back”..she takes  the entire call.  Piss on this…I just stick her in the arm, and she is yakking away as if she is the only person in the wait room.  I try to get her to move from  the “victim’s chair” but she just settles in to take her call till I finally give her the thumbs up to please GET UP.  She keeps this phone call going all the way thru the payment.  PUHLEEZE.  We use to have a sign asking people to get the hell off their phones  but corporate took it down. H.o.w.R.u.d.e.

3. Miss Scaredy cat.  I honestly wasn’t sure I should give her a shot today.  She wanted it (so she says) but I think I needed IV Valium to keep this girl in the chair. She was completely freaked out by the needle.  I was ready to ask for restraints. I asked her ” Kim, are YOU SURE you want this shot?  you are going nuts here…”..She did..I am not sure who was more stressed out…her or me by the time she was done.

Ya’ll are welcome to share your own flu shot folly stories with everybody!

Vacation fun and foibles..and a bittersweet realization about going home.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:42 pm on Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pharmacy chick checked out for a week and went home to visit her dad.  I needed some R&R and needed to see how things were at home.  Because he lives in a small midwest town, about 800 miles away, I decided to fly.  There is a huge difference between flying in a major market and a small market.  I’ll take the small market every time.

1.  The airport:  In my city, I am thrown into the cauldron of the great unwashed.  Herded like cattle (MOOOOO) thru roped areas for tickets, luggage and then security, throngs of people meet the scrutiny of unsmiling TSA people with their raised eyebrow stares and their little blue flashlight. It must be a magic flashlight because it scrutinizes my drivers license, and if it passes muster, I get to move on.  If it doesn’t…well I don’t wanna know. I suspect I am going to jail or taken away for a full body cavity strip search by Helga the TSA supervisor.  In the small town airport, there is 1 security line. It opened about 10 minutes before we were supposed to board, and the Pilot was ahead of me.. note to self..if HE doesn’t get thru, there isn’t much reason for me to even try.

2. The Plane:  Going to the small town, everybody on the plane looked the same…a bunch of lilly white people wearing jeans and sweatshirts.  They either lived there, used to live there, or were visiting relatives from there.   When I flew back and changed planes in the hub city, it  looked like a meeting of the United Nations on that plane. I sat next to an Indian man who smelled like curry and across from me was an Asian lady scolding her toddler in Chinese.    On the way over, the plane was half empty, but after we made our Hub city transfer on the return flight, we were delayed because apparently there was one more passenger standing on the plane than there was seats to place him.  Whups.  Glad it wasn’t MY seat in contention.  You’d need a crow bar to pry me out of my seat thank you. I am going home on THIS flight.

On the short leg of the journey (30 minutes) , the flight attendants zoom thru the cabin tossing 25 calorie snacks and glasses of water. They zoom thru 10 minutes later to collect everything “regardless of their contents”, and we land.  Our pilot was a game show host in a previous life, I am convinced.  During the safety demonstration he said something I hadn’t heard before and it went something like this:  If we have a loss of cabin pressure the masks will fall down..yada yada yada…if you are in the lavatory, there is a YELLOW TAB FOR YOU TO GRASP AND THE MASK WILL RELEASE..GRAB THE MASK AND PLACE IT ON YOUR FACE.

I being the CHICK, I worked that concept over in my head.  If i was on a plane that was losing cabin pressure the last friggin place I’d want to be would be the toilet. Chances are, I’d be with my pants down, with no seat belt and tossed around like a rag doll.  The last thing I’d likely find is that yellow TAB.  I began to wonder..would they look for my body in the bathroom in the rubble of the plane?  And, if they do, would they laugh when they found my body? “Hey Joe, come over here and catch a gander of this…this chick has no pants on!…but she managed to get the mask on!    It nearly became reality when we had turbulence from hell for the first half-hour.  Since I knew I had nothing but work/stress/ and employee hassles  to return to the next day, the idea of dying on a flight and moving to heaven actually appealed to me for a moment.  The pilot handled the plane like the PRO he is and we landed safely. Good thing the TSA let him thru security.

3. Rental cars.  In the big city, we get off the plane, find our way to the staging area for all the rental car busses. Everybody sizes up everybody else when the bus comes…who gets on first…and more importantly, who gets OFF first and into the rental line.    You then spend 45 minutes in line getting the car you already spent 45 minutes ONLINE reserving (whats up with that anyway??) going over everything you already did online. Once you sign your life away, you may leave with your car.  There are acres of cars to choose from and you are free to argue with your spouse over whether you want the blue one, red one or the black one with the white stripe. In a small town, you find the white phone that says “Ron’s rental cars” and pick it up.  Ron answers the phone and says “Be right up!”.  He picks you up in an unmarked mini van and drives you to a converted closet  at one of the motels near the airport.  There are 6 cars.  5 of them are rented.  You get the ONE sitting there.   There is no razor wired fenced yard.  There is no “do not drive backwards over strip” sign.  Ron flips you the key and says..”see you Saturday”. 

Ironically, when I returned the car,  There was a sign at the “office”.  Be right back. if you have an emergency, dial 555 123-4567.  I didn’t have an emergency, so I waited.  Apparently “right back” is relative…30 minutes later I was sensing “emergency”. I had a flight to catch.  I dialed the number and Ron answered the phone. “Ill send Stan right down”.  Stan was rounding up cars at the airport.  God only knows where Ron was. He arrived in his own car so we used my rental car…that I was told to bring to the hotel INSTEAD of the airport, and drove it to the airport. Okay…more work for Stan.

4. The counter help:  In the big city,  I used curbside check in, handed off my luggage and bid it adieu.  Hopefully I will see it again. Its a long way from the curb to  the plane. There are over a hundred places for those bags to end up lost.  In the small town, the same girl printed my ticket, moved my luggage, and then raced upstairs to board me on the plane.  There is 3 planes at the entire airport. Only 1 of them is flying out in the next 4 hours.  I assume its mine!.

I also played some golf on my trip. I went to the small town muni course.  I came in unannounced ( a no-no in a big city) and asked “can I play?” and was greeted with “YUP, 10 bucks…first tee is by the sign o’er there… see ya”. And I was off.  The next day we played a big resort course.  The tee sheet was full. Good thing I had a tee time..there would be NO walk-on’s, and no “Yup, 10 bucks” here!

There are no traffic jams in small town USA.  There is no reason to worry about “crossing traffic” to make a left turn.  For most people HOME and WORK are moments away and the idea of a commute is completely foreign.  If you get a half hour lunch, there is time to drive home, eat and go back.  I visited a friend I used to work with 30 years ago.  He lives in a smaller town.  I live in this huge metropolis.  I have access to a million more stores, cultural events, museums and activities than he ever will.  He has it made.  I hate it here.  I’d trade him in a minute.  I spent 2 evenings with his family.  My heart ached about leaving town again.

I wish I had never left “home”.   I’m a highly paid but over stressed professional working for a huge company who wouldn’t care if I dropped dead tomorrow as long as I did it on my own time.  I feel the pull of simplicity and smallness.  I am tired of the complicated…tired of traffic reports…tired of  everything being so far away. I am weary. I dont need half the stuff I have.  I don’t even want much of it anymore. 

Moving now would be like trying to uproot and transplant a Redwood, especially where Mr Chick is concerned.  He is happy where he is.

Pharmacy Chick would leave like a prisoner set free if given the chance. All I need…is that chance.

I’m not the purchase police, thank you!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:15 pm on Saturday, September 19, 2009

I know this has happened to every pharmacist out there, but it happened something like 3 times on Friday at work.  Due to recent labor cuts, Pharmacy Chick has been spending way more time at the cash register than she would prefer.  Often customers will ask me to ring up a few purchases.  As long as its not a grocery cart full of crap, I don’t mind a few items.

Honestly, I really don’t analyze what people choose to buy. Most of the time I don’t even really look at what they are buying…I scan it, bag it..and be done with it.  We sell stuff, they buy stuff.  So when a customer comes to the counter with a purchase, why do some of them feel the need to apologize or somehow justify their purchase?  For example, I have this diabetic guy.  He brought a half gallon of ice-cream to the counter and asked me to ring it up.  I said OK and he just had to add  “This isn’t for me”…

Candy, Wine, Beer, whatever.  We are in a store where we are expected to service our customers.  I know there is a lot of debate among pharmacists about what we should or should not ring up.  Even among people who relief at my store, some won’t ring up this or that.  Officially our company stance is, “if we sell it, you ring it up”. They sign my paycheck, I ring it up.  When I get to the point when I sign my own paycheck, I can decide what I will or will not ring up… That being said, I am not the police of what people buy.   If  you wanna buy a 12 pack of Bud-Light then fine, I really am not losing any sleep over it, nor am I moving you to my loser-shit list for having done so. (well maybe, but I am not telling you!)

I know that you smoke and use inhalers…no point in hiding your cigarettes….I know you are diabetic…If you wanna eat that bag of oreos and up your insulin dose, go right ahead. I’m not calling your doctor and tattling..

Its your life…I can only control my own. I am not going to embarrass you for buying stuff so please don’t feel obligated to justify or rationalize your purchases. Really….so unless you are buying an anatomically correct blow up doll, chances are pretty good that NOBODY in the pharmacy is going to talk about what you are buying..

BTW..we don’t sell those dolls.

MORE flu shot follies:

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:42 pm on Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Everybody…and I mean EVERYBODY wants a flu shot this year…and for some…

1. “Hi, can I get a flu shot?”  Sure, fill out the consent form and turn it in to the technician at the counter…” Um Can I have two?” (what?!?)  Um what for sir? “well I am travelling to China and thought I’d bring one with me in case I need it”  It doesnt’ work that way…you only need one.

2.  Hello, I need a swine flu shot….Sorry dont have yet…check with us in a few weeks, but there will be a protocol to follow for distribution..you have to qualify likely to get one…Oh I will qualify…I have a thyroid disorder…

3.  “yes I am here to pick up a prescription and i wanna flu shot too” do you have an appointment?  “No, do I have to have one?” No, but if you dont have one it will likely be about  30-40 minutes to que you to receive one… WHAT?  cant I just GET one? 

4. I’d like to get a flu shot if possible  yea no problem….Do I need to take off my pants? not unless you plan on giving yourself a shot!

 

Just another day in the pharmacy….

Best one-liner of the day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:43 am on Friday, September 11, 2009

I have a tech whose sense of humor rivals my own.  We are cut from the same piece of cloth.  This is in stark contrast with my other tech who has NO sense of humor.  I also have an intern who is sweet, innocent and (as of yet) uncorrupted by the idiocy of pharmacy.

Yesterday I had filled a prescription for a gentleman for Viagra.  On his label it was indicated that he preferred NON safety caps.  Without realizing it, I had used a standard safety cap and had set the rx aside to be bagged and placed on the shelf.  My intern noticed my cap error and said to nobody in particular: “How come this prescription for Viagra has a safety cap on it??” 

To which my Tech extraordinare replied (without batting an eye)  “Because its not his HANDS that have the problem!”

I  bent over in laughter. 

Ba Da Boom…She will be here all week folks..

Can you Read this?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:19 pm on Saturday, September 5, 2009

We Todd did

Im Sofa King

We Todd did.

 

( my apologies to the sensitive readers)

Shoot the ad writers!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:16 pm on Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pharmacy Chick has a lot of bones to pick…..heck all you have to do is read post after post to know that.  I’d like to take this particular bone, sharpen it into a point and stab it into the carotid artery of the ad writers for the company I work for.

You all know I do vaccinations.  What you may not know is that I am the ONLY one who does vaccinations in my location.  This means that my other pharmacist sends people away all day every day  HE works and tells them to come in when the Chick herself is on duty.  Not only does it increase my workload disporportionately compared to his workload, but I get to listen to complaints all frickin day from people who “had to come back” like they had slogged thru snow,  traversed deserts,  climbed mountain passes or  swam wide rivers…bare footed.

I blame the ad writers.  They came up with this brilliant idea to print (on every single piece of  print copy) that a customer can get an immunization ANY TIME the pharmacy is open.  This poses a couple of problems, the first of which is obvious:  I don’t work 75 hours a week…it only feels that way.    The second problem is more complex.  I will make it more clear however:  If you show up at Pharmacy Chick pharmacy at 15 minutes before closing and want a flu shot, you are NOT…repeat NOT going to get it…unless I am bored out of my mind (unlikely)….or have shots left over from the day….(even more unlikely). 

I have to leave at closing.  My labor dollars do not support staying after.  The company is counting labor dollars like Marley and Scrooge.  I have to use virtually every single minute of my labor while we are open.  Using them after we are closed means sacrificing staffing while are are open, and I get written up for overages in labor. Therefore when we close, I need to be ready to slam the door, and clock out.  Too many overages means I dont earn a bonus…and considering how pathetic is has been in recent years, it really shouldn’t be much of a deterrent, but the corrective action reports are…  It is what it is.

So, today (saturday) I begged for and got an extra tech for today.  We really needed it because we nearly reached 200 scripts, and 60 of  them were flu shots.  It was controlled chaos all day even WITH 2 techs, (both of which were floaters by the way).  I close down my flu shot table at 5:30.  We close at 6pm.  It takes about that long to process the last of the comers…finish the scripts…clean everything up…close out the computers…and finally…get out of there.

At 5: 45 I was administering my very LAST flu shot, when this husband and wife (not people I know either…) wanted to get a shot.  I told them that we were done with shots for the day, because we were closing in 15 minutes. I invited them to come back tomorrow and gave them the hours of vaccination.  I was friendly but left no room for negotiation.   They apparently weren’t getting the message.  “But you are still open for 15 more minutes!”  “Cant you do just 2 more?”.  

Pharmacy Chick didn’t budge.  “No,  we are done for the day…yada yada yada…not allowed to stay late…come back tomorrow….sorry to inconvenience you…”

They decided to play the  AD card.. “But your ad says…come in ANY time the pharmacy is open…”  Pharmacy Chick’s blood pressure probably went up about 30 points in 2.3 seconds.  In the best controlled (and polite) voice I could muster I said  “The ad writer does not give the shots, I do, and we have to stop 1/2 hour before closing in order to get the store ready to close.  We are not allowed to stay late”.

They huffed a bit, grabbed the paperwork on the table and left.  The lady who I WAS giving the shot to said (before they left)   “AND she has to counsel me on some meds I just dropped off”  ( She is my new favorite customer by the way….)

Now I ask you, dear readers…if you were a customer…and you wanted a flu shot…would you really want the pharmacist to be pissed at you when he/she plunged a needle into YOUR arm?

I’m just sayin…

Flu Shot Follies…its that time of year again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:22 pm on Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A full month earlier than last year, Flu shots officially started today.  I am compeltely exausted after my 13 hour day.  While I had been doing a smattering of them in the last couple of weeks, most insurance companies hadn’t loaded the necessary payment codes for us to bill, so those I have filled have mostly been cash.  Everybody has been waiting til TODAY to get ready…set ….GO!    And off to the races we go.

I did over 40 of them today.  Bless the intern I had because with company’s assinine labor model they have given me, I was to have ME and my TECH…and thats all.  Piss on all of them…but thats another post..for another day…

THIS one is for a classic moment that came nearly at the end of the day.  This husband and wife came in and asked for their shots.  They were very cute, young yuppy, D.I.N.K.s.  and both very nice.   He was kind of a combo yuppy he-man.  I gave him his shot in his well tattooed arm and put the bandaid over the site. He looked over at the bandaid and said “Hmmm..thats all? just a plain old bandaid?  not even BAT-Man or something?” 

Being very snarky by that time of the night, I said ” Dude, you better be careful or you’ll be walking out of here wearing  a Hello Kitty bandaid in bright pink!”  His wife just roared with laughter…and he reached into his pocket and grabbed his keys….which had a…

huge…

rubber…

pink…

Hello Kitty Key chain!  

I have him the Hello Kitty bandaid.

With any luck he won’t remember he is mad at me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:11 pm on Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It seems that Pharmacy Chick is never at a  loss for interesting characters that populate the pharmacy.  But honestly I am not sure what to do about Fred.

Fred is in his 80’s and has been coming between our pharmacy and the military facility for years. Because of his relative poly-pharmacy practice, neither of  his pharmacies have hever had a complete profile of what he takes.  He will often bring in bottles from one facility and we have to try and match it up with something we have because the military facility doesn’t do transfers. 

To complicate matters, he is in early stages of dementia/Alzheimers.  Its no secret..his wife knows,  his kids know but they insist on letting him run around independently.  It bothers me because he is certainly in no condition to be doing stuff like driving a car, and doing transactions in the pharmacy. He constantly complains about the price of his medicines because he still thinks that every prescription should be $3, which hasn’t been a current copay in years. He will monopolize the counter when he comes in arguing about the price.  When we tell him that his brand copay has been $9 for years, he claims we are lying.

I don’t have time for this.

Here’s what happened Monday.  Roy came in and said he wanted to order 2 refills.  He usually pulls his bottles out of his pocket.  I asked him what he wanted and he said in his slow southern drawl ” Well….as usual….I seem to have forgotten….can ya’ll look up and see what I need?”.  So I did a quick scan of his profile and noted that he had filled almost everything he usually takes only about 2 weeks ago (for a 90 day supply).  The only thing I could see that needed filling was his Lovastatin. Everything else either was just filled or should have at least a month left in the bottle.

So, I told him: “Roy, the only thing you are due for is the Lovastatin.”  To which he replied  “Nah, I don’t think that was it…”  And we began the frustrating stare-off. I told him that everything that he had current at my store had been filled recently. He insisted he needed 2 refills but had no clue as to what he wanted and was mad at me because I did’nt find what he wanted.  The line was forming behind him has he just stood there telling me he had 2 empty bottles at home.  Then he threw out the name Lisinopril..I looked it up and noted we gave him a 90 day supply only 50 days ago.  He still had a bunch of that at home….and no go on the insurance.

I was getting exasperated and so were the people waiting behind him.  I finally said “Roy, I can do the lovastatin. You have sufficient quantities of everything else I normally fill for you…if you need anything else, bring me the empty…but I really need to address these people behind you.”    Its not fair to me and its not fair to Roy to let him loose and try to tend to his own business.  I am not his caregiver.  As he turned to leave he angrily said to me  “I dont’ have sufficient quantities of ANYTHING at home”. 

Between the 8 rx’s he fills with us….that he filled 12 days ago, he probably has  close to 500 tablets of “everything” at home.

And he still hasn’t been back to get the Lovastatin…or to tell me what he really wanted…